Joint statement on the occasion of the ‘16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence’ global campaign


November 25, 2022


Gender-Based Violence (GBV) is a gross violation of human rights and freedoms causing long-term consequences for millions across the globe. According to the United Nations, 1.3 billion survivors of sexual violence exist in the world today and 1 in 3 women will experience abuse in their lifetime. This makes GBV one of the most systemic and widespread human rights violations of our time. Harmful gender stereotypes, gender inequality, and patriarchal structures contribute to violence. We all have a right to equal treatment, regardless of our gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, or other status.

Physical and sexual abuse are not the only forms of abuse women and girls face. Psychological and economic abuse have a strong impact too. We cannot accept a world where anyone can be at risk on the streets, in their homes, at work or online. We must end GBV now, as called for by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres in his “Call to Action on Human Rights”. 

We recognize the leading role civil society plays in preventing and eliminating GBV, and encourage and support their work in this area. 

November 25 is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, which also marks the campaign launch of “16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence”. This campaign is an invaluable tool to raise awareness on these important issues and to support complex public discussions about violence against women and girls. 

Kazakhstan is in the process of toughening its penalties for domestic violence offenses and sexual abuse of children. The country also undertakes systemic measures aimed at reducing levels of GBV in society. With regards to sexual violence against children, we call on the Government of Kazakhstan to establish a clear minimum age for consensual sexual relations under the Criminal Code and to consider any sexual contact with a person under that age as rape, with close-in-age exemptions for sexual contact between minors. This will strengthen the protection of children from sexual abuse and facilitate access to justice for child survivors of sexual crimes, in line with international norms. This amendment to national legislation will bring positive change in the 2022 Year of Children in Kazakhstan.

We stand ready to continue supporting both the authorities and civil society in their efforts to develop plans, strategies and enact necessary legislative amendments to protect women and girls against any form of violence in line with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

Today, on November 25, we collectively join the campaign "16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence" and call on all relevant actors to support people in their right to live without violence! Together, we can create a world free from violence, where everyone has sufficient resources and equal opportunities to reach their full potential.

1. Embassy of Austria
2. Embassy of the Kingdom of Belgium
3. Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria
4. Embassy of Canada
5. Embassy of Denmark
6. Embassy of the Republic of Estonia
7. Embassy of Finland
8. Embassy of France
9. Embassy of Georgia
10. Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany
11. Embassy of Hungary
12. Embassy of Italy
13. Embassy of the Republic of Latvia
14. Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania
15. Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
16. Embassy of Portugal
17. Embassy of the Slovak Republic
18. Embassy of the Kingdom of Spain
19. Embassy of Sweden
20. Embassy of Switzerland
21. Embassy of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
22. Embassy of the United States of America
23. Asian Development Bank in Kazakhstan
24. Delegation of the European Union in Kazakhstan
25. OSCE Programme Office in Astana
26. World Bank Country Office Kazakhstan
27. The Office of the UN Resident Coordinator in Kazakhstan
28. FAO Kazakhstan
29. UNAIDS Kazakhstan
30. UNDP Kazakhstan
31. UNESCO Almaty Office
32. UNFPA Kazakhstan
33. UNHCR Central Asia
34. UNIC Almaty
35. United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in Kazakhstan
36. UNODC Central Asia
37. WHO Kazakhstan
38. UN Women Kazakhstan