DR Congo

DR Congo: The UNHCR campaign "16 days of action against gender based violence" starts

For better awareness on gender based violence and to promote strategies on the means of better fighting this violence, the UNHCR is organizing a campaign consisting of activities and events from 25 November to 10 December 2008, in collaboration with other international partners.

The campaign, "16 days of action against gender based violence," campaign originating from the first Women's Global Leadership Institute in 1991, is a worldwide campaign which endeavours to mobilise the communities of all countries to put an end to all forms of violence perpetrated for gender reasons.

The topic for this year is "Human rights for women and human rights for all: 60 years of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights."

This theme - which underlines the concept according to which human rights could not be universal without being guaranteed for men and women independent of their gender, and on the fact that the human rights cannot be fully respected as long as gender based violence continues, offers an occasion to stress the close links between gender based violence and human rights violations.

In addition to the activities organised by the UNHCR in the DRC during these 16 days of action, there are a series of conferences being organised in the three universities in the capital of the DRC, including the National University of Kinshasa, the Protestant University of Congo and the Free University of Kinshasa, with the participation of MONUC's Gender section.

In Kinshasa, training for urban refugees will also take place, as well as discussion debates in some secondary schools where refugee children attend.

In the eastern DRC, where the UNHCR carries out most of its operations with its programme for internally displaced people, conferences, debates, marches, and theatre pieces will take place during the 16 day campaign.

The activity "to give a hand to push back the violence," which consists of the handprints of HCR staff, refugees and any person who will take part in the activities will be posted on a panel, to testify to their engagement against gender based violence.

Lastly, the UNHCR draws the attention of civil society and the international community to the White Ribbon campaign. This campaign, within the framework of the 16 days of action, represents the most important movement in the world for men and boys fighting to eradicate violence against women and girls.

While carrying a white ribbon, the men and the boys commit themselves not to make, tolerate or overlook any violence against women.