The elimination of gender-based violence is an integral part of efforts to provide safe and effective disaster management services. Therefore, the annual 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Campaign, which in Indonesia is known as the 16 Days Anti-Violence Against Women (HAKTP) Campaign, is an important opportunity to raise awareness and strengthen commitment. The 16-Day Campaign, which runs from 25 November to 10 December each year, was first initiated by the Women’s Global Leadership Institute in 1991. The campaign aims to promote efforts to eliminate gender-based violence globally, right across the development ecosystem. Various elements in Indonesia have been involved in this international campaign every year.
The period from 25 November 25 to 10 December is symbolically linked to issues of violence against women and human rights and comprises a number of important commemoration dates. These include 25 November (International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women), 29 November (International Day for Women Human Rights Defender (WHRD)), 1 December (World AIDS Day), 2 December (International Day for the Abolition of Human Slavery), 3 December (International Day for Persons with Disabilities), 5 December (International Day for Volunteers), 6 December (Day of Zero Tolerance for Violence Against Women), 9 December (World Human Rights Defenders Day) and 10 December (International Human Rights Day).
The call to come together during the 16-day period demonstrates the importance of synergy between various actors in efforts to eliminate gender-based violence. Anyone can experience gender-based violence, and is a particular risk for women and vulnerable groups such as persons with disabilities, people who are marginalised, and children. Evidence gathered from a range of contexts and disaster profiles has found that the risk and incidence of gender-based violence increase significantly during and after disasters. Therefore, disaster risk reduction efforts to increase community resilience need to pay careful attention to this issue. Here, the involvement of a diverse range of stakeholders – including at-risk groups- is crucial in the formulation of policy and the planning and delivery of disaster responses and recovery services.
This point was emphasised by Melissa Fernandez from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) while speaking at the commemoration of the Disaster Risk Reduction Month (DRR) 2023 in Kendari, Southeast Sulawesi, last October. She noted that it is important to ensure that humanitarian assistance can meet the needs of all populations, including vulnerable groups. This can only be realised by ensuring the presence of women’s and children’s voices in determining needs, including in relation to protection, safety and security. To date, there remains a lack of participation by women in disaster risk reduction and response planning efforts, which in turn has limited access to appropriate basic needs and protection during emergencies, often placing women at even greater risk of sexual and other forms of gender-based violence. SIAP SIAGA Program’s Gender Specialist, Lutri Huriyani, also emphasised that no part of society should be forgotten, including women, persons with disabilities and other vulnerable groups. Their involvement is especially important in disaster management if we are to effectively reduce the increased risks they face.