On December 4 and 5, 2023, on the occasion of the international campaign “16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence”, young Gagauz people learned the truth about the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention), generating a change to the better of the perception of the Istanbul Convention among young people from southern Moldova. The seminars staged for this category of learners at Theoretical Lyceum Named After N. Tretyakov in Comrat and an information campaign in which brochures about the Istanbul Convention and the combating of violence among young people in Gagauzia were distributed contributed to better understanding of things, Elena Savina, director of the National Institute for Women of Moldova “Equality”, which organized the event, stated for journalists.
The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is an annual international campaign that kicks off on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until 10 December, Human Rights Day.
In support of this civil society initiative, the United Nations Secretary-General launched in 2008 the campaign UNITE by 2030 to End Violence against Women, which runs parallel to the 16 Days of Activism.
In every country and culture, more action is needed to ensure women in all their diversity live free of violence and coercion. Health impacts of violence can last a lifetime, affecting physical, mental, sexual, and reproductive health.
The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women was designated in 1999 by the United Nations General Assembly. The date of November 25 was chosen to commemorate the lives of the Mirabal sisters from the Dominican Republic who were violently assassinated in 1960. The day pays tribute to them and urges global recognition of gender-based violence.
Human Rights Day honours the date the United Nations General Assembly's adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10, 1948. This document sets out fundamental human rights to be universally protected. It is a milestone in the history of human rights, and has been translated in over 500 languages, holding the Guinness World Record as the most translated document.
The 16 Days Campaign is an organizing strategy for individuals and groups around the world to call for the elimination of all forms of gender-based violence against women and to:
- raise awareness about gender-based violence against women as a human rights issue at the local, national, regional and international levels;
- strengthen local work around gender-based violence against women;
- establish a clear link between local and international work to end gender-based violence against women;
- provide a forum in which organizers can develop and share new and effective strategies;
- demonstrate the solidarity of women around the world organizing against gender-based violence against women;
- create tools to pressure governments to implement commitments to eliminate gender-based violence against women.
The global campaign “16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence” is annually kicked off on November 25, on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until December 10, Human Rights Day. “In October 2021, Moldova ratified the Istanbul Convention and also then society was immediately confronted with massive disinformation on this Convention: many media outlets disinform the public, saying that the Istanbul Convention legalizes the separation of children from parents. Many believe this as they are not familiar with the provisions of the Istanbul Convention. The Convention was adopted relatively recently and the leaders of young people therefore need to be urgently familiarized with the content of the Convention,” said Elena Savina.
Employees of the Police Division in Gagauzia and a psychologist of the Rehabilitation Center for Victims of Domestic Violence (Kirsovo) actively took part in the seminars, addressing the young people.
The goal of the seminars was to promote intolerance of violence among young representatives of the ethnic minorities of the Republic of Moldova. The participants in the seminars learned about methods of fighting violence, of protecting themselves from violence and were told who is an abuser, how the victim of abuse should act and about the consequences of violence.
According to Elena Savina, the relevance of the information about the Istanbul Convention for cultivating intolerance of violence among young people derives from the existing realities.
This way, in the opening of the campaign “16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence this year, it was noted that three in four women in the Republic of Moldova experienced at least once a form of intimate partner violence, said Elena Savina.
All these things point to the necessity of actively developing intolerance of violence in Moldova. The familiarization should start at an early age, in youthhood.
When the seminars were over, the participants highly appreciated the informal atmosphere of the event and the new and useful information they obtained.
The seminars and the information campaign were organized by the National Institute for Women of Moldova “Equality” in the framework of a project to fight violence against women which is financed with a grant provided by the Embassy of Finland based in Bucharest.