November 25 - December 10, 2005
Violence against women is traumatic to the body, mind, and spirit and can prevent women from being fully active participants at home and in the world. This year’s 16 Days campaign theme, as a continuation from 2004, emphasizes the connections between women’s human rights, violence against women and women’s health, and the detrimental consequences violence against women has on the well-being of the world as a whole.
Thousands of activists globally commemorated the 14th annual 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence campaign last year. The 2004 16 Days International Calendar of Activities bears testimony to the depth and breadth of their work underscoring violence against women as a pervasive human rights violation, a public health crisis, and an obstacle to equality, development, security, and peace. In 2005, the movement to end violence against women has seen further victories. At Beijing +10 in March, the Beijing Platform for Action was unequivocally reaffirmed and United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan emphasized the critical importance of combating violence against girls and women to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. In addition, activists worldwide have been working to ensure that gender concerns, including violence against women, are featured prominently in the outcome document of the 2005 World Summit this September.
There remain many opportunities in the coming year to continue this momentum, particularly with regard to the link between violence and women’s physical, sexual, reproductive, psychological and social health. Research soon to be released, including a World Health Organization multi-country study on women’s health and domestic violence and a UN Secretary General’s worldwide study on violence against women called for by the UN General Assembly, will provide activists with new advocacy tools. Several events through 2006, including the release of the Secretary General’s study at the GA next September, will place the spotlight squarely on governments to uphold commitments made to work toward eliminating violence against women. NGOs are also exploring these links. For instance, the Women Human Rights Defenders Campaign will host a consultation in December 2005 focusing on violations against women human rights defenders, many of whom face violence because of the work they do to promote women’s rights, especially sexual and reproductive rights.
Addressing the connections between violence against women and the HIV/AIDS pandemic remains imperative. Violence limits women’s ability to protect against infection and can compromise access to a range of critical health information and services, including testing and treatment. This year, the theme of the UNAIDS World AIDS Campaign is “Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise.” The campaign demands governments keep their policy commitments related to HIV/AIDS. World AIDS Day (1 December) falls during the 16 Days campaign, which provides an ideal opportunity to remind governments that in order to keep their promises on HIV/AIDS they need to fulfill commitments on violence against women as well. Other international venues in the coming year, such as the five-year review of the UN General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS in mid-2006 and in August, the XVI International AIDS Conference in Toronto, Canada can be targets for focused advocacy on violence against women and HIV/AIDS. 16 Days activities in 2005 can link to and build on vibrant women’s leadership in these fields such as that offered by many NGO networks and organizations, as well as the UNAIDS Global Coalition on Women and AIDS, to call for increased public awareness, more comprehensive healthcare services, stronger national policies and greater government accountability to end violence against women and fight HIV/AIDS.
For the health of women: physically, psychologically, emotionally, socially, at home, at school, at work, at worship, in their communities and in their nations. For the health of the world: its peoples, its cultures, its environments, in protecting human rights, in fostering sustainable development and creating peace: NO MORE VIOLENCE.
Look for more resources in the 2005 Take Action Kit, available in September!
Contact the Center for Women’s Global Leadership for a 2005 Take Action Kit:
160 Ryders Lane, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8555 USA; Phone (1-732) 932-8782; Fax: (1-732) 932-1180;
Or to access the kit online, go to: http://www.cwgl.rutgers.edu/16days/home.html