Times of Eswatini
EU’s restrictive measures to combat GBV
MANZINI - In a bid to combat and eliminate all forms of violence against girls and women, the European Union (EU) has started imposing restrictive measures.
This was revealed by the Head of Cooperation for the EU Delegation in Eswatini, Alessia Bursi, during the commemoration of the International Women’s Day 2023, hosted by the Municipal Council of Manzini and its partners at Millennium Park in Manzini yesterday.
Bursi said gender equality continued to lay on a shaky foundation in Eswatini, but this was not the case only in this country. In fact, she said as they marked another International Women’s Day, the challenges they spoke about last year were sadly still with them, all around the world.
She said while gender-based violence (GBV) was still prevalent in Eswatini and calls for declaring it a national disaster were rightly going stronger, Afghanistan had turned back the clock on the right to education for half of its population, and in Ukraine 5 000 women were on the front line, defending their country from the aggressor. She added that they continued to lose too many girls and women to violence.
However, she highlighted that in the face of continuing extreme hardship, women found courage to stand up for themselves and what was right.
In that regard, she said they should continue to stand against GBV and all forms of discrimination of girls and women.
She said the EU was countering sexual and GBV to ensure that those responsible were fully accountable.
“Yesterday, we used our Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime to impose restrictive measures on nine individuals and three entities in Afghanistan, Russia, South Sudan, Myanmar and Syria, in view of their role in committing serious human rights violations,” Bursi said.
She added that they would continue to combat and eliminate all forms of violence against girls and women. At the same time, she said they would continue to work for the equality and the empowerment of girls and women.
In that regard, she said their Gender Action Plan III was a powerful tool to make this difference. She added that this year’s International Women’s Day theme was ‘DigitAll: Innovation and technology for gender equality’. She said innovation and technology were important means towards gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.
In the EU, she said they had declared 2023 as the European Year of Skills. She said they would focus more on equipping girls and women with digital skills, thereby closing the existing gender digital divide.
She said this was important because the most demanded hard skills which were best rewarded worldwide were in the digital domain; data science, software development and coding, content creation together with artificial intelligence, to name a few. She said the gender digital divide prevented women and girls, both in Eswatini and globally, from advancing in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields.
As a result, she said these fields were still dominated by men; hence the urgent need to close this existing gender digital divide.
In that regard, she said the time for equal opportunities, including in the digital space, was now. In line with the theme for this year’s International Women’s Day, Bursi said the EU was also committed to supporting an inclusive digital transition.
“Through the EU’s Digital Strategy 2030, we seek to ensure women’s equal access to digital technologies, tackling the structural barriers underpinning the global gender digital divide and achieving digital transition that is both fair and inclusive,” she added.