On December 17, 1999 the United Nations General Assembly designated the 25th of November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. On this day governments, international organizations and NGOs are encouraged to organize activities designed to raise public awareness about the issue. The date originates from the brutal assassination of three women political activists in the Dominican Republic, on orders of Dominican ruler Rafael Trujilloin 1960.
November 25th now marks the beginning of the 16 Days of Action for the Elimination of Violence against Women, ending on December 10th Human Rights Day.
Yesterday a number of events were held in Ottawa, including the launch of the 16 Days of Action Campaign, which took place at Amnesty International Headquarters, as well as the YWCA’s Red Rose Campaign to end violence against women and girls, which involved a breakfast at the Parliamentary Restaurant to engage legislator in a discussion of the connections between poverty, homelessness and violence against women.
Throughout the 16 days there will be actions around the country, as well as internationally aimed at raising public awareness. For example in Ottawa, there will be with a vigil taking place on December 6th at Minto Park, to commemorate the women who lost their lives during the Montreal massacre.
This year, the 16 Days Campaign is focusing on ending militarism and violence against women. Amnesty International has a number of ways for you to take action, including:
- Demanding justice for women victims of sexual violence amidst ongoing armed conflict in Colombia;
- Guaranteeing Afghan women’s rights in talks with the Taleban; and
- Appealing to the political parties in Bosnia and Herzegovina to guarantee the rights of survivors of rape