The International Knowledge Network of Women in Politics (iKNOW Politics), a joint project of UN Women, UNDP, the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and International IDEA, produced an awareness-raising video on violence against women in politics (VAWP) and published it on the knowledge platform in 4 languages (English, Spanish, French, Arabic). https://www.iknowpolitics.org/en/learn/video/violence-against-women-politics
UN-Women Lebanon, supported by the Government of Japan, also held national awareness-raising events on VAWP and produced a video communicating data, research and women’s experiences. The video is available here.
OHCHR, Physicians for Human Rights, and UN Women published a report in December 2019 that identified key gaps and concrete actions to prevent and respond to cycles of election-related sexual violence in Kenya, called “Breaking Cycles of Violence: Gaps in Prevention of and Response to Electoral-Related Sexual Violence in Kenya.” The video is available here.
UN Women East & Southern Africa Regional Office intensified the advocacy and awareness on the need for intense action against child marriage and other harmful practices across Africa as a result of the first East and Southern Africa regional multi-stakeholder knowledge seminars held in Kenya. During the seminars, the findings and recommendations from studies undertaken by ESARO thematic teams were presented. Studies covered:
- Technology Assisted Violence Against Women;
- Administrative Data for Monitoring and Reporting on SDGs;
- And Ending Child Marriage in Africa” was held in Kenya.
Seminar participants called for intensified review of country policies on child marriage and ending violence against women and girls and made commitments for action through their organizations as well as lobbying other stakeholders in localizing the recommendations of the studies.
During the year 70 student leaders from 30 universities in Kenya committed to taking responsibility in remedying and ending tech-assisted violence against women and girls. UN Women developed a research paper and facilitated a knowledge seminar on protection of girls from tech violence with participation of 70 student leaders from 30 Universities across Kenya. The seminar highlighted several manifestations of tech-assisted violence against women and girls including revenge porn, cyber enticement, solicitation, online grooming, cyber harassment, cyber bulling and exposure to harmful online content. The seminar culminated into the signing of a pledge by all with the student leaders from Maseno, Kenyatta, Jomo Kenyatta and Moi Universities initiating diverse related interventions including a HeforShe club to address the issues of technological violence against women and girls. Technology-Assisted Violence Against Women and Girls is emerging as a global problem with serious implications for societies and economies around the world. Reports indicate that an incredible 73 per cent of women have been exposed to some form of violence online. While technology is helping the women specifically youth in a number of ways, it is also becoming a challenge with increased incidents of hate speech (publishing a blasphemous libel), hacking (intercepting private communications), identity theft, online stalking (criminal harassment) and uttering threats.
A number of countries in ESAR such as Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Burundi have strengthened the multi-sectoral response and referral pathway in GBV cases by working closely with the law enforcement, health and social services actors.
Advocacy and Awareness on Ending Child Marriage and FGM in Africa: UN Women East & Southern Africa Regional Office in partnership with the country offices, UNFPA, UNICEF, African Union, CSOs established partnerships with the Traditional and Cultural Leaders in the Region in accelerated advocacy and initiatives on ending child marriage, FGM and Harmful practices. To this end, UN Women adopted an innovative approach in engaging traditional and cultural leaders on ending harmful practices to bring a transformational change in the lives of women and girls. UN Women facilitated sub-regional and regional consultations of Traditional and Cultural Leaders, in Nairobi-Kenya, Blantyre-Malawi, Lagos-Nigeria and Cairo-Egypt wherein high level commitments and resolutions were adopted by the Traditional Leaders calling for immediate end to Child Marriage and FGM. UN Women through leadership of H.E. President of Zambia and the African Union, facilitated a Platform for the Traditional Leaders from Africa Region to convene in the sidelines of the AU Summit and launch of the Council of Traditional Leaders (COTLA) on 11 February 2019 in Addis Ababa. The Traditional Leaders made the Addis Ababa Declaration calling for immediate end to Child Marriage and FGM and their commitment to work towards this goal through establishing regional, national and district level councils of traditional leaders. UN Women will continue the work with traditional leaders for a lasting impact in 2020 and beyond.
UN Women HQ partnered with the Physicians for Human Rights in organizing a regional workshop on “Child Witnesses in SGBV Cases”, which was attended by around 24 experts from 8 countries mostly from the conflict and humanitarian context countries in Africa. ESARO represented UNW HQ in making a presentation on its work in EVAW focussing on harmful practices and protection of child witnesses. The training helped in sharing global practices including use of technology to assist child witnesses in SGBV cases, which have been adopted by some of the participant countries.
In Rwanda, UN Women, IOM, UNHCR, and UNICEF, supported the Government with capacity building and awareness raising activities, and facilitated the establishment of a Technical Committee which brought together representatives from relevant government institutions, increasing coordination and information sharing. Through UN agencies, a baseline study/research on trafficking in Rwanda has been conducted, several tools developed, including the legal framework guide for practitioners. The new law in combination with the increased capacity, awareness and coordination, has increased the attitude and the response towards trafficking in persons. It is envisioned to result in more identified cases, more prosecuted perpetrators and better support to victims.
In Somalia, UN Women worked closely with the Ministry of Women and Human Rights Development and other UN Agencies towards enactment of Human Rights Commission Law and National Disability Act. Both the laws aims at prevention of discrimination and promote gender equality as an instrument to achieve human rights.
UN Women in close collaboration with UNFPA, UNDP and UNSOM is actively engaged in passage of the Sexual Offence Bill and FGM Bill. The Sexual Offence Bill has already been approved by the cabinet of ministers and awaits endorsement at the parliament. The FGM bill is in the final stages of drafting and soon will be presented to the cabinet of ministers. The Sexual Offences Bill (SOB) seeks to serve the purpose of combating sexual violence and consolidating laws of sexual offences, providing for punishment of perpetrators of sexual offenses, providing for procedural and evidential requirements during trial of sexual offenses and other related matters.
In South Africa, UN Women worked closely with the women’s machinery, law enforcement and CSOs in organizing Trainings on essential services package and also a Pilot of Rapid Results Initiative to accelerate GBV services delivery in EC. UN Women SAMCO successfully implemented a joint programme on GBV in collaboration with other UN agencies buoyed by its role as chair of the Gender Theme Group. This contributed to significantly enhancing coordination of GBV Prevention and Response efforts in South Africa by all stakeholders. As a result there is improved integrated UN system, government and national multi-stakeholder capacity for responding to GBV in South Africa. UN Women SAMCO played a pivotal role in ensuring that there is better coordination of UN agencies work on gender-based violence. Through SAMCO's role as chair of the Gender Theme Group UN agencies managed to deliver as one in providing technical and financial support to the country through the Interim Steering Committee on GBV and Femicide that is chaired by the Presidency. There is better division of labour and sharing of information to avoid duplication but also ensure that gaps are minimized in terms of providing support to the government. A National Coordination Mechanism (National GBV Council) supported by draft legislation to mandate the establishment of this National Gender Based Violence Council are currently under consideration by the Cabinet to institutionalize the coordination mechanism of government, civil society, development partners, business sector, youth and other role players.
In Tanzania, UN Women supported the preparation of the strategic plan and implementation of the women’s land rights campaign, called Stand for Her Land, as well as high-level government participation in its November 21, 2019 launch event. This campaign is advocating for the removal of some provisions in the Customary Law Declaration Order of 1963 and the Land Policy of 1995 that continue to uphold property-right discrimination against women, despite the existence of progressive land laws in Tanzania. (The Local Customary Law (Declaration Order) of 1963 discriminates against women on property ownership, especially inheritance of land. Widows have no right of inheritance, nor rights of residence in the matrimonial home after death of their husbands. Sections in the Probate and Administration of Estates Act, Section 92(1) deny widows the right to inherit from their deceased husband’s estate and give daughters unequal share of the estate compared to sons).
In Uganda, Working with UN Women, Communication for Development Uganda (CDFU) started implementation of dialogue meetings to sensitize the communities against harmful practices and communications for behavioural change. Now that CDFU has a platform, they plan to continue sensitizing and testifying against Female Genital Mutilation because the dangers are known, and we should not keep quiet about them leading young girls into pain and suffering. CDFU condemns the practice of FGM and declare that we do not want young women to undergo this process that almost claimed Margaret’s life. CDFU is engaging media to educate and raise awareness around the ills of the practice of FGM. In collaboration with UN Women, CDFU also works has radio listening and action platforms (LAPS), whereby the organization buys radios for the community with pre-recorded messaging educating on these ills. Along with other UN Women partners who work in this area (such as Justice Centers and CEDOVIP), CDFU continue to sensitize against this harmful practice and amplify the voices of survivors.
In Kenya, Prevention of sexual harassment (SH) in the institutions of higher learning was strengthened through the partnership with Action Aid, University Student leaders, and Vunja Calabash and enhanced the demand for University leadership to address sexual harassment as a priority. An online campaign, petition and visibility in social media brought all actors together to advocate for SH prevention signed up by 11,000 students, which positioned some 5 key issues that the university leadership should address. Male engagement as a strategy for SGBV prevention led to partnership with boda boda and matatu welfare leaders where an agreed code of conduct was adopted, and the members consented to comply and abide by the bylaws. Community outreaches by men and cultural leaders has led to renouncement of harmful practices such as FGM and GBV through community declarations.
Advancing the Istanbul Convention implementation: The role of women's NGOs and networks in the Western Balkans and Turkey
This report provides an overview of the current situation regarding the implementation of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (also known as the Istanbul Convention) in the Western Balkans and Turkey. It examines the impact of networking on advocacy efforts to promote the implementation of the Istanbul Convention, including the role of organizations that represent minority or disadvantaged groups of women. The report provides examples of good practice in advocacy and a summary of lessons learnt and benefits and challenges of networking partnerships. This publication was produced under the framework of the EU-UN Women regional programme on ending violence against women in the Western Balkans and Turkey, "Implementing Norms, Changing Minds," funded by the European Union. The report is available here.