Representatives of the Police, Representatives of the Prosecutor’s office, Members of the Community, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I feel both honoured and privileged to be here today to inaugurate the Danish-funded Centre for Victims of Gender-based Violence in Beira. I want to thank you all, and in particular the Mayor, for the very warm welcome I have been given. It has truly touched me.
The concept of this Centre is excellent – based on an integrated approach where different services work together in dealing with victims of sexual abuse and gender-based violence. I have seen examples of this approach in other countries – and it works. And I am sure that will also be the case here.
The cooperation between official services like health, prosecution and police with other forms of victim support services; such as, trauma counselling, access to shelter and welfare support provides the victims with a solid and comprehensive assistance.
As a victim of gender-based violence you do not have the capacity to shop around for different services. To be able to have all services in one centre with reliable, caring and professional people around you can make all the difference.
For me, a very important aspect of the Centre is also the active involvement of community-based organisations.
I understand that this is the first centre of its kind in Mozambique and I want to congratulate the Bairro da Vaz for being in the forefront of this important service.
As patron of UNFPA I have been actively involved in generating greater awareness of global maternal health, child mortality, women’s reproductive health and rights – and violence against women and children.
I have travelled with NGO’s and the Danish Ministry for Foreign Affairs on various fieldtrips to countries greatly challenged by these issues.
And I am now very pleased to have the chance to visit Mozambique together with the Danish Minister for Development Cooperation and to learn about the Danish engagement in Mozambique as well as UNFPA’s activities.
Violence has no nationality. Violence against women happens everywhere and at all levels of society. Domestic violence affects not only the person, who is the subject of the actual abuse. Witnessing domestic violence can be just as harmful, and it is critically important to recognise the needs of the children and also their physical and mental health – even before the child is actually born. An often neglected issue in many maternal health services is abuse and violence during pregnancy. With this new centre also comes the opportunity to right this neglect and give all women the support and treatment they need.
Everybody has the right to a life without violence. No matter where you come from, who you are or where you are.
My hope is that this Centre in Beira – through outreach and increased awareness – will help to reduce gender-based violence in this community and will be a beacon of light for the whole of Mozambique. I trust that all men and women present today especially, the community leaders, will support this and take good care of the Centre and what is stands for.
It is a great pleasure for me to declare the Centre for Victims of Gender-based Violence in Beira officially open.