Stop The Violence Against Women

The Inquirer
Monrovia, Liberia

Distributed by

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

Posted December 2, 2003

"If we can stop violence at home, it will be the start of peace in the world," asserts UNHCR Deputy Rep. Martin Bucumi at programs marking the launch of the 16 Days of Activism Against Violence Against Women on 25 November, 2003 at the Banjor refugee camp, outside Monrovia.

Deputy Rep. Bucumi called on the refugees to exhibit attitudes that will reflect tolerance, coexistence and respect for one another and therefore, do away with violence. "Women are the pillars of the home and therefore the pillars of society", there is need to stop violence against women, Mr. Bucumi stressed.

Observed under the theme "Violence Against Women Violates Human Rights" the 16 Days campaign runs from 25 November to 10 December 2003. The dates of November 25 and December 10, respectively coincides with the observance of International Day Against Violence Against women and International Human Rights Day. Participants at the first Women’s Global leadership Institute in 1991 chose this period to link violence against women as violation against human rights and to emphasize that such violence is a violation of human rights.

The campaign is to raise awareness about gender-based violence as a human rights issue at the local, national, regional and international levels. Governments are also reminded at this time to implement promises made to eliminate violence against women.

The launching program at the Banjor refugee camp commenced with a parade of refugees, through the villages carrying sensitization messages on hats and T-shirts. Other highlights included songs, dances and dialogues focusing on the theme and ways of handling Gender Based Violence issues. Refugee representatives from the VOA and Samukai refugee camps, UNHCR staff led by the deputy Representative, and staff of UNHCR’s Implementing Partners attended the program.

The 16 days of Activism is marked by a series of activities organized in the three refugee camps and two IDP camps, Fendell and Unification IDP camps recently established with UNHCR’s support.

Highlight of activities at the Fendell and Unification IDP camps include youth sporting events (Kickball and football) and free gynecological treatment for IDP women in these camps. The camps’ medical service provider, Merlin, has been mobilized to carry out this activity.

In a related development, the UN Gender Theme has unveiled a mural depicting the need for women’s participation in politics. The unveiling program was part of activities to commemorate the launch of the 16 days of Activism on the national level. UNHCR also provided support to the JUN Gender Theme. The mural is a challenge to men to encourage women’s participation in politics as currently, there is less than 10% of women in the present government despite the clear provision for a gender balance in the Accra Peace Accord (Article 28).

The 16 Days Campaign includes the participation of over 1,000 organizations in approximately 130 countries.

© 2003: This article is copyrighted by The Inquirer newspaper (Monrovia, Liberia) and distributed by The Perspective (Atlanta, Georgia). All rights reserved.