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16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence
The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence is a global campaign which was started in 1991 by the Centre for Women's Global Leadership (CWGL), running from 25th November (International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women) through to 10th December (International Human Rights Day), in which thousands of people and organisations around the world take a stand against gender-based violence.

This year CWGL has dedicated the 16 Days campaign theme to the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). This is a historic moment, recognizing the past six decades of work to secure the conventions and treaties that make up the human rights framework.

During this period women have created groundbreaking global and local efforts to challenge gender inequality and women’s advocacy has brought about pioneering change in areas such as education, health, law, participation in decision making processes and in interpretations of the human rights framework itself. The global frameworks for realizing women’s rights have been spelled out in numerous human rights instruments including the Convention on the Elimination of Violence Against Women (CEDAW) , AU Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, SADC Declaration on Gender and Development, its Addendum on the Prevention and Eradication of Violence Against Children and Women and the new SADC Gender and Development Protocol that was just recently signed by member states including Seychelles in August this year.

The UNDH60 campaign seeks to reclaim the principles in the Universal Declaration that Every Human Has Rights. In support of this message the 2008 16 Days campaign wishes to affirm that human rights cannot be universal without human rights for women. This comes at a time when the legitimacy of both women’s rights and human rights are being challenged in too many settings.

In Seychelles our national annual theme has also been linked to the 60th anniversary of the UDHR, Our Constitution, the Voice of Our Nation, which enshrines many of the same rights by domesticating this instrument to our island Republic. It is timely then that our focus for this year’s 16 Days Campaign targets the prevailing form of gender discrimination and human and constitutional rights abuse of our time, domestic violence. This campaign focus will not only help to reinforce awareness of the extent, causes and consequences of the problem but also to publicise the efforts of the Government and civil society to improve and strengthen their services through the implementation of the National Strategy on Domestic Violence.

As a step towards implementing the National Strategy, the Gender Secretariat in collaboration with GEM Plus and Gender Links hosted a training workshop in June 2008 on effective communication strategy for domestic violence and the National Strategy on Domestic Violence. As a result a planning committee for 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence was set up and a national communication strategy developed.

The committee is working to plan and organise collaborative efforts to effectively commemorate this years 16 Days Campaign. In addition The Humanitarian Affairs Committee chaired by the UNDP desk office will be organising events in which the Gender Secretariat will be supporting.

Click here to see the tentative list of activities for this year 16 Days Campaign.

Gender Secretariat, 25.11.08