Lagos, 26 November 2014. In a carnival-like atmosphere spiced with drums, songs and dances, UNIC Lagos in its characteristic manner, created an ‘Orange Street’ yesterday as it mobilized over 350 people to ‘orange’ the Ikoyi neighbourhood of Lagos as one of the activities marking the observance of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, celebrated every 25 November.
The rally, tagged, ‘The Orange Rally’, organized by the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos in collaboration with the Lagos State Government and a network of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), was attended by representatives of sixteen government agencies; fifteen Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs); fifteen media organisations; four UN Agencies; four secondary schools; one University and one Skill Acquisition Centre.
In his message on the observance, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon noted that women and girls experienced violence in all countries and neighbourhoods but those crimes often remained unreported and hidden. ‘We must end the silence’, he urged, ‘Everyone has a responsibility to prevent and end violence against women and girls, starting by challenging the culture of discrimination that allows it to continue.’
The message read by the Senior Public Information Officer, Envera Selimovic, further called on everyone to ‘challenge discrimination and impunity and put a stop to the mindsets and customs that encourage, ignore or tolerate the global disgrace of violence against women and girls.’
Declaring the event open after her release of orange and blue balloons to symbolise the beginning of the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Honourable (Mrs) Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, called on all stakeholders to work with government to put an end to violence against women. She noted that there was no justification for rape, sexual assault and violence against women. ‘Violence against women and girls is a human rights violation’, she added.
In his closing remarks, the National Information Officer, Oluseyi Soremekun, urged parents to eschew those cultural stereotypes that do not promote gender equality especially those that outrightly discriminate against the girl child.
The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women marks the commencement of the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence which ends on 10 December, the International Human Rights Day.