International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, Sixteen Days of Activism against Gender Violence

Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands against Rape!

Date: Wednesday, November 27, 2019

From 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women until 10 December, Human Rights Day, multiple events across the region, such as marches, art installations, theater plays and sports activities will be organized as part of the UN System-wide initiatives for the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, to urge actions to end this scourge that impacts one in three women worldwide. As in previous years, iconic buildings and monuments will be ‘oranged’ to call for a violence-free future.

The theme of this year’s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence campaign is “Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands against Rape!” The theme highlights the need to end the “rape culture” that is entrenched in our society, whether in situations of conflict, peace, in our homes or on the streets. As in previous years, UN Women offices and partners across the region will use the orange colour to symbolize hope and a brighter future without violence against women.

9 December

A panel discussion on online violence against women and girls was held on December 9 in Sarajevo. Photo: OSCE/Vedran Pribilovic
A panel discussion on online violence against women and girls was held on December 9 in Sarajevo. Photo: OSCE/Vedran Pribilovic

 

 

 

A panel discussion on online violence against women and girls was held on December 9 in Sarajevo, in cooperation with OSCE, the IT Girls, joint initiative of UN Women, UNICEF and UNDP, supported by Sweden to shed a light on the issue of online violence. Online violent poses a growing threat to the safety of women and especially girls, yet it is still under regulated in the law. Spokesperson of OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Željka Šulc, moderated the discussion with Brankica Raković, editor of Lola Magazine; Amina Liora Berisha, IT security specialist; Vahidin Džaltur, court expert on ICT; and Edina Sejmenović from the Center for Women's Rights, following the opening speech of David Saunders, UN Women Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The discussion was an opportunity to speak about the dangers of online violence, its forms, and to provide recommendations on how young women can protect themselves.

 

 

8 December

Kosovo Philharmonic joined the 16 Days of Activism campaign dedicating the concert to conflict related violence survivors. Photo: UN Women Kosovo
Kosovo Philharmonic joined the 16 Days of Activism campaign dedicating their performance to victims of conflict-related sexual violence. Photo: UN Women Kosovo 

Kosovo[1] Philharmonic joined the 16 Days of Activism campaign, with their performance of Mozart’s “Requiem”, dedicating it to those who lost their lives as a result of conflict-related sexual violence, and honoring the survivors who continue to suffer in silence because of shame and stigma. Read more.

7 December

“Daddy against patriarchy”, participant runs with his two sons. Photo: OSCE Programme office in Bishkek

“Daddy against patriarchy”, participant runs with his two sons. Photo: OSCE Programme office in Bishkek

The Government of Kyrgyzstan, together with the national UNiTE to End Violence Against Women and Girls movement, UN agencies, the Swiss Embassy and the OSCE Program Office in Bishkek, marked 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence Campaign in the country with the Generation Equality mass run for women’s rights. The event was designed to remind people that violence against girls and women is unacceptable. Read more.

3 December

On the left: Kuboiddy Gallery, street art experience hosting the artworks of five local young artists. On the right: An installation of clothes based on stories rape survivors at a university campus in Tirana, Albania. Photos: UN Women/Marsel Dajçi
On the left: Kuboiddy Gallery, street art experience hosting the artworks of five local young artists. On the right: An installation of clothes based on stories rape survivors at a university campus in Tirana, Albania. Photos: UN Women/Marsel Dajçi
A street art exhibition addressing different forms of violence against women and girls has been displayed in one of the most frequented areas of the capital of Albania, Tirana during the 16 days of activism. The “Kuboiddy” Gallery is a street art experience hosting the artworks of five local young artists and looks at the pervasive issue of violence against women. Read more.

In collaboration with the student campus and Municipality of Tirana, UN Women in Albania also opened the art installation called “What were you wearing”, a clothes exhibition built around the testimonials of survivors of rape. Representatives of the student campus, Tirana Municipality and the Ombudsperson Office were present at the opening ceremony. Read more.

In Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina, a "living library" brought young people together with experts. UN Women/Elmina Karic
In Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina, a "living library" brought young people together with experts. UN Women/Elmina Karic

In Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina, a "living library" brought young people together with experts who are involved in the process of ending violence against women and girls on a daily basis, to talk about prevention of violence. Alma Kovačević, inspector at Ministry of Interior Affairs of Tuzla Canton; Sonja Brčanović, social worker at Centre for Social Work Tuzla; Dajana Mirković, Roma mediator; Selma Bajramović and Elmir Ibralić from CSO "Vive žene" Tuzla were the “living books”, with whom the youth had a chance to discuss and learn more about the details of everyday work by service providers.

1 December

More than 120 participants from Moldova, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Russia gathered in Dushanbe. Photo: UN Women/ Sulaiman Mukhamedjanov
More than 120 participants from Moldova, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Russia gathered in Dushanbe. Photo: UN Women/ Sulaiman Mukhamedjanov

More than 120 participants, including representatives of the Government of Tajikistan and civil society, international and youth organizations, networks of women living with HIV, and HIV activists from Moldova, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Russia gathered in Dushanbe, Tajikistan’s capital, to discuss the key role of women and young people in finding effective solutions to HIV-related issues. Participants also discussed the importance of strengthening the capacities of youth and women’s networks in decision-making and active response to the HIV epidemic. Read more.

29 November

Dancer from the Kazakh National Academy of Choreography is presenting the dance performance at the opening of the art exhibition in Kazakhstan. Photo credit: Victor Tikhonov
Dancer from the Kazakh National Academy of Choreography is presenting the dance performance at the opening of the art exhibition in Kazakhstan. Photo credit: Victor Tikhonov 

A unique art exhibition on violence against women and girls opened in Nur-Sultan, the capital city of Kazakhstan on 29 November. The art exhibition was born out of the creative collaboration of the TSE Art Destination, which is a contemporary art gallery, educational centre and an experimental art lab, and the UN Agencies in Kazakhstan, led by UN Women. Read more.

25 November

“Light the Dark” exhibition is the first open-air lighting installation exhibition to be displayed in a public space in Turkey. Photo: UN Women Turkey
“Light the Dark” exhibition is the first open-air lighting installation exhibition to be displayed in a public space in Turkey. Photo: UN Women Turkey

 

To kick off 16 Days of Activism this year, UN Women Turkey is launching a national “Light the Dark” campaign to draw attention to safety of women and girls in public spaces. UN Women calls everyone to mark the places where they feel unsafe with a firefly on a map of Turkey. Read more.

Turkey’s first public open-air lighting installation exhibition opened to visitors in Ankara, Turkey’s capital, to call for a world free from violence against women and girls. Organized by UN Women, in collaboration with the Ankara Metropolitan Municipality, Çankaya Municipality and the Embassy of Sweden in Turkey, ‘Light the Dark’ lighting installation exhibition uses lighting designs to draw attention to different forms of violence against women. Read more.

One of the biggest sports clubs in Turkey, Fenerbahce Sports Club lit up its football stadium in orange for the 16 Days of Activism campaign showing their support in ending violence against women and girls. The Club's fan base is estimated to be more than 25 million people from all around the world. Read more.

The park of the Woman Fighter in Skopje was lit up in orange to mark the launch of 16 days of activism campaign. Photo: UN in North Macedonia
The park of the Woman Fighter in Skopje was lit up in orange to mark the launch of 16 days of activism campaign. Photo: UN in North Macedonia

To mark the beginning of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence campaign the Government of North Macedonia, the Delegation of the EU, the OSCE Mission to Skopje, UN agencies and civil society organizations have joined forces with an influential launch event on 25 November, which took place at the park of the Woman Fighter in Skopje. Read more.

UN Women also organized a joint event together with OSCE “Are you a Bystander or an 'Up-stander'? Engaging Men and Boys against Gender-based Violence” brought together prominent men from different walks of life in Skopje to discuss their commitments to gender equality and start a non-formal dialogue with young men and boys on different topics pertaining gender inequalities. See here.

Together with Wild Theater, UN Women developed a powerful theater performance called “Scars” based on real-life stories. Photo: UN Women/Sergey Korovayny
Together with Wild Theater, UN Women developed a powerful theater performance called “Scars” based on real-life stories. Photo: UN Women/Sergey Korovayny

More than 2500 people in six cities across Ukraine participated in the performance of the play “Scars” developed by UN Women and Wild Theater, based on real-life stories of Ukrainian women, who have experienced gender-based violence, and their physical and mental wounds. The stories thoroughly examine various forms of violence, from psychological to economic, physical, and sexual violence, through the themes of victim-blaming, silencing and normalization of violence. After the performance, hundreds of audience members participated in post-performance discussions to gain a better understanding of how to take action and stop violence against women, as well as challenge social norms and stereotypes that condone and normalize it. Read more.

16 Days campaign was launched at the international conference in Almaty. Photo credit: UN Women/Sabina Mendybayeva
16 Days campaign was launched at the international conference in Almaty. Photo credit: UN Women/Sabina Mendybayeva 

Kazakhstan kicked off 16 Days of Activism with an international conference on the prevention and tackling of violence against women and girls on 25 November in the Almaty region of Kazakhstan. The three-day event was organized by the public foundation ‘NeMolchiKz’ in partnership with UN Women, OSCE Programme Office in Nur-Sultan, the Kazakh government, and the Akimat (regional administration) of Almaty region. The event brought together some 5000 professionals from law enforcement, civil society, women’s rights activists, medical professionals, school directors, school psychologists, students, parent-teacher associations from the Almaty region, as well as representatives of the national and local government, international organizations and experts from Russia, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.

Participants discussed best practices in preventing gender-based violence and protecting victims, effective measures to tackle violence against women and girls, and issues concerning the inter-agency response to domestic violence. A number of practical recommendations on effective prevention and response to violence against women and girls and submitted to the government of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The embankment of the Yessil River, which streams through Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan’s capital, lit up in orange in support of the 16 Days campaign.

UNwomen launches street campaign to improved safety of Women in Serbia. Photo: UN Women/
UN Women launches street campaign to improved safety of Women in Serbia. Photo: UN Women/Nemanja Jovanovic

 

 

To mark the beginning of 16 Days of Activism and the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against women, UN Women launched a street campaign in Serbia to raise awareness about the prevalence of gender-based violence by branding five public buses in Belgrade, Novi Sad, Nis and Kragujevac with campaign messages and key statistics on violence against women. UN Women decorated some bustling parts of these cities with visual campaign materials, including posters and videos.

Organized in partnership with the Coordination Body for Gender Equality of the Republic of Serbia and the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Serbia, the campaign aims to inform the wider public about violence against women and engage them in 16 Days of Activism.

The Pristina Public Library “Pjeter Bogdani”. Photo: UN Women Kosovo/Arben Llapashtica
The Pristina Public Library “Pjeter Bogdani”. Photo: UN Women Kosovo/Arben Llapashtica
The Pristina Public Library “Pjeter Bogdani” was lit up in orange to call for a brighter future for women and girls free of violence. The symbolic library hosted high-level guests including ambassadors and UN agencies, as well as many from the public who came to witness the lighting of the building. A safety audit process conducted last year found the area around the library as one of the least secure areas in the city. The orange lighting was a symbol of safe and more secure spaces for women and girls. Swedish Ambassador in Kosovo, Karin Hernmarck Ahliny, and UN Kosovo Team Development Coordinator, Ulrika Richardson opened the lighting ceremony.
16 Days campaign in Bosnia and Herzegovina was launched in Banja Luka, with a series of lectures. Photo: UN Women/Dusko Babic
16 Days campaign in Bosnia and Herzegovina was launched in Banja Luka. Photo: UN Women/Dusko Babic

16 Days campaign in Bosnia and Herzegovina was launched with a series of lectures in Banja Luka. Before the lectures, Minja Damjanović, project coordinator on ending violence against women at UN Women in Bosnia and Herzegovina, spoke about the goals of this years' campaign, emphasizing importance of discussing different modes of prevention, questioning and changing harmful gender stereotypes that can lead to violence. Bojan Arula, social worker from Center for Social Services Banja Luka, Sandra Dukić, artist and art teacher, and Masha Durkalić, co-founder of initiative #ŽeneBiH gave speeches reflecting on types of violence, gender stereotypes, art and education among others. Around 70 young people from all over Bosnia and Herzegovina attended the event. Following the lectures, participants joined in the discussion, sharing their experiences, and highlighting the need to avoid gender stereotypes in order to eliminate gender-based violence.

To mark the opening of 16 Days of Activism, UN agencies, civil society organizations, private sector and government partners came together to defend women’s rights. Photo: UN Women Tajikistan
To mark the opening of 16 Days of Activism, UN agencies, civil society organizations, private sector and government partners came together to defend women’s rights. Photo: UN Women Tajikistan 
 
To mark the opening of 16 Days of Activism, UN agencies, civil society organizations, private sector and government partners in Tajikistan came together to show their commitment to defending the rights of women and girls. Read more.
The symbolic TV Broadcasting Tower in Tbilisi. Photo: UN Women/Leli Blagonravova
The symbolic TV Broadcasting Tower in Tbilisi. Photo: UN Women/Leli Blagonravova
The symbolic TV Broadcasting Tower in Tbilisi, Georgia’s capital, was lit up in orange on 25 November to symbolize a world free from violence and discrimination against women and girls. Tbilisi TV Tower, standing on Mtatsminda (the Holy Mountain), is the national symbol of the capital and can be seen almost from all main districts of the city. Tbilisi joins the global campaign against gender-based violence every year since 2016 by oranging this important landmark with support from the Mayor’s Office.
Civil society, students and the media march in the main square of the city of Elbasan during International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Photo: Woman Forum Elbasan/Andi Allko

Students, civil society and media representatives are marching at the main square of the city of Elbasan on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Photo: Woman Forum Elbasan/Andi Allko

Albania kicked off 16 Days of Activism with a special opening event, organized by UN Women, UNDP and UNFPA, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Social Protection. This year’s campaign in Albania calls for listening and trusting the survivors of all forms of violence, putting them at the center of response, and ending the culture of rape. The campaign aims to shift the focus from questioning survivors’ credibility to putting the perpetrators before justice. One in two women in Albania have experienced at least one form of violence in their lifetime; 8,6 percent have been sexually violated; 12.6 percent have been stalked; 18,1 percent have been sexually harassed and 18,2 percent have been physically and sexually violated by a non-partner, according to the 2018 survey of the Institute of Statistics. The national launch event was funded by the Swedish Government and the European Commission.

Young people, and representatives of non-governmental organizations and media, marched at the main square of Elbasan, a city in central Albania, to call for the elimination of violence against women and girls and raise awareness about the issue. The march, and the following discussion session, were organized by Woman Forum Elbasan, in partnership with the Municipality of Elbasan and the Local Educational Office. Changemakers from across different sectors of the society, including religious communities, came together to emphasize the value of equality and non-discrimination and to challenge harmful gender stereotypes. These initiatives were supported by the UN Women-EU regional programme “Implementing Norms, Changing Minds”.

 

UN Women produced three videos in Albania for the 16 Days of Activism campaign, in cooperation with Anabel Media. The videos raised awareness about sexual violence and rape and, for the first time, generated a public debate about the issue. Featuring the hosts and actresses of a famous web-based movie series in Albania, “Love, Likes, Tirana” and “Hostel”, the videos reached more than 330 thousand views on social media channels, particularly by the youth. Hundreds of comments by the viewers manifested the appreciation for the campaign. “Stop blaming girls” video went viral with many influencers reposting it. Many women and girls, encouraged by the video, confessed their own story of abuse. 

Empowerment of women and girls through self-defense. Training sessions by Aikido Albania with high school students on personal safety, teaching tools to interrupt and de-escalate violence in different forms. Photo: UN Women/Marsel Dajçi
Empowerment of women and girls through self-defense. Training sessions by Aikido Albania with high school students on personal safety, teaching tools to interrupt and de-escalate violence in different forms. Photo: UN Women/Marsel Dajçi

Girl students and women from different walks of life received a training on self-defense, personal safety, teaching tools to interrupt and de-escalate violence in different forms. The set of tools for a range of mental, verbal and physical responses were also combined with Aikido martial art. The trainings were organized in partnership with Aikido Albania, the Municipality of Tirana, the Ministry of Health and Social Protection and received a great interest from participants. Read more.

24 November

Gaziantep Arts Center brought together Ms. Fatma Şahin - Mayor of Gaziantep, Mr. Alvaro Rodriguez – Officer in Charge for UN Turkey, and Ms. Asya Varbanova - UN Women Turkey Country Director. Photo: UN Women

Gaziantep Arts Center brought together Ms. Fatma Şahin - Mayor of Gaziantep, Mr. Alvaro Rodriguez – Officer in Charge for UN Turkey, and Ms. Asya Varbanova - UN Women Turkey Country Director. Photo: UN Women

Co-hosted by the Metropolitan Municipality of Gaziantep and UN Women, "Orange Gaziantep" kicked off on 24 November at Gaziantep Arts Center. As part of the 16 Days of Activism campaign, Gaziantep Arts Center, and other landmarks around the city, were lit up in orange. Funded by the European Union and Gaziantep Metropolitan Municipality, the event hosted Fatma Şahin, Mayor of Gaziantep, Alvaro Rodriguez, Officer in Charge for the UN in Turkey, and Asya Varbanova, UN Women Turkey Country Director. At the event, stakeholders called for ending violence against women and talked about the measures and actions that need to be taken for the elimination of violence. After the speeches, the key stakeholders flipped the switch to illuminate Gaziantep Arts Center and other landmarks across the city in orange.

Find a selection of photos from the 16 Days of Activism across the region here.


[1] All references to Kosovo on this website shall be understood to be in full compliance with UN Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999).