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‘Nigeria is witnessing a rise in Rape, incest cases’- IPAS

NEWSMAN, Abuja – Nigeria is reportedly witnessing a rise in sexual violence, including rape and incest, according to a non-profit organisation, IPAS.

This was made known in a communique issued at the end of a three-day media training for journalists on Women’s Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights/Global Gag Rule (GGR).

GGR or the Mexico City policy is a United States government policy that blocks U.S. federal funding for non-governmental organisations that provide abortion counselling or referrals, advocate to decriminalise abortion, or expand abortion services.

The communique signed by Country Director of IPAS, Lucky Palmer, said that sexual violence is contributing to incidence of unwanted pregnancies, especially among adolescents in the country adding that unwanted pregnancies have resulted to people seeking unsafe abortion procedure, which is one of the leading causes of maternal mortality in the country, News Agency of Nigeria reported.

According to the communique, although the Nigerian government has signed and ratified many international and regional legal instruments that protect the sexual rights and human rights of women, many of these frameworks have not been domesticated.

The communique urged the Federal Government to domesticate all international and regional legal frameworks that promote Women’s Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (WSRH&R), further stating that the only legal document guiding abortion practice in the country is the 1861 Abortion Law of Nigeria, which does not take into consideration the realities of today and the issues arising thereof.

 “The participants hereby resolved that government at all levels should take the health of women as priority. They also resolved that the government at all levels should increase funding for WSRH&R.

 “Rigorous awareness should be created on the exceptions to the GGR, to enable CSOs provide services to victims of unwanted pregnancies as a result of rape and incest among other exceptions.

“The participants also resolved that the government should provide free medical care and support for women and girls who are victims of sexual violence to preserve, promote and protect their sexual and reproductive health. Focus should not only be centered on the executive arm of government but also on the legislature, to ensure they make legislations that promote and protect WSRH&R,’’ it stated.

The communique said that many NGOs, working to promote WSRH&R in the country, were unaware of the exceptions to GGR, and added that these NGOs do not provide abortion counseling, referrals in cases of rape, incest and when the woman’s life is endangered.

It futher called on Nigerians, including the media to step up their support for NGOs working on WSRH&R, and join the global campaign against GGR.

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