Photo by Amin Ismail, UNAMID.
EL FASHER – UNAMID and the United Nations Country Team in Sudan launched the annual ‘16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence’ campaign with an event in El Fasher, North Darfur on 28 November.
Attended by members of the local community, along with UNAMID leadership and staff, the event included handicrafts made by Darfur women, cultural performances and a concert featuring Darfuri saxophonist Hussain El Naqoor.
The campaign – which runs each year between 25 November (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) and 10 December (Human Rights Day) -- aims to raise public awareness and mobilize people everywhere to bring about change. The global theme for this year’s campaign is ‘Leave No One Behind: End Violence against Women and Girls’.
Francoise Simard, Head of UNAMID’s Rule of Law Section, shared with participants the message from UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, issued on 25 November.
“It is now widely recognized that violence against women, including harassment and harmful practices, are major barriers to the fulfilment of human rights, and a direct challenge to women’s inclusion and participation in sustaining peace,” said Mr. Guterres in his message.
“It is time for united action from all of us, so that women and girls around the world can live free from harassment, harmful practices, and all other forms of violence,” continued the message.
Ruth Kibiti, Chief of UNAMID’s Gender Advisory Unit, said that women and girls have continued to experience different forms of violence, including rape, gang rape, wife beating, abduction, sexual harassment and abusive language.
“The violence experienced by women and girls is due to high levels of poverty which affects women more than men, and which has increased significantly because women cannot engage in income generating activities for fear of being raped or gang-raped,” said Ms. Kibiti.
Hiromi Amano, Acting, UNDP Regional Coordinator, said that UNDP, in partnership with other members of the international community and national institutions, will continue to advocate to combat violence against women through effective policies and interventions.
Mona Ibrahim, a member of a local women’s development group, highlighted the importance of empowering women through capacity-building, especially the production of handicrafts.
Ms. Ibrahim said the handicrafts market during the El Fasher event was an opportunity for women to generate income to support their families.