Pretoria – South Africa will this year observe the 10th anniversary of the 16 Days of Activism Campaign for No Violence against Women and Children Campaign, which starts on 25 November (International Day of No Violence against Women) and close on 10 December 2009 (International Human Rights Day).
Government and stakeholders from all sectors of society will commemorate the campaign under the theme: “Don’t Look Away, Act against Abuse”. This will be done through various events to be held countrywide throughout the duration of the campaign.
The United Nations has endorsed this campaign, which aims to oppose violence committed against women and children. The campaign also seeks to entrench the Bill of Rights and other pieces of legislation that guarantee the dignity of each person. The campaign period includes World AIDS Day (1 December) and International Day of Persons with Disabilities (3 December).
The 16 Days of Activism Campaign has, over the last decade, grown from strength to strength, resulting in increasing awareness levels of the detrimental effects of violence against women, children and society as a whole (GCIS Tracker Survey: 2008). The campaign has become the second most known government event in South Africa, after the State of the Nation Address. Even though the campaign has succeeded in raising awareness among the South African public, government is concerned that the high numbers of cases of abuse and killings of women and children continue to rise.
As part of its enhanced effort to fight crime, government has therefore vowed to continue to work hard to help cultivate a culture of taking action against abuse by relevant authorities within the criminal justice system, communities, civil society and other stakeholders. Various pieces of legislation have also been introduced since 1994 to address issues that negatively affect women and children, such as the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act, 2000, the Children’s Act, 2005 and the Children’s Amendment Act, 2007.
Government has further implemented and supported many interventions, such as the Children’ Rights Charter, which protects the dignity of women and children. In accordance with the Victims Charter, the rights of victims of crime who engage with the Criminal Justice System are being promoted. In addition, government has committed itself to international cooperation in addressing the challenges of violence against women and children by hosting a Southern African Development Community Ministerial Meeting on 9 October to finalise the 10-year regional strategic plan of action on trafficking in persons, especially women and children.
In celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the 16 Days of Activism Campaign, government is calling on all citizens to support the campaign by:
- wearing white ribbons and participating in various events planned for the duration of the campaign
- playing an active role in the fight against the scourge of violence by volunteering in support groups and community groups which support abused women and children
- speaking out against the abuse of women and children.
Some of the main events planned for the campaign include:
- 23 November: official launch, media briefing and lighting of the Torch of Peace at the Union Buildings, Pretoria
- 24 November (evening): 2009 Exit Report Presentation Function at Birchwood Hotel
- 25 November: 16 Days Summit (opening session is accessible to the media)
- 8 December: Municipal Toolkit launch event (Mthatha)
- 10 December – Closing Ceremony (Free State)
Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS)