(Delhi—September 29, 2014) Nobel peace laureates Jody Williams (USA) and Shirin Ebadi (Iran) are in India with the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict to stand in solidarity with women’s rights organization Breakthrough and other activists at a seminal moment in India’s women’s movement and to call for an end to violence against women.
“We are here in solidarity with our Indian sisters, to share our own experiences as grassroots and international activists and to learn from the fearless activists on the front lines of India’s women’s movement,” said Jody Williams, Nobel peace laureate and co-chair of the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict.
This movement gained significant momentum following a series of high profile cases of rape and gender violence, including the 2012 gang rape of a 23-year-old woman on a Delhi bus and the rape and hanging of two teenage girls in 2014.
“The people of India are turning their outrage at these crimes into powerful activism. Right now, students in Jadavpur are protesting sexual violence and police brutality on their campus. All around the country, activists are mobilizing for change like never before,” said Williams.
Every day, 92 women are raped in India, according to the India’s National Crime Bureau. Rates of rape are at a record high in the capital, Delhi. And Breakthrough’s recent survey of women in six Indian states reveals that 91 percent of women and girls in India face sexual harassment in their lifetime.
“Violence against women is the largest human rights pandemic globally. If we want to create a world where all people can thrive, we must transform the norms that lead to women's second-class status. And the women Nobel peace laureates are showing us the way,” said Mallika Dutt, President and CEO of Breakthrough.
The laureates are calling on the Indian government to take more decisive steps to end sexual violence in India and internationally—among them, endorsing the G8-backed Declaration of Commitment to End Sexual Violence in Conflict.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi has committed to tackling violence against women and said India was shamed by sexual violence and gender inequality. Now is the time for India to show leadership by endorsing the Declaration and ending impunity for violence against women,” said Nobel peace laureate Shirin Ebadi.
“We echo the calls of Indian activists for broader legal definitions of sexual violence, outlawing all forms of marital rape and ending victim blaming by law enforcement and medical professionals. It’s time to turn words and commitments into action.”
The laureates will be part of a public event, co-hosted by the Campaign and Breakthrough tonight in Delhi, to discuss the movement to end violence against women in India and internationally. Breakthrough founder and CEO Mallika Dutt will moderate the conversation, “How Women Are Mobilizing to End Violence Against Women & Transform our World.”
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Note to journalists:
The event will be held at the India Habitat Centre in Delhi from 7:30 to 9 PM and will be livestreamed. For a link to the livestream, visit http://bit.ly/NobelWomenDelhi.
Media are welcome to attend. For more information, please contact:
Director, Media & Communications
Nobel Women’s Initiative
Communications and Media Advocacy
Public Relations Team
About The International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict: The International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict (www.stoprapeinconflict.org) is made up of over 5,000 individuals and over 800 member organizations working to end sexual violence in conflict: the first ever global collaboration between Nobel Peace Laureates, international advocacy organizations, and groups working at the regional and community levels in conflict. The Campaign calls for urgent and bold political leadership to prevent rape in conflict, to protect civilians and rape survivors, and ensure justice for all—including effective prosecution of those responsible.
About Breakthrough: Breakthrough (www.breakthrough.tv) is a global human rights organization working to make violence against women and girls unacceptable. Our mission is to prevent violence against women and girls by transforming the norms and cultures that enable it. We carry out this mission by building a critical mass of change agents worldwide — the Breakthrough Generation — whose bold collective action will deliver irreversible impact on the issue of our time. Working out of centers in India and the U.S., we create innovative, relevant multimedia tools and programs — from short animations to long-term leadership training — that reach individuals and institutions where they are, inspiring and equipping them to build a world in which all people live with dignity, equality, and justice.