ISLAMABAD/KARACHI  - Like other parts of the globe, the International Day for “Elimination of Violence against Women” will be observed today (Monday) in Pakistan to raise public awareness about violence against women.

Various activities are arranged around the world to draw attention to the need for continuing action to eliminate violence against women, projects to enable women and their children to escape violence and campaigns to educate people about the consequences of violence against women.

An ongoing campaign that people are encouraged to participate in, especially around this time of the year when awareness levels for the day are high, is the “Say NO to Violence Against Women campaign”. Through the campaign, anyone can add their name to a growing movement of people who speak out to put a halt to human rights violations against women.

“Across the world, people are mobilizing to stop the abuse of women and girls,” UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said.

“This is no longer just the concern of women’s organisations.  More and more people realise that gender-based violence is everybody’s problem and that everybody is responsible for stopping it,” Ki-Moon said.

The global theme for the Day is “Orange the World”, which focused on wide participation from all sectors in organising national and local “Orange Events”.

This is to raise awareness about violence against women and create a symbolic vision of a positive future free of violence against women and girls.

On December 17, 1999, November 25 was designated as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women by the UN General Assembly. Each year observances around the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women concentrate on a particular theme, such as “Demanding Implementation, Challenging Obstacles” (2008).

Violence against women is on rise in the country, which ranks lowest in the South Asian region in terms of GDP per capita for women, reports said on “International Day to End Violence against Women”.

Chief of White Ribbon Campaign Omer Aftab has said that to stop violence against women, it is not sufficient to create awareness about women rights among women only, but it is also necessary that men should join women to encourage norms of consent, respect and gender equality in order to promote empowered roles based on non-violence and equality.

Omer further added that as per the Social Institutions and Gender Index 2012, Pakistan is ranked 55th out of 86 in the list of countries violating social norms and rights concerning women. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Patron-In-Chief, Pakistan Peoples Party has said violence against women is the worst form of human rights violations and its complete elimination remains the core dream of any progressive human society.

In his message he reiterated the commitment of his Party on protection of women from violence and crimes.

He said PPP had always stood for empowerment of women and his mother as the first woman ever elected to head an Islamic nation had proved that an overwhelming majority of our nation treats their mothers, daughters and sisters as equal partners in progress, peace and prosperity.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari pointed out that women in Pakistan have immensely benefitted from Benazir Income Support Programme, Benazir Bhutto Shaheed Youth Development Programme and several other legislative and practical steps initiated under PPP’s governments.

He said as a son of a martyr, he will continue efforts launched by Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto for the political, social and economic empowerment of women to ensure complete elimination of violence against women in Pakistan.

The country was ranked 94th out of 102 in the Gender Inequality Index, 2009, however this year its ranking has dropped to an alarming rate.

Pakistan ranks lowest in the South Asian region in terms of GDP per capita for women. Right to education, discriminatory family codes, restricted physical integrity, son bias, restricted resources and civil liberties are some common forms of biases against women that need serious consideration.

The White Ribbon Day against Gender inequalities is an international campaign initiated by White Ribbon Campaign here in Pakistan.

It starts from November 25- International Day against Violence against Women- and ends on December 10- International Human Rights Day- to symbolically link violence against women and human rights and to emphasise on the fact that biases of all sorts are violation of human rights.