International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, Sixteen Days of Activism against Gender Violence
Orange the World, Leave No One Behind
Date: Wednesday, November 22, 2017
see press release by UN Women
This year, UN Women and partners around the world are marking the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence (25 November – 10 December) under the theme of “Leave No One Behind: End Violence against Women and Girls”. A host of public events—from marches, exhibits and concerts to sporting events—are being organized under the banner of the UN Secretary-General’s campaign UNiTE to End Violence against Women by 2030, using the signature colour orange. As in previous years, iconic buildings and monuments will be ‘oranged’ to call for a violence-free future, including the parliaments in Bangladesh, Liberia, and Morocco, Rio’s iconic Corcovado, the Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City, Mexico, La Scala theatre in Milan, the City Hall in Bogota, the National Theatre of Algiers, and Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa.
In Uruguay, UN Women representatives, along with Luiza Carvallo, UN Women Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, joined a march to end violence against women. Two simultaneous marches along the “avenida 18 de Julio”, organized by a Civil Society Collective, Mujeres de Negro, and Feminist Women from the EFLAC (Encuentro Feminista Latinoamericano y del Caribe), brought together more than six thousand people. The marches ended at the City Town Hall where Minou Tavárez Mirabal read a proclamation. In addition to advocacy and awareness raising, UN Women partnered with the government, civil society and two local soccer organizations to organize a violence prevention workshop with young female football players in Colonia Valdense.
In Jordan, the historic building of Dar Al Saraya in Madaba was lit in orange on the evening of 25 November. For the first time this year, the building of the Delegation of the European Union to Jordan was also lit up in orange to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and for the third consecutive year, the landmark building of The Royal Hotel in Amman turned orange. Leading up to the 16 Days, the UN Country Team in Jordan, led by UN Women and in collaboration with the UN Communication Group, the Jordanian National Commission for Women and a host of other partners, organized a youth creativity lab. Almost 30 Jordanian youth participated in developing creative social media content on ending violence against women and girls. They also contributed video testimonials on the issue of child marriage, in the context of Jordan’s national campaign themed ‘Too young to be married’.
In Quito, Ecuador, the National Assembly was lit in orange and prepared for the second debate on the national law to prevent and end violence against women.
In Rwanda, the launch of the 16 Days of Activism convened over 2,500 participants consisiting of government, civil society representatives, UN agencies and the general public, who participated in a walk across the city of Kigali to raise awareness on the urgency and importance of ending violence against women and girls. The 3 Km walk started from the National Parliament building and ended at the National Amahoro Stadium, followed by the screening of a video showing the different interventions that Rwanda has implemented to end violence against women. On the evening of 25 November, in support of the 16 Days of Activism and to raise awareness, UN Women secured the support of the Kigali Convention Centre to light the building in orange. Located in the heart of city, the Centre is one of Rwanda`s popular attractions.
In Timor-Leste, civil society organizations and community members, with support from UN Women, organized Timor-Leste’s 2017 Safety Audit on 25 November, as part of the annual 16 Days of Activism Campaign. The audit assessed the safety of public spaces from the perspective of those who experience or feel the threat of insecurity in their communities, especially women and girls who are often targeted for sexual harassment and other forms of violence. It provided an opportunity for women and girls to identify what makes them feel safe or unsafe in public spaces and to create recommendations, together with local leaders, NGOs and other community members, to make their community safer. During the Safety Audit Walk, participants completed a ‘scorecard’ to rate the safety of various public spaces in Comoro. “Women don’t feel secure when they walk alone at night. They need light. The light can help them feel secure,”’ said Marcelina Alberto Carlos, Aldeia (Hamlet) Chief of Fomento III in Comoro, Dili.
In Kazakhstan, a roundtable meeting led by UN Women convened representatives from Astana’s Department for Internal Affairs, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Police, as well as civil society organizations and frontline service providers, such as police, crisis centre workers, psychologists and judges, to discuss the issue of violence against women. Students from the area also participated and organized a flash mob after the event. Throughout the 16 Days, the Kazakhstan post office staff in all 16 main branches in 16 cities across the country are wearing orange scarfs and disseminating information materials on violence against women and where to seek help. In addition, with support from UN Women, a volunteer initiative is engaging business women, psychologists and artists to organize local events including art therapy, art exhibition and psychological consultations for women survivors.
In New York City, USA, the New York City Hall was lit up in orange in honour of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on November 25, 2017.
In South Africa, the United Nations joined Ilitha Labantu for their annual Take Back the Night March, held in Gugulethu Township, where violence against women and girls, including rape and murder is high. Over 300 community members walked through the streets, calling for an end to violence and for community members to stand together in making the township safe for all particularly during the night. Following the march, community members gathered in the Gugulethu Sports Complex where a memorandum of demands was handed over to members of South African Police Services. The Provincial Minister for Safety and Security, MEC Dan Plato also committed to set aside a budget specifically towards ending gender-based violence and called on civil society to work closely with the government and police in making Gugulethu an exemplary safe place for women and girls. The Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture, delivered by the United Nations Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammed was held in Cape Town on 25 November, and was attended by over 1000 delegates, including more than 100 young women from the Soul City Institute’s Rise Young Women’s Club. “Invest in the missing fifty percent of our human asset base, in the potential of our women to unleash their power for good, to make good on the new era of the Sustainable Development Goals starting with Goal 5 as your docking station for the other sixteen goals that will create a world of true gender equality,” said Ms Mohammed.
The Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa was lit on 25 November to mark the start of 16 Days of Activism. The lighting coincided with the visit of the United Nations Deputy Secretary General, Amina Mohammed, who delivered the Annual Nelson Mandela Lecture on 25 November at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. The mountain will be lit again on 7 December to spotlight violence against women in rural areas. Members of the Western Cape Provincial Parliament officially launched HeForShe in the Province in a ceremony held on 24 November 2017 led by Speaker Ms Sharnaz Fernandez.
In Thailand, women, men and children from the Southern Border Provinces participated in an event organized by UN Women’s partner, Peace Agenda of Women in Pattani province. At the event, close to 100 advocates called for action to make public spaces safe for women and children.
In Afghanistan, more than 200 representatives from the Afghan Government, civil society activists and the international community gathered at the Ministry of Women Affairs to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and to kick-off the 16 Days of Activism Campaign. Speaking at the event, H.E. Abdullah Abdullah, Chief Executive, National Unity Government said, “it is important to ensure an enabling environment for women to work in the security sector. We have to create the needed space and environment that can be trusted”.
In China, in partnership with Beijing Normal University and Beijing Royal School, UN Women has launched the national 2017 #OrangetheWorld #16 Days of Activism Campaign at the Beijing Royal School on the eve of 25 November. “The 16 days campaign and Orange the World campaign come at a pivotal time in society, during which gender-based violence is being brought into the spotlight,” said Mr. Rosellini, United Nations Resident Coordinator in China. The United Nations Building in Beijing was lit in orange in the evening marking the beginning of the 16 Days of Activism in China.
At the Beijing Royal School event, four peer educators from the school and a Beijing Normal University resident social worker introduced the achievements from the joint peer education project with UN Women. A talent show with the theme of combating gender-based violence was organized by 200 young peer educators, including drama performances, choir performances and public speaking.
In Lebanon, the 16 days of Activism was kicked off through the unveiling of its first monument dedicated to women who have lost their lives to family violence. Speaking at the launch, the President of Lebanon, His Excellency General Michel Aoun, reaffirmed both his personal commitment and that of his government, noting that when he first was elected as President, one of his first action was to review and address discriminatory legal provisions. Read more»
In Pristina, Kosovo, the ballet performance, “NJË DITË” / “One Day”, led by American choreographer Christina Coleman, unfolded inspirational real life stories of women in Kosovo and urged for action to end violence against women and girls. Almost 350 people participated at the premiere of the ballet performance on 25 November to commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women at the Kosovo National Theatre. The performance presented the dynamics of power in gender relations and aimed to unveil the inevitable reality caused by the inequality. To advocate for the 16 Days of Activism Campaign and the ballet performance, a press conference was held in the National Theatre of Kosovo, on 24 November with Vlora Nushi from UN Women, Christina Colman, the Choreographer and Ahmet Brahimaj and Director of the National Ballet of Kosovo.
In Morocco, UN Women in the Maghreb oranged the sky of Rabat with 1500 orange and ecofriendly balloons to mark the launch of the 16 Days of Activism Campaign. In the UNESCO World Heritage site of Chellah, about 300 people, including UN Women’s partners, such as the UN Country team, key institutions and the civil society, as well as the general public came together for an event that raised awareness about the issue of violence against women. The event featured inspirational remarks and interactive activities, such as a photo booth, an interactive quiz and a “make your slogan” stand. Speakers included Leila Rhiwi, Representative of UN Women in Maghreb; Bassima Hakkaoui, the Moroccan Minister for Family, Solidarity, Equality and Social Development; and Philippe Poinsot, the UN Resident Coordinator in Morocco. UN Women Representative Leila Rhiwi also spoke during the evening news broadcast and Raphaëlle Rafin, UN Women programme coordinator participated in a national television show called “Niqash” to discuss the 16 Days of Activism: ”
In Moldova, the United Nations system and the Embassy of Sweden, in partnership with the Government and Parliament of the Republic of Moldova, organized a classical music concert to launch the global “16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Campaign”. Through the concert, 500 representatives of the Government, civil society organizations, as well as development partners and mass-media expressed their solidarity with the women and girls of Moldova, who have experienced violence and the threat of violence. Furthermore, in partnership with the National Coalition “Life without Domestic Violence”, an online fund-raising campaign was launched at the concert, and the National Philharmonic “Serghei Lunchevici” was illuminated in orange, symbolizing a bright, optimistic future and a life without violence. Read more»
The United Nations in Mozambique, led by UN Women launched the national HeForShe campaign (#ElesPorElas) in the Mozambican Economic and Social Forum, under the theme “Knowledge, Motivation, Action: Accelerate the Road to Sustainable Development”.
In Bangladesh, the 16 Days of Activism launched at an event in Rabindra Sarobar, Dhaka, on 24 November. UN Women, along with 20 other organizations including Nari Pokhyo, Mahila Parishad and Oxfam participated in various cultural activities, including poetry recitation, dance and musical performances under the theme of ͞ “Leave N One Behind͟”. Speaking at the event, UN Women Country Representative, Shoko Ishikawa called for decisive actions to prevent and respond to violence against women and children, including through laws.
In Pakistan, to kick off the 16 Days of Activism, the Punjab Assembly’s Building was illuminated in orange to show solidarity with the campaign. Leading up to the 16 Days, UN Women also collaborated with the Swedish Embassy and the European Union to present SEVEN, a play based on the real-life stories of seven women’s rights activists from Nigeria, Afghanistan, Guatemala, Russia, Pakistan, Northern Ireland and Cambodia. The play was presented as a reading in Islamabad on 20 November, and will also be presented in Lahore later this week. The play was created by seven playwrights in collaboration with Vital Voices Global Partnership and has been performed in 23 countries since the project started in 2009. Each time, the readings are performed by seven individuals representing different segments of the society, for instance, journalists, activists, politicians and survivors.
To commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence in Liberia, UN Women and the telecommunication company Orange Liberia launched a new partnership to provide ICT and Mobile Banking Services to 14,000 women and girls from UN Women-supported networks such as the Association of Women in Cross Border Trade, the National Rural Women Structure and the Peace Hut Women of Liberia. Through the partnership, the women will be trained to utilize various ICT platforms to facilitate financial transactions between rural market women and their suppliers; Facilitate purchase of goods and payment to vendors, as well as become Mobile Money Agents in their communities through the Village and Saving Loans Associations. Another area of focus of the partnership will be on increasing awareness on ending violence against women and girls by promoting the Unite Campaign through monthly text messages to Orange subscribers and other public awareness initiatives. During the launch of the partnership in Monrovia which was attended by UN Women Liberia Representative Marie Goreth Nizigama, the Vice President of Orange Liberia William Saamoi joined the HeForShe Campaign and pledged his company’s commitment to mobilizing men as champions for Gender Equality.
At UN Headquarters in New York, the official commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (25 November) took place with the attendance of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, and Oscar-nominated actor and UK Global Dementia Friends and Alzheimer’s Society Ambassador, Carey Mulligan, among others. The event also featured segments of the Emmy-award winning series, “The Handmaid’s Tale”, followed by a panel discussion with members of the cast and crew. UN Trust Fund programme participants, Dragana Ciric Milovanovic and Morgen Chinoona spoke about the violence prevention and improving care for women and girls with disabilities. See the press release►
In Bosnia and Herzegovina, UN Women and partners engaged youth and social innovators for Ideathons and hackathons to explore innovative and technology solutions to localized issues of violence against women. The initiative brought together young people aged 15 – 30 years from across the country in a series of events from 22 – 23 November. Some technology solutions that emerged out of the ideathons included “TraceBrace”—a bracelet that allows the wearer in crisis or threatening situations to send their location to their emergency contact; a mobile application to support online counselling; an online platform for teenagers on cyberbullying; and a mobile phone game with hidden messages that familiarize the user about various forms of violence and how to recognize the signs of abuse. These ideas will be further developed into prototypes at a hackathon that will take place from December 7 – 9.
In Brazil, Rio’s Christ the Redeemer (Cristo Redentor) is lit orange to mark the 16 Days of Activism. As part of the 16 Days Campaign, UN Women is leading events and oranging several landmark buildings and iconic monuments in the country, including the Cristo Redentor, the Elevador Lacerda and the Buriti Palace. In Brazil, the mobilization began on Monday, with the Black Consciousness Day.
Viet Nam launched its National Action Month on Gender Equality and Prevention of Gender-based Violence at Nguyen Hue Pedestrian Street, Ho Chi Minh city, on 4 November. For the first time, the Ho Chi Minh city People’s Committee Building was lit in orange, demonstrating the city’s commitment to ending gender-based violence. A series of exciting activities took place, including the “HeForShe Men Who Care and Share” contest; a painting competition on Safe City for children and an art exhibit to promote gender equality.