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  International Day for the
  Elimination of Violence against Women

quote The Inter-Parliamentary Union calls upon governments, parliaments and non-governmental organizations to organize activities to promote public awareness of the problem of violence against women, including on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, which is observed on 25 November each year unquote

IPU resolution, 114th Assembly, 12 May 2006, para.6

The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women will be commemorated on 25 November. That date also marks the start of the 16 Days of Activism that will lead up to Human Rights Day on 10 December. This campaign reminds us that violence against women is one of the most widespread human rights abuses in all countries. Individuals, organizations and institutions across the world are being called on to organize a special event during this period in a bid to put an end to violence against women.

This year, the IPU encourages all parliaments to organize a special event under the theme:Using legislation to end Violence against women and girls. Information on any event parliaments are planning to hold to mark the International Day and the 16 Days of Activism are listed in this section if the IPU is so informed


In every country, women and girls suffer from widespread and multiple forms of violence. It takes place in the home, on the streets, in schools, the workplace, during conflict and in time of peace. It manifests itself in its most prevalent forms of domestic and sexual violence. But it also takes the forms of female infanticide in the preference for boys, child marriage, female genital mutilation, “honour” killings and other forms of feminicide.

This violence prevents women and girls around the world to live in dignity, violates their fundamental human rights and impedes them from achieving their full potential. It is one of the most potent obstacles to the advancement of women, has social and economic costs and seriously jeopardizes the progress and prosperity of the world.

Adopting strong laws, backed by implementation and services for protection and prevention, is vital to guaranteeing respect for the fundamental rights of women and girls, most notably their right to security and to a life free of violence. In this endeavour, parliaments and parliamentarians can make a critical difference through their legislative power.

Parliaments are also crucial to monitoring the enforcement of existing laws. In a democracy, a successful law has to be correctly enforced. Parliamentarians can use their position to bring on board the police, prosecutors, judges, health care providers, social workers, religious leaders, etc. on this issue. Successful implementation also lies in society’s awareness of violence against women. The ability of parliamentarians to shape public opinion, sensitize and engage the wider public in an open debate on changing social norms and discriminating attitudes is essential.

In recent years, more and more parliaments across the world are taking concrete steps to tackle violence against women and girls. This mobilization must continue and be more visible. The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (25 November) is an opportunity to focus on this issue. The IPU encourages parliaments across the world to take firm action on legal reforms on violence against women and use their parliamentary oversight to ensure implementation.

To mark the International Day for the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and the 16 Days of Activism, it is proposed that parliaments organize an activity to highlight their initiatives in:

Using legislation to end Violence against women and girls


Of the many possibilities, parliaments are encouraged to organize at least one of the following activities:

  • Consult and engage key stakeholders on the creation or revision of specific legislation on violence against women and girls;
  • Assess how violence against women is addressed within the national legal framework in order to identify gaps;
  • Request and analyse the latest national data on violence against women to inform legislative and policy change;
  • Hold consultations and public hearings with key stakeholders such as law enforcers, social services, civil society, on progress made and difficulties encountered in enforcing the laws;
  • Question the government to account on its responsibility, policies and plans of action on tackling violence against women;
  • Allocate adequate budgets to enforce laws and implement programmes;
  • Address conflict related sexual violence by ensuring legislative and judicial means of ending impunity towards sexual violence in conflict and post conflict;
  • Mobilize the media through press conferences, radio and television shows, etc.


Information on any event parliaments around the world are planning to hold to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and the 16 Days of Activism are listed in this section if the IPU is so informed. Below is a list of parliamentary events that IPU is aware of.

Click on the country name to see information about the corresponding parliament as stored in PARLINE database. To add information about an event to the list, please contact the IPU Secretariat.

Last updated on 25 January 2013   
CountryDescription of event
Albania On 23 October, thousands of women accepted the invitation of the Speaker of Parliament, Jozefina Topalli, and gathered in a march in protest of violence against women. Holding placards with slogans such as “Don’t touch my mom!”, “Stop violence against women!” and “Stop violence against children! thousands of women joined in the march. Shocked by recent barbaric crimes within the family, and revolted by the murder of mothers and young girls, these women - Ajshe, Flutura, Limja, Rolanda, Mira, Manjola, Fatjona and Marjana to name just some - were deeply touched by the horrors seen and heard by children. The Speaker of Parliament led this silent march - silent because in the case of such tragedies it is difficult to find words. Songs dedicated to women and mothers were played in the background.
Andorra On 22 November, the Subsíndica General, Ms. Mònica Bonell Tuset, addressed the General Council at an event to celebrate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. She recalled that violence is an unacceptable social and human plague affecting millions of people and that Andorra is prioritizing education to tackle violence against women and children and to promote equality, mutual respect and positive role models. The General Council also announced an agreement reached by the political parties on the elaboration of a draft comprehensive domestic violence act to take into account the personal, educational, social and welfare needs of victims and their children.
Austria In December 2012 an exhibition entitled “Human trafficking – slavery in the 21st century” will be on display at the Austrian Parliament, based on a unanimous decision by the Petitions and Initiatives Committee. The exhibition was developed under the direction of the Austrian Ministry for European and International Affairs. It comprises posters that provide information about what human trafficking is, who it affects, how human traffickers act and what measures exist in Austria to combat human trafficking. Personal stories of women, children and men who became victims of human trafficking complement this information.

On 4 December, Ms. Barbara Prammer, Speaker of Parliament, will host a ceremony to launch this exhibition. Speaker Prammer and Ms. Ursula Haubner, Chairperson of the Petitions and Initiatives Committee, will make opening addresses. Presentations will be made by experts from the Austrian National Coordinating Agency for Combating Human Trafficking, ECPAT Austria and the Head of the General International Law Unit at the Austrian Ministry for European and International Affairs. The exhibition will run until Human Rights Day, 10 December.


In response to the call made by the President of the IPU, on 30 November 2012 the Belgian Senate will organize a seminar on “Violence against women and the Istanbul Convention: The road to ratification”. The debates, organized in cooperation with the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly Network “Women Free from Violence”, will focus on the added value of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and controlling violence against women and domestic violence (the Istanbul Convention). The participants will examine ways and means of bringing Belgian law in line with the Convention.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

“One in five women is a victim of violence in Bosnia and Herzegovina”, deplored Mr Lozančić, Chairperson of the Gender Equality Committee of the Parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina, at the parliamentary seminar held in Sarajevo on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. The seminar, organised by the Committee on Gender Equality, in cooperation with the Parliamentary Network “Women Free from Violence”, and with the support of the OSCE, allowed parliamentarians to discuss the actions undertaken in Bosnia and Herzegovina to tackle violence against women and familiarise themselves with the Istanbul Convention. Ms Ismeta Dervoz, Network member and First Vice-Chairperson of the Committee on Gender Equality of the Parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina, officially launched the handbook for parliamentarians on the Istanbul Convention, which has been translated into Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian.

Costa Rica The Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica commemorated the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women with a series of events held during the week of 15 - 22 November 2012. The celebrations were organized by the Special Permanent Committee on Women and the Technical Unit on Gender, Equality and Equity of the Legislative Assembly.

On 22 November, an event was held to pay tribute to Ms. Minerva Tavárez Mirabal, a member of parliament from the Dominican Republic. She is the daughter of Minerva Mirabal who, along with her two sisters Patria and Maria Teresa, jointly known as "Las Mariposas" (The Butterflies), was brutally murdered because they opposed the cruel dictatorship of Rafael Leónidas Trujillo in the Dominican Republic. In 1999, the United Nations General Assembly declared 25 June as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women in their memory. A film entitled "Las hermanas Mirabal" (The Mirabal Sisters) was screened, and the Continental University of the Sciences and the Arts organized a performance of a poem dedicated to women.

The Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, Víctor Emilio Granados Calvo, acknowledged the work undertaken in Costa Rica to eliminate violence against women and said that much remained to be done. He called on the authorities and all those attending the event to increase efforts across the board to prevent and eliminate violence against women.

Ecuador On 25 November the National Assembly celebrated the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women through a series of speeches by its members. These speeches highlighted that Ecuadorians must unite against violence against women on a daily and continuous basis, especially since the country has shown alarmingly slow progress. The conditions under which the UN Assembly decided to establish the International Day were recalled and participants paid a posthumous tribute to Ms. Nela Martinez, one of Ecuador’s leaders in the fight against gender-based violence.
El Salvador On 25 November, the Legislative Assembly of El Salvador issued a Declaration to commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. The Declaration recalls the worrying reality of domestic and gender-based violence both at the national and international levels, and recognizes the responsibility of the State, together with other stakeholders such as judicial and executive organs, NGOs and international organizations, to intervene when culture and practices confirm or condone these practices. The parliament expressed its intention to expand its efforts at implementing existing laws and guaranteeing the right of women to a life free of violence. It called upon the whole population to denounce any violence acts against women.
Dominican Republic On the eve of the International Day, the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, Mr. Abel Martiney Durán, reiterated the commitment of all members of parliament to carry out awareness-raising activities and events so as to inform citizens of the irreparable damage generated by the abuse of women. The event was attended by the Vice-President of the Senate, the Minister for Women’s Affairs, the representative of UN Women and the President of the Committee on Gender Equality of the Chamber of Deputies. The Committee President recalled the urgency of improving education with a view to eliminating violence against women, striving for equality and mutual respect and inspiring young people to assume leadership and participate in the fight against domestic and gender-based violence. She also highlighted the essential role of effective laws to eradicate these forms of violence and urged deputies to develop the Criminal Code so as to include better measures to protect the right of women to live free of violence. A play was enacted based on the poem “Butterflies” by national poet Pedro Mir. It was directed by María Ligia Grullón and her group "The 37 tables".
Italy On 27 September 2012, Italy signed the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention). On the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, Ms. Deborah Bergamini and Ms. Federica Mogherini, members of the Italian delegation to the Council of Europe, will organize a parliamentary seminar to promote the Convention’s speedy ratification. The Convention will enter into force once a minimum of 10 ratifications are secured, at least eight of which must be from Members of the Council of Europe.
Poland On 26 November Ms. Agnieszka Kozłowska-Rajewicz, Government Plenipotentiary for Equal Treatment and Secretary of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, in cooperation with the Jagiellonian University and the Warsaw School of Economics, organized a conference entitled “A Government of Equal Opportunities – An Administration against Gender Violence” in Warsaw. The panel discussion brought together members of parliament, experts, public administration representatives and NGOs.
Portugal On 3 December the Portuguese Parliament hosted an international Conference on “Violence against women and the Istanbul Convention”, initiated by Mr. Mendes Bota, MP and General Rapporteur on Violence against Women for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). During the event, the Handbook on the Istanbul Convention in Portuguese was launched. Portuguese parliamentarians expressed their support for the Convention, which was defined as an essential instrument for ensuring maximum protection for women victims of violence. The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Ms. Teresa Caeiro, acknowledged that further efforts should be made to address weaknesses in the legislative framework, such as improving data collection, taking into consideration domestic violence when deciding on parental rights and tackling sexual harassment.
Republic of Moldova On 25 November, Ms. Liliana Palihovici, Deputy Speaker of the Moldovan Parliament, delivered a speech on eliminating violence against women. She reminded parliamentarians that the Republic of Moldova is one of the few countries in Eastern Europe with effective legislation that criminalizes violence against women and has the required implementing legislation.
Romania On 1st November, members of the two Standing Committees for Equal Opportunities for Women and Men in the Romanian Senate and Chamber of Deputies participated in a conference at which the campaign to raise public awareness on preventing and combating domestic violence was launched. The event was a joint initiative of the Romanian Ministry of Labour, Family and Social Protection and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

As part of the campaign, a regional conference was held in the northern city of Iaşi on 15 November, in which Ms. Mihaela Popa, Vice-Chair of the Romanian IPU Group and of the Senate Standing Committee for Equal Opportunities participated. Ms. Popa reminded the audience of the worrying statistics on gender-based violence in Romania and presented an overview of the Standing Committee’s initiatives and activities in this area.

On 21 November, the Standing Committee for Human Rights, Religious Affairs and National Minority Issues of the Chamber of Deputies issued a press release on the importance of national policies aimed at preventing domestic violence. The press release underscored the usefulness of the existing legislative framework and the most recent amendments thereto.

On 25 November, several parliamentarians posted messages about the International Day on their social network sites.

Rwanda On 23 November, the Chamber of Deputies adopted in plenary a declaration containing 17 resolution on eliminating violence against women. Under the theme “Building peace in the world starting at home: Together let us eliminate gender-based violence”, the Chamber reaffirmed its commitment to pursue its efforts to sensitize Rwandans to the importance of gender equality and combating violence against women and girls. The declaration recalled the various programmes and policies implemented by the government with a view to promoting women’s emancipation and called on Rwandan women and all Rwandans to denounce, combat and condemn gender-based violence.
San Marino On 24 November the Regency of the Republic of San Marino delivered a welcome speech to the members of the Authority for Equal Opportunities of the Great and General Council on the occasion of the International Day. His Excellency the Captain Regent recalled that gender-based violence is a scourge that persists even in the most developed countries and becomes a silent crisis. San Marino’s law on violence against women was considered as an essential milestone in the quest for equal rights and the start of an era of greater attention and sensitivity to this issue. San Marino adopted a Decree on 19 March 2012 for effective implementation of the law. In light of these developments, the Captain Regent expressed his appreciation and gratitude for the efforts and work that have led to that milestone.
Serbia To mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the Committee on Human and Minority Rights and Gender Equality of the National Assembly will organize a Public Hearing on "The struggle against domestic violence ". This Hearing will be held on 26 November at the National Assembly.

The Hearing will begin with the screening of a documentary entitled "Women who killed their abusers", directed by Ms. Izabela Kisic. A number of high-level officials will then address the participants, namely: the Minister of Justice and Public Administration, the Minister of the Interior, the Director of the Gender Equality Directorate in the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Policy, the Ombudsman, the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality and representatives of the Victimology Society of Serbia.

Several experts and people who work daily in this field will participate in the Hearing, such as MPs, heads of centres for social issues, representatives of judges' and prosecutors' associations, the Bar Association of Serbia, relevant international organizations and NGOs. Many media representatives have also confirmed their attendance.

Slovenia On 6 December the Slovenian Parliament organized a conference and consultation on violence against elderly, especially elderly women, to mark the International Day, the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence and the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations. The conference was organized by the National Council of Slovenia, together with the Association SOS telephone for women and children victims of violence, the Association of Pensioners of Slovenia, the Association of Nurses and Midwives of Slovenia and the working group on non-violence in health care.
South Africa On 22 November the two South African Houses of Parliament, the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces, held debates on the upcoming events concerning gender-based violence. The National Assembly held a debate on the 16 Days of Activism and the theme “Elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls”. The National Council of Provinces held a debate on gender-based violence under the theme “Waging a concerted fight against gender-based violence and abuse”.

On 25 November, the Portfolio Committee on Women, Children and People with Disabilities called on all South Africans to mark this year’s 16 Days of Activism as the beginning of a year-long campaign aimed at ensuring that South Africa is free of violence against women and children. In addition to the awareness raised by the official campaign, a year-long event would, in the eyes of the Committee, bring more commitment and advances in the fight to eliminate this particular type of violence. The Committee recalled that this year’s Campaign came at a time when the country recorded a sharp increase in rape cases perpetrated against elderly women and children.

The 16 Days of Activism were launched in parliament on the 25 November and culminated with the establishment of a National Council against Gender-Based Violence on 10 December.

Spain On 27 November the Spanish Congress of Deputies approved by 182 votes for, 135 votes against and three abstentions a non-legislative proposal brought by the PP parliamentary group urging the Government to develop a core portfolio of services for the victims of domestic violence. The proposal aims to establish common criteria for basic services and comprehensive treatment to be offered by all autonomous communities to people affected by domestic violence in order to access proper care.
Sudan On 25 November, the Chairperson of the Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Human and Family Affairs of the National Assembly received a memorandum from the General Union of Sudanese Women appealing to the parliament to expedite the remaining amendments to the laws relating to violence against women and the Code of Criminal Procedure. The General Union of Sudanese Women recognized and welcomed the role and efforts of the parliament to reduce violence against women and underscored the importance of concerted efforts by the police, community and religious leaders and civil society.
Tajikistan On 10 December, a new Prevention of Domestic Violence Bill was sent to the Lower House of Parliament for consideration.
Thailand On Monday, 19 November, the Senate Standing Committee on Social Development and Children, Youth, Women, the Elderly, the Disabled and Underprivileged Affairs held a seminar on “Five years following up the implementation of the Domestic Violence Victim Protection Act B.E. 2550 (2007)”. The President of the Senate, Mr. Nikom Wairatpanij, addressed the participants, stating that the Senate is aware of this particular type of violence and intends to become an active agent of change in the campaign to stop violence against women.

On the 21 November the House Standing Committee on Children, Youth, Women, the Elderly, the Disabled and Underprivileged Affairs carried a live TV broadcast. The Chairperson of the Committee, Ms. Arunee Chamnanya, and its adviser, Mr. Purachai Piumsombun, were interviewed on the issue of domestic and gender-based violence. During the discussion, they both stressed that the government sectors and NGOs are involved in helping women who experience domestic violence and that the Committee is trying to improve the existing law on violence against women.

Moreover, white ribbons were distributed at the National Assembly to members of parliament and parliamentary officials attending the seminar on “Stop Violence against Women, Start with Everyone”. The purpose of the seminar was to raise awareness about the International Day and its importance to the fight against gender-based violence.

Trinidad and Tobago On 25 November the Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago produced a series of short video clips featuring comments from stakeholders concerned with the prevention of violence against women on the effectiveness of national Acts relating to the subject. The videos showed how legislation has helped broaden avenues for help for women victims of abuse. The clips included interviews with social activists, lawyers and lecturers who are knowledgeable on the issue of violence against women/girls and who work extensively with victims of abuse. The sequences are available on the Parliament Channel (Parliament Radio) and on the Parliament’s social media networks.
Ukraine On 6 December the Ukrainian Parliament organized a discussion on the legislative provisions to prevent gender-based violence and different aspects of the internationally led fight. The meeting, led by Ms. Elena Suslova, Chairman of the Women's Information Consultative Centre, familiarized participants with the basic legal provisions of Ukrainian legislation on combating gender violence, in particular the law on the prevention of domestic violence and the law on ensuring equal rights and opportunities for women and men.

The Bicameral Group of Women Parliamentarians of Uruguay commemorated the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women by organizing a march on the parliament grounds. On that occasion, the women lawmakers from across the political spectrum drew up a Declaration expressing their outright rejection of all forms of violence and pledged to continue working for the cause.

They were pleased with the recent decision to put in place electronic surveillance and tracking technologies in high-risk domestic violence cases. This decision is the fruit of the labour of an inter-institutional commission composed of representatives of the three branches of government – the executive, the judiciary and the legislature. The Bicameral Group of Women MPs represented the third branch.

The Declaration, co-signed by Senator Monica Xavier and Deputy Ivonne Passada, underscores that women whose lives are under threat must be able to benefit from these additional protective measures. According to the text, Uruguayan society must recognize that domestic violence is a crime and court decisions in such cases must be strictly upheld. Over 20 women died in Uruguay in 2012, mainly because the restraining orders prohibiting attackers from contacting or approaching their victims were not respected. Those deaths may have been avoided had electronic surveillance been used.

Venezuela On 20 November, to commemorate the International Day and the 6th anniversary of the promulgation of the fundamental law on the right of women to a life free of violence, the Venezuelan National Assembly approved a draft agreement rejecting violence against women. The legislation defines 19 offenses involving physical violence, property damage, sexual and psychological abuse, harassment or bullying, threats, lewd acts, forced prostitution, sexual slavery and sexual harassment.
Zambia On the morning of 25 November, Zambian parliamentarians from across the political spectrum braved the morning rain to participate in a march against gender-based violence organized in the wake of the alarming increase of cases in the country. This year’s event was commemorated under the theme “Gender-based violence: Zero tolerance now”. According to statistics from the Zambian Police Victim Support Unit, the country recorded 9,612 gender-based violence cases in 2012.

The Minister for Gender Affairs and Child Development, Mr. Inonge Wina, stressed that the Government will act swiftly to address the current situation. Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Human Rights, Ms. Pixie Yangailo, said that traditional practices, religious dictates and customs are at the centre of continued gender-based violence and she called on all stakeholders to take the opportunity to review progress made in the fight against this scourge. The event was attended by the Non-Governmental Organizations Coordinating Council Chairperson, Ms. Beatrice Grillo, who also stressed the unprecedented increase in the number of violent cases against women and children.

Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe

Several members of the Parliamentary Network “Women free from violence” will organize parliamentary events to promote the ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention). These events will take place in Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Italy and Portugal, immediately before or during the 16 Days of Activism (relevant information can be found on the Network’s website and on Facebook.

iKNOW Politics

From 9 November through 23 November 2012, iKNOW Politics will co-host with AGORA (the Portal for Parliamentary Development). a virtual discussion on the elimination and prevention of violence against women.

The priority theme of the 57th session of the UN Commission of the Status of Women (CSW) will be the elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls. To support parliamentarians in their preparation for CSW 57, in March 2013 iKNOW Politics will run an online discussion, in partnership with AGORA’s Gender Parliamentary Reference Group This virtual discussion will focus on:

  • Identifying the gaps and challenges in achieving the most effective responses among parliamentarians on this issue;
  • Highlighting the most effective parliamentary mechanisms for formulating policy and legislation to prevent violence, to support victims/survivors, and to tackle primary prevention (stopping violence before it starts); and
  • Discussing the impact of violence against women on perpetuating unequal gender representation in politics.

Through this discussion, iKNOW Politics members and the Gender Parliamentary Reference Group can answer questions and share experiences and best practices of parliamentary work to eliminate gender-based violence.

For information about parliamentary events organized in connection with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women in previous years, use the links below:

To view events listed as parliamentary contributions on the UN Women's Say NO-UNITE End Violence against Women website, click here


The IPU issued materials of its Parliaments Take Action on Violence against Women Campaign. Copies of the poster, brochure and of the IPU's publication A Parliamentary Response to Violence against Women (2009) will be made available to parliaments upon request and can be order from the IPU sercretariat or downloaded in PDF from the link below.

Poster Publication Brochure
Campaign poster Publication Brochure