Maria Suokko, UNDP Resident Representative
First Day of 16 days Campaign – Oranging the Tabak and Terzi bridges
25 November 2020
Dear Tomáš Szunyog, EU Special Representative,
Mayor Ardian Gjini, Mayor of Gjakovë/Ðakovica municipality,
Ulrika and Vlora,
The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is a global campaign commencing each year on this day, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. The GBV continues to be the most pervasive breach of human rights worldwide and the colour orange continues to be a key symbol unifying all activities, with buildings and landmarks lit and decorated in orange to attract global attention to the initiative.
With almost a year into the pandemic, violence against women and girls, and particularly domestic violence, has escalated around the world. There has been an alarming increase in multiple forms of violence, especially physical, psychological, sexual and economic forms of domestic violence fueled by household economic and food insecurity and confined living conditions due to lockdown and social isolation measures. There are also reports of increased sexual abuse and harassment, both online and offline, and in some settings, an increase in femicides.
That is why it is an honour to stand with you all beside this historic monument blanketed in orange on the first day of the global campaign against violence against women sending a strong message
The bridges are a living monument of the mobility of people since middle ages and that is why we have symbolically oranged Terzi and Tabak here in Gjakovë/Ðakovica to send a powerful message from monuments that lasted for centuries to spread compassion and affection so families might be as strong as these stones. A message that we fight gender-based violence in all their forms, not only during the 16 days. Our fight is every day, year around, until we build a society free of violence in which the wellbeing of every woman and girl is secured.
On this occasion, I want to the EU Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace for their continuous support and trust in our work confirmed by signing of the new project agreement titled “Cultural Heritage as a Driver for Intercommunity Dialogue and Social Cohesion” which allows for continued cooperation in this area over the next two years where women and youth feature prominently.