Afghan refugee students sing the national anthems of Pakistan and Afghanistan during the ‘16 Days of Activism to End Gender-Based Violence’ event on Monday. The other picture shows Afghan boys dancing to their local music. — Photos by Tanveer Shahzad
Afghan refugee students sing the national anthems of Pakistan and Afghanistan during the ‘16 Days of Activism to End Gender-Based Violence’ event on Monday. The other picture shows Afghan boys dancing to their local music. — Photos by Tanveer Shahzad

ISLAMABAD: An opening ceremony of 16 days of activism was held on Monday in support of the global cause to unite in the fight against abuse of women and girls.

Former Pakistan National Council of the Arts director general and artist Raja Changez Sultan was the chief guest on the occasion.

International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC) Country Director Jehanzeb Anwar in his remarks said the ICMC’s campaign would take place not only in Islamabad but other districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

He said ICMC planned to conduct various awareness raising sessions on gender-based violence, distribute information materials and conduct joint awareness activities with support from refugees.

He said the activities were intended to stimulate action to end violence against women and girls in Pakistan.

Jehanzeb Anwar said gender-based violence, whether physical, emotional or economic is recognised globally as one of the most widespread and persistent violations of the rights of women and girls.

He said that ICMC’s activities were in support of the global cause to unite in the fight against violence and abuse of our women and girls.

He said: “As we launched the 16 days activism here, we need to remind ourselves that the promotion and protection of women and girl under human rights should be important and integral part of any society.”

UNHCR representative Ms Wajia Afzal said that UNHCR globally communicates the 16 days of activism which is an international campaign against gender-based violence to challenge violence against women and girls.

She said the campaign ran every year from November 25, the international day for the elimination of violence against women, to December 10, Human Rights Day. Since 1991 initiated by first Women’s Global Leadership institute, held by the Centre for Women’s Global leadership (CWGL) at Rutgers University, more than 6,000 organisations from approximately 187 countries participate in the campaign including UNHCR.

The Afghan refugee students also performed on Kataghani Dance and sung Afghani songs.

The handicraft was displayed on the premises of the event. The campaign was launched with cake cutting ceremony.

Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) National Puppet Theatre also entertained participates with a puppet show.

Published in Dawn, November 26th, 2019