16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence
The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence is an international campaign that starts on 25 November, International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and ends on 10 December, Human Rights Day. The campaign hopes to raise awareness about gender-based violence as a human rights issue at the local, national, regional and international level.
This year’s theme is ”Let’s challenge militarism and end violence against women”.
During the 16 Days of Activism, Amnesty International’s focus is on ending violence against women and girls in the following countries:
Colombian girls and women face numerous obstacles when trying to seek justice after experiencing rape and other types of conflict-related sexual violence. Authorities lack the political will to take decisive action against the lack of security for survivors and witnesses, the inadequate judicial system, and the inadequate medical, psychosocial and financial support for survivors.
Lobby the government of Colombia and your country to support an initiative presented to the Colombian Congress in July 2012 that will combat impunity and guarantee access to justice for victims of sexual violence, especially in the context of armed conflict.
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
Many women and girls have been subjected to rape and other forms of sexual violence in the DRC, even inside camps for internally displaced people (IDPs) and refugees, where they should be safe. Despite a significant presence in the country, the UN peacekeeping force, MONUSCO, has so far failed to protect civilians, including women and girls, targeted for sexual violence.
Write a letter calling on the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (China, France, Russia, UK and USA) to request MONUSCO to provide protection for civilians in IDP camps in the DRC especially for women and girls, who are at heightened risk of sexual and gender-based violence.
Women protesters in Egypt were on the front lines of the “25 January Revolution” and are still protesting for justice, dignity and reform.
Since the uprising, however, women have been singled out and subjected to gender-specific abuses including sexual violence, so-called ”virginity tests” and physical assaults, as a means of forcing them to stay at home and away from protests.
Write to the Minister of Interior and urge him to ensure that all allegations of sexual and gender-based violence, including assaults or harassment of men and women during detention, are investigated and that victims receive full reparations.
Countless human rights violations occurred while the province of Aceh was a military operations zone between 1989 and 1998. Perpetrators have yet to be brought to trial. No accountability has been ensured for crimes committed during the armed conflict, including unlawful killings, rape and other crimes of sexual violence, enforced disappearances, and torture and other ill-treatment.
Call for the establishment of a national truth commission in Indonesia so that survivors of rape and other forms of sexual violence during the conflict in Indonesia, including in Aceh, can seek truth, justice and reparations.
Women throughout the Asia-Pacific region were sexually enslaved by the Japanese Imperial Army from around 1932 to the end of World War II. Survivors have suffered from physical and mental ill-health, isolation, shame and often extreme poverty as a result of their enslavement. The Japanese government has vigorously maintained that all issues have been settled by post-war peace treaties, even though these treaties do not address sexual slavery or provide reparations.
Send a letter to the Minister of Foreign Affairs urging him to accept and implement recommendations made during Japan’s Universal Periodic Review to unequivocally apologize and provide reparations to the survivors of the military sexual slavery system.
Amnesty International is also campaigning on the negotiations of the Arms Trade Treaty to maintain and strengthen a provision on gender-based violence
Arms Trade Treaty
Worldwide, countless women and girls have been subjected to sexual violence during armed conflicts. Targeted simply because of their gender, they have been harassed, beaten, raped and otherwise sexually abused by members of armed groups, militias, paramilitaries and security forces. States themselves are often among the perpetrators of such abuses.
The unregulated transfers of arms, weaponry and munitions have fuelled these types of gender-based violence in conflict zones, resulting in the loss of millions of lives and livelihoods of women and girls.
Send a postcard to your national Ministry of Foreign Affairs urging them to ensure that the provision related to gender-based violence is strengthened in the future Arms Trade Treaty.