THE 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence begins today, November 25, on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls and will continue to Human Rights Day on 10 December. The theme of this year's campaign is “Orange the World: End Violence Against Women Now” – a call for immediate action to build a brighter future that is free from violence.
In the Caribbean, the UN Women Multi-Country Office for the Caribbean will focus on Safer Spaces for Women and Girls – at home, in public spaces (including public transportation), and online.
In her statement, Sima Bahous, the executive director of UN Women calls for people everywhere to work for an end to this global crisis, which has been exacerbated by conflict, climate-related natural disasters, food insecurity and human rights violations, and by pandemic conditions that deepened isolation and enabled unseen violence in a second “shadow pandemic of violence against women and girls, where they often found themselves in lockdown with their abusers.” While much has been achieved to prevent and reduce violence against women and girls, the challenge now is to “expand global efforts and make a difference in more lives”.
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in his message echoes the appeal to confront this “most pervasive and pressing human rights issue in the world today,” with “long-term strategies that tackle the root causes of violence, protect the rights of women and girls, and promote strong and autonomous women's rights movements.” The United Nations coordinates mechanisms such as the Spotlight Initiative Caribbean Regional Programme (in partnership with the European Union) to strengthen and implement such strategies.