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16 Days of Activism - Day 1

Updated: Nov 27, 2019

Today the United Nations commemorated the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, coinciding with the first day of the #16Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence. Participants wore orange in support of the UN's #OrangeTheWorld campaign to end violence against women, in particular - rape. One in three women and girls experience sexual violence in their lifetime.

Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka (United Nations Under-Secretary-General and UN Women Executive Director), highlighted the year-round attention that should be given to such a prevalent issue, "16 Days is an opportunity for us to highlight what we are doing, what the situation is. But 365 days is to do the work."

Another powerful panelist, 26 year old Ms. Ajna Jusic (President of the Association "Forgotten Children of War," Bosnia & Herzegovina) shared her heartbreak of discovering in her teens that she is a child born of war-time rape. Women who were raped in Bosnia, and the resulting children, are still living in a society where they are ostracized. This drives her current work to pass a law acknowledging the "forgotten children of war" as people who have rights.

Ms. Karen Naimer (Deputy Director of Programs and Director of the Program on Sexual Violence in Conflict Zones/Physicians for Human Rights (PHR)), is a grantee of the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women (UNTF), who has changed the handling of rape cases. Using a multidisciplinary approach, PHR gathers professionals from the medical, policing and judiciary fields to work with survivors, ensuring they receive the best care and support possible. She also highlighted that "faith leaders carry enormous clout in their communities. They are change-makers and we need to bring them into the discussion as well" and "anyone who carries a certain level of importance, privilege and credibility in their communities - they are the people who need to be part of the conversation and part of the solution."

Rebecca Anderson, Lutheran World Federation

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