Search This Blog

Monday, October 10, 2011

African Union seek end to harmful traditional practices

The Coastweek

ADDIS ABABA (Xinhua) -- The African Union (AU) said here on Wednesday that there is urgent need to mobilize AU member states and all concerned parties including religious leaders to embark on social actions with a view of eradicating harmful traditional practices (HTPs) in Africa .

AU organized a pan-African conference from Oct. 5 to 7 at its headquarters in Addis Ababa , aimed at strengthening efforts of fighting against HTPs and promotion of the rights of women and girls. It hopes to celebrate achievement and courage, promote positive cultural values and overcome barriers to combating HTPs.

According to AU, HTPs include female genital mutilation (FGM), early marriage, taboos or practices which prevent women from controlling their own fertility and other harmful practices against women and girls.

A lot has been done, but a lot more remains to be done so that the African continent overcomes these harmful traditional practices, said Bience Gawanace, AU Commissioner for Social Affairs, noting that collaborative effort is essential to eradicate HTPs once for all.

The three-day conference was organized in collaboration with the German initiative, namely the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) under the theme:

“Celebrating Courage and Overcoming Harmful Traditional Practices”.

Lieselor Cyrus, German Ambassador to Ethiopia, said Germany supports pan-African institutions seeking African solutions for African problems, explained that Germany interprets the overcoming HTPs as a means of upholding the human rights of women and girls.

The conference is also to highlight aspects of African culture, customs and traditions which hinder development in general and impede the advancement of women and children in particular among others.

It is expected to increase commitments by national structures, regional, continental and international institutions, stakeholders including development partners to enhance partnerships in efforts to bring an end to HTPs.