International Day 2011 for the
Elimination of Violence against Women
PARLIAMENTARY EVENTS AROUND THE WORLD
Information on any event parliaments around the world are planning to hold to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and the 16 Days of Activism are listed in this section if the IPU is so informed. Below is a list of parliamentary events that IPU is aware of.
Click on the country name to see information about the corresponding parliament as stored in PARLINE database. To add information about an event to the list, please contact the IPU Secretariat.
Last updated on 25 January 2012
|Country||Description of event|
||On 23 November, the Speaker of the Meshrano Jirga (Upper House) of the National Assembly issued a press release to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women in which he assured the women of Afghanistan that the Meshrano Jirga would do its best to enact relevant legislation.
As part of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign, the Parliament organized on 8 December 2011 an open day at the National People’s Assembly. Members of parliament, representatives of the media and various associations were present.
The inaugural addresses made by the Speaker of the National People’s Assembly and the Minister Delegate for Families set the tone for the day. Three communications were subsequently presented. They dealt with the most recent annual report submitted by Algeria on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, on the problem as a social ill and on the activities of the Wassila Network, which offers medical and legal assistance, as well as counselling, to women and children who are victims of violence.
The debates focused on the need to strengthen the legal framework, draft laws on combating this problem and promoting the implementation of sensitization and prevention programmes through education about eliminating violence. These can be carried out in partnership with different institutions, notably civil society stakeholders.
||The Parliament of Andorra will be organizing the following activities to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women:
- 24 November: Adoption in plenary of a parliamentary declaration against gender-based violence.
- 25 November: Parliament will host a conference by Mr. Raúl Lizana Zamudio, an expert in gender-based violence, on this type of violence within couples. The conference will be open to the public and the media. It is expected that members of parliament, representatives of the Ministry of Health and civil society organizations involved in women's and human rights will attend.
Prior to the conference, a presentation will be made of the most recent data collected by the government agency with responsibility for women's issues (Equip d'atenció integral a la dona).
- 25 November: An article on violence against women written by the Deputy Speaker of Parliament will be carried in a free daily newspaper in Andorra
||On 19 September 2011, Ms. Barbara Prammer, Speaker of the National Council, and the Spokespersons for Women’s Affairs of the various parties represented in parliament, hosted an event to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Protection against Violence Act (“Gewaltschutzgesetz”). The event was attended by the Minister of the Interior and the Minister for Women, as well as judicial, law enforcement and NGO representatives.
The Act, which was expanded by the Second Protection against Violence Act in 2009, provides for the victim’s right to protection from immediate threat of violence by authorizing the police to impose eviction and restraining orders on perpetrators. According to Ms. Prammer, “This right has been enforced over 65,000 times thus far. Moreover, so-called intervention centres have been established, providing free counselling and support to victims of domestic violence. The number of persons making use of these services has tripled over the past 15 years.”
“The law has proven to be a promising example of legislation that provides for protection orders and has now been replicated in other European countries, including Germany. Close cooperation between administrative agencies, the judicial and law enforcement branches, and NGOs was a sine qua non condition for success. To ensure that the judiciary and other legal authorities develop a more practical understanding of this topic, aspiring judges and attorneys have recently been given the opportunity to complete an internship in the intervention centres.”
“In conclusion, it is no exaggeration to say that the 15-year history of the Protection against Violence Act is a success story. All the participants at the event agreed on this. Still, much remains to be done. In the future, special attention must be paid to protecting children from violence and sexual abuse, expanding the number of victim protection institutions, and tending to the special needs of migrant women”, added the Speaker of the Austrian Parliament.
||Under the coordination of the Standing Committee of the Council of the Republic of the National Assembly for Foreign Affairs and National Security, a host of events and activities were held at the Belarusian Trade and Economics University of Consumer Cooperatives. Among the discussion forums proposed by the IPU, training on eliminating gender stereotypes was provided, together with panel discussions of the young family club “Harmony”. The topics discussed were marriage, starting a family and reproductive health. Another meeting on ending discrimination and violence against women took place with the participation of the Belarus Red Cross Society.
The Standing Committee of the Council of the Republic for Education, Science, Culture and Social Development, as part of a stock-taking exercise on the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), organized an international seminar on trends in family and family policy in cooperation with UNFPA, UNDESA and the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection. The Committee Chairperson, Ms. Antonina Morova, indicated that women and girls fall victims to violence regardless of age, social or marital status, or location.
||To mark the International Day and the 16 Days of Activism, two events were held at the Belgian Parliament:
- On 29 October 2011, a flash mob was organized to sensitize MPs to the importance of implementing UN Security Council resolution 1325 on women and peace and security and the national Action Plan 1325.
- On 24 November 2011, a conference was organized by the women’s association « Vie féminine" on combating violence against women and zero tolerance. Parliamentarians were invited to attend.
||The parliament organized a workshop on eliminating gender-based discrimination with a view to ending gender-based violence on 5 December 2011 to mark the International Day and the 16 Days of Activism.
The workshop brought together parliamentary groups, members of parliamentary committees, women parliamentarians, representatives of ministry departments working directly on violence against women, civil society (organizations and traditional and religious leaders), as well as technical and financial partners.
The workshop provided an opportunity to reflect on ways of securing the effective implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in Burkina Faso.
On 2 December 2011, a workshop on the elimination of violence against women was held in Bujumbura. It was organized by the Association of Women Parliamentarians of Burundi (AFEPABU) under the aegis of the parliament and with UNDP support. Men and women parliamentarians, parliamentary staff, and representatives from civil society and international organizations such as UNDP and UN Women were in attendance.
At the end of their deliberations, the participants drew up the following nine recommendations to tackle violence against women: 1. Involve men more in sensitization activities; 2. optimize the police unit in charge of the protection of minors by using their services in combating violence against women; 3. review the education system and incorporate a module on gender; 4. educate children about gender equality; 5. expand sensitization efforts to the entire population; 6. sensitize couples to the issue of gender-based violence; 7. monitor closely the enforcement of laws protecting women’s rights; 8. pass laws that guarantee legal aid to women and other vulnerable persons; and 9. foster close collaboration between the committee on gender and the AFEPABU.
||For the third year in a row, the Chamber of Deputies commemorated the International Day with a programme of activities as follows:
See the Chamber’s website for more information.
- A banner on the International Day was posted on the Chamber’s website. It contained links to IPU documentation and the 2011 poster. The banner carried notes on the electronic daily newspaper and State-owned radio stations on activities related to the international campaign to end violence against women.
- On Thursday 24 November, each man and women MP was presented with a set of IPU posters, as well as a white ribbon, which is the symbol of the international campaign Say NO to Violence against Women.
- On Thursday 24 and Friday 25 November, guides from the Protocol Division handed out to visitors to the parliament posters, flyers and white ribbons in a bid to heighten awareness about this social ill.
- The Chamber of Deputies TV station produced a special programme to mark the International Day hosted by journalist Carolina Jiménez.
||On 1 December, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Yiannakis Omirou, made a statement before the Plenary to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. In this statement, he stressed that “measures to combat violence against women are promoted by the House of Representatives both through legislative initiatives and the exercise of parliamentary scrutiny. Moreover, the House follows developments in the issue and participates in the work of different international parliamentary organizations, which are very active in this field, particularly the Inter-Parliamentary Union and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, while it also organizes relevant events from time to time”. He added that “it is our duty to work collectively, so that a society of equal opportunities can be created, a society free of discrimination, stereotypes and prejudices, a society free of violence against women and free of violence against all human beings”.
||A representative group of young people were present at the launch of the Forum on “Young people’s right to a life free of violence”, organized by the Parliamentary Group for Women’s Rights to mark the International Day. The event, which took place on 24 and 25 November, at the seat of parliament, was organized with the support of the National Assembly, the Parliamentary Group for the Rights of Women in Ecuador, the Parliamentary Group for the Rights of Children, Adolescents and Youth and Colectivo Espíritu Combativo under the auspices UNFPA, UN Women and the Ágora Democrática Programme.
In addition, on 25 November, a musical concert was held to promote the rights of young people and mark the International Day of Non-Violence. The young people seized the opportunity to present the Speaker of the National Assembly, Fernando Cordero, with their proposals and comments on the Youth Act. Statistics on violence were presented by the Network for Good Governance and Ágora Democrática. In parallel, the Urban Art Fair was held, with travelling murals on the theme “Art to end violence against women”.
On the parliament’s website, MPs Scheznarda Fernández and Dora Aguirre operated blogs on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
||To mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the Hellenic Parliament organized two special sessions.
The Special Standing Committee on Equality, Youth and Human Rights convened a session on “The elimination of discrimination against women and the end of gender violence”. The special session was attended by representatives of the General Secretariat for Gender Equality, the Greek Women’s Association, the Women’s Rights League, the Political Association of Women, the Network to combat violence against women, the Democratic Women’s Movement, the Greek delegation to the European Women’s Lobby, and the Federation of Greek Women.
A special plenary session was devoted to a discussion on the elimination of violence against women. In his intervention during this session, the Speaker of the Hellenic Parliament, Mr. Philippos Petsalnikos, underlined that “The phenomenon of violence against women in our society is, of course, linked to the overall debate on whether we have achieved gender equality in substantial terms, not just at the legal and political levels, but also at the level of social consciousness and awareness.”
He noted that “without a conscious and coordinated social response, we see the propagation of stereotypes regarding gender relations and the roles of men and women in society”. “We find ourselves thus at mid-point in an effort which requires coordinated and systematic action. Legislative regulations and wishful thinking do not suffice. Efforts must begin in schools and within the family in order to educate adult men and women so they respect themselves and their fellow citizens. Social services must help working mothers, mothers of more than three children, to cope with their increased responsibilities, and we must address in an effective manner all forms of inequality and violence”.
The Committee on Human Rights of the Parliament of Lithuania set up a working group in 2010 to draft a law on protection against domestic violence. The Law was adopted in May 2011 and entered into force in December 2011. The Committee has continued to work on this issue, organizing discussions in order to identify loopholes and assess the capacity of institutions involved in implementing this law.
On 10 October 2011, the Committee on Human Rights organized an international conference on Protection from Domestic Violence: the Challenge of Implementation. The conference was followed by a march held under the slogan “Take Back the Night” and a concert. The parliament hosted an exhibition entitled The Story of the Dress on violence against women.
On 23 November 2011, the Committee on Human Rights discussed the possibility of Lithuania signing the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. On 2 December 2011, members of the Committee took part in a conference on Cooperation and Training against Domestic Violence, which was organized by the Social Innovation Fund, a non-governmental organization.
||The Women’s Caucus in the Parliament of Malaysia organized two activities to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
A public awareness campaign was organized on 21 November 2011. This was spearheaded by Minister Mohamed Nazri Aziz, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, and by the Chair of IPU Malaysia and the Women’s Caucus, headed by Ms. Nancy Shukri. As part of the campaign, leaflets and information were distributed about the rights of women and children. The campaign was supported by the various NGOs.
On 24 November 2011, the Women’s Caucus organised a forum, with panellists from the various government agencies and NGOs speaking on the topic and interacting with other members of parliament. The forum adopted a resolution urging the government to set up a council for the elimination of violence against women and children and a commission for gender equality.
||On 29 November 2011, parliamentarians made statements in the House of Representatives to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Opposition MP Helena Dalli, Chief Spokesperson on equality, and government MP Edwin Vassallo, Chairman of the Social Affairs Committee, spoke on this issue.
To mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the Senate organized a number of activities, including a Forum on “Violence against Women in Mexico: Analysis and Views”. At that event, mention was made of the relevant laws and the need for the three branches of government - the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary - to take measures to eliminate violence against women.
The parliamentary blocs made statements on the current status of violence against women, the work of international organizations working in this field, relevant legislative measures, and the challenges encountered by Mexican women in dealing with this type of violence.
Agreement was reached on the need to develop income-generating projects for women, strengthen programmes for rural women and disseminate information on measures taken to promote and protect the rights of women and girls.
The Department for International Forums, which falls under the General Coordination Office for International Affairs and Parliamentary Relations, posted a message on the Senate website on the International Day.
The Equality and Gender Committee discussed issues such as public policy to combat violence against women; mechanisms to protect, defend and guarantee the exercise of women’s political rights; and the need to set up databases on the number of deceased or disappeared victims, among other data.
The Chamber of Deputies organized during the months of November and December a number of events on the following themes:
- Progress in devising tools and formulating policy measures based on the General law on the right of women to lead a life free of violence;
- Report on the State’s compliance with CEDAW and the Belem do Pará Convention in terms of the legislative work undertaken by the LXI Legislature of the Chamber of Deputies;
- Formulating public policy to address obstacles women face in accessing justice;
- The gender dimension and perspective in the right to access criminal justice and due process for women;
- Presentation of the book “Gender-based violence in Mexico” on statistics, legal framework, budget and public policy; and
- Events organized by the Equality and Gender Committee on “Preventing Violence against indigenous women”.
||The Committee on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men of the Chamber of Deputies held a series of debates throughout 2011on preventing and combating violence against women.
The Committee initiated a bill on preventing and combating domestic violence. The various parliamentary committees debated how to enhance legislation on preventing and combating domestic violence as part of the fight against domestic violence.
The Committee Chairperson, Mrs. Cristina Ancuţa Pocora, MP, appeared in the media a number of times to speak out on this issue, and on action needed to eliminate all forms of violence against women.
||On 24 November 2011, the Chamber of Deputies adopted in plenary session a declaration on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Centred on the theme “From peace in the home to peace in the world: Act together to prevent and fight gender-based violence”, the declaration denounces inter alia all acts that disrupt world peace and security, including wars, terrorism, kidnapping and human trafficking, violence, harassment, torture and other inhumane and degrading acts, acts that disrupt the peace and security of homes, and all forms of violence, particularly against women and girls, in the home, at school, in the workplace or in any other place. This declaration calls on all Rwandans “to always bear in mind that women’s rights are human rights, and thereby to refrain from any act or conduct that may lead to their abuse”. It also calls upon all women to participate more in economic empowerment programmes, in particular by joining cooperatives, credit unions and savings schemes, and by becoming involved in income-generation activities and mutual assistance schemes. It goes on to invite all Rwandans and residents of Rwanda - men and women - “to stand together and fight any act that constitutes a disruption to peace and security, be it at the level of their homes, at the regional level or at the country level”.
||The Captains Regent - the Heads of State and Government of the Republic of San Marino - and the Presiding Officers of Parliament granted a public audience to the Authority for Equal Opportunities to present its annual report. The Authority organized a theatrical performance on gender stereotypes, entitled “Principessa – Qualunque cosa accada” (Princess no matter what), in partnership with the Department of Education and Training of the University of San Marino. It was held under the patronage of the State Secretariat for Health.
||The parliament published information on its website on the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence. A press release was issued by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities. The text, which stresses the need for stringent parliamentary oversight, provided an overview of action taken by the parliament since 2009 to combat violence against women. The Committee Chairperson, Ms. Dorothy Ramodibe, said “that although parliament had passed laws such at the Domestic Violence Act, 1998, Children’s Act, 2005, Children‘s Amendment Act, 2007, and Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matter) Act 32 of 2007, the implementation of those laws needed to be closely monitored.”
“In 2009, the Portfolio Committee on Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities, in conjunction with the Select Committee on Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities, conducted public hearings on the implementation of the Domestic Violence Act since its implementation 11 years previously.
Findings from the public hearings revealed that despite significant legislative and policy advancements, an alarmingly high number of women, children and persons with disabilities continued to be subjected to domestic violence. Moreover, since the public hearings, the Committee conducted oversight in various provinces in 2010 and 2011 and noted with concern that there was an increase in reported crimes against children, particularly rape and sexual assault, and that overall, poor implementation of laws impacted on service delivery.
The Committee noted that government officials responsible for the implementation of the laws that serve to protect women, children and persons with disabilities against violence, abuse, neglect and discrimination must receive ongoing training to better understand the law and implement it effectively.
Record keeping, with data disaggregated by sex and age for the beneficiaries of services for victims of violence and abuse, remained crucial to monitor and evaluate trends and to identify high-risk areas. Improved coordination and inter-sectoral collaboration is another vital aspect of ensuring that the laws and policies in place are implemented effectively.”
||The National Assembly of the Kingdom of Thailand conducted the following activities to commemorate the International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women:
- An exhibition at the National Assembly building to provide information and highlight the importance of the Day to the parliamentarians and parliamentary officials;
- Distribution of a “White Ribbon” pin to campaign for action to eliminate violence against women; and
- Radio interviews of the members of the Standing Committee on Children, Youth, Women, the Elderly, and the Disabled of the House of Representatives. The radio programme was broadcast to audiences on 25 November to promote the campaign on eliminating violence against women.
||The National Assembly commemorated the International Day with a series of activities.
The high point of these events was the submission to parliament on 28 November 2011 of a bill to combat violence against women and girls in Togo. The bill is the fruit of collaborative efforts between the National Assembly and the IPU. All sectors of society were involved in identifying solutions to this problem. Following the recommendations of a public consultation on violence against women and girls organized in parliament in May 2011, a drafting committee, composed of MPs and civil society representatives, drew up the bill, which is currently before the National Assembly for debate and adoption.
The following day, during a press conference held by the Women’s Caucus, Ms. Christine Mensah-Atoemne, Chairperson of the Human Rights Committee and Vice-President of the Caucus, made a presentation on the purpose and main features of the bill to the local media and through them, the wider public.
On 25 November, the Women’s Caucus travelled to Vogan and Sokodé to discuss with constituents ways of ending violence against women and girls. These visits were organized with UNDP support and in collaboration with La Colombe and le Collectif des Femmes de Tchaoudjo, two women’s associations.
||To mark the International Day, the Select Committee on Gender and Equality of the House of Representatives held a special session attended by representatives of the Ministry of Social Development, the Ministry of the Interior, the Bicameral Women’s Caucus, the Uruguayan Network against Domestic and Social Violence, Caminos (an interdisciplinary centre), PIT-CNT and Mujeres de Negro, a women’s association. The session issued a declaration recognizing the State’s compliance with the provisions of the Belém Do Pará Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women. It renewed the commitment to continue working to provide women with a life free of violence, it being understood that “it is not possible to build a democratic, respectful and tolerant society if this scourge is not eliminated”.
||The National Assembly of Zambia marked the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence with a number of activities in a show of solidarity with the international community. The Parliament joined the rest of the country in commemorating the event under the national theme for 2011: “Create peace in the home for peace in Zambia: United we stand to end violence against women and children”. On 25 November, selected members of parliament took part in a march to commemorate the International Day and the 16 Days of Activism. On 28 November, the National Assembly held a sensitization day for members of parliament and parliamentary staff. The morning was dedicated to discussions on the elimination of all forms of gender-based violence. In the afternoon, the Support to the HIV/AIDS response in Zambia (SHARE Project) held talks with all members of parliament to sensitize them to HIV/AIDS.
|East African Legislative Assembly (EALA)|
On 24 November, EALA adopted a resolution to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and the 16 Days of Activism. White ribbons to mark the day were given to members, EALA staff, members of the Burundi National Assembly and civil servants. In the resolution, EALA decides notably to: create awareness of the need to protect women’s rights and to advocate for mechanisms that support victims and survivors of abuse; request the Council of Ministers to urge partner States to establish gender-based violence centres, and police and hospital hotlines that would provide special care and assistance to victims and survivors of abuse; promote women’s empowerment, in particular rural women grappling with the challenges of poverty, discrimination and violence; pay special attention to women with disabilities under similar circumstances; and support efforts to reduce arms in society, which tend to be the common denominator in many cases of domestic violence.
|Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe||On 25 November, the Committee on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men of the Parliamentary Assembly met in Edinburgh and discussed two reports on violence against women, in particular psychological violence and protection orders for victims of domestic violence.|
Both reports elaborate on aspects that are included in the Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (also known as the Istanbul Convention). The Convention is a new Council of Europe instrument that is currently open for signature and ratification. Once it enters into force, this instrument will hopefully be a turning point in the fight to eliminate this scourge.
For information about parliamentary events organized in connection with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women in previous years, use the links below: