16 Days of Activism

16 Days of Activism is an annual international campaign for the elimination of violence against women and girls that kicks off on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until 10 December, International Human Rights Day. The motto of the entire campaign “Orange the World” with different themes each year. This year, the theme is: “Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect!” and it looks at the impact of Covid-19 on violence against women and girls. Office of RTCYPP has been part of this campaign since 2017 when the religious leaders of Cyprus made an unprecedented joint statement on 8 March 2017, Condemning All Forms of Violence Against Women and Girls and committed to work together with state and civil society partners to end violence against women and girls in Cyprus. Office of RTCYPP will mark the 16 Days of Activism 2020 with the religious leaders of Cyprus and members of the faith communities. Join us for 16 days and lets us orange the world together.

Day 1: International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women & Girls

On 20 December 1993, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the “Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women” paving the path towards eradicating violence against women and girls worldwide.

Finally, on 7 February 2000, the General Assembly adopts resolution 54/134, officially designating 25 November as the International day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls and in so doing, invited governments, international organizations as well as NGOs to join together and organize activities designed to raise public awareness of the issue every year on that date.

25th November was observed as the day for the elimination of violence against women and girls by women’s rights organisations, since 1981, in honour of the Mirabal sisters, three political activists from the Dominican Republic who were brutally murdered in 1960 by order of the country’s ruler, Rafael Trujillo.

Day 2: Religious Leaders of Cyprus Condemn Violence Against Women and Girls

On 3 March 2017, the Religious Leaders of Cyprus made an unprecedented joint statement Condemning All Forms of Violence Against Women and Girls and committed to work together with state and civil society partners to end violence against women and girls in Cyprus.

Full text of statement can be found here: http://www.religioustrack.com/joint-statement-condeming-violence-against-women-and-girls.html

Day 3: Religious Leaders of Cyprus sign Joint Statement Condemning Violence Against Women and Girls

The Religious Leaders of Cyprus celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the Religious Track for the Cyprus Peace Process under the Auspices of the Embassy of Sweden, and together committed to building a culture of peace and trust, always defending and promoting human dignity.

Please see the video from the signing of the Joint Statement Condemning All Forms of Violence Against Women and Girls.

Day 4: Beijing Declaration & Platform for Action

2020 marks the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, a pivotal document affirming women’s rights and equality.

The Beijing Declaration remains the most progressive blueprint ever for advancing women’s rights. As a defining framework for change, the Platform for Action made comprehensive commitments under 12 critical areas of concern. The Beijing Platform for Action, still forward-looking, offers important focus in rallying people around gender equality and women’s empowerment. Even 25 years later, it remains a powerful source of guidance and inspiration. The 25th anniversary of Beijing opens new opportunities to reconnect, regenerate commitment, charge up political will and mobilize the public. Everyone has a role to play—for our common good. The evidence is increasingly in that empowering women empowers humanity. Economies grow faster; families are healthier and better educated.

Day 5: UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security

2020 marks the 20th anniversary of the milestone UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on “Women, Peace, and Security.”

With the adoption of Resolution 1325, the UN Security Council acknowledged for the first time that efforts to build and maintain peace and security are more sustainable when women meaningfully participate and have influence in political and security decision-making processes, and when women and girls are safe from violence, in conflict and crises.  This resolution set the groundwork for a series of nine additional resolutions on enhancing the roles, perspectives, and needs of women and women and girls in conflict and crises, and that addressing conflict-related sexual violence is a matter of international peace and security.  This landmark resolution reaffirms the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace negotiations, peacebuilding, peacekeeping, humanitarian response and in post-conflict reconstruction and stresses the importance of their equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security.

More information can be found here: https://www.un.org/womenwatch/osagi/wps/

Day 6: Sustainable Development Goals: Goal 5

2020 marks 5 years since the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) were signed on by 193 countries making it the most ambitious development agenda in history, which included a pledge to achieve gender equality and leave no one behind.

The Sustainable Development Goals, also known as the Global Goals, were adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030.The 17 SDGs are integrated- that is, they recognize that action in one area will affect outcomes in others, and that development must balance social, economic and environmental sustainability. Goal 5 calls for Gender Equality “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”.

More information can be found here: https://sdgs.un.org/goals/goal5

Day 7: Istanbul Convention

The Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, better known as the Istanbul Convention is the first instrument in Europe to set legally binding standards specifically to prevent gender-based violence, protect victims of violence and punish perpetrators.

Further information can be found here: https://www.coe.int/en/web/istanbul-convention/home

Day 8: Faith For Rights

The initiative “Faith for Rights” was launched by the UN OHCHR in March 2017 with an expert workshop in Beirut and addresses stakeholders in the field of religion or belief.  The initiative aims to provide space for a cross-disciplinary dialogue between religions and human rights, articulating that individual and communal expression of religions or beliefs thrive and flourish in environments where human rights are protected. The 18 Commitments included in the “Beirut Declaration” are formulated to take concrete action regarding the three core responsibilities of religious leaders articulated in the 2012 “Rabat Plan of Action” regarding racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence.

As part of the global Faith for Rights framework of the UN OHCHR, Office of RTCYPP has been raising awareness on the “Beirut Declaration” and its 18 commitments on “Faith for Rights” with corresponding follow-up actions, among others “to revisit religious interpretations that appear to perpetuate gender inequality and harmful stereotypes or even condone gender-based violence; to publicly denounce all instances of advocacy of hatred that incites to violence, discrimination or hostility; to monitor interpretations, determinations or other religious views that manifestly conflict with universal human rights norms and standards; to engage with children and youth who are either victims of or vulnerable to incitement to violence in the name of religion.”

Further information can be found here:

https://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/FreedomReligion/faith4rights-toolkit/Pages/Index.aspx

http://www.religioustrack.com/faith-for-rights.html

Day 9: Office of RTCYPP 16 Days of Activism Past Campaigns

In 2019 and 2018, the Office of RTCYPP organized a campaign for the 16 Days of Activism, where members of different religious communities in Cyprus came together  to raise awareness for the 16 Days of Activism following the 2017 Joint Statement by the Religious Leaders.

Office of RTCYPP has been part of 16 Days of Activism campaign since 2017 when the religious leaders of Cyprus made an unprecedented joint statement on 8 March 2017, Condemning All Forms of Violence Against Women and Girls and committed to work together with state and civil society partners to end violence against women and girls in Cyprus and promote the right to freedom of religion of belief.

This year, Office of RTCYPP initiated a reflection process in Cyprus on Gender Equality & freedom of religion or belief and joined the 16 Days of Activism 2020 by raising awareness, educating & celebrating the three landmark anniversaries of 2020 affirming women’s rights and equality.

Day 10: RTCYPP Roundtable Discussion on Gender Equality and Freedom of Religion or Belief

Human worth, dignity & equality are inborn traits, nobody can take them away!

On 25 November 2019, Office of RTCYPP with OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) hosted a roundtable discussion on women’s right to equality and the right to freedom of religion or belief. Women from different professional and personal backgrounds such as academia, media, NGOs and religious communities, joined in the roundtable discussion.

This discussion lead Office of RTCYPP to initiate a reflection process in 2020 on gender equality & freedom of religion or belief in Cyprus.

Further information found here: http://www.religioustrack.com/2019/10/25/rtcypp-news-25-10-19/

Day 11: UNiTE to End Violence against Women

In 2008, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s launched UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign is a multi-year effort aimed at preventing and eliminating violence against women and girls around the world.

UNiTE calls on governments, civil society, women’s organizations, young people, the private sector, the media and the entire UN system to join forces in addressing the global pandemic of violence against women and girls.

The campaign builds on existing international legal and policy frameworks, and works to synergize the efforts of all UN offices and agencies working to end violence against women.

Further information can be found here: https://www.unwomen.org/en/what-we-do/ending-violence-against-women/take-action

Day 12: Webinar on Freedom of Religion or Belief & Gender Equality

On 23 November 2020, Office of RTCYPP in cooperation with the Office of ODIHR of the OSCE, organized a webinar with Dr Ahmed Shaheed, the UN Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Religion or Belief and Dr Nazila Ghanea Associate Professor in International Human Rights Law at the University of Oxford on “Freedom of Religion or Belief & Gender Equality”.

The Webinar brought together women leaders from the faith-based communities and from secular civil society organisations, who have been part of RTCYPP works in one way or another, including staff of UN agencies based in Cyprus.

Full Press Release: http://www.religioustrack.com/2020/11/23/press-release-webinar-on-violence-against-women-girls-freedom-of-religion-or-belief-gender-equality/

Day 13: Religious Leaders Step Up their Efforts to End Violence Against Women

Day 14: Religious Leaders Step Up their Efforts to End Violence Against Women

Day 15: UN Secretary-General Guterres appealed to Religious Leaders

On 12 May 2020, UN Secretary General appealed to Religious Leaders all over the world – to play a role in advancing women’s equality and condemning violence against them.

…” I also made an appeal for peace at home. Across the globe we are seeing an alarming increase in violence against women and girls as this pandemic spreads. This is in violation of principles common to every faith, and I appeal to religious leaders to

categorically condemn such acts and support shared principles of partnership, equality, respect and compassion. Partnership also means ensuring women’s equal voice and representation in all spheres. I can share with you from my personal experience – in government and in the United Nations — that when we have a balance of perspectives, we have greater capacity to achieve our goals. 12 May 2020

“The Role of Religious Leaders in Addressing the Multiple Challenges of COVID-19”

Full Statement can be found here: https://www.un.org/sg/en/content/sg/speeches/2020-05-12/remarks-role-of-religious-leaders-addressing-multiple-challenges-of-covid-19

Day 16: International Human Rights Day

Human Rights Day is observed every year on 10 December — the day the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The UDHR, adopted in 1948, is a milestone document that proclaims the inalienable rights which everyone is entitled to as a human being – regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

In 2018, Office of RTCYPP marked and commemorated the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by commissioning an artwork, seen in this post, created by a Turkish speaking and a Greek speaking Cypriot young artists, illustrating Article 18 on Freedom of Religion or Belief and unveiled on Human Rights Day 2018, honoring the religious leaders of Cyprus for their continued joint efforts to uphold religious freedom in Cyprus.

This year, the theme of Human Rights Day is “Recover Better – Stand Up for Human Rights”.

The Religious Leaders of Cyprus have been committed to #StandUp4HumanRights since the inception of RTCYPP 10 years ago and to advocate together & advance  the right to freedom of religion.