International Theme : From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Let’s Challenge Militarism and End Violence Against Women
WOREC’s Slogan: “Accountability of the Government Agencies and Security Forces to End Sexual and Gender Based Violence: Solidarity for Peace and Constitution”
Women organization and activists around the world have been celebrating November 25th as an International day to end Violence against Women. In 1981, Feminists from Latin America and the Caribbean first chose November 25th to commemorate the violent assassination of the Mirabel sisters (Patria, Minerwa and Maria Teresa), in 1960 by the Dictatorship of Rafel Trujillo in the Dominican Republic for their resistance to dictatorship. To denounce such gender based violence from domestic battering to rape and sexual harassment to state violence including torture, abuse of female political prisoners and violent assassination of activist; women all around the world continued to commemorate November 25th as the day against Gender Based Violence. Later on in 1999, UN officially recognized November 25th as a Day of Elimination of all Forms of Violence Against Women.
In order to build awareness about gender-based violence and facilitate networking among women activists around the world, 16 Days Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign was initiated in 1991. Women Activists chose symbolically 16 Days; linking November 25th (International Day Against Violence Against Women) and December 10th (International Human Rights Day) to refer and assert that “Women’s Rights are Human Rights”. 16 Days Activism is a platform being used by women activist from around the world to call for the elimination of all forms of violence against women and advocate for women’s right to live in equality.
This 16-day period also highlights other significant dates that includes:
29 November – International Human Rights Defenders Day
1 December - World AIDS Day
3 December - International Day of Disability
5December - International Volunteer Day
6 December- Anniversary of the Montreal Massacre and
10 December - Human Rights Day.
The 16 Days Campaign is being used as an organizing strategy by individual and groups around the world to call for the elimination of all forms of violence against women.
After a decade long conflict Nepal is undergoing a transitional period. People’s mindset and behavior is becoming more aggressive and violent. They believe that their voices will be heard if they use force to express group’s stand and claim. In crimes like murder, rape, domestic violence and intimidation small arms are used widely. This criminal trend and practice is quite rampant throughout the country.
Violence against women is a manifestation of unequal power relation between women and men. In current transitional phase violence against women is disturbingly increasing. Existing culture of silence has further fueled in gender based violence and promoted institutionalization of impunity. In such context, speeding up of 16 days campaign to eliminate violence against women is imperative in order to make stakeholders and duty bearers aware and strengthen the capacity of right holders to be able to claim their rights.
Involvement of WOREC Nepal
As widely celebrated in the previous years, this year also as a solidarity with international campaign and theme “From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Let’s Challenge Militarism and End Violence Against Women”, WOREC Nepal has planned to celebrate 21st annual 16-days activism focusing to raise awareness and link campaign from grass-root level to national level. WOREC has accordingly framed a slogan to contextualize the ground situation of Nepal - “Accountability of the Government Agencies and Security Forces to End Sexual and Gender Based Violence: Solidarity for Peace and the Constitution”. Thus, WOREC asserts its stand against gender based violence, and through various community and national initiative WOREC continues to carry a tradition of strong stand towards gender equality. The slogan was produced referring to the reality of Nepalese society with intrinsic social patriarchal system fueling for gender disparity and sexual violence against women, and current political situation in Nepal, where political parties are continuously extending deadline for drafting constitution.
WOREC Nepal vehemently believes that until our government and law is held responsible for its actions, violence against women cannot be eliminated; and as long as violence against women prevails, a nation cannot continue to exist and function in peace. Therefore, it is essential for each member of the Nepalese community to come together and fight collectively for this cause. Keeping this in mind, this year WOREC Nepal has aimed for “Zero Tolerance Policy Towards Women’s Violence” and thus intends to assert this no tolerance policy from community to the national level.
This event gives WOREC Nepal an opportunity to spotlight a cause that has always been considered insignificant. Violence against women is a problem that cannot be put aside any longer. This struggle needs to be addressed at different levels - from national to the international level. With this thought in mind, WOREC dedicates this year’s 16 days activism to eliminate violence against women by bringing this long struggle to the public. This 16 days campaign will provide opportunity to involve women to discuss their problems and to seek answers for bringing change in their life and in the society at large.
Women Human Rights Defenders actively struggling from the community to the national level is the central focus of WOREC Nepal’s program being implemented aiming to end violence against women with a motto of “Victimhood to Agency”. Peace in the life of women human right defenders and in each household is imperative to achieve sustainable peace in the country. But the emerging perspective in the society that without using force and control mechanism peace in the country would not be possible is the outcome of militarism. Hence misuse of small arms to exert one’s strength is increasing day by day in the country.
Therefore, the search for peace will not be fulfilled until the country’s constitution ensuring established norms and values of substantive equality and human rights is adopted. With this understanding, this year’s 16 days activism is being executed from community to the national level with a slogan of “Accountability of the Government Agencies and Security Forces to End Sexual and Gender Based Violence: Solidarity for Peace and the Constitution”. Through this campaign WOREC Nepal intends to help each participating member from every economic and social class to understand different degrees of violence being faced by women. This will assist women in understanding their rights and the vicious cycle of violence that they are trapped in. Thus, WOREC Nepal would like to appeal all Nepalese to be accountable for eliminating violence against women.