CSOs launch ‘16 Days of Ac­tivism’ as part of global cam­paign to end do­mes­tic vi­o­lence

The Myanmar Times - - News - THU THU AUNG thuthuaung@mm­times.com

THIRTY of Myan­mar’s civil so­ci­ety groups will launch a 16 Days of Ac­tivism pro­gram this week, link­ing up with a global cam­paign to pro­mote women’s rights.

From Novem­ber 25, the In­ter­na­tional Day for the Elim­i­na­tion of Vi­o­lence Against Women, un­til De­cem­ber 10, Hu­man Rights Day, the ad­vo­cacy groups are fo­cus­ing on ways to end vi­o­lence against women.

“This pro­gram aims to raise aware­ness of the need to elim­i­nate vi­o­lence against women in Myan­mar and the world, and to con­tinue the reach of ad­vo­cacy mes­sages to ev­ery cor­ner of [the coun­try],” a state­ment from the civil so­ci­ety groups said.

A num­ber of ac­tiv­i­ties have been planned in Myan­mar, in­clud­ing work­ing groups, a pub­lic aware­ness cam­paign in the states and re­gions, and TV pro­grams on the sub­ject. There will also be a “For­ever White Rib­bon” singing con­test, and flash mobs.

It is hoped the singing con­test will en­gage a wide au­di­ence, as it will be broad­cast on tele­vi­sion. The com­pe­ti­tion it­self will be held at Shwe Htut Tin grounds in Yan­gon’s Tarmwe town­ship on De­cem­ber 10, and the win­ner will take home K5 mil­lion.

“This pro­gram’s aim is to spread the mes­sage that vi­o­lence against women is not ac­cept­able, and to raise aware­ness for so­ci­ety that ev­ery­one must com­bat this vi­o­lence,” said Daw Kaythi Myit Thein, co­or­di­na­tor of the work­ing group and pro­gram man­ager at the Gen­der Equal­ity Net­work.

The pub­lic aware­ness flash mobs will be held through­out the 16-day event, with one key mes­sage to be de­liv­ered each day in a dif­fer­ent pub­lic area.

“In try­ing to raise aware­ness it can be hard to see re­sults im­me­di­ately. Now so­ci­ety sees vi­o­lence against women as a prob­lem. So­ci­ety de­mand­ing pun­ish­ment for the vi­o­lence is a re­sult of women’s groups’ con­tin­u­ous ef­forts,” said Daw May Sabai Phyu, a women’s rights ac­tivist and di­rec­tor of the Gen­der Equal­ity Net­work.

“There is still so much work to do,” she added.

Part of the pro­gram will address the im­por­tance of en­gag­ing men in the strug­gle against gen­der-based vi­o­lence.

“They need to be aware of vi­o­lence against women – that’s the best way to com­bat the is­sue,” said Daw Kaythi Myit Thein.

Gen­der equal­ity ad­vo­cates, aca­demics and celebri­ties will also hold a series of 16 dis­cus­sion pan­els, with screenings tak­ing place from Novem­ber 22 to De­cem­ber 10 on Myan­mar Ca­ble News at 11:15am each day.

Women’s rights groups are also lob­by­ing the par­lia­ment to en­act leg­is­la­tion safe­guard­ing women against phys­i­cal, men­tal and fi­nance abuse. The Min­istry of So­cial Wel­fare, Re­lief and Re­set­tle­ment be­gan work­ing on the Anti-Vi­o­lence Against Women Law in 2012.

Myan­mar is one of only two coun­tries in the re­gion lacking a spe­cific law crim­i­nal­is­ing do­mes­tic vi­o­lence.

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