The Mothers And Marginalised Advocacy Centre (MAMA Centre) commemorates International Tolerance Day with theme “Tolerance is respect, acceptance, and appreciation of the rich diversity of our world’s cultures, our forms of expression and ways of being human”.
While we demand equality and diversity across the world, we are concerned that women remain the worst hit by gender and racial discrimination across marital institution, employment opportunities, remuneration, literacy rates and systemic segregation.
We are worried that multiple, or aggravated, forms of discrimination are most significantly experienced by female members of discriminated groups.
Just as we are not unaware of the existing social stigma aggravating suffering among persons living with disabilities, persons affected by HIV/AIDS, children and the elderly, among others, who are often among the most vulnerable members of society, and are at greater risk of economic hardship, exclusion, violence and discrimination.
We are displeased that factors relating to social identity such as race, colour, ethnicity and national origin constitute a major challenge militating against many women’s socio-economic and political advancement across the globe.
We are also worried over the continued policy neglect and disproportionate response to injustice suffered by victims of racial discrimination and related intolerance, especially in cases where a woman’s race or ethnic group is factored into her experience.
We recall with absolute solidarity, victims of ethnic, intersectional discrimination and race-based violence against women as evident in rape across Bosnia, Kosovo, Burundi, Rwanda among other nations with records of race-based targeting of women for an explicitly gender-based violation.
We are perturbed by under-reported plights of the victims of ethnic conflicts that produce a large number of female refugees who become vulnerable to sexual violence and gender-related issues at all levels.
As we recognised tolerance not only as a moral duty, but also as a political and legal requirement for individuals, groups and states, we call for increased policy response through the adoption and full implementation of legal frameworks including the ratified UNESCO Declaration of Principles on Tolerance, that address the disadvantages faced by minority women in the labour market, trafficking in women, and race-based violence against women across the world including African society.
We further call for adequate public education and sensitisation on the importance of tolerance in sustained socio-economic and political development of every society; and full implementation of various internationally ratified protocols promoting integration across social and ethnic groups in Africa.
Executive Director, MAMA Centre