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We’ll sustain partnership with Mirabel Centre to support sexual assault victims —UK Envoy

We need political will to implement enabling laws, says deputy majority CW

The United Kingdom has said, it will sustain its partnership with Mirabel Centre in the coming years in order to end sexual assault and violence in Nigeria.

The British High Commissioner in Nigeria, Catriona Laing CB, made the pledge when she hosted the Accountability Dialogue reception in her Residence, where donor partners and critical stakeholders from across the country converged to mark the ninth year anniversary of the Centre in Abuja.

Mirabel Centre is Nigeria’s first Sexual Assault Referral Centre, SARC, founded in July 1, 2013 by Itoro Eze-Anaba, to  provide succour and a safe place  for survivors of rape and sexual assault in Nigeria.

The reception was a platform to celebrate the Centre’s milestone, strengthen trust and accountability, discuss challenges, as well as receive feedback and evaluation that will enable it continue to further fulfill its mandate from partners.

Survivors who have recently or in the past been sexually assaulted can access free post-incident support services at the Centre. 

In the last nine years, the Centre has provided free medical and psychosocial support services to nearly 7400 survivors including boys, men, and persons living with disabilities.

Addressing the audience, the UK Envoy said:  “I am delighted to recognise and celebrate the work done by the Founder of Mirabel Centre, Itoro Eze- Anaba and the entire Mirabel Centre team as the organisation celebrates its ninth anniversary. It remains a sad reality that women continue to be victims of sexual violence and abuse in Nigeria today.

We cannot understate the vital importance of the exemplary support sexual assault centres like Mirabel provide. I look forward to continuing to partner with Mirabel Centre for many more years to come as we all seek to end sexual violence.”

In her keynote address, Founder of the Mirabel Centre, Itoro Eze-Anaba, described sexual and gender based violence as the most pervasive human rights violation on earth.

She explained that the impact of SGBV is felt not only by the survivors but also by her family, her community and the state as a whole. ‘‘SGBV affects the realization of all development goals including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). To achieve the SDGs we must eradicate SGBV and provide support to survivors of SGBV,” she added.

According to her, the UK Aid programming had supported the original establishment of Mirabel Centre as a model for other states. The SARC model has since been rolled out across all states in Nigeria.

It will be recalled that Itoro Eze-Anaba, who founded Mirabel Centre has been honoured with a Commonwealth Point of Light award by the Her Majesty, The Queen of England for her work in this area.

Speaking on the occasion, the Deputy Majority Chief Whip of the National Assembly, Hon. Nkeiruka Onyejeocha described the gesture as a very good initiative, saying that the Foundation by its programmes and activities has succeeded in awakening the consciousness of speaking up against sexual and domestic violence, which hitherto  was considered difficult, especially by the victims.

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