A high-profile group of advocates seeking an end to violence against women, led by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. António Guterres, will hold a Live Webcast today in commemoration of this year’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
The event, which will take place from 10 am until 11.30 am, Eastern Time, which is 4 pm to 5.30pm, Nigerian Time, will also feature, the Under-Secretary-General and UN Women Executive Director, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka; the Under-Secretary-General and UNFPA Executive Director, Natalia Kanem; UN Women Goodwill Ambassadors, Nicole Kidman and Cindy Bishop; and representatives of UN Member States, will be co-hosted by Ms Zahra Al Hilaly, Australia’s representative on the UN Women Beijing +25 Youth Task force; and Mr. Stuart Moir with musical performance of Ensemble Corona from Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Although the event will be held in English, simultaneous interpretation will provided in all official UN languages.
Intending participants need to pre-register at: https://bit.ly/33wc8AD and attend the event through Zoom platform to be able to access the language interpretation. Live Webcast of the event will also be available on UN Women’s website and UN Web TV.
Participants are encouraged to follow the online conversation using the hashtags #orangetheworld and #16days and follow @SayNO_UNiTE and @UN_Women on Twitter.
The International Day and virtual event are kick starting the global mobilization of the 16 Days of Activism campaign, running from 25 November until 10 December, under the theme: “Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect!”.
UN Women, the United Nations entity dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women, notes that even before the COVID-19 pandemic, “violence against women was one of the most widespread violations of human rights, with almost 18 percent of women and girls experiencing physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner within the last year.”
However, according to the organisation, during COVID-19, calls to violence against women helplines increased up to five fold in the first few weeks of the pandemic.
UN Women is predicting that for every 3 months that the COVID-19 lockdown continues, an additional 15 million women are expected to be affected by violence.
It recalled that earlier this year, the UN Secretary-General had called for a “cease-fire at home” and urged governments to make the prevention and redress of violence against women and girls a key part of national response plans for COVID-19, but noted that while UN Member States responded and 135 countries have adopted measures to prevent or respond to violence against women during the global crisis, only 48 countries – less than a quarter of the 206 analysed in a recent study – treated violence against women and girls-related services as an integral part of their national and local COVID-19 response plans, with very few adequately funding these measures.
UN Women said: “The culture of impunity still prevails widely, and the pandemic is threatening to undo any progress as women are not being able to access the live-saving care and support they need.”
It therefore sees this year’s commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women as an opportunity for UN Member States, civil society, influencers and the UN System “to spark a renewed sense of urgency and bolster global action to end violence against women and girls by calling on all to: fund essential services on gender-based violence and women’s organizations who are at the forefront; to respond to the needs of survivors, including during the global pandemic; to prevent gender-based violence from happening in the first place by challenging cultural and social norms, mobilization campaigns and a zero-tolerance policy; and to collect data to improve services, programmes and policies.”
In the lead up to the commemoration, UN Women has appealed to UN Member States to make concrete, tangible commitments during the 16 Days of Activism.
The UN General Assembly designated November 25 as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women in 1999 by Resolution 54/134, inviting governments, international organizations and NGOs to organize activities designed to raise public awareness of the fact that women around the world are subject to rape, domestic violence and other forms of violence. It also seeks to highlight the scale and true nature of the issue of violence against women.