Date: 9 December 2010
On the occasion of the global 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence, UNIFEM (part of UN Women), in coordination with other UN agencies and civil society organizations, spearheaded a festival on 9 December 2010 in the Gaza Strip aimed at raising awareness, particularly among youth, on violence against women within the occupied Palestinian territory.
Framed under Say NO - UNiTE to End Violence against Women, the social mobilization arm of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s campaign UNiTE to End Violence against Women, the festival brought together 1500 Gazans at the Rashad Al-Shawa Cultural Centre in Gaza City. Activities included a photo exhibition documenting the lives of women in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian traditional dance (dabkeh), music and theatre performances, and film screenings.
Echoing the theme of the festival, "Break the Silence", Head of the UN Relief and Work Agency (UNRWA) operations in the Gaza Strip John Ging said, on behalf of UN agencies, that Gaza faces a number of big challenges.
"The blockade has devastated the economy and made daily life more difficult," Ging said. “Domestic violence has increased due to escalating levels of stress and unemployment."
Yet, he said, the event proves that there is hope among Gazans "determined to create a better future, starting in their own homes."
"All together we can play an essential role in combating violence against women and girls in the Gaza Strip, and lead to positive societal changes," said Amal Syam, Executive Director of the Women’s Affairs Center, representing the Amal Coalition to Combat Violence against Women.
UNIFEM (part of UN Women), UNRWA and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) implemented the festival in partnership with the Amal Coalition. A similar activity will be held on Monday 13 December 2010 at the Ramallah Cultural Palace.
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