Editorial Staff
3 months ago

Editorial Staff
3 months ago

Countries urged to end violence against women and girls

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Dr Carla Barnett, the Secretary General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), has called on regional nations to invest in preventing violence against women and girls, and in empowering vulnerable communities by providing access to education and quality healthcare services.

The CARICOM Secretariat’s annual 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence campaign has been launched, with four significant events being observed: the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, Human Rights Defenders’ Day on November 29, World AIDS Day on December 1, and Human Rights Day on December 10.

Dr Barnett has said that these events emphasize that violence deprives women and girls of their full human rights.

The 16 Days of Activism campaign was initiated by activists over three decades ago, at the inauguration of the Women’s Global Leadership Institute in 1991.

In 2008, in support of this civil society-led initiative, the United Nations Secretary-General launched the “UNITE by 2030” campaign to End Violence against Women, which runs parallel to the 16 Days of Activism.

Dr Barnett has stated that this year’s theme for the UNITE Campaign, “UNITE! Invest to prevent violence against women and girls,” highlights the significance of financing different strategies to prevent violence against them.

The theme is also in line with the Commission on the Status of Women’s 2024 priority theme, which is focused on “Accelerating the Achievement of Gender Equality and the Empowerment of all Women and Girls by Addressing Poverty and Strengthening Institutions and Financing with a Gender Perspective.”

This will also hasten the accomplishment of the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goal 5.

Dr Barnett has called on everyone, including development partners, civil society organisations, women’s organisations, youth, the private sector, and the media, to join forces to address violence against women and girls.

The campaign also urges governments worldwide to share how they invest in gender-based violence prevention. She has emphasized that violence against women and girls is one of the most pervasive forms of human rights violations worldwide, crossing all races, cultures, genders, and educational backgrounds.

Despite the presence of regional and global policies and legislation to combat violence against women and girls, weak enforcement and discriminatory practices remain significant obstacles to ending this violence.

Globally, an estimated 736 million women, almost one in three, have experienced physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence, non-partner sexual violence, or both, at least once in their life.

Prevalence surveys conducted between 2016 and 2019 in the Caribbean show that half of the women are affected by intimate partner violence, even higher than the global average.

Violence against women and girls has intensified over time and across various settings, such as during the COVID-19 pandemic when women were compelled to stay with their abusers.

Dr Barnett has stated that several member countries reported exponential increases in cases, which were supported by Rapid Gender Assessments Surveys on the impact of COVID-19 on violence against women conducted by UN Women in 13 countries.

Violence against women also has wider social and economic implications for families, communities, and societies. She has urged everyone to continue to invest in preventing violence against women and girls, as it is an investment in our shared future.

Allocating resources to prevention programs, education, and support services is an essential step toward creating sustainable change.

By prioritising prevention, communities can break the cycle of violence and establish societies that respect the rights and well-being of every individual, particularly women and girls.

Dr Barnett has encouraged people to wear the colour orange throughout the 16 Days of Activism, “as a symbol of hope for a brighter future where women and girls live free from violence,” and on the 25th of each month.

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