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Activists embark on 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence

By Rana Husseini - Nov 25,2020 - Last updated at Nov 26,2020

AMMAN — Jordan women’s organisations on Wednesday marked the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence with a wide range of activities that focused on empowering women and the youth as well as raising awareness about gender-based violence.

The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is an international campaign started by the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute and sponsored by the Centre for Women’s Global Leadership in 1991. 

Minister of Political and Parliamentary Affairs Musa Maaytah acted as patron to one of the many events that was organised under the title “Together Against Violence”.

The event, held via videoconferencing, was organised by the Jordanian National Commission for Women (JNCW), in partnership with the National Team for Family Protection against Violence.

Maaytah emphasised the importance of joint efforts of all national and international organisations to promote women’s right to be safe.

“These efforts require the participation of government systems to foster a culture of gender equality and respect for women, including by shifting behaviours through media and social media,” Maaytah, who is also the chair of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Women’s Empowerment, told the gathering.

The minister also reiterated the importance of eliminating all forms of violence against women and children, especially in light of the challenging circumstances during the COVID-19 pandemic, including its economic impact and confinement measures that led to an increase in violence rates.

In a dedicated video message presented during the conference, HRH Princess Basma expressed her appreciation of the National Team for Family Protection against Violence, as well as all partners and those working at the community level to mitigate the risks of violence and deliver   effective solutions to increase protection services for victims of violence.

She also reassured survivors that their safety is society’s main priority and concern under all circumstances.

JNCW Salma Al Nims said the theme of this year “responds to the sharp increase in domestic violence cases recorded in Jordan in recent months, especially during the lockdown period”.

“There has been a 33 per cent increase in the number of cases reported between March and May 2020, compared with the same period in 2019,” Nims said.

This trend requires a “rigorous assessment of protection systems in Jordan”, redefining or improving services, reviewing legislation and increasing penalties that would deter perpetrators of domestic violence, especially at the household level, she added.

UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Jordan Anders Pedersen said during the launch of the JNCW campaign that “traditionally, we convene at this time of the year to amplify the voices of survivors of violence who are claiming their rights and fighting for justice. Yet, this year is like no other”.

“As we heard, since the outbreak of COVID-19, emerging data and reports from those on the front lines have shown that all types of violence against women and girls, particularly domestic violence, has intensified,” Pedersen said.

A “shadow pandemic” as the UN secretary general described it, Pedersen added.

“The UN family in Jordan commends all efforts exerted by the government and civil society and remains fully committed to support Jordan, at all levels, in achieving our shared goal to prevent and end violence against women and girls,” Pedersen stressed.

The campaign aims to raise awareness about available services delivered by all family protection providers, with a specific focus on legal, psychological, social and protection aid services for women and children at risk of violence, according to a press release.

Meanwhile, Solidarity Is Global Institute (SIGI) launched the Jordanian National Network for the Protection from Gender-Based Violence During Emergencies and Crisis “Fatmeh”.

This year’s campaign messages included: “We are with you against violence” and “violence is totally rejected”, said SIGI Executive Director Asma Khader.

“We decided to launch the national network because of the problems that surfaced following the COVID-19 pandemic,” Khader told The Jordan Times.

She added that civil organisations were unable to act upon many domestic violence cases during the nationwide lockdown, “which made us think of ways to plan ahead of time to face similar problems in the future”.

“Obviously, women and girls, including persons with disabilities and the elderly, suffer the most in such cases, which witnessed a significant increase,” Khader said.

Also, to mark the occasion, SIGI announced in a statement that the organisation is launching an electronic lab service to help people who cannot reach the organisations for help and guidance.

The electronic lab “Aman” (safety in English) will provide all kind of services remotely for free, according to a statement by SIGI.

The Arab Women Organisation (AWO) also launched a competition for adolescent girls under the theme “Ending child, early and forced marriage”, said Director for programmes at the AWO Layla Naffa.

The competition is titled “She has more than one side of the story” and  it targets girls aged between 13 and 17, according to a press statement by the AWO.

This year’s competition is meant to address fathers about the dangers of early and forced marriages, according to Naffa.

“We want to reach out to fathers through their daughters who would write them literary pieces to describe their future dreams, ambitions, education journey and goals,” Naffa added. 

The Secdev Foundation also launched a campaign on “True Cyber Safety”, focussing on cyber bullying that targets young men and women.

The campaign will focus on statistics and facts related to cyber bullying and ways to protect vulnerable people, according to a statement by the foundation.

International activists chose the dates November 25 — the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women — and December 10 — International Human Rights Day — to symbolically link violence against women and human rights and to emphasise that such violence is a violation of human rights.

This 16-day period also highlights other significant dates, including International Women Human Rights Defenders Day on November 29, World AIDS Day on December 1, and the anniversary of the Montreal Massacre on December 6. 

 

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