By Sadiya Hamza
UNITED NATIONS – UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon, has urged member states to change legal and social norms that reinforce discrimination and eliminate violence against vulnerable family members.
He made the call on Friday in New York on the occasion of the International Day of the Family which has “Men in Charge?” as its theme.
The day is to highlight the importance of gender equality and children’s rights in contemporary families.
In a message to mark the day, Ban also urged UN member states to change legal and social norms that support male control over women.
He stated that “as we shape a new sustainable development agenda and strive for a world |of dignity for all, let us stand united for women’s and children’s rights in families and the society at large.
“Equitable social and economic development depends on fair legal frameworks and social norms that support the rights of women and children.
“Discriminatory laws and practices that do not give equal rights to all, and that suppress women’s and children’s rights, have no place in contemporary families, communities, societies and nations.’’
The UN scribe said more women were becoming recognised as equal partners and decision-makers in families around the world “and that is how it should be.’’
This, he said, was helping to ensure conducive environment for the full and harmonious development of children.
He, however, added that “too many countries, however, discriminate against women and disregard for children’s rights remain built into family laws.’’
He said government policies and prevailing social norms often condone and justify many discriminatory practices, noting that the social and economic costs were felt by all.
He added that discrimination and neglect often lead to violence, threatening women’s and children’s health and limiting their chances to complete education and fulfill their potential.
The cycle, he said, tend to continue into the next generation, as children experiencing violence are more likely to resort to violence in their adult lives. (NAN)
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