The Sixteen Days of Activism is an International Calendar campaign against Gender-based violence. It begins every year on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women which falls on November 25 and ends on the International Human Rights Day on December 10. It is a campaign which emphasizes that gender-based violence in any form is a human rights violation and very unacceptable. Gender based violence refers to atrocities meted out to individuals based on their gender either males or females. For instance, child marriage is targeted at young girls and not boys, female genital mutilation, different widowhood rites for males and females, women tagged as witches and maltreated whilst men are not tagged as wizards.
Ladies and gentlemen, over the years, the campaign has had different themes which have helped address different dimensions of gender-based violence in the world. This year’s Global Theme for the Campaign is, ‘’LEAVE NO ONE BEHIND: ‘’END VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS’’.
There could not have been a more appropriate theme than the one selected for this year because statistics by the National Domestic Violence Unit (DOVVSU) of the Police Service indicate that from January to March 2016, 79 men (perpetrators) were arrested for defilement whilst no woman was arrested for same purpose meanwhile, 187 females were defiled as against 11 males within the same period. Leaving no one behind means prioritizing and putting people at the centre of development and placing the progress of the most marginalized groups and communities first-women and girls being all too often at the top of the list. The campaign urges governments all over the world, development partners, civil societies, traditional rulers, the media, individuals and the general public to address the structural causes of inequality and marginalization that affect women and girls and the marginalized in general.
The16 days of activism campaign will continue to contribute to a world free from Gender-Based Violence especially for women and girls, including other vulnerable groups such as the aged, persons living with disability and orphaned children.
Gender-Based Violence is complex in nature, therefore, addressing such issues needs a multi-dimensional approach through the implementation of human rights frameworks to ensure that both state and non-state actors are held accountable for acts of violence against women.
Ladies and Gentlemen of the media, the 2017 campaign will include more awareness-creation activities. These will comprise attracting attention through advocacy, generating public support to effectively prevent and address Gender Based Violence in education, health and job market among others.
The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP), through the Domestic Violence Secretariat is calling on all relevant authorities and its stakeholders not to relent in their efforts to end Sexual and Gender-Based Violence against Women and Girls.
Dear friends from the media, the 2017 campaign will be organized around the following activities;
As we embark on this campaign, I will like to emphasize that violence against women and girls is a crime against humanity and is punishable by law. Women’s Rights are Human Rights because women are human. This therefore is to sound a warning to perpetrators out there that no one has the right to abuse another, no matter the situation, so, violence against women and girls has no justification.
The Ministry will use this opportunity to strengthen existing networks whilst establishing new ones. We will commit resources where necessary to ensure that more awareness creation activities are carried out. The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection will also intensify its policy implementation and ensure that perpetrators especially of rape and defilement are named, shamed and made to face the law.
As I conclude, let me urge the media to take this campaign as a national priority and do your best to support it in a very positive way by giving free airtime to the outlined activities. I will also entreat you to be very circumspect in your reportage of issues concerning Gender based Violence. Our official colour scheme for the 16 days campaign is Orange and as such I will encourage all of us to put on Orange outfits during this period.
On this note, Ladies and Gentlemen, I say thank you very much for your time and your attention.