Tarja Halonen, Member of Club de Madrid, has just been on a mission in Praia, Cape Verde’s capital, as part of the project Djuntu pa Igualdadi! A participatory response to Gender-Based Violence in Cape Verde, an EU-funded effort in which Club de Madrid is participating to support the implementation of the existing Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Law.
The visit took place between 4 and 6 May, during which time she had the opportunity to meet with the country’s highest authorities, including the President and the Prime Minister.
Djuntu pa Igualdadi!, powered by Club de Madrid in partnership with EPD and supported by the local Cape Verdean Association for the Fight Against Gender-Based Violence (ACLCVBG), was designed to support the main actors responsible for the implementation of the Law on Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and the Cape Verdean people in general in the struggle for gender equality and a better future for all rights holders.
The project aims to contribute to a favorable legal institutional and social environment in Cape Verde, in which public authorities respect and promote the rights of women, particularly victims of gender-based violence, in order to increase their participation in public life and ensure their socio-economic inclusion. This follows two parallel paths that will lead to a better performance of the institutional framework and national mechanisms for women’s empowerment, prevention of gender-based violence, and victim support:
- Greater public support, both socially and politically, to fill gaps in the implementation of jointly detected public policies related to women’s empowerment, prevention of gender-based violence, and victim support
- Improving the effectiveness of institutional actors in terms of inter-institutional coordination and support for victims of gender-based violence.
During her time in Cape Verde, Halonen aimed at giving visibility to the Roadmap and conducting high-level advocacy meetings with the political actors who have responsibility for GBV laws and public policies. She also raised awareness within the public entities and decision-makers for greater involvement and appropriation regarding the implementation of the Action Plan to improve the implementation of the GBV Law.
The recommendations – resulting from a participatory process and agreed upon by both civil society and public authorities – foresee concrete actions to improve policy implementation and President Halonen expressed the necessity for all Ministers to implement those recommendations.
“I am particularly happy to participate in this mission as gender equality is very close to my heart”, said Halonen when she arrived in the archipelago. To this she added: “Gender based violence is a serious problem and a human rights violation. I believe is preventable”.
It’s over ten years since Cabo Verde passed a promising law on gender based violence, but there’s still a lot of work to be done.
“I believe Cabo Verde has already done the basics and knows the way it has to go. You have had the same work as other countries and this requires time, money, and human resources, but the path has to be done step by step. We are here to encourage them to continue this work,” she said.
Halonen was at the invitation of the Cape Verdean Association for the Fight Against Gender-Based Violence (ACLCVBG), stressed that Cabo Verde has been working on the issue of gender violence, a problem that exists in all regions, including her country, she highlighted.
During the mission, President Halonen encouraged the country to continue working on combating gender-based violence (GBV) as it has already made a journey in this matter that needs to be continued to ensure gender equality.
“With the gender based violence law in place and this new Roadmap to guide its implementation, Cabo Verde can become trailblazer in zero tolerance for violence”
During her days in the country, President Halonen was able to meet the President of the Republic, José Maria Neves; the First Lady, Débora Carvalho; and the Prime Minister, Ulisses Correia e Silva.
She also participated in numerous meetings with the Ministers of Family Inclusion and Social Development, Justice, Internal Affairs, External Affairs, and the European Union delegation in Cabo Verde, where she stressed the importance of real action once the legal framework is already done.
“Men and women have to work together because it takes twice 50% to reach 100%. We all need each other so that everyone understands the need to implement this law and work on positive masculinities”, remarked Halonen at a meeting with Cape Verdean parliamentarians.
All the Ministers and governmental bodies stated the necessity to continue working towards the right implementation of the law, and continue adding additional changes if required and need to progress.
At the meetings it was also highlighted that Cabo Verde is a champion in terms of gender-based laws, and this is something that has to be known all over the world.
During this advocacy mission, the different stakeholders publicly reaffirm their commitment to keep working towards fighting the existing problem of gender-based violence and adding the recommendations of the Roadmap to their efforts in policymaking.