16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence

Press Release – Amnesty International Aotearoa New Zealand

Amnesty International Media Release For Immediate Release 22 November 2011 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in the Solomon Islands and a human rights defender in Guatemala will be the focus …Amnesty International Media Release
For Immediate Release
22 November 2011


16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence

Sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in the Solomon Islands and a human rights defender in Guatemala will be the focus of Amnesty International’s 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence this year.

Kicking off on White Ribbon Day on 25 November, the 16 Days is a chance for people all over New Zealand to say “no” to violence against women.

“The statistics are horrific,” said Margaret Taylor, Amnesty International Aotearoa New Zealand’s Activism Support Manager.

“According to studies, 64% of women and girls in the Solomon Islands between the ages of 15 and 49 experience physical and/or sexual violence at the hands of their partners and other family members.”

“We are calling on the Solomon Islands government, with one of the highest rates of SGBV in the world, to enact and enforce legislation to address this horrific violence,” adds Taylor.

SGBV is an issue that is entrenched, systematic and widespread not only in the Solomon Islands but across the Pacific; impacting on average two out of every three women.

In Guatemala, Norma Cruz has been repeatedly threatened with death since 2008. The reason – Norma leads Survivors Foundation, which protects women’s rights in Guatemala City by documenting cases of violence against women and fighting for victims’ right to justice.

Her family and relatives have also suffered from threats and attacks. Yet, despite repeated calls for action, perpetrators of these abuses are rarely investigated and brought to justice.

“Amnesty International is urging New Zealanders to put pressure on the Guatemalan authorities to effectively investigate and prosecute those responsible for the threats and attacks against Norma Cruz,” said Taylor.

As people don their White Ribbons to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, Amnesty International is calling on people to take action not only on behalf of the women of New Zealand but on behalf of our close neighbours in the Pacific and, indeed, women all around the world.

“The White Ribbon is a visible statement that violence against women is not ok, wherever in the world it occurs. But there is also a need to take action on this issue,” said Taylor.

Amnesty International teams will be hosting events around the country throughout the 16 Days of Activism. Community groups will be offering white ribbons in return for signatures calling for an end to violence against women in the Solomon Islands and Guatemala.

For events taking place in your local area, visit http://www.amnestyorg.nz/get-involved/events

For more information on Amnesty International’s 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence campaigns visit http://www.amnesty.org.nz/our-work/stop-violence-against-women/16-days-activism-white-ribbon-day

Background

Amnesty International Aotearoa New Zealand presented a petition of more than 21,000 signatures calling on Pacific Leaders to take action to address SGBV during the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders’ Meeting in September.

During the Leaders’ Meeting, Amnesty also released a report, entitled ‘Where is the dignity in that?’ Women in Solomon Islands denied sanitation and safety”, which documented compelling firsthand accounts of the impact of SGBV.

Amnesty International is a supporting organisation of White Ribbon Day (25 November) – the international day when people say “no” to violence against women.

The 16 days of Activism against Gender Violence runs until 10 December – International Human Rights Day.

To read more about Amnesty International’s work to Stop Violence Against Women and Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in the Pacific, visit http://www.amnesty.org.nz/our-work/stop-violence-against-women

ENDS

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