Joint Statement Against Gender Based Violence in Ethiopia

Date: Thursday, November 25, 2021

We, the representatives of Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Sweden, the United Kingdom in Ethiopia, and UN Women, join to mark the 30th anniversary of the global campaign of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence Against Women and Girls.

Violence against women and girls persists in conflict and crises because gender inequalities persist. The inequalities are exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and we must all work towards ending them. COVID-19 and conflict drastically increase gender based violence, child and forced marriage, female genital mutilation, and adolescent pregnancy, while also disrupting essential health services for women and girls. We gather in the knowledge that one in three women throughout Ethiopia faces physical or sexual violence at least once in their lifetimes after age 15. This must stop.

We recall, with grave concern, the findings of recent Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International reports on conflict related sexual and gender based violence (CRSV), and the CRSV elements of the report of the investigation by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC). We highlight the recommendations of the joint report and call for their implementation by all parties.

We further call on all parties to the conflicts in Ethiopia, including in northern Ethiopia, to uphold their obligations under international humanitarian law. Civilians must be protected, particularly women and girls from conflict related sexual violence.  We remind all parties of their obligations to ensure that humanitarian and medical personnel and their facilities are protected and rebuilt, and that they have safe, unimpeded access to people in need — this includes survivors of gender-based violence. Further, we call for all parties to explicitly condemn gender-based violence and to take transparent action to bring all perpetrators to justice and ensure redress for the survivors.

The leadership of women and girls, in all of their diversity, is needed in policy and decision making from global to local levels. This includes the most marginalized, including persons with disabilities and with chronic illness, refugees, the internally displaced, or others facing higher risk of violence and stigma and greater barriers to accessing services and justice. A woman whose human rights are respected, and who has control over her body, is more likely to be empowered in other areas of her life, thereby ensuring better outcomes in terms of health and education, income generation and safety. She, her family, community, and country are, in turn, more likely to thrive.

We call on Ethiopia to realize the full promise of its judicial and policy frameworks that protect women and girls, and to end impunity. We support Ethiopia in doing so. International and Ethiopian civil society organizations are deeply engaged in efforts to protect, serve, and advance Ethiopian women and girls throughout the country. They, and the Ethiopian women and girls they work with, have our unified and steadfast support. The time is NOW for all of us to join together and ACT to End Violence Against Women and Girls!

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Embassy of Belgium in Ethiopia (@BelgiumAddis)
Embassy of Canada in Ethiopia (@CanadaEthiopia)
Embassy of Denmark in Ethiopia (@Denmark_Addis and @DenmarkinEthiopia)
Embassy of Finland in Ethiopia (@FinEmbAddis and @FinlandinETH)
Embassy of Luxembourg in Ethiopia (@LUinAddisAbaba)
Embassy of the Netherlands in Ethiopia (@DutchEmbassyEthiopia and @NLinEthiopia)
Embassy of Sweden in Ethiopia (@SweinEthiopia and Ababa@embassyofswedenaddis)
Embassy of the United Kingdom in Ethiopia (@ukinethiopia)
UN Women (@unwomenethiopia)