South Asians for Human Rights

Promoting Democracy, Upholding Human Rights

Feminist leaders and women rights advocates take stage to express their solidarity to a global campaign for gender equality

Published in The E-Kantipur on Sep. 29 ::

“Jagau Nari Chinau Hami Afno Swabhiman. Hamro Mutu Bhitrai cha hai Shanti ko Muhan”

“Rise and recognise your self worth, for women, you are the source for peace,” sang Ani Choying Drolma urging women to draw energy from within and fight violence against women, after being felicitated at the launch of the One Billion Rising Revolution campaign.  

Choying Drolma was awarded the Meeto Memorial Award for Young South Asians for her contribution to peace and human rights at the launch of the global campaign ‘One Billion Rising Revolution 2015’ on Sunday.

“I encourage women to stand up and fight as women bring colour to this world and they are the source of peace,” she said assuring her full support to South Asian Solidarity for the cause.

The campaign has brought together activists from all over South Asia, including 55 women rights networks and organisations from Nepal.

A global event kicks off in earnest on February 14 next year to mark solidarity against crimes against women. The campaign urges survivors, families and friends to break their silence and release their stories through art, music, dance, marches, and testimonies.  

The event, which marked the beginning of the campaign in Nepal, culminated in a public march that called for the end to violence against women.  

The Informal Sector Service Sector (Insec) has recorded 910 incidents of violence against women in Nepal last year. The forms of violation include domestic violence, violence in the name of witchcraft, polygamy, lack of pre- and post-partum service, rape, rape attempt, sexual abuse and women trafficking.

One Billion Rising Revolution is an escalation of the first two stages of the campaign, launched in 2012, to transform patriarchal structures and end violence against women and girls. With the tagline “Drum, Dance & Rise”, the programme has been launched in Dhaka, Delhi, Manila, Sarajevo, Zagreb and Guatemala City.

The campaign’s South Asia Coordinator Kamala Bhasin talked of the importance of regional solidarity and its essential role in bringing about change. “The biggest war we are fighting today is violence against women and we can only topple it through cooperation and solidarity and by working together,” she said.

Also addressing the programme, renowned women’s rights activist Charlottte Bunch drew attention to the importance of non-state actors in course of ensuring women’s rights.

“All of the forces need to be brought into notice because they are also responsible,” she said, adding that focus should not only be on pressurizing the government but individuals and multinational corporations as well.

Bunch, founder of the centre for Women’s Global Leadership,  delivered the Second Sunila Abeysekera Memorial Lecture, to commemorate the life of one of the most eminent feminist activists and human rights defenders from South Asia.

Global Director of One Billion Rising, Monique Wilson, an award winning actress from Philippines also addressed the gathering.  

One billion refers to the UN statistic that one in three women face physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. Women Rights Networks from Nepal have participated in the campaigns previous years as well.