The Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation (AIPR) observes Friday, November 25 as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Designated by the UN General Assembly in 1999, this International Day serves as an opportunity for governments, international organizations and NGOs around the world to participate in public awareness raising initiatives.
November 25 has long served as a symbolic day for activists working to end violence against women. Indeed, on this date in 1960, three of the four Mirabal sisters, citizens of the Dominican Republic, were brutally murdered by authorities linked to the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo. The sisters were assassinated for taking part in the political movement against the brutality of the Trujillo regime. The General Assembly chose this date to honor the memory of the Mirabal sisters and all other victims of gender-based violence. The observance is also an opportunity to revisit the fundamental rights and guidelines enumerated by the UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women.
The Executive Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, said the following, in honor of this year’s International Day:
We believe in and work for a world where women and girls can flourish and prosper peacefully alongside men and boys, sharing in and benefitting from societies that value their skills and accept their leadership. Violence against women and girls has a devastating impact on individuals and on the society.
Women and girls who experience violence lose their dignity, they live in fear and pain, and in the worst cases they pay with their lives. Violence cuts deeply into the liberties we should all have: the right to be safe at home, the right to walk safely on the streets, the right to go to school, to work, to the market or to watch a film. We should be able to expect that attackers will be punished, that justice will be done, and that we can get care and support for injuries.
November 25 also marks the beginning of the UN Secretary General’s UNiTE Campaign’s “16 Days to Orange Your World” initiative. This specific focus of this year’s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Campaign is “Orange the World: Raise Money to End Violence against Women and Girls.” This call targets the need for sustainable financing to reach the goals included in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. As explained by UN Women:
One in three women around the world experience violence in their lifetime, often in the hands of someone they know, love and trust. Of all women who were victims of homicide globally in 2012, almost half were killed by intimate partners or family members.
Violence against women and girls, a gross human rights violation, devastates lives, causes untold pain, suffering and illness. It also incurs high economic costs. A recent study estimated that the cost of intimate-partner violence accounted for 5.2 per cent of the global economy.
The Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation stands in solidarity with the individuals and institutions observing the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Furthermore, it commits to working in support of efforts by members of the international community to prevent and eliminate all forms of violence against women. AIPR’s Director of Policy and Planning Samantha Capicotto explains:
The prevention of violence against women, especially considering the close relationship between these crimes and the broader category of mass atrocities, is a deep concern of the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation. Through our educational programming for government officials in atrocity prevention, which includes modules dedicated to gender-based violence, we aim to provide a set of policy tools geared toward the mitigation of this type of atrocity thereby contributing to the improvement of the system by which the international community protects women of all groups around the globe.