For immediate release:
16 Days of Activism: Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development (ARDD)-Legal Aid kicks off the global campaign against Gender-Based Violence in Jordan.
The 16 Days of Activism campaign is a global international advocacy effort against gender-based violence (GBV). The start and end dates of the Campaign are November 25th– International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and December 10th — Human Rights Day. These important dates emphasize that gender-based violence is a violation of human rights.
ARDD-Legal Aid is actively involved in implementing the 16 Days of Activism Campaign. The first campaign was organized in 1991 and since then the movement has grown to include more than 5,000 organizations in over 180 different countries. Participating organizations work on raising awareness on GBV at local, national, regional and international levels. The campaign furthermore seeks to provide a forum for dialogue and strategy-sharing in order to inform decision-makers of the need to implement commitments they made in national and international legal treaties regarding Human Rights and Women’s Rights.
For the last five years, the 16 Days of Activism Campaign focused on defining the intersections between militarism and violence against women. Militarism is a way of thinking that creates a culture of fear and supports the use of violence, aggression, or military interventions for settling disputes and enforcing economic and political interests. As a result of militarism, the Syrian crisis has surpassed 3 million refugees, the majority of which are women and children, the most vulnerable to incidences of GBV. Of Jordan’s 618,000 Syrian refugees nearly 4 out of 5 are women or children and over 1/3 of all refugee families are female headed households. The combination of exposure to armed conflict and forced displacement of vulnerable groups is an additional concern for humanitarian organizations.
Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development (ARDD)-Legal Aid, in partnership with Oxfam GB, has been implementing a refugee-centered project that aims to maintain and restore refugees’ dignity through raising their voices as active agents of change. The project “Voice” is being implemented in the governorates of Amman, Zarqa and Mafraq.
This year, Voice’s initiative in regards to 16 days of Activism will look at “Safe Spaces” with the purpose to engage Jordanian and Syrian refugees’ community in addressing GBV. At a basic level, Safe Spaces are the physical locations where men, women, girls and boys can feel physically and emotionally safe to share their experiences with professional staff dedicated to their protection. But Safe Spaces can also refer to facilitating/creating social environments free of abuse and exploitation where refugees, residents, and citizens of a country can enjoy their lives in full.
ARDD-Legal Aid will hold several 16 Days of Activism workshops with urban refugees in their community and an awareness raising session for students at the University of Jordan. ARDD-Legal Aid also worked with both Jordanian and Syrian youth in Zarqa to develop a song on expressing what a safe space means to them. The last five days of the campaign will come in synchronization with Karama Human Rights Film Festival, an annual film festival at the Royal Cultural Center that is dedicated to screening films from around the world that address Human Rights. As part of the festival, an awareness raising session, safe spaces photo exhibition and a panel discussion will be convened at the Karama Human Rights Film Festival on Saturday, December 6th to address Gender-Based Violence and Violence Against Women under the overarching theme of “Safe Spaces at Home and in Displacement.” These sessions will target various community groups such as community facilitators and various stakeholders who are concerned with this issue.
The 16 Days of Activism Campaign ends December 10 but local, national and international actors are encouraged to continue to raise awareness against Gender-Based Violence and Violence Against Women. ARDD-Legal Aid urges Jordan to continue to work and provide Safe Spaces for all vulnerable people in order to combat these issues.