U.N. Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa Mataka Urges Women To Address Cultural Practices That Fuel Spread of Disease
United Nations Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa Elizabeth Mataka on Sunday in Lusaka, Zambia, called on women to openly discuss and increase awareness of harmful cultural practices that are fueling the spread of the disease among women, the Times of Zambia/AllAfrica.com reports.
Mataka was speaking at the launch of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, which marked the first of 16 days of advocacy against gender violence. Mataka in a statement said she would "talk publicly and honestly about cultural practices that are harmful to women" and are contributing to the spread of HIV among women. Mataka said that not acting against violence should be added to the "definition of gender violence," adding that women have a "collective responsibility to take a stand against violence against women" and that "remaining silent means we are complicit in violence and, therefore, an obstacle."
Mataka added that her priority as the U.N. special envoy will be to strengthen the rights of women and girls in Africa, as well as increase resources, attention and action aimed at changing harmful cultural practices, the Times of Zambia/AllAfrica.com reports (Ndola, Times of Zambia/AllAfrica.com, 11/26).