Neelam Rahim | firstname.lastname@example.org
3 min read | 21:30 CAT
The Minister of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities on Friday announced that the final version of the National Council on gender-based violence, the GBVF Bill, has been gazetted to pass as an Act through Parliament. The bill was opened for public comment in October last year, and The Embrace Project made its submissions in December.
Radio Islam International discusses the developments with Director and Founder Lee-Anne Germanos. She said the GBVF council bill is meant to create a body that will oversee the country’s GBF response and drive the reaction around the country.
According to Lee-Anne, a single body dedicated to fighting GBV currently does not exist, rather ministries that have been trying to come together as a task team or inter-ministerial committee. To ramp up the response to the country’s GBV issue and develop a national strategic plan to tackle the issue.
“The bill will be putting together a council with board members, sub-committees, a secretariat, CEO as well as employees, purely dedicated to GBV.”
The bill defines what GBV means for the first time in legislation. There has never been a definition in the law surrounding GBVF. Lee-Anne said they have expanded the definition around GBV within the bill and suggested the inclusion of obstetrics violence.
Obstetrics violence is specifically perpetrated against pregnant or birthing women in the health care field, which unfortunately was not included.
However, the more extensive provisions suggested to be amended were passed on and gazetted in the bill’s final version, which was put out on Friday.
As the bill currently stands, it requires that they be 80 per cent women on the board and subcommittees.
There is a disqualification provision in the bill. If a board nominee or member had been convicted of a GBV and femicide-related crime, they would be ineligible for the board position.
An additional provision was added which disqualifies persons from being a part of the board if they have been convicted of any crimes, not just GBV-related.
The bill has been pushed through a particular provision in the Constitution and might be needed to vote in one house. After that, the President will sign the bill into law, and a national council on GBV will be placed together.
Listen below to the interview on Radio Islam’s podcast.