ACCRA — The United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) in Accra will this year join the Ministry of Women and Children’s Affair (MoWAC) and other UN Agencies including UNFPA and UN Women in activities to mark International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (25 November) and the subsequent 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence (25 November — 10 December).
The activities include a National Durbar (November 26) in Tamale, a visit to a Witch Camp at Gambaga (November 27) and a Youth Symposium at the Walewale Senior High School (November 28) all in the Northern region. They seek to engage community leaders, public sector officials and the general public to understand the issues about gender violence and to garner their support to champion against gender-based violence. This year’s events are under the theme From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Let’s End Violence against Women!
“It is important that we continue to create awareness on the issue and make the youth in particular aware of the negative impact of gender-based violence on society as a whole” says the National Information Officer of UNIC Accra, Ms Cynthia Prah. “We are pleased to be part of the activities earmarked by MoWAC to sensitize the community on gender-based violence” she adds.
The United Nations has consistently called for increased action to deal with the global pandemic of violence against women and girls. “We must demand accountability for the violations, and take concrete step for the impunity. We must listen to and support the survivors”, says the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon.
One of the ways that the UN Secretary-General has addressed the issue of gender violence is through the UNiTE campaign, an initiative aimed at preventing and eliminating violence against women and girls in all parts of the world. To support the goals of UNiTE, UN Women has just COMMIT, a new initiative asking governments to make national commitments which will be showcased online (http://saynotoviolence.org/commit), with the United States and Austria among the first countries to commit to specific actions.
The UNiTE campaign also works to engage men as part of the solution to end gender-based violence. Since its launch in 2009, members of the Secretary-General’s Network of Men Leaders have undertaken specific actions to end violence against women and girls, from raising public awareness to meeting with young men and boys.
Secretary-General Ban will make remarks at the official observance of the International Day 2012 at UN Headquarters on 28 November, where he will be joined by Marjon V. Kamara, Permanent Representative of Liberia to the UN and Chair of the Commission on the Status of Women; UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet; and civil society leaders. Dozens of events will also take place around the world, organized by UN offices, including UNIC Accra working with government and civil society partners.
The 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence is an international campaign originating from the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute coordinated by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership in 1991. Participants chose the dates November 25, which is International Day Against Violence Against Women, and December 10, International Human Rights Day 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.
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