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Sixteen days against gender violence

For 16 days every year, organisations and individuals highlight the injustice of gender-based violence and campaign together to eliminate it.

The theme for 2009 is “Commit, act and demand an end to violence against women.” Concern and our partners will be responding to this across the 28 countries where we work.

The 16 days begin on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. It also encompasses World Aids Day on 1 December and International Human Rights Day on 10 December. In this way, the 16 days link violence against women to the transmission of HIV and AIDS, and draws attention to gender violence as a human rights abuse.

A commitment

Concern believes that women’s empowerment and equality are prerequisites to the elimination of extreme poverty. In 2004, we made a commitment to incorporate prevention of gender-based violence in all our work. Since then, we have been developing the skills, knowledge and relationships to address gender-based violence wherever we work.

Acting to end violence

Working with local partners in Ethiopia and Uganda, we are trying to challenge attitudes that tolerate violence against women. We are also creating opportunities for women to play an active role in development and peace building.

Concern works with schools in Sierra Leone to ensure that girls have the benefit of a safe learning environment, free from violence and abuse.

Our emergency responses protect the rights of women and reduce the risk of violence against women and children.

Demanding action

Concern is asking governments and the international community to live up to the commitments they have made to eliminate gender-based violence. In Kenya, for example, Concern and our local partners are putting pressure on the government to increase funding to schools in urban slums.

Along with the Joint Consortium on Gender-Based Violence in Ireland, we are lobbying to “Keep Gender on the Agenda” in the face of the global recession. The consortium has also just published a report linking gender-based violence, poverty and development.