European Union Ambassador to the Republic of South Sudan Dr Sinead Walsh on Monday joined her counterparts from United Kingdom, Chris Trott, Norway, Siv Kaspersen and the UNFPA Country Representative in South Sudan, Dr Mary Otieno to light candles to express their support to ending gender based violence (GBV) in the new nation.
Organised by the Ministry of Gender, Social Welfare and Religious Affairs, UNFPA and the International Rescue Committee (IRC), the launch of the 16 Days of Activism was marked by the lighting of candles, speeches, music and drama performances on the theme of 'Join Hands: Stand Against Rape'.
Along with the other colleagues, Ambassador Walsh lit a candle and signed a banner with her commitment towards ending all forms of gender-based violence.
"Ending violence against women, girls, men and boys is a high priority for the European Union. In South Sudan, we call for the government, traditional leaders, faith leaders, teachers, parents and the international community to join hands in eradicating GBV especially rape and forced marriages," Dr Walsh said.
The EU Delegation is ensuring that gender is included in all of its development cooperation, in addition to designing new programmes specifically targeting women and girls. In addition, emergency medical and protection assistance is provided through the EU's humanitarian arm, DG ECHO for survivors of GBV in South Sudan.
In her global message, European Union's High Representative Federica Mogherini said that violence against women can happen at home, in the workplace, in schools and universities, on the street, on public transport or increasingly online, in the form of cyber violence and hate speech. “Our goal is clear: We must eliminate violence against women and girls. The European Union is committed to achieve this and will continue to fight tirelessly the rights of every woman and every girl,” said Mogherini.
The 16 Days of Activism against GBV will run from 25th November until the International Human Rights Day, 10th December. The global campaign is characterised by a series of activities/campaigns to drum up support for concerted efforts to end all forms of violence against girls and women.