Policy Dialogues on Violence Against Girls in Guelma Province, Algeria

20 April 2019 | Conference | Arabic | English | Guelma
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In April 2019, the Association INFO-COM Jeunes de Guelma organize three policy dialogues as a follow up to the advocacy campaign that it conducted in 2017 to disseminate articles 333 and 341 of the Criminal Code criminalizing verbal violence and sexual harassment against women and girls in public spaces. The dialogues also aimed at following up on the constraints for applying this law on the ground.

More than 100 people participate in these highly interactive debates, including 7 elected members of the People’s Assembly (APW) of Guelma province and the Municipal People’s Assemblies (APC) of Bouchegouf, Guelma and Heliopolis, in addition to representatives of different political parties and local authorities operating in the sectors of youth and sports, national security, vocational training, academia, education, health, and religious affairs, as well as number of personalities from the private economic sector. Other key players such as Guelma regional radio, several NGOs and activists, lawyers, trade unionists, university researchers and two young women’s football champions also participate in these meetings.

The debates focus on the situation of violence against women and the different efforts to combat it, including some awareness-raising actions carried out by the Guelma province authorities to support women’s sports associations and create a safe and favourable environment for the practice of sports and leisure activities by all people regardless of their gender. Yet much remains to be done and many recommendations are proposed to speed up the fight against sexual harassment and verbal abuse against girls in Guelma, such as:

– Enhancing the role of schools and educational entities in preventing violence against girls and women.

-Establishing internal regulations for mutual respect between girls and boys in youth institutions.

– Reiterating on the role of local NGOs to raise young people and their parents’ awareness and provide them with necessary information, as well as strengthening NGOs capacity to disseminate the laws extensively and reach a wider audience.

– Engaging religious leaders in transmitting messages on non-violence and respect.

– Engaging the media through reports, programs, spots and films.

– Improving school transportation for students living far from schools and training centres, as well as monitoring the behaviour of drivers responsible for school and university transportation.

– Strengthening security in public gardens and tourist areas by increasing the number of facilitators, police officers and mediators.

– Facilitating legal procedures to encourage the provision of testimonies and the filing of complaints by the victims as well as by associations as a civil party.

– Increasing the penalties for abusers regardless of the age of the victim and refining the definition of the word harassment in the law, as this current term is quite broad, and it differs from one region to another in Algeria.

– Raising awareness on sexual harassment and violence against girls on social media and imposing severe sanctions on cyber-harassment.

– Imposing sanctions on refraining from providing assistance to women who are abused or harassed in public places, as well as on those who refrain from declaring or denouncing these acts.

– Involving the university to launch scientific and academic research on these topics.

These policy dialogues are one of the activities of the project CSO WINS, funded by the European Union and coordinated by the IEMed in synergy with the Euro-Mediterranean Women’s Foundation.