Oxfam launches Campaign to End violence against women

[TamilNet, Saturday, 30 October 2004, 00:04 GMT]
Oxfam sponsored District Campaign to End All Violence Against Women was launched in Trincomalee with an inaugural event held at Trincomalee St.Joseph's College auditorium Tuesday evening with Mr.Farid Hasan Ahmed, acting Country Programme Manager of the Oxfam (Great Britain), Sri Lanka as the chief guest, sources said.

Mr.A.R.Mohamed Saifullah, Assistant Programme Co-ordinator, Oxfam in Trincomalee, made the welcome address and presided the proceedings. Retired education officer Ms Siththi Pathmanathan, Ms Jesukumary, Ms Seepali, and Mr.V.B.S.David also spoke.

Violence against women
Oxfam Sri Lanka acting Country Programme manager Mr.Ahmed speaking
The South Asia regional campaign to end violence against women is a coalition of more than 400 civil society groups, organizations and individuals in six countries of South Asia. The campaign was initiated by Oxfam International, a confederation of 12 organizations working together in more than 100 countries to find lasting solutions to poverty, suffering and injustice, said organizers.

In Sri Lanka, surveys reveal 60 percent of women suffer domestic violence. In Pakistan, 80 percent of women experience violence within their homes, and 47 percent women experience physical violence at the hands of their intimate partners. In India, every six hours, somewhere, a young married woman is burned alive, beaten to death, or forced to commit suicide, Oxfam sources said.

"Oxfam's goal is to create a fundamental shift in women's and men's attitudes, beliefs and behaviours that perpetuate gender based violence in South Asia," said Mr.Farid Hasan Ahmed in his keynote address.

He further said, "By combating violence against women or the threat of it, women in South Asia can be empowered to make their own choices and seek opportunities and participate in all aspects of life. However in South Asia, incidence and social acceptance of gender-based violence is endemic, despite laws against it and many organizations and institutions working to eliminate it and support survivors. Oxfam, working with others, wants to reduce social acceptance of violence against women challenging people's attitudes and beliefs so that we can begin to realize the vision of South Asian women being free from violence."

The overall objectives of the campaign is to reduce social acceptance of violence against women, to create an enabling environment for public dialogue on violence against women, to generate a collective and visible stand against violence against women, to transform young men's and women's notions of gender relations, to prepare young women for the possibility of violence against women and empower them with strategies to combat it, to work with diverse groups, such as the government, business houses, and development NGOs, to mainstream efforts to combat violence against women in their own sectors, to influence decision makers at all levels to institute, implement, and strengthen policies and programmes to support survivors of violence against women and to create a stronger foundation for regional campaigning against violence against women, Oxfam sources said.


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