16 Days Against Gender Violence
November 25, 2008 - Today is the beginning of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, which each year sends a powerful worldwide message that gender-based violence violates basic human rights. Events begin today, November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and continue through December 10, International Human Rights Day. More than 2,000 organizations in more than 150 countries have participated since the campaign began in 1991.
International Human Rights Day is the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), a historic moment that recognizes the past six decades of work to secure the conventions and treaties that make up the human rights framework. 16 Days organizers emphasize that human rights cannot be universal without human rights for women. “Human Rights for Women – Human Rights for All; UDHR60” is the theme of this year’s 16 Days campaign.
The 2008 16 Days activities are designed to:
- Support women human rights defenders;
- End violence against women;
- Strengthen gender equity structures in the United Nations; and
- Expand financing for gender equality.
16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence calls for eliminating all forms of violence against women by establishing a link between local and international anti-violence work, providing a forum for organizers to develop and share strategies, demonstrating the solidarity of women around the world who are organizing against gender-based violence, and creating tools to pressure governments to implement promises to eliminate violence against women.
In the United States, the Family Violence Prevention Fund, Women Thrive Worldwide and Amnesty International USA are urging Americans to ask their congressional representatives to co-sponsor the International Violence Against Women Act during the 16 Days. Click here to take action.
Events planned for the 16 Days range from small, grassroots local events to those organized by powerful national or worldwide organizations.
The Prajnya Trust in Chennai, India, is hosting a campaign to raise awareness of the many ways in which women are vulnerable to violence, from their homes to zones of conflict. Its activities include campus contests, workshops and rallies. There will also be policy-focused events as well as public events held in partnership with other organizations.
The Asociación de Mujeres de Orihuela Clara Campoamor in Spain is sponsoring a photograph exhibition that illustrates the horrors associated with human trafficking. Primary and secondary school children will use the photos as a basis for art and literature projects.
In Trinidad and Tobago, the Caribbean Association for Feminist Research and Action Trinidad and Tobago will hold a walk through the borough of Chaguanas on November 29.
Here in the U.S., the San Francisco-based Women’s Wisdom Work Collective is organizing three days of events to commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. It begins with a rally and march on November 25, and continues with a film, poetry, music and more on November 28. The events will culminate with a day-long block party on November 29.
During the 16 Days, RAISE Hope for Congo is asking advocates to click here and sign the petition to President-Elect Obama asking him to take immediate action to end the violence against women and girls in the Congo. In the next 16 Days, recruit 16 friends to join RAISE Hope for Congo, and then ask those 16 friends to recruit 16 of their friends. When thousands of voices become millions of voices demanding an end to the violence, our leaders will act.
UNIFEM recently released a new internet tool, a Say NO to Violence widget for use during the 16 Days. Supporters with blogs, MySpace, Facebook, or other web sites can add the widget and invite friends to sign up. The widget counts signatures, so advocates can collect names for the campaign right on their own web site. To upload the Say NO to Violence widget: click here; click on embed; press the Facebook, MySpace or LiveJournal button (depending on the type of social networking site). Or choose “click here to grab code” and the code will be copied to your clipboard, after which it can be pasted on any homepage or organization’s web site.
More information on the 16 Days campaign is available here. The 16 Days Campaign is organized by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership at Rutgers University. To urge your Representative in Congress to cosponsor the International Violence Against Women Act, please click here.