On 27th November, the British Embassy hosted an event to mark the 16 days, bringing together activists, government representatives, NGOs and members of the international community.
In a round table discussion on the DFID funded CHANGES project, participants heard about the current state of play on gender-based violence issues in Somalia, particularly early marriage, FGM and intimate partner violence. Those present committed to continuing to work together to tackle harmful social norms that underpin such violence.
Speaking during the subsequent reception, UK Ambassador to Somalia, David Concar reflected on why tackling gender-based violence matters, and what the UK is doing to support Somalia's women and girls.
Mr. Concar said:
"Women and girls have the right to live free from violence and discrimination and achieve their full potential. It's time for everyone to stand up for that right. Not just for 16 days – but for as long as it takes to get the job done."
"In Somalia the UK is supporting a wide range of practical initiatives aimed at ending gender-based violence in conflict, training judges and prosecutors to deal with sexual offenses, supporting Somali civil society to end FGM and increasing political participation of women."
"I hope all those responsible for running parliamentary and other decision making committees in Somalia will look up and see the world is changing. It's no longer credible or effective to run committees that exclude half of the population."
The Minister for Women and Human Rights, H.E Deqa Yasin also attended the event, where she reiterated the Federal Government of Somalia's commitment to ending gender-based violence.
H.E Deqa Yasin said:
"This year's theme resonates well with my Ministry, whose mandate is to create an enabling legal, policy and institutional framework for the protection and promotion of gender equality and human rights where elimination of all forms of GBV remain a priority."
16 days of activism have taken place every year since 1991, presenting an annual focal point for global efforts to tackle violence against women and girls. The UK is committed to ending violence against women and girls, in Somalia, and around the world.