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Fortnight Observation on Elimination of Violence against Women

The United Nations’ International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on November 25th marks the beginning of ‘16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence.’ It is an occasion for governments, international organizations and non-governmental organizations to raise public awareness of violence against women. November 25th has been designated by the United Nations General Assembly as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women to commemorate the brutal assassination of the three Mirabal sisters (Patria Mercedes Mirabal, María Argentina Minerva Mirabal and Antonia María Teresa Mirabal) of the Dominican Republic in 1960. The Mirabal sisters were political activists, who fervently opposed the dictatorship of Rafael Leónidas Trujillo, whose authoritarian rule was responsible for the death of more than an estimated 50,000 people.  Joining the rest of the world against gender violence, Nagaland is on a state-wide fortnight long observation, which will conclude on December 10th, the International Human Rights Day. Violence Against Women and Human Rights have been connected in this manner, to emphasize that Violence Against Women is a violation of Human Rights. The fortnight also includes December 1, which is World AIDS Day, and December 3, International Day of Disabled People.
In congruence with the fortnight observation, the White Ribbon Campaign is the world’s largest movement of men and boys working to end violence against women and girls, and to promote gender equity, healthy relationships and a new vision of masculinity. The White Ribbon Campaign began in 1991 in Canada where the men were asked to wear white ribbons as a pledge to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women and girls. Since then the White Ribbon has spread to over 60 countries around the world. The White Ribbon Campaign works to examine the root causes of gender-based violence and create a cultural shift that helps bring out a future without violence.
In a similar move, the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon launched his Network of Men Leaders on 24th November 2009 at UN Headquarters, New York as part of the growing efforts to include men in the solution to ending violence against women. This expanding Network includes current and former politicians, civil society and youth activists, religious and community leaders, cultural figures and other prominent individuals, who support the work of women around the world to defy destructive stereotypes, embrace equality, and inspire men and boys everywhere to speak out against violence. This Network of Men Leaders work together to undertake specific actions in their own spheres in order to end violence against women through raising public awareness, advocating for adequate laws, meeting with young men and boys, and holding governments accountable.  Various programs are being held across the State to create awareness and to conscientize the public on this crucial issue facing our society. And on this occasion, the Nagaland State Commission for Women calls upon both the women and the men of Naga society to rise together to fight against this social menace that is threatening not only our families, but our society at large, and to help create a violence-free environment for all. This year’s theme: From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World conveys this message that unless the smallest unit of the society, the family is taken care of, the society cannot grow or develop.
For information purposes, the following is the definition of Violence Against Women according to the United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women:
Article One: For the purposes of this Declaration, the term "violence against women" means any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.
Article Two: Violence against women shall be understood to encompass, but not be limited to, the following:
(a) Physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring in the family, including battering, sexual abuse of female children in the household, dowry-related violence, marital rape, female genital mutilation and other traditional practices harmful to women, non-spousal violence and violence related to exploitation;
(b) Physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring within the general community, including rape, sexual abuse, sexual harassment and intimidation at work, in educational institutions and elsewhere, trafficking in women and forced prostitution;
(c) Physical, sexual and psychological violence perpetrated or condoned by the State, wherever it occurs.
Sano Vamuzo
Nagaland State Commission for Women
Kohima: Nagaland

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