Wednesday, October 28, 2009

About the 16 Days

The "16 Days of Activism: No Violence Against Women" is a United Nations campaign. It takes place each year between 25 November (International Day of No Violence Against Women) and 10 December (International Human Rights Day).

Governments and organisations across the world, participate in this campaign to raise awareness of the negative impact that violence and abuse has on women and children. Abuse can be in the form of rape, child abuse, sexual harassment and emotional abuse. The aim is to rid society of this abuse permanently.

The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence is an international campaign originating from the first Women's Global Leadership Institute sponsored by the Center for Women's Global Leadership in 1991. Participants chose the dates, November 25, International Day Against Violence Against Women and December 10, International Human Rights Day, in order to symbolically link violence against women and human rights and to emphasize that such violence is a violation of human rights. This 16-day period also highlights other significant dates including November 29, International Women Human Rights Defenders Day, December 1, World AIDS Day, and December 6, which marks the Anniversary of the Montreal Massacre.

The 16 Days Campaign has been used as an organizing strategy by individuals and groups around the world to call for the elimination of all forms of violence against women by:

1.raising awareness about gender-based violence as a human rights issue at the local, national, regional and international levels

2.strengthening local work around violence against women

3.establishing a clear link between local and international work to end violence against women

4.providing a forum in which organizers can develop and share new and effective strategies

5.demonstrating the solidarity of women around the world organizing against violence against women

6.creating tools to pressure governments to implement promises made to eliminate violence against women.

Over 2,000 organizations in approximately 156 countries have participated in the 16 Days Campaign since 1991!
The Annual Theme

Every year, CWGL composes a Campaign theme in consultation with women's human rights advocates worldwide and then circulates an announcement for the campaign as widely as possible. Over the years, Campaign themes have included: "Violence Against Women Violates Human Rights" (1991/1992), "Democracy without Women's Human Rights . . . is not Democracy" (1993), "Awareness, Accountability, Action: Violence Against Women Violates Human Rights" (1994), "Vienna, Cairo, Copenhagen and Beijing: Bringing Women's Human Rights Home" (1995), "Demand Women's Human Rights in the Home and in the World" (1997), "Building a Culture of Respect for Human Rights" (1998), "Fulfilling the Promise of Freedom from Violence" (1999), "Celebrating the Tenth Anniversary of the Campaign" (2000), "Racism and Sexism: No More Violence" (2001), "Creating a Culture That Says 'No' to Violence Against Women" (2002), "Violence Against Women Violates Human Rights: Maintaining the Momentum Ten Years After Vienna (1993-2003)" (2003), "For the Health of Women, For the Health of the World: No More Violence," (2004-2005), "Celebrate 16 Years of 16 Days: Advance Human Rights ‹—› End Violence Against Women" (2006), "Demanding Implementation, Challenging Obstacles: End Violence Against Women!" (2007), "Human Rights for Women ‹—› Human Rights for All: UDHR60" (2008), and in 2009:

2008 Campaign Theme : "Dont Look Away - Act Against Abuse"

The Objectives of the Campaign are to:
•Increase the level of awareness amongst South Africans on the high incidence of violence committed against women and children, how it manifests itself within South African society and the negative impact on these vulnerable groups

•Challenge perpetrators to change their behaviour.

•Enhance and increase partnerships between government, the private sector, civil society, organised labour, sectoral groups, the faith based organisations, the media (electronic and print) and the diplomatic community in an effort to spread the message

•Align with events and themes in both the national and international programme, which focuses on matters relating to Women’s Human Rights

•Raise funds for NGOs that work within the sector, providing invaluable support to the victims and survivors of violence;

•Communicate through the most effective and appropriate channels aiming to reach the maximum number of people across the country, articularly women and children residing in rural areas;

•Engage actively (re-educate, resocialise) with men and boys in the discourse on combating violence in our homes, our communities and in the workplace; and

•Highlight the stories of survivors of gender-based violence and the impact that the campaign has had on their lives.

•Strengthen relationships beyond the South African borders around the elimination of violence against women and children;

•Create awareness of the link between HIV/AIDS and gender-based violence.


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Violence against women is a worldwide yet still hidden problem. Freedom from the threat of harassment, battering, and sexual assault is a concept that most of us have a hard time imagining because violence is such a deep part of our cultures and lives.