Defend International has joined over 2,000 NGOs from over 150 countries around the globe to mark the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence, which starts on November 25 and ends on December 10.
Letters will be sent to MENA countries, expressing gratitude for their commitment undertaken upon the adoption in 1993 of the UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, and urging them to act on these promises.
The 16 Days of Activism Campaign calls for the elimination of all forms of violence and discrimination against women and girls by raising awareness about gender-based violence as a human right and public health issue. It is an international campaign, which started in 1991, sponsored by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership . The dates have been chosen to coincide with two internationally recognised days: November 25, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and December 10, International Human Rights Day. The dates indicate the link between gender-based violence and human rights violation.
Defend International has adopted the same goals as the Center for Women’s Global Leadership regarding this year’s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence .
The four long-term goals are:
- Support Women Human Rights Defenders
Demand: Protect the rights of women human rights defenders and defenders of women’s rights so they can engage in advocacy free from threats to their physical and mental well-being.
- End Violence Against Women
Demand: Ensure women’s rights to live free from violence and end impunity for all perpetrators.
- Strengthen Gender Equality Structures in the UN
Demand: Build a stronger UN women’s organisation that can advance women’s human rights and gender equality, implement global policies, and deliver results for women everywhere.
- Expand Financing for Gender Equality
Demand: Deliver the funding necessary to protect progress made to date toward achieving gender equality and women’s human rights at all levels worldwide.
Governments, donor states, aid agencies, development agencies and international bodies should :
- Commit sustainable resources for organisations working for gender equality and women’s human rights.
- Invest in the advancement of services for women in areas such as health care and education.
- Enable greater access to financial resources for women by promoting employment opportunities and access to capital, loans and credit programs and by ensuring that laws of property ownership and inheritance are not discriminatory toward women.
- Create and implement gender budgets in all institutions at all levels local to global and ensure that gender-responsive budgeting is also part of all stimulus packages and plans.
- Meet the promises made by donor countries to deliver 0.7% of their national budgets in official development aid while ensuring that aid is not bound by restrictive conditionalities and is responsive to the needs of women at the local level.
- Review the global financial and economic system to search for alternatives that would increase overall human security, improve gender equality, increase women’s enjoyment of all human rights, and allow for a more equitable distribution of resources.
- Provide sex-disaggregated statistics on the impact of the financial crisis and document worsening trends in or new forms of violence against women specifically related to economic hardship caused by the crisis.
Defend International and its members are mobilising to mark the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence.
* On 11 November 2009 Defend International co-founder Dr. Widad gave an interview to the Australian Radio 2000 FM (Sydney) on the increasing levels of honour killings in the MENA region. Dr Widad highlighted the global campaign Disarm Domestic Violence. She urged national and regional NGOs to support the campaign and encourage men in the MENA region to help put a stop to violence against girls and women during this year’s 16 Days of Activism.
* On 20 November 2009 Dr. Widad wrote an opinion/editorial piece to help draw attention to the issue. The prominent Iraqi journalist, DI member Mr. Ibrahim Zedan incorporated her letter into his newspaper and published the news in national newspapers and online.
* DI member organisation Iraq National association for Human Rights based in Maysan province in southeastern Iraq, has published a report on begging and the interrelationship between gender violence and forced begging.
Activities Planned by DI:
DI in Norway
- Lobbying and advocacy action plan
Letters will be sent to MENA countries, expressing gratitude for their commitment undertaken upon the adoption in 1993 of the UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, and urging them to act on these promises. Furthermore DI will be targeting countries in the region calling for support of women’s human rights by proclaiming the period between November 25 – December 10 as the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence throughout their communities.
- Press release calling on MENA countries to take action on the commitments they have made to ending armed violence, including domestic violence, against women.
DI throughout the MENA region:
- Meetings with high-level officials
DI members are mobilsing parliamentarians and politicians to realize the long-term goals of the 16 Days of Activism Campaign. Articles during the occasion will be published.
- Public meetings in affected areas
Hosting workshops on international conventions and the Beijing Platform for Action.
- Media work on the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence
Contact journalists to write articles on the 10th anniversary of the United Nations’ formal recognition of November 25th as International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
DI in Iraq
- DI member Dr. Mageed Salman, who is a professor at the Al-Nahrain University in Baghdad, will organise events for the students and urging the university council to highlight the occasion of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence.
- DI member the Association of Affected Women based in Iraq is organising a lecture on gender and domestic violence. Information coming soon!
- DI member Mr. Fadhel Abbas, Babylon National Human Rights Association based in central Iraq, will be leading a festival on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
DI in Ramallah-Palestine
- DI member organisation Human Rights and Democracy Media Center “SHAMS” will hold events celebrating the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. More information coming soon!
DI in Kurdistan region
- DI member Mr. Azad Diwani is using his network to inform and challenge prison systems and structures that are perpetrating discrimination and violence against Kurdish women prisoners in Turkey, Iran and Syria.
DI in Sweden
- DI member Ms. Shabad Jabbar is using her network to arrange events and seminars that raise awareness against violence against women.
DI in Lebanon
- DI member organisation Palestinian Association for Human Rights (Monitor) based in Lebanon will be hosting a press conference in support of the right of women to pass their nationality on to their children and husbands.
Venue: the Syndicate of Engineers, Beirut – Lebanon
Date: 25 November 2009 at 12 noon
DI in Yemen
- DI member the jornalist Wedad Al-Badawi will be organising events to mark the occasion.