From November 25 to December 10, 2020, the High Commission of Canada in Bishop’s Court Hill, St. Michael, will light up its main building in orange to commemorate the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence.
The initiative is one of several programs Canadian diplomatic missions are undertaking globally to shine a light on sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) against women and girls, and support UN Women’s ongoing #OrangeTheWorld campaign.
One in three women and girls experience violence in their lifetime. SGBV happens disproportionately to women and girls in every country and every society, including in conflict situations: at home, in schools, on the streets, at work, on the internet and in refugee camps.
Too often violence against women and girls is normalized and goes unpunished. Canada condemns in the strongest terms all forms of SGBV wherever it occurs and maintains that SGBV and violence against women and girls are violations of human rights.
Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy places gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls at the centre of its international assistance and commits to addressinwg the unacceptably high rates of SGBV experienced by women and girls worldwide.
On November 19, 2020, in anticipation of the 16 Days of Activism, the High Commission of Canada hosted a virtual dialogue with Eastern Caribbean gender activists to examine regional gender and human rights issues, including sexual exploitation and abuse, human trafficking and violence against women and girls.
Throughout the discussion, participants, including representatives from the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus, UN Women, and the Barbados Family Planning Association, among others, stressed the need to work more closely with local organisations and gender bureaus to safeguard communities and improve opportunities for women and girls.
International lockdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have forced more individuals to stay at home, sometimes with their abusers.
As the global community seeks to stop the spread of the coronavirus, Canada is also mindful of the pandemic’s impact on the reported and unreported incidents of sexual and gender-based violence.
The High Commission of Canada will continue to work alongside its regional partners to eliminate SGBV, and push for the empowerment of women and girls in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean. (PR)