16-Day Campaign of Activism for Ending Gender-Based Violence in Syria

Violence against women is one of the most widespread and devastating human rights violations in today’s world. This violence is a barrier to gender-equality, and women’s and girls’ rights and empowerment ..

On 25th of November  each year, the world commemorates the 16-day campaign for “Ending violence against Women" through renewed activities that last till December 10th which marks the International Human Rights Day. This campaign was launched by the United Nations in 1991.

The campaign aims at raising awareness on the importance of combating violence against women and girls as well as supporting and empowering them.

  Violence against women is categorized by the United Nations as the most severe form of discrimination as women around the world are subjected to different forms of violence mainly physical , psychological, sexual, and economic violence, thus government and civil efforts of the world countries focus on the eliminating violence against women and reintegrating abused women into society.

 The Syrian Commission for Family Affairs And Population ( SCFAP) is working hard  on the ground  in cooperation with the concerned sides to work out programs and plans to support and empower women educationally, socially and economically, especially those who have been subjected to violence in all its forms.

Head of SCFAP, Dr. Akram Al-Qash made it clear that the SCFAP’s national violence observatory was reactivated  last June to evaluate the commission's experience and apply it to other governorates.

"20 centers were specified in Damascus to monitor violence cases that reach the hospitals of  the Ministry of Health and Higher Education as well as the Ministry of Interior, the centers of the Syrian Trust for Development  and the NGOs”, according to Dr. al-Qash

He  explained that the capacity-building monitoring staff was trained in cooperation with the United Nations Population Fund ( UNDP ) , pointing out that the outcomes of monitoring cases of violence will help decision- makers to work-out  plans related to combating   violence in addition to appropriate response plans at the family and community levels.

Concerning  the work of the Family Protection Unit , which was inaugurated in 2017 by the SCFAP , Dr. Al-Qash underscored that it is the first specialized government body  to deal with cases of violence against women and children. It provides the victims with temporary residence, rehabilitates them and reintegrates them  into society. The unit also provides legal and medical consultations and services as well as psychosocial support,  requalification and vocational training.

Dr. Al-Qash pointed out that the National Framework for Women Empowerment, prepared by the SCFAP  in cooperation with the concerned bodies , has become part of  Syria’s post-war  program. He clarified that due to the critical circumstances imposed on the Syrians by the brutal war Syria, women have played multiple roles in society and entered different domains in the job market with a contribution rate of 24% according to some surveys.

As part of the activities of the 16-day campaign , which is being held under the slogan "It is your right to speak”,  a number of awareness –raising sessions ,  symposiums, lectures and workshops are due to be held on Gender-Based-Violence GBV issues  throughout all the Syrian provinces in cooperation with NGOs.

In Damascus a number of artistic activities are due to be held to shed light on the violence against women through art in addition to holding free bazaars which display handicrafts, accessories, food products and clothes by a number of women.. 

It is noteworthy to mention that Syria in 2002 ratified the CEDAW Convention, adopted by the United Nations in 1979, an international convention against violence and discrimination against women, which includes 30 articles and ratified by 189 countries.

Rawaa Ghanam