A United Nations call to “Orange YOUR Neighbourhood” kicked off on the 25th of November with people around the world displaying the colour to symbolize hope for a future free from violence against women and girls.
On Tuesday for the first time ever, both the iconic Empire State Building and UN Headquarters in New York shone in orange light. In Times Square, one of the world’s most visited tourist attractions, the NASDAQ and Reuters Tower screens flashed the colour along with anti-violence messages on 25 November, the International Day to End Violence against Women.
“We need this eye-catching colour everywhere so that the message is loud and clear: we all need to work together to stop violence against women and girls right now,” says UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. “That includes men and boys standing up for what’s right and working with us and the women’s movement to tackle gender inequality. We have to end this universal violation of human rights. We know what works; now we are insisting on the commitment of political action and commensurate resources to that agenda.”
“Orange YOUR Neighbourhood” is part of the UN Secretary-General’s campaign UNiTE to End Violence against Women. The theme will carry through related events during the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, which run between 25 November and 10 December, Human Rights Day.
For the 16th year, South Africa is taking part in the global campaign, with the theme "Count me in: Together moving a non-violent South Africa forward", the campaign was officially launched by President Jacob Zuma in Reiger Park, Ekurhuleni, on 25 November.
In Africa, among a series of creative initiatives, a film forum will be hosted in Uganda screening stories focusing on the experiences of women's lives, and a collaborative venture with Talk Radio 702 in South Africa, will promote zero tolerance for gender-based violence.
South Africa is still home to high levels of violence against its women and children, despite a world-renowned Constitution and a legislative overhaul that safeguards women's and children's rights.
The government, business, civil society organisations, faith-based organisations and the media are all participating in the drive to increase awareness of the negative impact of violence and abuse on women and children.
While the campaign runs only for 16 days each year, its objectives are reinforced by a year-long programme and a national plan to combat abuse.
Despite recent progress in many countries to stop violence, gaps remain, with devastating consequences. Around the world, women are beaten in their homes, harassed on the streets and bullied on the Internet. One in three women experiences physical or sexual violence at some point in her life – mostly by an intimate partner. Among all women killed in 2012, nearly half died at the hands of a partner or family member. Far too often, crimes go unpunished and perpetrators walk free.
A critical juncture has been reached with global recognition that violence against women and girls is a serious but solvable problem. Momentum is growing as the world gears up in 2015 to mark the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action, as well as the end of the Millennium Development Goals and the framing of a bold new global development agenda.
“Together we must make 2015 the year that marks the beginning of the end of gender inequality,” Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka added. “Now is the time for action.”
Join the conversation: Follow @SayNO_UNiTE and share your messages using the hashtags #orangeurhood and #16days.
Source: UN Women