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First Lady in Paris, calls for stiff penalties against rape

The First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, has called for stiff penalties, backed by effective laws for perpetrators of sexual violence against women.

Mrs. Jonathan spoke in Paris at the advocacy meeting on sexual violence against women.

The meeting was hosted by the First Lady of France, Ms. Valerie Trierweiler, on the sideline of the Elysee Summit for Peace and Security in Africa holding in Paris.

Report says that President Goodluck Jonathan is participating in the peace and security summit attended by world leaders also in Paris.

Mrs. Jonathan urged the more than 50 spouses of world leaders attending the summit to use their positions to mobilizes support against sexual violence and other abuses against women.

She said conflict-related sexual abuse should not be regarded as unavoidable or acceptable consequences of war because of their devastating consequences.

She urged leaders and policy makers to continue to promote girl child education, women empowerment and gender equality as critical steps to stop sexual violence against women.

The first lady called on UN member states, especially African leaders, to reassert their commitment to the effective implementation of UN resolutions on women.

She specifically advocated commitment to the implementation of Resolution 1325, which calls for greater protection of women from gender-based violence.

She emphasised the need for strategic collaboration and the inclusion of men in the global response to the problem of rape, saying “behind every rape, there is a man.”

A film on sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo was screened for the participants.

The participants also listened to eye witness accounts of situations in Libya and the Central African Republic.

The special Representative of the UN Secretary General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Ms Zainab Bangura and some of the first ladies in attendance also spoke at the meeting.

They specifically lend a voice to the global call to end sexual violence against women.

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