The United Nations System in Sierra Leone, in partnership with international and local Non-Governmental Organizations, support the 16 Days of Activism, a global campaign against gender based violence (GBV).
The theme for this year’s commemoration is “Demanding implementation, challenging obstacles: End Violence against Women”.
The initiative is carried forward under the umbrella of the Coalition on Women’s Rights in Sierra Leone from 25 November through 10 December, which is the International Human Rights Day – thus creating a symbolic link between violence against women and human rights violations. Activities include awareness raising workshops on the three Gender Acts recently adopted by the House of Parliament – the Domestic Violence Act; the Devolution of Estates Act; and the Registration of Customary Marriage and Divorce Act.
Radio discussion programmes and a fundraising dinner and solidarity walk are to draw the attention of policy makers to the need for protection mechanisms for victims of gender based violence. These events will take in the provincial hubs of Makeni, Bo and Kenema, as well as in Freetown.
After Sierra Leone has submitted its initial country report to the UN on the Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), women activists will draw during the 16 Days campaign the attention of the Government to the needed support for the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children Affairs. This is to make headway towards the full implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security and the recommendations by the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women.
In this year’s message marking the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 25 November, the UN Secretary-General states that: “Violence against women is always a violation of human rights; it is always a crime; and it is always unacceptable. Let us take this issue with the deadly seriousness that it deserves – not only on this International Day, but every day.”