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:
Kalpana Chakma was abducted from her home in Bangladesh in 1996 by a group of plain clothed security personnel. She has never been found.
Her abduction is believed to be linked to her support for a political candidate representing the interests of Pahari indigenous peoples at that time
Her two brothers witnessed the event and identified the alleged kidnappers. The police failed to include this information in the case files or the investigation.
A Bangladeshi court ordered a new investigation specifying that it should include the names of the three suspects. Now, the court’s deadline for this investigation is long passed and the police have still not submitted a new report. Write to Home Minister and demand that Kalpana Chakma’s disappearance is properly investigated (Model letter.)
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
In the DRC, women human rights defenders provide remarkable and resilient grassroots assistance to survivors of human rights abuses. Their work causes them to face threats specific to their work as human rights defenders, as well as threats specific to their gender. Write to the Minister of Gender, Family and Child and call for the intimidation and detention of human rights defenders, including women human rights defenders, to cease, increased recognition and support of their work, increased involvement of women’s groups in consultation, and increased positive visibility of their valuable role.
Women protestors in Egypt have been on the front lines of demonstrations ever since the “25 January Revolution”, but their courage has come at a heavy price. Since the uprising, women have been singled out and subjected to gender-specific abuses, including sexual violence, at the hands of both the security forces and private individuals. Write to the Interim President and Egypt’s political leaders and urge them to condemn sexual violence and discrimination against women in Egypt without reservation and press for a comprehensive strategy to combat sexual violence and discrimination, in full consultation with women’s rights groups and the National Council for Women.
Women and girls fled the war in Syria and the fear and threat of sexual violence, but continue to be at risk of gender-based violence in Za’atri refugee camp in Jordan. For women and girls, the general insecurity in Za’atri is exacerbated by other difficulties that have a particular impact on them. They feel unsafe moving around the camp and using the unlit communal toilets after dark for fear that they will be subject to sexual violence or harassment or otherwise attacked. Write to the Minister of Interior and urge him to enhance women and girls' safe and secure access to all public spaces in the Za'atri camp, including the toilets.
In Sudan a woman can be stopped by the police, sent before a judge and sentenced to a public flogging of forty lashes for nothing more than wearing trousers or leaving her hair uncovered.
Thousands of people, mainly women and girls, are reportedly arrested every year in Khartoum, Sudan’s capital, under Article 152 of the 1991 Criminal Code of Sudan, for wearing what is arbitrarily deemed “indecent” clothing. Write to the Minister of Justice urging him to abolish Article 152, drop all charges under this law, and abolish flogging as a punishment.