Category Archives: 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence

Kings Of West And Central Africa Move Against Child Marriage And Female Genital Mutilation

Traditional and religious leaders in West and Central Africa have moved to end child marriageand female genital mutilation and other harmful practices in the region. “Weagree to break our silence by condemning totally, and standing against any formof violence. We adopt zero tolerance to these modern forms of slavery, brutalcrimes and inhuman indignities on our women.” They declared after a four-daydialogue on ending child marriage and female genital mutilation and otherharmful practices, organised by UN Women on 4 – 7 December 2018 in Lagos.

In a declaration jointly presented by the Emir Of Shonga, HRH Dr Haliru Yahaya and the Secretary General, National Alliance Of Traditional Authorities Of Congo (DRC), His Majesty Mfumu Difima (ROI KONGO), the traditional rulers committed to recognising 18 as the age of marriage and directing all customary courts to consider marriage below 18 as a crime and enforce such decisions.

“We recommend that measures are initiated to blacklist the perpetrators, fight impunity in our communities and ensure access to justice, enforcement of the rule of law and punishment of perpetrators of this crime.” They added.

In her opening remarks, the UN Women Regional Director, Dr Izeduwa Derex-Briggs, said the UN would continue to provide all the technical support needed to end child marriage and female genital mutilation in Africa. She urged the traditional rulers to make definite pronouncement against child marriage and female genital mutilation as their voice could end these harmful practices.

Mr. Edward Kallon, the UN Resident Coordinator-Nigeria, in his address noted that Girls and Women across all African countries experience child marriage, female genital mutilation (FGM) and other harmful cultural practices. Some of the implications of these practices include lack of access to education and sexual/reproductive health, unemployment and death.

He highlighted and commended the efforts of the UN Women, UNFPA and UNICEF in their investment towards #EndingChildMarriage in Africa, while encouraging traditional and religious leaders to remain committed in supporting the UN and other stakeholders in order to end the menace around the world.

The UN InformationCentre (UNIC) Lagos provided communication support to the conference.

“Orange the World” kicks off global efforts to end violence against women and girls

Dep Gov addresses the rally at UNIC premisesOver 450 ‘orange events’ planned in more than 70 countries including lighting of the Niagara Falls, Council of Europe building, India Gate, and the ruins of Petra in Jordan

New York — From parades to soccer matches, school debates, and the lighting up of hundreds of iconic monuments, starting tomorrow a United Nations call to “Orange the World” will galvanize global action calling for an end to violence against women and girls, which affects one in three worldwide.

Some members of the public in a photo session with the 'Orange man'

Some members of the public in a photo session with the ‘Orange man’

Unifying the large-scale social mobilization and global events will be the use of the colour orange, which has come to symbolize a bright and optimistic future free from violence against women and girls. The call to action is part of the UN Secretary-General’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign, led by UN Women. It will be carried out during the civil society-driven16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, which run from 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, until 10 December, Human Rights Day. This year’s ‘Orange the World” initiative will focus on the theme of preventing violence against women and girls, in the specific context of the adoption of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, which includes targets on ending violence against women and girls.

Coinciding with the 16 days of Activism, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka will undertake visits to three continents highlighting the urgent need for efforts to address the pandemic of violence at all levels—from global to the local—as well as across all sections of society, during high-profile events in Brazil, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Spain and Turkey.

The official commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 25 November in New York will also see the launch of a landmark “UN Framework to Underpin Action to Prevent Violence against Women,” jointly developed by a number of UN entities including UN Women, ILO, UNDP, UNESCO, UNFPA and WHO.

“Violence against women and girls remains one of the most serious – and the most tolerated – human rights violations. It is both a cause and a consequence of gender inequality and discrimination. Its continued presence is one of the clearest markers of societies out of balance and we are determined to change that”, said UN Under- Secretary-General and UN Women Executive Director Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. “The focus must now be on prevention, and although there is no single solution to such a complex problem, there is growing evidence of the range of actions that can stop violence before it happens. This comprehensive approach forms the core of the new framework developed by UN Women and our partner agencies.”

There has been some progress over the last few decades; today 125 countries have laws against sexual harassment and 119 against domestic violence, but only 52 countries on marital rape. Despite efforts, violence against women and girls continues in every country, with women being beaten in their homes, harassed on the streets and bullied on the Internet. Preventing and ending violence means tackling its root cause, gender inequality. In 2014, the WHO called it a ‘global epidemic’ and a public health crisis, given its impact on one in three women experiencing physical or sexual violence at some point in her life—mostly by an intimate partner, and sometimes rising to affect a staggering 70 per cent of women in certain countries. Among all women who were the victims of homicide in 2012, nearly half died at the hands of a partner or family member. An estimated 133 million girls and women have experienced some form of female genital mutilation/cutting. Adult women account for almost half of all human trafficking victims detected globally.

With the recent adoption by world leaders of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a bold new global development agenda in September 2015, a critical juncture was reached in global recognition that violence against women and girls is a serious but preventable problem. The gender equality goal, Goal 5 of the SDGs, aims to end all forms of discrimination against women and girls. It recognizes violence against women as an obstacle to fully achieving the development agenda and will provide comprehensive indicators on what we should do to address that goal. It focuses also on the provision of services to address sexual and reproductive rights. At the historic Global Leaders’ Meeting on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment event on 27 September 2015, many of the  70 world leaders who took the stage named ending violence against women and girls as a priority for action, demonstrating not only the size and universality of the problem, but also the recognition of Heads of Government/State of this pandemic of violence being a major obstacle to fully achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women.

Around the world

Globally, during the fortnight under the “Orange the world” call, over 450 events are planned in more than 70 countries throughout the 16 days. They include the lighting of major monuments, and numerous activities involving civil society such as dialogue sessions with faith-based leaders, film screenings, theatre and dance performances, rallies, marches, marathons and digital activism via social media platforms. Events will include the orange lighting of major landmarks including: the Niagara Falls (Canada/USA), the European Commission building (Belgium) and Council of Europe building (France), the Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen (Denmark), the archeological ruins at Petra (Jordan), and the Palais de Justice (Democratic Republic of the Congo).

In Africa, among a series of powerful initiatives, South Africa will light its Nelson Mandela Bridge, while youth rallies will take place across Mozambique. Among many events in Central and South America, a film festival, themed as “Step it Up to End Violence against Women and Girls” will be held in Trinidad and Tobago. Quito, Ecuador, is hosting an Orange marathon and in Guatemala there will be a kite-flying procession, with messages promoting freedom from violence for women and girls. In the Asia-Pacific region, a collaboration with Humans of Pakistan will launch “16 women, 16 Stories”, a powerful social media campaign using images and stories of local women. The UNiTE Festival, held in conjunction with the Lahore College Women University in Pakistan is expecting 10,000 girls from eight universities to attend. India will see the lighting of its India Gate as well as the display of ending violence against women messaging on panel boards in two high-traffic lines of the Delhi metro. Cambodia will host an 8.4-km orange marathon, while Timor-Leste is organizing an arts festival. In Europe, Albanian police officers will be patrolling the streets in orange and in the Arab States region, the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan will be the venue for a walking women’s marathon, among other activities.

Furthermore, as part of the mobilization by partners, influential media outlets and journalists have been urged to show personal commitment to the cause by symbolically using orange in their studios or in their attire, while urging their audiences to take action to end violence against women and girls.

UNIC and partners initiate HeForShe campaign in schools

Within the framework of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based violence and the United Nations’ HeForShe campaign, the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos, in collaboration with the Lagos State Ministry of Education and Strategy for Mentoring Initiative and Leadership Empowerment (S.M.I.L.E), a Non-Governmental Organisation, has led the initiative to propagate the HeForShe campaign ideals in schools.No to Abuse
Speaking to a mammoth crowd of over 1,700 students, teachers, NGOs and media representatives yesterday at the open ground of Babs Fafunwa Millennium Senior High School, Ojodu Lagos, the Lagos State Commissioner for Education, Barrister Olufunke Oladunjoye pledged the support of the State for the HeForShe campaign and urged boys to respect the right of girls and stop any form of violence against them.Envera and the performers
Represented by the Director, Policy, Planning, Research and Statistics in the Ministry, Mrs Christiana Sofolahan, the Commissioner reiterated the commitment of the government to ending violence against women and girls.
In her remarks, the Tutor-General and Permanent Secretary in charge of Education District VI, Mrs Iyabo Osifeso, called on male students admonished the students, male and female, to desist from any act of gender-based violence, adding that culprits would be disciplined accordingly.Dignitaries
The event which featured several dramatic presentations on gender-based violence, also had the Senior Public Information Officer of UNIC Lagos, Envera Selimovic, who beseeched the boys to see girls as their sisters and women as their mothers. She noted that women and girls have a right to live free of violence.HeForShe - participants 4
The National Information Officer of UNIC Lagos, Oluseyi Soremekun, had earlier provided a background on the HeForShe campagn stressing the need for boys to speak up for girls; the need for men to commit to ending violence against women and girls; the need for all to unite to end gender-based violence.Dignitaries saying No to violence
The Executive Director of S.M.I.L.E., Mrs Bimpe Bamgbose-Martins, in her closing remarks, reiterated the commitment of the organization to end violence against women and girls as well as developing disciplined and enterprising youth.