Young Women Stand Up be Counted: Our Key Priorities

Maputo, Mozambique, 12th June 2017—–We the young women of Mozambique, coming from different organizations, working as individual activists,  united by the urgency to work collectively towards the realization of sexual and reproductive health and rights, elimination of violence against women and harmful practices such as child early and forced marriages and female genital mutilation met under the auspices of the Young Women Stand Up Be Counted project conducted by FEMNET.

Recognizing our diverse and intersecting identities, seeking to reclaim and amplify our voice and tapping onto our collective young feminists power, we highlight the following issues as critical and pressing if Mozambique is to guarantee the realization of gender equality and women’s empowerment, protect and fulfill the human rights of all women and girls and accelerate efforts towards elimination of violence against women particularly adolescent girls and young women including harmful practices such as child, early and forced marriages which continue to subjugate adolescent girls and young women, violate their rights, infringe on bodily autonomy and undermine their agency.

SEXUAL VIOLENCE

  • We call attention to and especially emphasize on the need for reduction and elimination of sexual violence. In particular urging for collective multi stakeholder efforts that include young women and girls organizations in community, national, regional and global efforts to address the violence against women pandemic.
  • We urge for holistic efforts and comprehensive care and support for survivors of violence, in particular the integration of psychosocial support and care as a compulsory component of the medical care services for survivors and gendered programs from the ministry of defense and police in supporting survivors and in supporting the judicial process to avoid repeat violations
  • We call for severe punishment of offenders, perpetrators under the confines of the Mozambique law and as per the regional and international law. We therefore demand the full implementation of the Sexual violence law

CHILD, EARLY AND FORCED MARRIAGES

  • We call for the abolition of child, early and forced marriages
  • We call for the fulfillment and protection of women and girls human rights. Recognizing Mozambique’s commitments under the Children Rights convention that guarantee rights for all children including girls, Maputo Protocol article 5 on harmful practices under and the Beijing Platform for Action under which women and girls human rights are critical areas of concern and within the context of 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Goals Goal 5 targets .
  • We recognize child, early and forced marriages as a form of discrimination against girls. We call for intensified efforts from the government to fully implement and resource the National action plan/campaign for the African Union Campaign to end Child, early and forced marriage including adoption of a comprehensive law to end child, early and forced marriages and programs to address the underlying social, cultural and religious factors that promote and sustain this harmful practice.

DEFILEMNET

  • We call for intensified efforts from the government to accelerate the prosecution of defilement cases to the full extent of the law
  • We call for the establishment of a toll free hotline to strengthen infrastructure that is crucial in the reporting of defilement cases

DOMESTIC GENDER BASED VIOLENCE

  • We emphasize the need for increased public awareness and sensitization as key strategies towards enhancing the understanding of the various forms of violence against women and to ensure that all forms and cases of violence against women are reported
  • Elimination of violence against women is key to peaceful societies, in particular recognizing that for women and girls peace and justice is a key component for their personal and private spheres including in their families.
  • We call for police cooperation in efforts towards elimination of violence against women and in particular recommending gender training for the police handling gender based violence cases to ensure gender responsiveness during reporting and prosecution process
  • We note with concern violence within the security forces and call for gender awareness training for the army as one of the key institutions of peace building.

ADOLESCENT GIRLS AND YOUNG WOMEN’S SRHR

  • We call attention to the high HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases and infections disease burden amongst adolescent and recognition of the double burden amongst adolescent girls and young women. We therefore call for a gender responsive and the meaningful engagement of adolescent girls and young women in HIV prevention ,care, treatment.
  • Efforts to address maternal health should take into account the high adolescent maternal mortality and unwanted pregnancies amongst adolescent girls and young women.
  • We urge the government to prioritize the provision of comprehensive access to sexual and reproductive health and rights information and services for adolescent girls and young women. Emphasizing on equitable access to include access in the rural areas and other marginalized communities.
  • We call for an integrated approach to sexual and reproductive health and rights service, comprehensive sexual reproductive health education and information to include water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) needs of adolescent girls and young women.
  • We recognize the role that female controlled HIV prevention tools play in supporting women and girls bodily autonomy, enabling choice and the full realization of sexual and reproductive health and rights. We call for the provision of female condoms and provision of information on their use to ensure that girls have tools and information to control their sexuality.
  • We therefore call for the government to accelerate efforts towards the realization of sexual and reproductive health and rights for all women and girls free from discrimination.
  • We recognize the progressive women’s and child rights policies that Mozambique has signed onto including efforts to coordinate sexual reproductive health and rights initiatives. However we note the lack of implementation of these policies and subsequent translation to meet the realities faced by women and girls and in particular young women. We urge full implementation and resourcing by both the government, donors, private sectors and other multi stakeholders in line with the principles set out for global partnership and in the spirit of leavening no one behind.

For more information contact Catherine Nyambura, Advocacy Programme Associate, FEMNET

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