Catherine Deneuve, Hillary Swank, Sir Bob Geldof Say NO to Violence against Women at Cinema for Peace Gala

Date: 12 Jan 2007


UN Foundation Pledges US$100,000 Matching Grant for First 100,000 Signatures

The United Nations Foundation has pledged to donate US$1 for each of the first 100,000 signatures to the Say NO to Violence against Women campaign. “Each day, each hour, each minute, a woman in the world is a victim of violence,” said Mr. Timothy Wirth, president of the UN Foundation. “Taking this simple step, signing on to the campaign, sends the message that enough is enough and the cycle of violence must stop now.” The contributions will go to the UNIFEM-managed UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women, which supports innovative initiatives by governments and non-governmental organizations to end violence against women. Since its establishment in 1996, the UN Trust Fund has helped fund some 250 initiatives in 120 countries.

Catherine Deneuve, Hillary Swank, Sir Bob Geldof Say NO to Violence against Women at Cinema for Peace Gala

Internationally acclaimed artists, social activists, and politicians, including Catherine Deneuve, Hillary Swank, Christopher Lee, Sir Bob Geldof and German Development Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, added their names to the Say NO to Violence against Women campaign at the Cinema for Peace annual gala event held on 11 February in Berlin, Germany. UNIFEM Goodwill Ambassador Nicole Kidman said in a video message: “We cannot be together without our conscience being deeply troubled by the situation in Darfur, in Eastern Congo and in so many under-reported conflicts where women’s bodies have become part of the battlefield, where rape is being used intentionally as a weapon of war. This is why I have lent my passionate support to the United Nations’ efforts aimed at ending violence against women.” The gala raised more than US$100,000 for the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women.

More than 150 Organizations Lend Their Support to the Campaign

More than 150 organizations have pledged their support to UNIFEM’s Say NO to Violence against Women campaign and signed on as supporting partners. If your organization would like to support the campaign as well, please send an e-mail message to saynotoviolence[at], and we will send you a toolkit to assist you in your efforts to promote the campaign.

You Too Can Help

We hope to be able to count on you to help spread the word on this campaign. Please forward this special issue of UNIFEM Currents to colleagues and friends. Encourage them to add their voices and demonstrate that there is an ever-growing movement of people demanding an end to all forms of violence against women. The campaign toolkit that contains basic fact sheets on violence against women, banners that you can use in your e-mail signature or on your organization’s website and e-cards may further help you to spread the word:

Highlights from around the World

China Mobilizes to Say NO to Violence against WomenFollowing an article highlighting violence against women published in the Beijing Youth Daily newspaper, with a readership of 600,000, the China Law Society and NetEase, one of the largest Internet service providers in China, were inspired to create a Chinese version of the Say NO to Violence against Women campaign website. UNIFEM’s Beijing office also organized a one-day event at Tsinghua Unive rsity titled “Break the Cycle of Violence,” in collaboration with the UN Theme Group on Gender (UNTGG) and All-China Women’s Federation (ACWF). Approximately 200 students from 10 universities in Beijing attended the event, which was widely covered by the national media. A poster competition on several topics related to violence against women was launched at the event, and the winners will be announced on International Womens day 2008. Following the event at Tsinghua University, a Chinese student group took the initiative to create an eye-catching website on violence against women, linked to UNIFEM’s campaign.

Men Join the Fight against Gender-Based Violence in AfricaA number of UNIFEM field offices in Africa co-organized events around UNIFEM’s Say NO to Violence against Women campaign and the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence. The events in Burundi, Central African Republic and Rwanda had something in common: activists mobilized men as partners in saying NO to Violence against Women. In Burundi, 3,500 people marched through the streets of Bujumbura ‚Äî including gender advocates, representatives from government, civil society and the Unit ed Nations, and members of men’s organizations such as the association of taxi-velo drivers, sports clubs, and the influential Bashingantahe, a group of traditional leaders who have recently joined their voices to calls for an end to violence against women. In Central African Republic, demonstrations and other activities during the 16 Days also focused on men as partners in the fight against gender-based violence. Activities counted on the active participation of the Armed Forces and Police. Nationwide outreach activities included community theatre presentations on the impact of violence against women, youth activities, the involvement of the First Lady, and wide media dissemination of anti-violence messages. In Rwanda, a number of government leaders joined a candlelight demonstration and vigil to mark their opposition to violence against women. Led by the Minister in Charge of Gender and Family Promotio! n, the Deputy Commissioner General of Police, the President of the National Women’s Council, representatives of the Ministry of Health and the Rwanda Defense Forces, and UNIFEM’s Regional Programme Director, the demonstration was a symbolic act to commemorate women who have been victims of gender-based violence in Rwanda.

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