By Anino Aganbi
The International Federation of Women lawyers (FIDA) recently held its workshop where legal framework and mechanisms were discussed for the protection of Nigeria’s citizens especially women and children, against all forms of violence. This was done in support of the worlds AIDS day. Present at the event were stakeholders from the Ministry of Justice, District Attorney of the federation amongst others.
UN Women representative, Mrs. Adekemi Ndieli stated that violence against women and children is a massive project being worked on. “We are trying to organize a one stop centre where the woman relates her issues and it is for women living with HIV.
They are the greater number because of the vulnerability of their biological make up. The issues remain on how to help these women assert their rights, to get justice. We are so glad that Lagos state has that mechanism to address access to justice. Nigeria is rich enough to give free drugs.
Majority of people living with HIV are women and majority of them are poor. Where are they expected to raise money from to buy drugs? The system should provide for them so they can have access to free drugs. Women living with HIV should not give up hope as it is not the end of the world. As long as they take their drugs everything is ok. They should look for a means of livelihood so they can have a voice in the society”.
Mrs Eliana Martins reported that FIDA Nigeria, while working together with UN women in commemoration of the Worlds Aids day decided to focus on women with HIV appreciating that FIDA members being lawyers are looking at access to justice. “We put together community outreach program where we engaged women, tried to give them comfort and talked to them about their legal right. Fida is looking into violence against these women, physically and emotionally. The organization was in support of male champions who will stand out and speak against cruelty to women, especially those ones with the virus. They need to look at it in a holistic way. A lot of sensitization has been done in this regard”.
Mrs Ezeigbo stated that the mission of the International Federation of Women Lawyers is to promote, protect and preserve the well being, right and interest of women and children.
Interest of women
“The happiness and wellbeing of the woman and child affects the happiness of the home and society at large. We set out primarily to promote the rights of these vulnerable groups. In every society across the globe, women suffer.
Within this vulnerable group, we have women suffering from aids and their major challenge is discrimination, stigmatization, rejection and other challenges. They suffer double jeopardy because they are being discriminated primarily because they are women and they also suffer further discrimination because they are HIV positive. Through this program, we feel there is a need to educate them on their right”.