Pretoria, 02 August 2018: The South African office of the United Nations in support of a violent free South Africa stood in solidarity with women and children in South Africa as part of the #TotalShutDown – Intersectional Women’s March Against Gender Based Violence under the slogan, “My Body, Not Your Crime Scene”. Women and girls in South Africa must have equal rights and opportunities and be able to live free from violence and discrimination. The United Nations continues to place emphasis on women’s equality and empowerment as one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), but also integral to all dimensions of inclusive and sustainable development. Ending gender-based violence is essential to achieving sustainable development alongside the targets set out to end gender-based violence by 2030.
In a brief gathering to reflect on the limitations of freedom and impact of gender-based violence on women and children in South Africa, the UN Resident Coordinator in South Africa, Ms. Nardos Bekele – Thomas called on staff to stand for the rights of all children, sisters and mothers. In a provoking thought process, she also requested everyone to reflect on what they are doing at a personal level as commitment to standing in solidarity with all women, children, victims and survivors of gender-based violence in South Africa.
Themba Kalua, Deputy Representative of UN Women Multi-Country Office alluded to the fact that we cannot achieve SDGs if women and girls are targets of gender and sexual violence, sighting that 1in3 women in South Africa have been violated or abused. He also mentioned that gender equality plays an important role in fostering harmony and positiveness within communities. Themba also called on UN staff to be proactive in keeping with the zero-tolerance policy on gender-based violence and sexual harassment in the workplace.
A candle was lit and a moment of silence was observed in recognition of all victims and survivors of gender based violence and sexual violence. Eliminating gender-based violence remains a priority, given that it is one of the most pervasive human rights violations across the globe. By: Eunice Namugwe
UN staff marking the #Totalshutdown to end gender based violence.
Women and girls during the #Totalshutdown march to end gender based violence in South Africa.
Participants sitting down in protest of gender based violence observed a moment of silence, in front of the UN Building, Pretoria