16 days of activism to eliminate violence against women

In August 2011, men and boys aged 18 to 25 were invited by the UNiTE campaign to use their creativity and imagination to create designs that Say NO to violence against women and girls and embody equality and respect.

Indonesian women activists hold a placard during Valentine's Day © EPA photo/WEDAThe T-shirt design competition reached out to young men throughout the world to help end violence against women and girl. Thirty-four regional and global judges have selected the five top designs, one each from Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, and North Africa. The winning entries will be announced on 23 November 2011 in New York.

The UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign brings together a host of UN agencies and offices to galvanize action to prevent violence against women and girls and aims to raise public awareness and increase political will and resources for preventing and ending violence against women and girls in all parts of the world.

Violence against women happens everywhere and it affects one out of every three women worldwide. Based on country data available, up to 70 per cent of women experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime.

The 16 days of activism campaign, which runs every year from 25 November – International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women – to 10 December – Human Rights Day - calls for the elimination of violence against women and invites everyone to take action against it.

“The 16-day campaign challenges us to focus on ways, measures and means to eliminate all forms of violence against women,” said Rashida Manjoo, UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women.

In a recent report, Manjoo highlighted that violence against women occur within the family up to the transnational arena.

Highlighting the importance of prevention, prosecution and punishment of violence against women, as well as the victims’ right to reparations, Manjoo said that States should ensure that the root causes and consequences of violence against women are tackled at all levels of society. “Violence against women is not the root problem,” she stressed, but “it occurs because other forms of discrimination are allowed to flourish.”

A report released this year by the UN Human Rights office provides an overview of good practices aimed at preventing violence against women. Examples include legislative, political and operational measures.

Preventing violence against women – the report states – requires a spectrum of strategies accompanied by political and financial commitments, at all levels of the States and involving a large range of actors and stakeholders.

“Preventing violence from happening in the first place must be central to any strategy to eliminate violence against women,” said UN Human Rights Chief, Navy Pillay.

She explained that “eliminating violence against women necessarily encompasses measures to empower women to stand for their own rights, make decisions on their lives and participate fully in the life of their communities.”

23 November 2011

Human Rights Day 2011


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