16 Days of Activism across Asia and the Pacific

January 18, 2021

The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence campaign came to a close on 10 December 2020 (World Human Rights Day). Too often, violence against women is accepted as normal behaviour and the global culture of gender inequality allows it to occur with impunity.

Women in Asia and the Pacific experience some of the highest rates of violence in the world; a 2016 report by the Asian Development Bank reports that 3 out of 4 women have lived experience of gender-based violence in the region. The 16 Days of Activism calls on everybody to stand up and end this cycle.

In 2020, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, individuals, organisations and countries all over the world were able to mobilise to stand up to violence against women.

Here’s what some of our partners across the region have done to raise awareness and drive action to change the attitudes that lead to violence against women in their communities.

Fiji

On 10 December, Fiji Women’s Rights Movement took to the streets of Suva to speak out against abuse of human rights and to stand in solidarity with survivors of human rights violations.

A group people stand with a large banner that says: Insist Persist Resist Exist
Fiji Women’s Rights Movement at the Human Rights Day March on 10 December. Photo credit: Fiji Women’s Rights Movement (FWRM)

Myanmar

On the 25 November, Karen Women’s Organisation held a ceremony to mark the beginning of the 16 Day Campaign. Over 100 members of the community came together to hear from women’s rights organisers.

A group of people sitting on chairs at an outdoor event
Karen Women’s Organisation held a ceremony to mark the beginning of the 16 Day Campaign. Photo credit: Karen Women’s Organisation

 

A group of people stand holding signs for 16 days of activism.
Shan Women’s Action Network participating in the t-shirt campaign. Photo credit: Shan Women’s Action Network (SWAN)

The Women’s League of Burma created a t-shirt campaign which involved hundreds of participants wearing t-shirts featuring messages which advocated for gender equality and urged to end violence against women. Many organisations participated in this campaign, including Students and Youth Congress of Burma, DPNS Women’s Business Committee, Equality Myanmar, various unions and women’s rights advocacy groups.

On 4 December, the Ta’ang Women’s Organisation hosted a workshop in the Kutkai Township for women and girls to spread knowledge about anti-violence activism and equip women with tools to fight for gender equality.

A group of people sit in a circle and read information booklets
Ta’ang Women’s Organisation hosted a workshop to share knowledge about anti-violence activism. Photo credit: Ta’ang Women’s Organisation.

Solomon Islands

Family Support Centre in partnership with Sukwadi Media launched a Hero-ine film which highlights the difficulties of reporting domestic violence to the police in the Solomon Islands.

Papua New Guinea and the Autonomous Region of Bougainville

On 30 November, Voice for Change hosted a 16 Days of Activism community event at Anglimp Station which had 2300 people in attendance!

A group of people stand in a circle listening to speakers
Voice for Change 16 Days of Activism community event on the 30 of November. Photo credit: Voice for Change

On 5 December, the Miltip community hosted a community event lead by women from Voice for Change. They discussed issues including violence against women and girls, substance abuse and children’s rights through song and theatre. Local football teams were in attendance and made a commitment to end violence against women and girls in their homes and communities.

On 10 December, Voice for Change, hosted a luncheon for twenty teachers from schools in the region. Information on the 16 Days of Activism was shared with the teachers, feedback revealed that they all learnt something new!

A smiling group of people hold bouquets of flowers.
Photo credit: Voice for Change.

On 25 November, the Nazareth Centre for Rehabilitation launched the 16 Days of Activism with a community ceremony in Tinputz, Bougainville. The event featured speakers, including Members of Parliament, and continued into the evening with the community singing songs that advocated against gender-based violence.

A person is taking a photo of a big group standing with a bright banner
Nazareth Centre for Rehabilitation launched the 16 Days of Activism with a community ceremony in Bougainville. Photo credit: Nazareth Centre for Rehabilitation.

 

A group of people wearing bright clothing march together holding signs
Photo credit: Nazareth Centre for Rehabilitation

Cambodia

On 26 November, Gender and Development for Cambodia hosted a community event for their 16 Days of Activism campaign which had over 70 participants. Community members were educated on the history of the campaign and the consequences of violence against women and were advised on strategies to eliminate gender-based violence in their homes and communities.

A group of people sitting on chairs at an outdoor event
Gender and Development for Cambodia hosted a community event for 16 Days of Activism. Photo credit: Gender and Development for Cambodia (GADC)

Timor-Leste

In Timor-Leste, 17 women’s rights organisations, including IWDA partner Alola Foundation, gathered for a 16 Days of Activism workshop organised by UN Women. The event aimed to create spaces for civil society organisations to network and collaborate to strengthen their efforts in ending violence against women.

A group of people in a meeting stand with large signs
IWDA partner, Alola Foundation gathered for a 16 Days of Activism workshop organised by UN Women. Photo credit: UN Women Timor-Leste

The 16 Days of Activism campaign is a pivotal period for the women’s rights movement. Together we must call on governments, organisations and people everywhere to speak out against violence. Violence against women is not inevitable; it is preventable. Tell your families, schools, communities and workplaces. Together, our message will be amplified across our region, and our voices will be heard.

 

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