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CARICOM secretariat goes “orange” to highlight ending violence against women and girls

Posted: Thursday, December 1, 2022. 10:49 am CST.

By Aaron Humes: The offices of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) secretariat in Georgetown, Guyana, were lit in orange on Tuesday and will remain so until December 10 in recognition of the 16 Days of Activism international campaign against violence against women and girls.

Secretary-General Dr Carla Barnett noted that the colour is symbolic of a brighter future free of violence against women and girls and that during these days the focus is on challenging harmful gender norms and ending the impunity, silence, and stigma that have allowed violence against women and girls to escalate and/or remain normalised in far too many countries.

The lighting ceremony itself happened on Women Human Rights Defenders Day, but such defenders are under threat: “Data from Front Line Defenders demonstrate that the killings of women human rights defenders are on the rise, as women are routinely targeted with violence, harassment, hate speech, discrimination, dissemination of personal or intimate information, defamation, and other forms of online violence to silence or punish their activism…”

The Secretary-General challenged stakeholders to work towards creating comprehensive and inclusive approaches that create the space for all to become activists for the prevention of violence against women, including civil society actors, human rights defenders, academia, artists, the private sector, governments, and men and boys. “This is not a struggle for feminist women alone,” Dr Barnett pointed out.

Yeşim Oruç, UN Resident Coordinator, Guyana, commended the CARICOM Secretariat for highlighting the significance of the “16 Days of Activism” and expressed appreciation for the “Spotlight Initiative” collaboration. She shared that the investments in gender equality and ending violence against women and girls by development partners, notably the European Union (EU) and the United Nations at large, along with Member States, is a pathway to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the Region.

The UN Resident Coordinator referred to gender-based violence (GBV) as a scourge and emphasised that the rates of violence against women in the Caribbean are above global averages. Referring to recent data, she highlighted that one in every two women in CARICOM Member States experienced intimate partner violence or domestic violence in their lifetime; however, she expressed pride in the fact that Member States are implementing programmes to combat violence against women.

“Belize, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago are implementing very successful Spotlight initiatives”, stated Oruç, “what we are recognising with this observance is that addressing issues of GBV, gender equality and women’s empowerment require a regional approach, and it is a testimony to the commitment of our international development partners, including the EU, to regional solutions for regionally shared problems and working through regional institutions, such as CARICOM, with whom we are very proud to be collaborating on the regional programme for Spotlight”.

 

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