WASHINGTON – Today (Tuesday December 1, 2009), the Save Darfur Coalition is honoring Melanne Verveer, Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues, as part of an initiative associated with the internationally-observed “16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence.” For each of the 16 days, the coalition’s unique campaign will honor a leader in the fight to empower, protect and uplift women in Sudan, and offer a corresponding action for activists. The international movement is observed between November 25, 2009 (International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women) and December 10, 2009 (International Human Rights Day).
As the first U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues, Verveer works to increase women’s involvement in political processes and advance their social and economic opportunities. Verveer is also co-founder of Vital Voices, an organization that empowers women within their communities. During Verveer’s tenure as Ambassador, she has advocated for the eradication of violence against women in Darfur and throughout Sudan.
In October, Verveer testified in front of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee on violence against women. In her testimony, she explained that, “the displaced women in Sudan’s Darfur region risk rape when they leave camps to collect firewood – rape by some of the same perpetrators that caused their displacement and by other militia and bandits. In refugee camps in eastern Chad and in Kenya, women risk attack by local people protecting their resources as well as by armed groups.”
To learn more about Save Darfur Coalition’s acknowledgement of Ambassador Verveer, please visit:
“Melanne Verveer has continuously worked to curb violence against women in Darfur and throughout Sudan,” said Niemat Ahmadi a genocide survivor and liaison to the Darfuri diaspora community at the Save Darfur Coalition. “The Ambassador continues to fight against gender-based violence in the Darfur and Chad.”
The Save Darfur Coalition is asking that activists observe the 7th day of the campaign by using social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to spread information about violence against women.
The global campaign started in 1991 at the Center for Global Women’s Leadership at Rutgers University, and is observed by thousands of organizations across the globe. The Save Darfur Coalition is raising awareness by honoring 16 trail-blazing individuals or groups who are fighting to end sexual violence in Darfur, and helping to educate their communities about the ongoing suffering in Sudan.
The coalition’s entire “16 Days” initiatives can be found at www.savedarfur.org/16days.
About Save Darfur Coalition: The Save Darfur Coalition – an alliance of more than 180 faith-based, advocacy and human rights organizations – raises public awareness about the ongoing genocide in Darfur and mobilizes a unified response to the atrocities that threaten the lives of people throughout the Darfur region. The coalition’s member organizations represent 130 million people of all ages, races, religions and political affiliations united together to help the people of Darfur. For more information on the coalition, please visit www.SaveDarfur.org.