14 indigenous leaders in Cameroon have signed an agreement under a project under the British High Commission to end violence on women and girls.
Just a few days shy of the 16 days of activism against gender violence, chiefs from Bayangam, Batoufam, Bamougoum, Bameka, Bamessingue, Bapa, Baleng and Babadjou endorsed a campaign “Western Chiefs Sexual Violence Initiative” in the country funded by the British High Commission.
The aim of the initiative is to improve the leaders awareness on violence against women and other discriminatory activities in their traditional practices. It also helps to break stigmatization in women reporting and seeking aid as victims of gender based violence.
Through integration with indigenous leaders, the project further breaks the walls of social-cultural barriers and changes the attitudes of community practices through inclusion of parliamentary and custom leaders in the nation.
According to a statement of the press from the British High Commission, all 14 chiefs signed a statement that bears the following content:
Ensure that customs and traditional dispositions that violate rights of girls/women, affect their health and wellbeing will be reviewed
Violent practices tolerated against women will be repealed
Ensure the equal treatment of men and women
Ensure victims have access to health and judicial help
Ensure perpetrators of sexual violence are pursued according to the law
This project, implemented by the Modern Advocacy Humanitarian Social and Rehabilitation Association (MAHSRA) allowed the chiefs to go through a training program on human rights with specifics to sexual violence against women this past Friday in Yaonde, Cameroon. Through this, Chiefs would be able to form their own dialect in sexual violence and creating mechanisms and structures of addressing such using their customary laws.