Southern Sudan: JRS promotes women's rights in Kajo Keji
16 January 2009

Women in Kajo Keji celebrate Girl Education Day. (Phil Cunningham/JRS)
The “16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence” is an international campaign originating from the first Women’s Global Leadership institute sponsored by the Centre for Women’s Global Leadership in 1991.
Kajo Keji, 16 January 2009 The 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in December 2008 was a historic moment to recognise the past decades of work to secure the conventions and treaties that make up the human rights framework. The principles of the declaration also gave legitimacy to activists around the world who were calling for the realisation of universal human rights. Human rights cannot be universal without women’s rights and like every year since its introduction in 1991 the “16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence” campaign offered an opportunity to advocate for women rights, to end gender inequality and to create a world free from violence, discrimination and injustice.

In Kajo Keji, hundreds of county residents gathered for the launch of the campaign on November 25, 2008. Activities started with Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) campaigns in six primary and four secondary schools. The campaigns were conducted in both JRS supported and government aided schools to address the issue of early or forced marriage, defilement and rape since SGBV is associated with sexual transmitted diseases like HIV/AIDS. At the same time the campaign was a tool to promote girl’s education in the county.

In preparation of the campaign, different radio talk shows have been conducted on topics like SGBV key concepts and effects of SGBV, physical and psychosocial impacts, response and referral mechanism, prevention, legal aspects of SGBV, the relationship between SGBV and HIV/AIDS and the social discrimination people living with HIV/AIDS experience.

International Day Against Violence Against Women and International Human Rights Day coincide

The campaign has been funded by the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) and organised in a joint effort by UNHCR, several NGOs, the police and the Gender & Child Welfare Department in the county. JRS participated fully by providing logistics and the radio talk shows as well as by organising transport for people living with HIV/AIDS who came to give their life testimonies.

Being the first joint sensitisation, the campaign received a great deal of appreciation from the community that called for continued campaigns in subsequent years. The campaign has been the first in the county where other agencies were involved by UNHCR, including JRS which took an active role. It is our hope that attitudes in regard to gender violence will change if such campaigns are conducted consistently.

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







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