NO MORE joined forces with our partners at the Commonwealth of Nations to celebrate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls on 2 December and spotlight the actions and inspirational work across the 56 member countries.
The event aimed to highlight cross-sectoral good practices, including legal, judicial, health and education measures, to tackle one of the most pervasive human rights violations. Ministers, senior policymakers in Commonwealth member countries, High Commissioners, representatives from partner organisations and activist groups joined this unique conversation.
Participants from across the Commonwealth heard from dynamic speakers about the need and reality of ending violence against women and girls while showcasing the work of NO MORE chapters throughout the member nations.
A highlight of the event was a conversation between the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, the Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC and Jude Kelly CBE, Founder and Chief Executive of the Women of the World (WOW) Foundation (https://thewowfoundation.com/). During this intimate exchange, the Secretary-General stated:
“Around the world, women and girls suffer from lifelong trauma due to physical and sexual violence. Yet this cruel reality is preventable. Each of us must choose to take personal responsibility to bring an end to the hidden epidemic.”
The Secretary-General invited everyone to join the Commonwealth Says NO MORE campaign, which offers a series of culturally sensitive toolkits to businesses, non-profits and grassroots leaders to engage whole communities in addressing the root causes of violence. Patrick Ryan, CEO of Hestia, shared the work of UK Says NO MORE, highlighting the particular emphasis on supporting key legislation on domestic and sexual abuse prevention.
Lyndsey Dearlove, Global Director of Operations at NO MORE, inspired the audience to take positive action to end violence against women and girls. Ms. Dearlove spoke of the need for civil society to participate in the whole system approach and work collaboratively to save lives.
Pamela Zaballa, Global CEO of NO MORE, joined the panel conversation. She shared her perspective of collaborative working and inspired audience members to consider the work of local NO MORE chapters in all Commonwealth member countries. Reminding everyone of the consequences of violence, Ms. Zaballa joined the Secretary-General in a call to action of now being the time for coordinated effort at the individual, local, national and global levels.
Moderating the panel discussion with speakers from the event, Jude Kelly CBE said the Commonwealth’s top-down leadership on this issue shows that it is not afraid to raise the carpet on previously hidden violations. She continued: “That truthfulness, that candidness and that clarity about a systemic problem will give people the courage and the stamina to move forward.”