This issue of WE! brings you information, links, resources and news about the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, 25 November to 10 December 2011.16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence

About the 16 Days

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:

  • raising awareness about gender-based violence as a human rights issue at the local, national, regional and international levels
  • strengthening local work around violence against women
  • establishing a clear link between local and international work to end violence against women
  • providing a forum in which organizers can develop and share new and effective strategies
  • demonstrating the solidarity of women around the world organizing against violence against women
  • creating tools to pressure governments to implement promises made to eliminate violence against women

Over 3,700 organizations in approximately 164 countries have participated in the 16 Days Campaign since 1991!
http://16dayscwgl.rutgers.edu/about-16-days

Activist origins of the Campaign: how the campaign grew

The 16 Days Campaign is an example of how a campaign, launched by a small group of feminist activists became, through the efforts of many thousands of women around the world, a global campaign recognized by the United Nations.

In 1991, the Center for Women’s Global Leadership convened the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute (WGLI). The 23 participants came from different countries in all of the world’s regions and were drawn from a variety of fields - lawyers, policymakers, teachers, health care workers, researchers, journalists, and activists. These women were local civil society leaders with at least two years of experience in women’s organizing who were also interested in building the global women’s human rights movement. During the WGLI, participants discussed different aspects of gender-based violence and human rights, learning from one another’s experiences and consequently developing strategies to increase international awareness of the systemic nature of violence against women and to expose this violence as a violation of women’s human rights. While violence against women takes different forms according to its cultural context, the problem exists everywhere and working on the issue offers unique opportunities to build bridges across cultures, to learn from both similarities and differences, and to link strategies globally.

As one strategy to build awareness about gender-based violence and facilitate networking among women leaders working in this area, the WGLI participants established the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign, choosing to symbolically link November 25th (International Day Against Violence Against Women) and December 10th (International Human Rights Day). International Day Against Violence Against Women was first declared in 1981 by the first Feminist Encuentro for Latin America and the Caribbean to commemorate the violent assassination of the Mirabal sisters on that date in 1960 by the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo in the Dominican Republic. As a result of extensive organizing by women’s rights organizations, the United Nations General Assembly officially designated November 25th as International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

A major component of the first 16 Days Campaign in 1991 was the launch of a worldwide petition drive aimed at the United Nations World Conference on Human Rights that was held in Vienna in 1993. The petition called upon the Preparatory Committee of the conference to comprehensively address women’s human rights at every level of its proceedings and to recognize gender-based violence as a human rights issue. In a time prior to the widespread use of email or the Internet, the petition was circulated to 124 countries and translated into 23 languages, and by the 1995 Beijing Women’s Conference nearly 500,000 signatures had been collected. The 16 Days Campaign had become a vehicle for increasing people’s awareness of the UN human rights system, and the spread of the petition had the synergistic effect of creating international consciousness about the 16 Days Campaign. While it was unlikely that any of the first WGLI graduates could have foreseen the incredible success of the campaign as a mobilizing tool, thanks to their initial efforts and the commitment of so many other activists over the past 19 years, more than 2,800 organizations in 156 countries have organized around the 16 Days Campaign, and the issue of gender-based violence has garnered a significant amount of international attention.

The growth of the anti-violence against women movement provides one of the best illustrations of how local activism can translate into global action. The signatures that activists collected at the local level during the early years of the 16 Days Campaign helped to change the trajectory of the United Nations World Conference on Human Rights and subsequent discussions about women and human rights. Non-governmental organizations also played a significant role in the establishment of a UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, Its Causes and Consequences. More recently, the UN Secretary-General (SG) consulted with civil society representatives to help develop an in-depth study on violence against women. The SG’s multi-year, global campaign, “UNITE to End Violence Against Women,” and other UN agencies’ initiatives on VAW are a follow-up to this study.
http://16dayscwgl.rutgers.edu/about-16-days/activist-origins-of-the-campaign

Take Action Kit - 2011
The 2011 16 Days Take Action Kit can be downloaded in PDF or Microsoft Word format.

What’s Happening Around the World in the 16 Days Campaign 2011

The 2011 Campaign Calendar lists hundreds of events taking place around the world. You can click on the list by region and/or country to find out what is happening near you. You can also list your events at http://16dayscwgl.rutgers.edu/campaign-calendar

Below are just a few examples of the events being organized in 2011. If you would like to share what you are doing through We! and the Isis International website and Facebook Page, please send the information to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the subject head “16 Days Campaign 2011”.

Women’s Rehabilitation Centre (WOREC) Nepal

http://www.worecnepal.org/event/campaign/16-days-activism-against-gender-violence-campaign-2011
WOREC’s Slogan: “Accountability of the Government Agencies and Security Forces to End Sexual and Gender Based Violence: Solidarity for Peace and Constitution”

As widely celebrated in the previous years, this year also as a solidarity with international campaign and theme “From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Let’s Challenge Militarism and End Violence Against Women”, WOREC Nepal has planned to celebrate 21st annual 16-days activism focusing to raise awareness and link campaign from grass-root level to national level. WOREC has accordingly framed a slogan to contextualize the ground situation of Nepal - “Accountability of the Government Agencies and Security Forces to End Sexual and Gender Based Violence: Solidarity for Peace and the Constitution”. Thus, WOREC asserts its stand against gender based violence, and through various community and national initiative WOREC continues to carry a tradition of strong stand towards gender equality. The slogan was produced referring to the reality of Nepalese society with intrinsic social patriarchal system fueling for gender disparity and sexual violence against women, and current political situation in Nepal, where political parties are continuously extending deadline for drafting constitution.

WOREC Nepal vehemently believes that until our government and law is held responsible for its actions, violence against women cannot be eliminated; and as long as violence against women prevails, a nation cannot continue to exist and function in peace. Therefore, it is essential for each member of the Nepalese community to come together and fight collectively for this cause. Keeping this in mind, this year WOREC Nepal has aimed for “Zero Tolerance Policy Towards Women’s Violence” and thus intends to assert this no tolerance policy from community to the national level.

This event gives WOREC Nepal an opportunity to spotlight a cause that has always been considered insignificant. Violence against women is a problem that cannot be put aside any longer. This struggle needs to be addressed at different levels - from national to the international level. With this thought in mind, WOREC dedicates this year’s 16 days activism to eliminate violence against women by bringing this long struggle to the public. This 16 days campaign will provide opportunity to involve women to discuss their problems and to seek answers for bringing change in their life and in the society at large.

Women Human Rights Defenders actively struggling from the community to the national level is the central focus of WOREC Nepal’s program being implemented aiming to end violence against women with a motto of “Victimhood to Agency”. Peace in the life of women human right defenders and in each household is imperative to achieve sustainable peace in the country. But the emerging perspective in the society that without using force and control mechanism peace in the country would not be possible is the outcome of militarism. Hence misuse of small arms to exert one’s strength is increasing day by day in the country.

Therefore, the search for peace will not be fulfilled until the country’s constitution ensuring established norms and values of substantive equality and human rights is adopted. With this understanding, this year’s 16 days activism is being executed from community to the national level with a slogan of “Accountability of the Government Agencies and Security Forces to End Sexual and Gender Based Violence: Solidarity for Peace and the Constitution”. Through this campaign WOREC Nepal intends to help each participating member from every economic and social class to understand different degrees of violence being faced by women. This will assist women in understanding their rights and the vicious cycle of violence that they are trapped in. Thus, WOREC Nepal would like to appeal all Nepalese to be accountable for eliminating violence against women.

Major Activities

  • Launch of Year Book "Anbeshi" ceremony
  • "Life history of Women Human Rights Defenders" book launch ceremony
  • Workshop on "Coping mechanism and protection strategies to fight against VAW"
  • Finding of Need Assessment on Fistula Management Dissemination
  • Candle lightning in front of women martyrs' photo
  • Advocacy
    - To end sexual harassment against women
    - For Peace and Constitution
  • Interaction programs on
    - Violence Faced By Female Family Members Of Migrant Workers
    - Integrated Women Health Program: Implementation and Challenges
    - Safety and Security of WHRD
    - VAW in Politics and Women's Role in Peace and Constitution
  • Rally and corner meeting
  • Information Education Communication fair and Cultural program
  • Fair related to Violence against women
  • Radio Program
  • Street drama/ Court Drama

More details at: http://www.worecnepal.org/event/campaign/16-days-activism-against-gender-violence-campaign-2011

Women’sNet, South Africa

http://www.womensnet.org.za/

Women’sNet is a feminist organisation that works to advance gender equality and justice in South Africa, through the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). We provide training and facilitate content dissemination and creation that supports women, girls, and women’s and gender organisations and networks to take control of their own content and ICT use. Our website is a hub of information by women, about women and gender, and has a focus on South African and African content. We help women to find the people, issues, resources and tools they need for social activism.

Fone4women

As part of the 16 days of Activism campaign, Women’sNet is embarking on a campaign and twitter drive under the hashtag #fone4women. The campaign is aimed at the public to donate their old cell-phone to women and girls victim of violence as it has been previously reported that victims of violence more especially domestic violence use cell-phones to record and report incidents of violence to use as proof for their case. The cell-phones will be donated to victims of violence

16 Days of activism against Gender Violence: 16 Stories towards Ending violence against women!

Date of event: 9 December 2011
Voices of victims of Violence are rarely heard. Cultural barriers, media biases and stigma surrounding, ‘domestic’ violence makes it difficult for such victims to come out and express their views. In other countries sexual violence such as rape has been used as weapons against the enemies and has left victims traumatized. The silence has further been perpetuated by the secrecy through which the issues have been handled, economic pay outs that have been used to silence the victims, and the use of power and authority (imagined or real) of the perpetrators of the violence. Many cases of gender based violence are not reported and this is worse in situations of conflict.

In light of the above, CIVICUS and partners (Women'sNet & Crisis Coalition) through its gender and diversity focal point has seen it necessary to raise the voices of people who have gone through different kinds of violence during the 16 Days of activism against gender based violence. CIVICUS will collect original stories from victims of violence,civil society activist and other actors to highlight the prevalence of gender based violence, its regeneration and intersection from the home to the world and how it affects peace building in the world.

Women'sNet is collaborating with Crisis Coalition Zimbabwe and Civicus to raise awareness of violence against women through screening of a dvd consisting of 16 different stories from victims of violence, civil society actors, health and legal experts. During the screening of the event a panel of experts working on gender based violence will highlight the drivers of violence and suggest solutions to end violence against women.
More details at: http://www.womensnet.org.za/

Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom

http://www.peacewomen.org/publications_initiative_document.php?id=59

In 2011 the WILPF 16 days for action Campaign will center around the slogan: “Blow the Whistle to Redefine Security”. During the 16 days campaign WILPF will be calling for Reduction of military spending, the redefining of security and for the challenging of those profiting from conflict. Our campaign is directly related to the theme of this year as it focuses on peace and security in relation to women and the society at large.
16 WILPF national sections around the world (in all regions) will take part in the campaign. WILPF members and sections will be carrying out their own country specific actions, some of these include;

DRC: Public education seminars will be held in 4 provinces of DRC and outreach activities focusing on the upcoming election and promoting women’s participation will be conducted in each of the WILPF branch locations. WILPF DRC will also be holding seminars to address SCR 1325, and to provide education on the linkage between violence against women and violence in society, with participants given the opportunity for exchange with women political candidates.

Colombia: WILPF Colombia will carry out three large campaigns around the country, the first of these being META-“PUERTA A PUERTA": A seminar by women leaders to inform the community about the importance of saying 'No' to violence against women. A Pedagogical meeting and game will take place with women inviting their husbands and sons to participate in a game "women free of violences". These events will be held November 18th in Villavicencio. Secondly in BOLÍVAR - A Gallery “Women building peace” and the workshop "alternative medias of communication: a tool to show women labor as peacebuilders" will be held in San Jacinto.on November 25th. As well as the Gallery “Women building peace” and workshop spreading the results of the Violences Report and the Monitoring of 1325 Report to take place November 25th in Cartagena. In addition a Workshop of women and violence has been organised with the Women Roundtable of Cartagena and Bolívar for the 2nd of December in Cartagena.

BOGOTÁ will see an event supporting communciations and participation in the XII Feminist Meeting of Latinamerica and Carribean (23-26 November).

Sweden: In Sweden a screening of the Whistleblower will be held on the 25th of November, with a seminar on Impunity to take place the 5th of December.

Switzerland: In cooperation (for the 5th time) with INCOMINDIOS a human-rights organisation for indigenous peoples WILPF International will be running an awareness-raising stand on Nov. 26 in the city centre of Zurich and will screen a film-matinée on women in Burkina Faso, showing and discussing the film as attached on human rights day (Dec. 10).

Geneva/International office: WILPF international will be holding a conference in Geneva December 1st and 2nd. The aim of this two-day conference is to bring together experts in different branches of international law to discuss new strategies and advocacy opportunities to advance the protection and promotion of human rights. The conference will involve discussions on how different legal instruments fail to interconnect.

UK: The UK Section of WILPF will convene a conference on Violence Against Women in Peace and War in Leicester 26/11, be participating in Reclaim the Night in London; and on the 3rd of December at the Autumn Seminar: Challenge Militarism held by the Amnesty Human Rights Action Centre.

India: The upper house of the Indian Parliament, has appointed a committee under one Member of Parliament to look at making changes to particular legislation aiding women victims of inter-familial violence. Added in 1983, this legislation provides an opportunity for Indian Women to access their rights in this area and has been a key component of rights legislation since 1983. The Indian 16 days campaign will be focused on fighting to have the legislation retained, as section 498-A of Indian Penal Code.

Nigeria: The Nigerian section of WILPF proposes to run a seminar on Women peace and security from the Nigerian perspective. Here, we hope to look at the total picture of peace and security, what it means to the average Nigerian woman, the role of Nigeria's diverse culture in relation to 1325 and how it can be effectively used to promote and protect the rights of women. Nigeria also hopes to use the occasion to launch its Miss Peace project which has been designed to further promote WILPF visibility in Nigeria and Africa, with the intention of extending the project throughout Africa by way of the working group. The project seeks to drive young membership for WILPF in Nigeria and Africa.

USA: The US section of WILPF has outlined three main actions to be carried out during the 16 days campaign. Firstly U.S.WILPF members have been encouraged by national office to organize whistle blowing demonstration at their local municipal buildings or Occupy movements to draw attention to the dangers of militarism and war culture that perpetuates violence against women. Secondly, participants are being encouraged to record short videos of themselves and other attendees answering the questions “What does security mean to you?”. Finally, participants are being encouraged to complete WILPF's online Call to Action survey.

Pakistan: The Pakistan section of WILPF has developed a series of initiatives for the 16 days campaign, which will include their holding of an event for every day of the campaign. Some of the highlights include participation on November 25 in a joint event, hosted by UNWomen in Islamabad to inaugurate the 16 days campaign, a visit to a women's IDP camp near Peshawar on November 28, a session with local police on EVAW to be held on the 6th of December, the running of a seminar to demand inclusion of women in District Peace Committees on December 7th and finally a Press Briefing on 10 December to highlight the work of WILPF and that of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize recipients.

Australia: The Australian section of WILPF will be running activities throughout the current during the 16 camapaign. On Friday 25 November WILPF Queensland, in conjunction with Amnesty International and Believing Women for a Culture of Peace, will be participating in and organising a commemorative event at Reddecliff Place, Brisbane, The Performers for Peace will perform "Blue Silk Dreaming". Again in Queensland, on Saturday 26 November a whistleblowing activity will take place in in Reddecliff Place: marching a circle blowing whistles in front of WILPF banner with placards and hand out flyers on costs of military spending. Plus a mini-flashmob for about 10 mins.

In Tasmania Regular Women in Black group will stand on the corner of Franklin Square every fortnight to blow whistles during the second vigil in November. In addition, on December 8 WILPF Tasmania is hosting an event (as part of HUman Rights Week events) with guest speakers and Women-song - "so we could also emphasize Whistle-blowers at this".
Finally, in the Australian Capital Territory WILPF is holding a stall in the centre of Canberra on Friday 9th December to hand out leaflets about the costs of military spending.

Costa Rica: The Costan Rican section of WILPF has proposed to present a theater play, incorporating audience participation and discussion of issues of domestic violence and solutions. The theater will be played in Alajuelita, in a southern/ outskirt area of San Jose.

Nepal: WILPF Nepal will convene a seminar on 1325 implementation and moving forward in the national context.

Germany: Although not technically a 16 days event given its earlier date, Germany will be contributing to the campaign by screening a film directed by author and filmmaker Inge Bell on women trafficking “"Mädchen/ girls, Frauen/women und Krieg/war - Das Risiko weiblich zu sein/the risk to be a women!" in Munich on the 21st of November. In addition, screenings of the Whistleblower will be organised in Munich and in Berlin next year once a version with German subtitles has been distributed.

Mexico: WILPF Mexico will be running an activity focused on disseminating both the goals of WILPF and to provide rights education to women as well as information on the mechanisms available to them to ensure protection of these rights. This event has the support and will be organised in collaboration with the State Government of Puebla and several civil society associations.

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