“16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence” comes to Burma

December 3, 2012

HURFOM: For the first time, women in Rangoon participated in the “16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence,” a global campaign that kicks off every year on November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and concludes on International Human Rights Day on December 10. The campaign aims to demonstrate how women’s rights are synonymous with human rights, and to raise awareness about gender-based violence around the world.

Civil society and non-governmental organizations, women’s groups, and the United Nations cooperated to organize this inaugural event in Rangoon. On the opening day, a procession of roughly 250 women and men left Rangoon City Hall at 7am and walked for two hours to the Kan Daw Gyi Park in Bahan Township, where participants gave speeches, shared information regarding the 16 Days of Activism, and concluded with a singing performance.

“The purpose of this event is to show the people in power how women suffer because of violence. Women want the authorities to solve these kinds of problems,” said one attendee.

Many of the walk’s participants donned their traditional ethnic clothing and carried signs with the slogans, “Women Will Have Equal Rights,” “From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World,” and “Involve Men to Combat Violence Against Women.”

An ethnic Mon woman who joined the event said, “First, I am so happy to wear my Mon traditional dress among [other] ethnic people. Next, I am glad to take action to protect women from many kinds of violations. People may now recognize that our women’s organizations are still working to stop violence against women. When a woman is abused sexually or psychologically, that is a violation of her rights as a woman but also as a human being. These cases cannot be forgiven or accepted by [the perpetrator] just saying the words “I’m sorry” after [the victim] is abused. For this reason, the authorities need to deal seriously with everyone who commits these violations.”

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