In the past decades, several African countries, including Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Somalia, Mali and South Sudan, have experienced extensive periods of conflict and extreme violence. These conflicts have involved massive human rights violations and horrendous atrocities. These have included high levels of violence, looting and killings of civilians. The wide spread use of sexual violence and torture as a near risk free and effective intimidation and control tool has also become well known.
Driving the violence epidemic of Gender Based Violence (GBV) against women and men are a number of factors. Underlying factors are traditional and deeply-held beliefs and value systems in regards to the devaluation of women and girls leading to highly unequal gender. In addition are factors such as a culture of impunity, the nature of the conflict itself with an extremely difficult geographical and logistical context.
This has prevented the respective governments, international and national actors from providing security and protection for civilians, particularly for the thousands upon thousands of women and girls who have been raped and have experienced other forms of sexual torture throughout war. Some reports have estimated that almost 50% of GBV survivors in the DRC are girls under the age of 18. Although women represent the overwhelming number of affected by GBV, men and boys are also deeply affected.
Arigatou International has partnered with Norwegian Church Aid as a key Faith Based Organisation to implement the Regional Advocacy Strategy which brings other Faith actors such as Fellowship of Christian Councils and Churches in the Great Lakes and Horn of Africa (FECCLAHA), African Council of Religious Leaders (ACRL) and All African Conference of Churches ACRL (AACC) brings Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) and partners together to advocate on the United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCR). It covers the period 2015 – 2017 focusing on DRC, Mali, South Sudan and Somalia, and since April 2016 Burundi.
Gender Based Violence and Child Poverty
An analysis of the global persistence and escalation of Gender Based Violence against children and youth in all areas of life, including homes, communities, institutions, and armed conflicts, reveals that the vast majority of people damaged by the decisions made and the actions carried out by those in power (largely men) are children (and women). Most alarmingly, however, is that young people in conflict areas are more vulnerable.
GBV at the family level and violence against girls and boys within the society, is closely linked to child poverty. This violence perpetuates and exacerbates child poverty and factors which lead to child poverty, on one hand. On the other hand, there is a high prevalence of GBV and violence against boys and girls, in families affected by poverty and in low income communities.