MENA region needs innovative ways to end violence against women

December 7, 2015

‘Prevention’ is the 2015 theme of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign. Violence against women is one of the most widespread human rights violations in the world. Many of the responses to address violence against women have focused mainly on supporting victims. Such strategies are crucial, but at the same time there is an increasing need to develop innovative ways that prevent such violence from occurring in the first place.

The Middle East and North Africa form a region in the world where the situation of women remains deplorable. Gender-based violence such as domestic violence, rape and honour killings are widespread. Yet in spite of the negative developments in this region, there are also many organisations furthering the role of women in politics in society.

Our Women on the Frontline programme started in the context of the Arab uprisings in 2011. It was set up to strengthen women’s groups across the region so they could contribute to the meaningful participation of women in politics and society. To date it has set up partnerships with thirty women’s organisations in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Bahrain, Egypt, Libya and Egypt.

In the context of the 16 Days Campaign, we would like to highlight the work of three Women on the Frontline partners combatting violence against women in Egypt, Iraqi Kurdistan and Syria. Read their stories:

Egypt: preventing violence before it occurs –  Imprint
Iraqi Kurdistan: protection of women affected by sexual violence – Emma
Syria: active participation of women in promoting non-violence – Badael

Whether it is in Syria, Egypt, Iraqi Kurdistan or elsewhere in the MENA region, there unfortunately remains much to be done to end violence against women. The above-mentioned individuals, movements and organisations are bravely undertaking action to achieve long-lasting and permanent positive change for women in the MENA region.