UN Women leads 16 Days of Activism with #KoiJawazNahi campaign against gender-based violence

The capital city of Islamabad has successfully concluded the #KoiJawazNahi 16 Days Campaign, a collaborative initiative by UN Women, generously funded by the Government of Japan. This landmark campaign not only addressed the critical issue of violence against women and children but also marked the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Constitution of Pakistan, reinforcing the commitment to fundamental rights and equality.

Nilofar Bakhtiar, Chairperson of National Commission on the Status of Women in her welcome speech said, “As we conclude these 16 Days of activism, let's intertwine the principles of our Constitution with the dynamic spirit of the Trade Fair. Through collective effort and economic exchange, let's pave the way for a Pakistan where equality flourishes, violence dissipates, and prosperity blossoms for every citizen of Pakistan”.

The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is an international civil society-led annual campaign. It commences from 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and ends on 10 December, Human Rights Day, indicating that violence against women is the most pervasive breach of human rights worldwide.

While addressing the audiences, Sharmeela Rassool the Country Representative of UN Women Pakistan, stated “Our #KoiJawazNahi campaign stands shoulder to shoulder with Pakistan's Constitution, commemorating 50 years of justice and equality. Embracing 'No Excuse' and strategic investments in women and girls, we illuminate the constitutional framework safeguarding every citizen's rights. Together, we sculpt a nation where excuses vanish, and economic empowerment interconnects seamlessly with equal rights for all.”

In the keynote speech Khalil George, Federal Minister for Human Rights said, “No Excuse is more than a rule – it's our guiding principle. Our vision extends beyond policies; it's about weaving human rights into our daily fabric. By collectively safeguarding the dignity and rights of every citizen, we emphasise the significance of the ongoing 16 Days theme that is to invest in the women and girls.”

The #KoiJawazNahi campaign was launched at Mohenjo-Daro followed by Quetta, Peshawar and now culminating in Islamabad. The primary concept behind this initiative involves illuminating historical structures in these cities with orange. For this, Mohenjo Daro Museum, Noori Naseer Cultural Complex in Quetta, Peshawar Museum and Jinnah Convention Centre in Islamabad were lit in Orange, which symbolises freedom and empowerment. It was accompanied by a street theatre performance in each city, highlighting the importance of economic stability of women in our society.

In Peshawar, Muhammad Farooq, Additional Secretary Social Welfare Department, said, “We are pleased to be a part of this impactful gathering during the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence. Today, we stand united, declaring loudly and unequivocally that there is #NoExcuse for any form of violence. As we embark on this journey to raise awareness and foster change, let our actions become the catalyst for a world where equality and justice prevail”.

Similarly in Quetta, Shazia Riaz, Director Women Development Department Balochistan, during her welcome speech said, “The #Koi Jawaz Nahi campaign is a call to action, fostering awareness and unity. Our vision is a Quetta where every individual feels valued and secure.”

Concurrently, the campaign actively promotes and advocates for this year's theme, "Invest to Prevent Violence against Women & Girls," aiming to reach the masses.

The campaign coincided with the 50th Anniversary of the Constitution of Pakistan, a milestone that underlines the nation's commitment to upholding the principles of justice, equality, and human dignity. By integrating this celebration into the campaign, organisers sought to emphasise the constitutional framework that supports the rights of every citizen, regardless of gender or age.

In addition, the campaign collaborated with a Trade Fair in Islamabad, creating a platform where businesses, organisations, and the public could come together to exchange ideas, showcase products, and strengthen networks. Besides the trade fair in Islamabad, the rest of the cities hosted an exhibition highlighting the contributions of home-based workers. This intersection of the campaign with the exhibitions allowed for a dynamic exchange of perspectives and solutions, fostering a sense of community engagement and shared responsibility.