Today begins the global 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence (GBV) (25 November -10 December). On this occasion, the United Nations System in Lebanon, the Gender Working Group (GWG), the Gender-Based Violence Working Group (GBV WG) and the National Commission for Lebanese Women (NCLW) are joining forces, to create awareness and momentum to prevent and eliminate Violence against Women and Girls (VAWG) and catalyze change.
VAWG remains the most widespread and pervasive human rights violation worldwide affecting more than an estimated 1 in 3 women a figure that has remained largely unchanged over the last decade .The most recent global estimates show that, on average, a woman or girl is killed by someone in her own family every 11 minutes.
This year, the United Nations system in Lebanon, with partners are implementing a campaign that aims to serve as a call to action to mobilize partners, stakeholders, individuals, and the public at large to engage in activism to prevent violence against women and girls. Articulated around the theme, “UNITE! Activism to End Violence against Women & Girls”, it invites everyone to be an activist by taking a public stand against VAWG in local communities, and through joining women’s rights movements and activists.
“We call on women to live free from fear. Any assault on their dignity is punishable, even if it was committed by a close relative. The security forces protect women affected by violence and filing a complaint against the perpetrator of violence will deter further abuses. Keeping silent about violence at home, is not a virtue", said Mrs. Claudine Aoun, President of the National Commission for Lebanese Women.
“We all have a duty to act to end all forms of gender-based violence, particularly against women. The 16 days of activism are a reminder that we should not be silent to such a violation of women’s basic right to live in dignity, free from violence and fear”, said Ms. Joanna Wronecka, the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon. “Lebanon’s recovery and building a better future for the country and its citizens depends to a large extent on empowering women and giving them the space to enjoy their full rights as active partners in society. The United Nations stands ready to support Lebanon in this process”, the Special Coordinator added.
The campaign, which will run for 16 days, from 25 November till 10 December, consists of a social media campaign - with the #16days and #سوا_ضد_العنفhashtags- showcasing 16 men, women and girls from all walks of life across Lebanon standing in solidarity with women’s rights activists, supporting feminist movements and calling for engagement in activism to prevent and end VAWG. It will include a video and a series of social media posts calling for everyone’s commitment to protecting women and girls.
Women’s rights activism and advocacy are key to ending VAWG and have successfully generated important legislative protection gains throughout the last decade, in Lebanon, while strengthening service delivery. Activism and advocacy have contributed to putting this topic on the political agenda, to strengthening laws and policies, essential services and prevention strategies.
“Ending Gender-based violence requires the commitments and actions of all”, said Imran Riza, United Nations Deputy Special Coordinator, Resident, and Humanitarian Coordinator for Lebanon. “It is fundamentally wrong that harmful gender stereotypes and norms, structural inequality, and discrimination are still affecting women and girls in Lebanon. This requires transformative actions by all of us to stamp out and prevent this violence” he added.
The international campaign 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence originates from the 1991 first Women's Global Leadership Institute and raises awareness and increases momentum toward ending violence against women and girls worldwide. In support of the civil society–led, 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence campaign the UN Secretary-General’s UNiTE by 2030 to End Violence against Women campaign (UNiTE), launched in 2008, calls for global action to increase awareness, galvanise advocacy efforts and share knowledge and innovations to end VAWG once and for all.