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16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence
25 - December 10, 1999
Ninth Annual Campaign
Fulfilling the Promise of Freedom from Violence
For the past eight years, activities organized around the world during the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence - November 25 - December 10 - have raised awareness of all forms of violence against women. The 16 Days of Activism is an international campaign which developed from the first Women's Global Leadership Institute sponsored by the Center for Women's Global Leadership in 1991. Participants chose the dates, November 25 and December 10, in order to symbolically link violence against women with human rights.
November 25 is the International Day Against Violence Against Women declared by the first Feminist Encuentro for Latin America and the Caribbean in 1981. This date commemorates the murder of the Mirabal sisters by the Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominican Republic on November 25, 1960. December 10 marks International Human Rights Day - the anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in 1948. This 16 day period also highlights other significant dates including December 1 which is World AIDS Day and December 6 which marks the anniversary of the Montreal Massacre, when in 1989 a man gunned down 14 women engineering students for being "feminists."
Violence against women occurs in all aspects of women's lives. It encompasses abuses of women's civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights. This broad understanding of violence against women as a human rights violation has moved advocates and governments to transform and expand their work. For example, when the Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, its Causes and Consequences was appointed by the Commission on Human Rights at its Fiftieth Session to investigate reports of violence against women her mandate was defined to include:
On the eve of a new millennium, the eradication of gender-based violence remains an urgent task. Increasing the attention of international communities and governments provides the basis for sustained action including documentation, advocacy, education, legal reform, etc. Whether your organization focuses on domestic violence or violence against women in situations of armed conflict or violations of women's right to health, your activities will come together during the 16 Days to address "violence against women" as a whole. The International Calendar of Campaign Activities posted online at http://www.cwgl.rutgers.edu/16dayscalendar.html/ illustrates activities organized last year - both in terms of strategies used and various forms of violence addressed. The Calendar, compiled annually by the Center, connects local activities to the global women's movement and serves as a tool in pressuring governments to recognize citizens' demands to eliminate gender-based violence.
Some suggestions for action during the 1999 16 Days which reflect major events throughout the year focusing on women's human rights include:
*Governments will be evaluating progress in implementing the Beijing Platform for Action (see article entitled, "Women Prepare for the Beijing + 5 Review,")
*The Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, its Causes and Consequences, will focus her report to the UN Commission on Human Rights in 2000 on trafficking and economic and social policies affecting women.
*December 19, 1999 marks the twentieth anniversary of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
Join the 16 Days movement! Become part of an already existing student, community, national or international activity for the 16 Days or take actions on your own. Submit your planned activity to us for posting to the International Calendar of Campaign Activities and become part of the growing global movement organizing during this time. Your submissions will also enable the Center to refer other individuals/ organizations which are interested in your activities to you.
Please send a description of planned activities for the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence by October 15, 1999 to: Linda Posluszny, 16 Days Coordinator, Center for W omen's Global Leadership, 160 Ryders Lane, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8555, USA. Fax: (1-732)932-1180. E-mail: cwgl(AT)igc.org. We would also be grateful for any pictures, reports, posters, stickers etc. that are produced as part of your activities.