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Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) and The Body Shop continue to collaborate in 2009 to highlight the issue of Violence against Women (VAW).

Publishing a brochure to coincide with International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women is significant as Malaysia joins the global 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence Campaign spanning over 130 countries to make a difference in ending violence against women

Why 16 days and why this time of the year?

The 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence campaign is an international campaign originating from the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute sponsored by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership in 1991. Participants chose the dates, November 25, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and December 10, International Human Rights Day, in order to symbolically link violence against women and human rights and to emphasize that such violence is a violation of human rights.

This 16 day period also highlights other significant dates including December 1, which is World AIDS Day, and December 6, which marks the Anniversary of the Montreal Massacre.

There are four significant dates during the 16 days

25th November commemorates the anniversary of the murder of the Mirabel sisters who were brutally murdered by the Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominican Republic in 1960.

1st December is World Aids Day to mark global effort to face the challenges of the AIDS pandemic. Furthermore the link between violence against women and their vulnerability to HIV infection is indisputable.

Montreal Massacre -on the 6th December, fourteen young female engineering students were shot dead at Montreal University in Canada in 1989. The gunman opened fire in two classrooms and the cafeteria after ordering 48 men in the room to leave, before opening fire, the gunmen shouted “You are all a bunch of feminists, and I hate feminists!”

International Human Rights Day (10th December) celebrates the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaimed in 1948. All governments acknowledged that everyone is entitled to all rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration without distinction of any kind such as race, colour, sex…”

(Dear friends, this is only Part 1 – we will bring you more info on our efforts in this year’s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence in Part 2. Coming soon!)

Annie Varghese – Project and Administration Manager, Women’s Aid Organisation, Malaysia

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