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Syria participates in the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence

Damascus, � The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence kicked off Friday under the theme From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Make Education Safe for All to raise awareness and mobilize public opinion to bring real and significant change in the lives of women and girls.

Mahdi al-Laham, from the United Nations Population Fund (UNPFA) gender-based violence program in Syria, said that as part of the 16-day campaign, Syria will hold a series of activities and events across the country to introduce women to support services available for those who were subjected to violence and the centers specialized in providing such kind of support.

He added that this global campaign was first launched in 1991 and it runs from 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, until 10 December, Human Rights Day.

UNFPA media and communication officer in Damascus Kinda Katranji underlined the importance of media to shed light on gender-based violence, adding that nearly 150 activities will be organized across the country within the framework of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence.

Director of Developmental Media at the Information Ministry Ammar Ghazali stressed the key role of mass media: press, radio and television as a partner in this campaign through broadcasting programs, news and short films on this issue in order to raise awareness and take steps to change reality.

In his statement on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, Executive Director of UNFPA, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, said that empowering women and girls requires renewed efforts to eliminate violence and harmful practices,

This is 2016 and yet one in three women worldwide still experiences or has experienced some form of physical or sexual violence, usually perpetrated by someone she knows. Moreover, millions of women and girls have been subjected to other forms of violence and harmful practices, he added.

Osotimehin noted that the health consequences of violence are enormous and include permanent disability, lingering psychological trauma, unwanted pregnancies and complications associated with forced or unsafe abortions. Exposure to, and fear of, violence deprive women and girls of their rights�to education, health and decent livelihoods.

He indicated that protecting women and girls from violence and harmful practices is not only a moral and human rights imperative, it is also critical to the economic and social progress of nations, regretting that discrimination against women and girls remains pervasive in every society and one of the greatest obstacles to socio-economic development.

It's worth mentioning that more than 70% of women around the world are victims of violence, according to the UN statistics.

The UNFPA, works to eliminate gender-based violence in countries around the world, many of which are affected by conflict or natural disasters, and where the risk of violence against women and girls is high. Last year alone, the Fund invested more than $93 million in the prevention of and response to gender-based violence and harmful practices in developing countries and in humanitarian crisis situations.

Source: Syrian Arab News Agency