The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is an international campaign which takes place each year and runs from 25 November (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) to 10 December (Human Rights Day), also encompassing other important key dates. Widely known as the ‘16 Days Campaign’, it is used as an organising strategy by individuals and organisations around the world to call for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls. It was originated by the first Women's Global Leadership Institute in 1991 and is coordinated by the Center for Women's Global Leadership.
In support of this civil society initiative, each year, the United Nations Secretary-General’s campaign UNiTE to End Violence against Women calls for global action to increase worldwide awareness and create opportunities for discussion about challenges and solutions. In 2014, the UNiTE campaign called on governments, UN entities, civil society organisations and individuals across the world to ‘orange their neighbourhoods’ to raise public awareness about the issue of violence against women and girls. As one of the official colours of the UNiTE campaign symbolising a brighter future and a world free from violence against women and girls, the colour orange was once again a uniting theme throughout all events. The initiative called on all people in all parts of world to take action in their communities, play their part and stand up against violence against women and girls.
The year 2015 marked the 20-year anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the most progressive road map to gender equality. World leaders met in March 2015 at the United Nations 59th Commission on the Status of Women and in September at the 70th General Assembly to take stock of the progress made and commit to take action to close the gaps that are holding women and girls back. Last year a new Sustainable Development agenda, which for the first time includes specific targets and indicators on ending violence against women, also replaced the Millennium Development Goals.
This article first appeared in Every Woman Every Child website.
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