Sixteen Days of Activism against Gender Violence, Human Rights Day

Closing of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence campaign and commemoration of the International Human Rights Day in Ethiopia Press Conference event - 10th December 2015

Date: Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia - The United Nations in Ethiopia commemorated the International Human Rights Day and the end of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence on the 10th December 2015 with the presence of Mme. Letty Chiwara, UN Women Representative to Ethiopia, Africa Union (AU) and Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Ms. Takyiwaa Manuh, Director of the Social Development Policy Division, ECA and Ms. Eden Taye, UNOHCHR Human Rights Officer in a Press Conference at the ECA that gathered radio, TV and print media.

ECA Building light up in orange. Photo credits: Paula Mata / UN Women
ECA Building light up in orange. Photo credits: Paula Mata / UN Women

This event was marked by unprecedented mobilization of the entire United Nations team in Ethiopia with strong support from UNECA, United Nations Resident Coordinator’s Office in Ethiopia and UN Women Ethiopia in order to light up in orange the ECA building for the first time since the launch of the “Orange the world” movement, under the UN Secretary-General’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign in 2008. The lighting took place on the 25th November to commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Gender Based Violence against Women and Girls in the country in the presence of UN Resident Coordinator for Ethiopia, Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa-Onochie, Mr. Faustin Yao, Representative of UNFPA in Ethiopia and UN Women staff.

This event and press conference resulted in an opportunity for Mme. Letty Chiwara, Ms. Takyiwaa Manuh and Ms. Eden Taye to speak about the importance of the adoption of the new development framework and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in September 2015 in order to provide the international community with a golden opportunity to position gender equality, women’s rights and women’s empowerment at the center of the global agenda. In this regard, Mme. Letty Chiwara stated that “If we are to step it up, to reach our target of a Violence free Ethiopia by 2030, we need to adopt a multi-sectoral approach which brings together all sectors including education, health, justice, security, finance and economic empowerment. We also need to strengthen partnerships across all actors including the Civil Society Organizations, religious institutions, community based organizations, men, women, girls and boys. Greater investment in monitoring mechanisms through the collection of gender and regional disaggregated data is a priority.

Ms. Takyiwaa Manuh, Mme Letty and Ms Eden Taye press conference. Photo Credits: Paula Mata/UN Women
Ms. Takyiwaa Manuh, Mme Letty and Ms Eden Taye press conference. Photo Credits: Paula Mata/UN Women

Furthermore, Ms. Takyiwaa Manuh referred to the importance of implementing legal frameworks and called for “governments to continue mobilizing the population and raising awareness in all public institutions and the private sector on women’s fundamental human rights. Governments must galvanize national level actions to enforce the rule of law, and to criminalize VAW” as one of the key entry points to end gender based violence in the continent.

On the other hand Ms. Eden Taye, on behalf of the Representative of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human rights for Eastern Africa, highlighted that “The International Human Rights Day is celebrated across the world today under the theme 'our rights, our freedoms. Always’. Gender equality is at the very heart of human rights and United Nations’ values. Violence against women and girls is one of the most prevalent human rights violations in the world.”

Speaking about the 16 Days of Activism Campaign, Mme. Letty Chiwara indicated that for her and UN Women Ethiopia, “this is not the end of a campaign – but rather the beginning of the actions for us to live in an Ethiopia where women and girls enjoy freedom, security and their full human rights. This country is on the rise and we can only sustain this growth if 51% of the population have the opportunity and freedom to equally and actively contribute to the country’s development”.

Mme Letty Chiwara, Mme Thoko Rudvidzo, Ms. Takyiwaa Manuh, Ms. Eden Taye, UN Women Ethiopia staff members and journalists group picture. Photo Credits: Paula Mata/UN Women