- The Switzerland-based human rights group Nord-Sud accused the regime of Equatorial Guinea of considering women as objects of pleasure and a lucrative commodity during the Geneva session of the UN's Human Rights Commission. "Women are subject to prostitution, promoted by the trafficking and exploitation in the West and especially Spain, which continues to maintain good commercial relations with Equatorial Guinea."
The non-governmental organisation (NGO) emphasises that "all Spanish governments are accomplices to this situation," not noting any different attitude since the recent change in government. "Young Equatoguineans, including adolescents, are put to prostitution in the large cities of Spain, and the authorities of that country do not take any measures to check this," the NGO told the UN Commission in Geneva on Friday.
In Equatorial Guinea, the status of women has not changed since independence in 1968, and women's importance were only recognised as part of the fight for independence. On the contrary, the situation of women in the country has only turned worse since General Teodoro Obiang Nguema took power in a military coup in 1979, the group holds.
According to Nord-Sud, violence against women is tolerated by the repressive regime of President Obiang. Also the general oppression to which the Equatoguinean people is subject strongly affects the country's women and their children, who are living in a situation of extreme poverty, if not detained for political reasons, raped or tortured.
In this context, the Swiss group mentioned the case of 75-year-old Odisaria Asumu Nguema, the oldest inmate in the country. "Each time the authorities organise a wave of political repression, the mothers and the wives are the first victims," Nord-Sud said. The group pointed to the examples of Bibiana Obono, Angelina Abeso, Petronila Oyana, Felisa Anguesosmo, Teresa Maye, Paula Nchama and Maria Nieves Avomo, among others, who were detained in October 2004.
Nord-Sud urged the UN Commission to contribute to the stopping of the violence against women in the Central African Spanish-speaking country. "It is important to send an investigation mission to Equatorial Guinea," the group said, with reference to an earlier UN human rights observer mission to the country, which had been ceased in 2002.
The group insisted the Commission to "reconsider the resolution adopted in April 2002, which ended the mandate of the [UN's] Special Representative [on human rights in Equatorial Guinea] Gustave Gallón, to follow up on the human rights development and especially on the situation of women in Equatorial Guinea, because their situation is only deteriorating due to the indifference of the international community," Nord-Sud concluded.
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