The Secretaries of State for International Cooperation, Pilar Cancela, and for Foreign and Global Affairs, Ángeles Moreno Bau, opened a public event at Casa Árabe, whose central themes were child marriage and violence against migrant women
In commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the Secretary of State for International Cooperation held the event 25N: “Feminist cooperation against violence against women and girls around the world“, focusing on child marriage and violence against migrant women.
The event was opened by Pilar Cancela Rodríguez, Secretary of State for International Cooperation, who pointed out that “Spanish Cooperation reaffirms its commitment to feminism, to the fight against male violence and to effective equality between women and men. Only a society in which women do not suffer violence because they are women can be considered completely free, only a democracy free of male violence is a full democracy”.
“One in three women in the world has suffered violence at least once in her life. This is unacceptable. We must close the door to this and to new phenomena such as digital violence, which massively affects women”, added the Secretary of State for Foreign and Global Affairs, Ángeles Moreno Bau.
Irene Lozano, Director of Casa Árabe, stated that “awareness of the phenomenon has increased, but space has also opened up for those who want to break the consensus that had existed to condemn and stop gender-based violence”.
At the first round table of the day, Mario Fanjul, General Coordinator of Spanish Cooperation in Ethiopia, explained how the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) works in Ethiopia “promoting a feminist cooperation programme that addresses structural aspects of gender inequality and violence against women and girls”.
In particular, Fanjul focused on AECID’s initiatives to end child marriage and female genital mutilation, which support the Ethiopian National Alliance for this purpose. This alliance is led by the Ministry of Women and Social Affairs, which brings together various specialised social organisations together with public entities. In addition,” Fanjul explained, “the Agency supports Setaweet, one of the few feminist movements in Ethiopia, to strengthen its women’s groups, especially those working with married girls, for whose approach they have developed a specific methodology.
This methodology was explained by Frezer Abera, a feminist sociologist and member of Setaweet, who described the system of self-care spaces for Ethiopian adolescent girls, victims of marriages celebrated before the legal age. In the same session, another Ethiopian, Abebaw Bogale, coordinator of the National Alliance to End Child Marriage and Female Genital Mutilation, explained how this network of public and private organisations works, which, under the leadership of the Ministry of Women, is promoting the Road Map to end child marriage and female genital mutilation by 2030. Ana Güezmes, Director of the Gender Affairs Division of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and Rocío Muñoz, Regional Gender Advisor of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) also participated in this roundtable.
Peggy Martinello, Director of the Area of Public Administration and Social Affairs at the FIIAPP, participated in the second round table on violence against women in human mobility. She reviewed the different policies, laws and regulations promoted by Spanish institutions abroad to grant international protection to victims of gender-based violence in regions such as Latin America, prevent and deactivate trafficking networks in Nigeria and Niger, and incorporate specific police protocols for victims in Lebanon.
Other speakers at this roundtable included Carolina Pacheco, supervisor of gender-based violence case management in humanitarian response at UNFPA Colombia; Juan Carlos Pacheco, regional advisor and head of communications for HIAS in Latin America and the Caribbean; and Benedetta Lettera, head of operations for Latin America and the Philippines at Action Against Hunger, who addressed the reasons for the unprecedented increase in displacement in the region.
Two out of every ten people on the move in the region are girls and adolescents, who represent 20%, according to UNDP data. They often travel dangerous and irregular routes, which increases protection risks. In the region, 80% of rapes are committed against girls and adolescents between the ages of 10 and 14, and 90% of these cases occur in a context of repeated rapes. Sexual and gender-based violence is, in many cases, the cause of displacement itself. Not only are they more exposed: migrant women and girls have less access to basic services and protection. In the Central American corridor, Spanish Development Cooperation provides humanitarian aid to migrants, with special attention to the prevention of gender-based violence and the protection and care of women and girls who are victims of violence.
Currently, “Spanish Cooperation funds more than 20 specific projects to combat gender violence, in addition to many others in which the fight against violence against women and girls is an essential part,” said Antón Leis, President of the AECID, at the closing ceremony.
“The commitment of Spanish Cooperation to achieve the elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation, is absolute,” said Pilar Cancela, before adding that “this is reflected in its initiatives, both those that support international organisations such as the United Nations Population Agency (UNFPA) and UN Women, and its contribution to academia, women’s and feminist associations and its alliances with civil society in general.