International Cooperation to End Violence against Women
As the world commemorated, on the 25th of the current month, the International Day to End Violence against Women, GIRH asserts the vitality of international endeavors to end violence against women, where a violence-free life is a basic human right. No country can afford to achieve progress when half of its population is marginalized and subject to abuse and segregation. We ascertain that when women are granted their full rights and get equal access to education, medical care, employment, and political participation, they will improve the status of their families, communities, and countries, and will start to act as agents of development and positive change.
GBV is considered as a global epidemic which transcends ethnic, racial, class, and religious barriers. It is an imminent threat to women and girls throughout different stages of their lives practiced by states, communities, and households. it represents a cycle that starts with a degrading view of girls, through limited access to education, health care, and appropriate feeding; forced early marriages and risk of rape, trafficking, domestic violence, neglect, and rejection; up to posing threat to their lives as citizens, backed up by law in some countries as it is the case in what is called “honor crimes”. According to UN statistics, at least one woman in every three is subject to violence from partner or a family member.
The International Day for Ending Violence against Women focused, this year, on involving the private sector in the struggle to eradicate violence against women, according to Pan Ki-moon, the UN Secretary General, in his address at the UN headquarters in New York during the celebration of the International Day for the Ending of Violence against Women. The UN Secretary General asserted that this day represents an invitation to take all necessary measures to eliminate such violence, as more people started to realize that violence against women is everybody’s concern and all of us are held responsible for its elimination.
Pan Ki-moon seized the opportunity to shed more light on the “Unite to End Violence against Women” campaign which was launched in 2008 to call upon all countries to collect data on the state of the phenomenon, and to enact strict laws, formulate work-plans and precautionary measures, and exert incessant efforts to eliminate violence against women.
The campaign comprised a set of specific measures aiming to attract 100 million dollars annually for the UN Fund to support local, national, and regional initiatives to end the lesion by 2015, including the contribution of the private sector.
Pan Ki-moon urged government agencies and NGOs to apply for funding to support projects which contribute to ending violence against women.
This year, military violence against women has also been brought to focus as a prime theme of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, which runs every year from 25 November the (International Day for Ending Violence against Women) to 10 December (Human Rights Day). The campaign has chosen these dates to link violence against women to human rights, emphasizing that violence against women is a violation of human rights.
Zou Xiaoqaio, the deputy chairperson of the Committee on Ending Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), stated later this month during the launch of a recent UNFPA report: “Sexual violence is rising all over the world notwithstanding the major campaigns by UN and other agencies. Women are still facing rape and other forms of assault, where lapse of charges against perpetrators is often obtained against offering money or marriage”. She pointed out that about two million girls, aged 5 – 15 years, are annually employed in sex labor.
It is noteworthy that GIHR, at the closing session of its training program “Women Rights Protection Mechanisms” in Damascus on Thursday 25/11/2010, took part, alongside trainees, in the launch of the Syrian Family Affairs Agency’s study, conducted in collaboration with UNFPA, on a sample of 5000 women over 18 years of age, which concluded that 22% of respondents has been subject to domestic violence in one form or another, and that symbolic violence takes the lead (52%), followed by psychological violence, and physical violence, where 6 out of every 100 respondents have been subject to at least one form of sexual violence.