By: Lana Ulrich
December 10th , or International Human Rights Day, marked the end of the recent campaign, 16 Days, aimed at spreading awareness of measures to end violence against women across the world. The color of the campaign was bright orange, and activists, citizens, and leaders all over the world donned orange gear in solidarity of the movement (see hashtag #Orangeurhood for more pictures on Twitter). Even the Middle East, a region not usually known for progressiveness in the field of women’s rights, got in on the action. For instance, the Great Pyramid and Sphinx outside of Cairo, Egypt were lit orange in commemoration.
According to Unwomen.org, some events organized in several countries include the following:
- Kuwait held a walkathon, called “Begin by Breaking the Silence”, which was attended by Government officials from the Ministry of Health;
- In Jordan, Her Royal Highness Princess Basma bint Talal called on media to better address Article 308 of the Jordanian Penal Code—a focal point of their 16 Days campaign—which currently allows rapists to avoid prosecution if they marry survivors;
- In Nigeria, 350 people dressed in bright orange clothing rallied their way through the streets of Lagos, forming a sea of orange as they played instruments and waved banners with anti-violence messages; and
- Rwandan musicians performed in a singing competition in Kigali as part of the Kigali Safe City Programme’s Community Mobilization and Public Awareness Strategy. Competitors wrote and performed original songs related to the issue of violence against women to a crowd of more than 3,000 people.
However, there is still an enormous amount of work to be done in the region. Several countries have not yet ratified CEDAW either. Recently a UN expert called upon Somalia to ratify:
“The [Somalia] Federal Government together with the international community need to allocate adequate resources to strengthen the rule of law institutions and ensure that the interim regional administrations benefit from the New Deal Compact for Somalia … [t]he Government should also ratify key international human rights instruments including the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its optional protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict and the Convention to Eliminate all forms of Discrimination Against Women [CEDAW],” the expert added.
… And so should the U.S.!