• The "16 Days" Campaign: Countering violence against women

The "16 Days" Campaign: Countering violence against women

28 November 2012

Women's rights groups in Afghanistan are taking part in a 16 day campaign of global activism against gender violence.

The campaign started on November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and will run until December 10, Human Rights Day. 

In a message to mark the event, the United Nations called for bold and decisive action to help end what it described as the "pandemic of violence" against women and girls.  It said up to seven in ten women across the globe continued to be targeted for physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime.  And 603 million women lived in countries where domestic violence is still not a crime.

UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet said "Governments and leaders must lead by example.  Now is the time for governments to translate international promises into concrete national action."

Earlier this year, BAAG member ActionAid released a report 'Afghan Women's Rights on the Brink' calling on donors to step up funding to reduce widespread violence against Afghan women, or risk losing the advances of the past decade.

The report said at least $90 million is needed over five years to tackle the problem - three times the amount currently on offer.

It highlighted some of the improvements made to women's lives since the fall of the Taliban in 2001, including new laws intended to protect their rights by criminalising acts of violence. 

But it added that violence against females remains endemic.  Around 87 per cent of Afghan women face at least one form of domestic violence, while those who enter public life do so at considerable risk.  In 2011, the Thomson Reuters Foundation named Afghanistan as the most dangerous country in the world to be female. 

Womankind Worldwide, one of the BAAG member agencies taking part in the "16 Days" campaign, has spoken to Farida, a young Afghan woman who fought back against violence and intimidation. 

Read Farida's story in the "Views and Voices" section of our website and discover how you can help Afghan women and girls live a life free from violence.