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Campaign to Stop Violence Against Women
Provided by Amnesty International

16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence:
Nov. 25, 2006 to Dec. 10, 2006

AI Theme: 16 Shelters for 16 Days

The 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence, from Nov. 25 (International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women) through Dec. 10 (International Human Rights Day), is a world wide campaign that provides an opportunity to take a stand against gender-based violence and to mobilize around women’s human rights. The 16 Days campaign is coordinated by the Center for women’s Global leadership. Their theme is “Celebrate 16 years of 16 Days”. The campaign honors women human rights defenders who have faced intimidation and violence for their activism. This year, AIUSA is participating in the campaign and focusing on the work of women to establish safe secure shelters. This year’s theme is entitled, “16 Shelters for 16 Days”, highlighting the importance of safe secure shelters for women/girls fleeing violence around the world will feature the struggle to establish and sustain shelters in 16 countries. Visit amnestyusa.org/women/16days.

The Need for secure shelter for women/girls fleeing violence Shelters represent a critical point of crisis intervention. They serve as a temporary safe space when women and children are fleeing violence. When the state and society are unable to ensure women’s safety at home, shelters offer women a place of safety and allow them the time to make decisions about their lives and to access support. It is important to stress that shelters are only part of the solution, but they are critical in situations where women’s safety, even their lives, are under threat.

Shelters and safe spaces for women/girls must embody the basic human rights standards for safe and adequate housing. While it is important for these spaces to be available to women and girls, they must not be seen as the final home for women fleeing violence. The need for emergency shelter highlights the ever important question of government responsibility for developing long-term permanent solutions for women fleeing violence. Amnesty International calls on all governments to provide places of safety for women fleeing violence. In particular, the human rights standards include the requirement that governments work in cooperation with women’s organizations and provide support for establishing and running shelters. Supporting shelters is part of the government obligation to eradicate gender-based violence under human rights law and it is women’s entitlement to have access to shelters.

Visit amnestyusa.org/women/16days.

We are pleased to announce that thanks to the letters and email you, women’s organizations and AIUSA members sent, the US Congress passed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA 2005) and that Pres. Bush signed it into law on Jan. 6, 2006.

Violence against women and girls is one of the most pervasive and ignored human rights violations in the world. In the US, a woman is raped every 6 minutes; a woman is battered every 15 seconds.

AIUSA’s Stop Violence against women Campaign (SVAW) continues this spring. Our focus is on (1) systematic rape of women and girls in Darfur, Sudan, (2) continuing our pressure on the Mexican government to stop violence against young women in Juarez and adding work about the same topic in Guatemala. (3) We also are writing to all U.S. Senators asking them to agree to ratify the UN women’s Treaty (CEDAW – the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women.)

Killings and disappearances of young women and girls of Ciudad Juarez and Chihuahua, Mexico
On March 15, the U.S. House of Representatives International Relations Committee passed the Juarez/Chihuahua resolution; the resolution is now being sent to the full House for consideration and vote. AIUSA activists have devoted significant lobbying to this resolution, and it has been a focus of AIUSA’s collaboration with the 2005 and 2006 tours of the Mexican band Jaguares. The band will be touring again this Spring, this time with actions on violence against women in Guatemala. Check their website for venues and dates.
For more information and action on women in Juarez, Mexico, visit www.amnestyusa.org/juarez

Violence against women in Guatemala
Between 2001 and 2004, over 1,188 Guatemalan women and girls have been brutally murdered. Amnesty International believes that the pattern of brutality, the evidence of sexual violence, which can amount to torture in some cases, and the increasing number of women killed require the authorities pay immediate and urgent attention to the problem. Join Amnesty International in calling for justice for the hundreds of women murdered in Guatemala.
For more information and actions on violence against women in Guatemala, visit www.amnestyusa.org/women/guatemala

Stop systematic rape of women and girls in Darfur, Sudan
To prevent further abuses and human rights violations in Darfur, the current African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) must be fully funded and expanded. Urge your Senator to support AMIS and help Stop the Violence in Darfur. AIUSA activists actively lobbied U.S. Representatives to support additional funding for African Union peacekeeping operations in Darfur, which would bolster the Bush Administration's supplemental budget request for conflict regions in Africa. The U.S. House approved $50 million dollars for peacekeeping operations in Darfur on March 16; further action on the funding is pending in the Senate. AIUSA members will be joining the Save Darfur Coalition at their rally April 30 in Washington, DC.

Read the transcript of our online discussion with Rev. Gloria White-Hammond, M.D. on the state of women's rights in Darfur. Rev. Dr. White-Hammond currently serves as the National Chairperson of the Million Voices for Darfur campaign and has made multiple trips to war-torn southern Sudan since 2001.
For more actions and information about the crisis for women in Darfur, visit www.amnestyusa.org/women/darfur

U.S. Ratification of the UN Treaty for the Rights of Women (CEDAW)
The Women's Human Rights Treaty is helping women throughout the world, but the fact that the US is one of the very few countries in the world that has not ratified it is hurting women! The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) establishes a minimum set of standards for combating discrimination against women.

The treaty has been ratified by over 169 countries. And its universality counters inevitable claims that in certain cultures discrimination, domestic violence, and other forms of oppression are acceptable.

Without the United States as a party to the treaty, however, repressive governments can easily discount the treaty’s provisions. We need your help to ensure that women's rights are human rights. Urge your Senators to pass this important treaty.

AIUSA’s National Week of Student Action (April 3 – 10) focused on US ratification of the Treaty for the Rights of Women; 1200 student groups signed up to participate. The UN Treaty for the Rights of Women is the most comprehensive treaty on protecting women's rights.
For more information and actions on the UN Treaty for the Rights of Women (CEDAW), visit www.amnestyusa.org/women/cedaw


Amnesty International USA is the US section of AI - the international worldwide human rights organization with 1.8 million members in 100 countries. AIUSA has over 350,000 members organized into professional networks, and student and community chapters. You can find out which of our administrative regions you live in and contact our offices if you wish to join a local chapter visit www.amnestyusa.org. You can join the SVAW campaign, get our monthly women’s human rights online bulletin and join the Women's Human Rights Action Network by visiting www.amnestyusa.org/women. We look forward to working with you.

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