Thembi Ngubani's Prayer:
Developing a Vision
My key objectives include advocacy of women rights and pushing the agenda for universal access to prevention, treatment and care, while working with NGOs, African Governments and international partners either individually or collectively.
I want to know your views...
Debate and discussion are essential to this role, and understanding your views and the challenges you think we face helps me table your concerns before governments and those who can use their power to make AIDS history.
Message on International Women’s Day 2010, “Equal rights, equal opportunities: progress for all” 8 March 2010
It well known that, advancing women’s rights has positive social and economic benefits for society at large. As the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon notes, “when women are denied the opportunity to better themselves and their societies, we all lose.” It is also in recognition that, women and girls across Sub-Saharan Africa are disproportionately affected by poverty, ill health and lack of economic opportunities to advance themselves. With regard to HIV, in Sub-Saharan Africa, women aged 15 – 49 years account for 61 percent of prevalence and new infections. In 2008, Sub-Saharan Africa accounted for 91% (of the 1.4 million) pregnant women living with HIV worldwide.
United Nations secretary general’s special envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa, Elizabeth Mataka, has strongly condemned the sexual violence perpetrated by the Mai Mai militia rebels on women in the DR Congolese town of Luvungu.
In a statement following the recent mass and brutal sexual assault on women in Luvunga by Mai Mai militia rebels, Mataka branded the rebels’ assault barbaric and said conflict situations could never be an excuse to violate women in the most demeaning and cruel manner.
“We must remember that these women will not only suffer untold psychological damage but are also potentially in danger of being infected with HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases as well as the possibility of raising children born out of this grave violation,” Mataka stated.
She stated that the rights and protection of women and girls were non-negotiable because they were also human beings.
“I therefore join the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in condemning in the strongest terms the sexual violence perpetrated by rebels from the Mai Mai militia who mass raped poor defenseless women in Luvungu,” she stated.
She said efforts should be made to ensure that there was no repetition of such a barbaric assault on women.
“I have, during my term of office as UN Secretary-general’s special envoy of HIV/AIDS in Africa dedicated myself to lobby at every opportunity for the protection and empowerment of women and girls,” she stated.
Mataka, however, observed that the protection and empowerment of women and girls could not happen unless all people recognised the rights of women and girls.
“These are not negotiable and are not out of benevolence of anybody, these are basic human rights because they are human beings,” she stated.
Mataka called on African leaders to do everything possible to bring about peace in the DR Congo and all other parts of Africa engulfed in conflict.
She called on African countries to ensure that women and girls everywhere go about their daily struggles free of the threat of violence against them.
“It is imperative that global initiative such as the secretary generals UNITE campaign to end the violence against women, and the related Africa Union Chapter to end violence against women and others become truly operational to protect women from all forms of violence,” said Mataka.
By Salim Dawood, The Post
26 August 2010
UNDP co-sponsored a panel, Women, HIV and Human Rights: Addressing Property and Inheritance Rights, on Tuesday that provided collective strategies that have been developed over the past few years to advocate for and uphold women’s inheritance and property rights. For women living with HIV, denial of property and inheritance rights can lead to loss of s