On the occasion of the conference of the Network of Reference Centers for Sexual Assault (SARC) in Nigeria, the European Union declared its intention to help this West African country to establish Sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) courts.
EU Ambassador to Nigeria Samuela Isopi said on Wednesday, according to a statement released during a media lunch at her residence.
The EU says offering this support is high on its priority list, adding that since 2016, it has spent more than 1 billion naira on SARCs.
âThe SARC network conference will be followed by a simulation session of SGBV courts. This will be modeled after what the SGBV-focused justice processes and procedures should look like if they existed in Nigeria. The bogus courts will sit simultaneously at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel and the Federal Department of Justice, âMs. Isopi said.
The seventh conference of the network of reference centers for sexual assault (SARC) organized by the rule of law and the fight against corruption (RoLAC) is expected to bring together the chief justice of Nigeria, the chief justice of the territory of the federal capital (FCT), the Minister of Justice, the Minister of Status of Women and the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.
The EU also highlighted that during the 16 Days of Activism, an annual international campaign to call for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls, victims of sexual assault will benefit from Free legal and psychological advice as part of a joint effort of RoLAC, The Judiciary of the Capital Territory (FCT) and the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP.
Ms Isopi added that the European Union (EU) and its partners are redoubling their efforts to mobilize actions aimed at speeding up the prosecution of offenders and ensuring access to justice and remedies for victims of assault. sexual.
âThrough its Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption (RoLAC) program, implemented by the British Council, and the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative, the world’s largest targeted effort to end all forms of violence in towards women and girls, the EU has been at the forefront of the campaign to stem sexual and gender-based violence and bring relief and justice to the victims.
Ms. Isopi noted that despite positive developments in awareness, service delivery and data collection, much remains to be done to address the recognized data gaps.
To highlight the importance of reporting and collecting quality data in addressing sexual and gender-based violence, she said, the Spotlight Initiative is launching a report highlighting 16 facts about sexual and gender-based violence, co-authored by the ‘EU, UN and Nigerian government.
âDespite the remarkable expansion and dissemination of the SARC initiative in Nigeria and the stronger national focus on providing comprehensive medical services and counseling to survivors, cases of sexual assault remain largely under-reported in the centers. Even worse is the proportion of cases that are prosecuted. To make matters worse, even fewer convictions are obtained, often after long, torturous and tortuous legal proceedings, âMs. Isopi said, adding thatâ prompt access to justice for victims of sexual and gender-based violence has become imperative. “.
Commenting on her office’s expectations, Ms Isopi said the European Union’s agenda remained the same.
âThe EU will continue to engage with the Nigerian government; civil society organization and all stakeholders to work on the same issue on which the two nations have partnered.
âWe will continue to support Nigerian civil society organizations; democratic institutions; good governance; gender and youth agenda. We will continue to help Nigeria tackle the challenges of insecurity, poverty and other regional issues.
She noted that Nigeria is a key partner of the EU in Africa, bilaterally and beyond.
According to Ms Isopi, the EU sees Nigeria as a very important ally on a number of issues, including post-Covid reconstruction, climate change, among others.
Ms Isopi says she hopes they will continue to forge partnerships through stronger political relations and more opportunities for young people as well as investment opportunities.
Ms. Samuela Isopi
Samuela Isopi, 49, new EU Ambassador to Nigeria, trained in political science, specializing in international relations, modern and contemporary history, public law, international and European law. In addition to her native Italian language, she is fluent in English and French.
She arrived in Abuja to serve as European Union Ambassador to Nigeria and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on August 31, 2021. She presented her credentials to President Muhammadu Buhari on October 25, 2021.
Ms Isopi held the same post as the EU Ambassador to the EU Delegation in Bangui, Central African Republic. She had previously served as Italian Ambassador to Cameroon, with concurrent accreditation to the Central African Republic, Chad and Equatorial Guinea. Previous positions include the Russian Federation, Afghanistan, Vietnam and Bosnia and Herzegovina, as Deputy Head of Mission and First Adviser.
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