***as it urges sustained collective action
The United Nations has drawn global attention to the need for concerted action towards preventing and eliminating violence against women and girls leveraging on the annual 16 Days of Activism campaign.
The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence (GBV) is an annual international campaign. It commences on 25th November (the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women).
It climaxes on 10th December (Human Rights Day), indicating that violence against women is the most pervasive breach of human rights worldwide.
The global theme of the 16 Days of Activism for 2022 is UNiTE! Activism To End Violence Against Women and Girls!”
To this end the Office of the United Nations Resident Coordinator and the UN Women Nigeria Country Office convened a high-level Orange the World Ceremony and the Lighting of the UN House to commemorate the 16 Days of Activism for the year.
During the event, The Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in Nigeria Mr. Matthias Schmale pointed out that the 2022 theme UNITE! Activism to End Violence against Women and Girls aligns with SDG-17 on partnerships as it calls for global action from all stakeholders to increase awareness and share knowledge to end this pandemic of violence once and for all.
“The lighting of UN House is one way we can show our solidarity with the victims of gender-based violence. The colour orange signifies our commitment to a brighter future free from violence against women and girls.
“We are calling for an increased spotlight on the many forms that this violence can take and the culture of silence that often surrounds its victims.
“Much progress has been made recently with the Violence Against Person’s Prohibition Act which has been passed into law by 34 out of the 36 states.
“This has been made possible by the collective efforts of government, civil society, development partners, UN agencies, and the donor community. Let this be an inspiration to us for further partnership and coordination together.
“The EU-UN Spotlight initiative is another good example of collaboration towards ending violence against women and girls. We need more such initiatives to scale up current actions to eliminate harmful practices such as child marriage, female genital mutilation, human trafficking, sexual violence, and domestic violence.
“We need large scale investments in data collection, evidence gathering, and provision of legal support services to ensure access to justice is quick and unhindered. Perpetrators of violence need to be reliably prosecuted.
“We must also pool resources to protect women and girls in humanitarian settings including those affected by the recent catastrophic flooding.
According to him, with the upcoming 2023 elections, we need greater efforts towards ensuring that women in politics are protected against all forms of violence and discrimination. “We need women participating in political life and making decisions for themselves and others.”
UN Women country Representative to Nigeria and ECOWAS Beatrice Eyong indicated that in Nigeria, 30 per cent of girls and women aged between 15 and 49 reported having experienced sexual abuse.
“The Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey shows that 14 per cent of women in Nigeria have experienced physical violence. Cases of violence against women increased significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.
“A UN report revealed that by April 2020, cases of gender-based violence increased by 56 per cent after only two weeks of lockdown. These unfortunate realities of our time call for collective and systematic efforts in dealing with the menace.
She said the overall objective of this Orange Ceremony and Lighting of the UN building is to strengthen partnership to end violence against women and girls among UN agencies, Government MDAs, Diplomatic Community, Development Partners, Security Agencies, Civil Society Organization and Media, among other stakeholders, while also increasing visibility and public support for the 16 Days of Activism.
“Another major aspect of this ceremony is the official orange lighting of the UN Building
The light initiative is integral to the UN Women and the UN Secretary-General’s UNiTE Campaign and is used to “symbolize a brighter future without violence.”
The “orange” comes from the fire ignited by the many women’s groups dedicated to combating violence against women around the world. We call on our partners to join us in promoting the orange campaign throughout the 16 days and beyond so as to galvanize more support to end violence against women and girls.
“We must sustain the momentum for a brighter future where men and women, girls and boys enjoy equal rights, devoid of discrimination and all forms of violence.
The event’s highlight was the lighting of the UN House in orange. The light initiative is integral to the UN Women and the UN Secretary-General’s UNiTE Campaign and “symbolises a brighter future without violence.” The “orange” comes from the fire ignited by the many women’s groups dedicated to combating violence against women worldwide.
The event drew participants from high profile delegations such as top-level government officials, high level UN Delegation, Donor Communities, Civil Society Organizations, young women organizations, male champions, persons living with disabilities, among others.