Gender-Based Violence, a present threat to Human Rights

16 Days of Activism

On 10 December 2023, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights will commemorate its 75th anniversary. This document enumerates the unalienable rights to which every person on the planet is entitled, irrespective of their race, color, religion, sex, language, political opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, or any other status. One important aspect of this document is that it also represents the collective work of women from different countries. Leaders such as Eleanor Roosevelt (USA), Minerva Bernardino (Dominican Republic), Hansa Mehta (India), and Begum Shaista Ikramullah (Pakistan) were part of the draft committee and proposed articles and edits to the final document (like replacing "men born as equal" with "humans born as equal" and others). 

However, after 75 years, a full commitment to the proposed Universal Declaration of Human Rights remains a challenge. The fact that its implementation is due to the voluntary decision of every country means that some nations accept certain points of the Declaration while rejecting others. As Ş. İlgü Özler explains:

Rights must be recognized as interconnected and they must be advanced in tandem. Emphasis on some principles to the exclusion of others undermines the comprehensive advancement of human rights. Thus, the current state of affairs is a product of the collective failure to address human rights holistically and to implement real monitoring and accountability measures for states, which are directly charged with upholding them within their borders.

For this reason, public participation and dialogue that encourages authorities to develop and reinforce a legal, economic and civil framework supported by the 30 articles of the Declaration are essential. This will determine whether or not ending gender-based violence will take 300 years.

We want to end the 16 Days of Activism by remembering the critical role of women in all of their diversity in creating a more equal world and promoting the accountability of the Human Rights Declaration from the past to the present, with the hope and determination to offer new spaces and resources for new leaders (like young, indigenous, and LGBTQIA+ advocates) to have the place they deserve in this conversation. 

Call to action:

  • Discuss human rights now. There are several resources for adults, young people, and children in different languages. Everyone has the right to know their human rights. 
  • Ask for accountability from your local and national leaders, and establish cooperation with advocates and organizations that work at the grassroots to make this possible. 
  • Get inspired by the stories of people from different backgrounds and their efforts to promote equal rights for everyone. 

More resources:


Authored by Carla Cordova, NGO CSW/NY Communications Intern