16 Days of Activism campaign to end gender-based violence underway
Bangui, Central African Republic – MINUSCA today held a ceremony to officially mark the start of the ‘’16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence’’. The annual United Nations campaign – which runs from 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10 December, Human Rights Day – seeks to shine a light on one of the most pervasive human rights abuses worldwide.
Globally, 70 percent of women are victims ofgender-based violence (GBV) during the course of their lives; one in three women risks being subjected to sexual violence in her life.
MINUSCA, UNFPA, UN WOMEN, UNICEF and representatives of the Government of the Central African Republic as well as non-governmental organizations joined the rest of the world in drawing global attention to the scourge of gender-based violence and to efforts to combat it. “Generation Equality Stands against Rape!” is the 2019 campaign theme.
Rape, sexual and physical violence, forced marriage, denial of opportunities and psychological violence are some of most common forms of gender-based violence in the Central African Republic. Women are overwhelmingly affected – they represent 94 percent of victims. According to the most recent Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey, 60 percent of girls and boys are married before 18 years of age; female genital mutilation affects 24 percent of girls aged 15-49.
This year’s national campaign focuses on prevention, protection and the dignity of GBV survivors.
“Gender-based violence deprives women and girls of their dignity, violates their fundamental rights and prevents them from achieving their full potential,”said Aline Gisèle Pana, Minister for the advancement of women, families and the protection of the child during the ceremony. She stressed the government’s commitment to raising awareness about victims of gender-based violence under the context of the peace agreement signed earlier this year – in which sexual violence was identified as a particular threat to international security.
The ‘’16 Days of Activism’’ will be observed as part of the of the UN Secretary-General’s ‘’UNiTE by 2030 to End Violence against Women’’ campaign,which will focus on rape as a specific form of harm committed against women and girls, in times of peace or war. It also aims to spotlight widespread impunity on sexual violence and rape globally.
“United, we can make change happen,” said MINUSCA Chief of Staff Vivian Van de Perre on behalf of the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the Central African Republic. “I would like to reassure the women and girls of this country that their fight is our fight. I add my voice to that of the international community to say no to rape; no to the violation of the sacred principle of respecting the integrity of all human beings.”
The ceremony was marked with presentations on gender-based violence in the Central African Republic to include a mapping of the current challenges and recommended actions to overcome them. Performances from local artists conveyed the campaign message through a sketch, a song and a poem.
The theme for this year’s national campaign: “Zero tolerance for rape and the protection of survivors of gender-based violence for socio-economic recovery and peacebuilding” will guide national efforts to turn the tide and tackle gender-based violence going forward.