16 Days of Activism closes in Istanbul

Date: Friday, December 11, 2015

UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka spoke at the closing ceremony of the 16 Days of Activism. Photo: UN Women/Haluk Baylan
UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka spoke at the closing ceremony of the 16 Days of Activism. Photo: UN Women/Ventura Formicone

“How beautiful the world looks in orange!” exclaimed UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka at a ceremony that closed the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence, whose ‘Orange the World’ initiative this year focused on preventing violence against women and girls. 

Held at Istanbul’s iconic Maiden Tower, the ceremony was hosted by the İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality. As Istanbul’s bridges and landmarks glowed orange, Mayor of Istanbul, Kadir Topbas, called on the world to join Istanbul’s strong commitment to ending violence against women and girls. “Our message is universal: Join Istanbul, and say No! to violence against women everywhere,” said Mr. Topbas. “We must sustain this fight year-long, not just for 16 days.”

Kadir Topbas, the Mayor of Istanbul stresses his commitment to combating violence against women. Photo: UN Women/Haluk Baylan
Kadir Topbas, the Mayor of Istanbul stresses his commitment to combating violence against women. Photo: UN Women/Haluk Baylan

Dr. Sema Ramazanoğlu, Turkey’s Minister for Family and Social Policies, reiterated the Government of Turkey’s support to end gender-based violence. “Turkey will observe the principle of zero tolerance for violence against women,” said Dr. Ramazanoğlu. “We have new laws, and we are committed to end gender-based violence.”

Throughout the 16 days, 27 landmarks across Istanbul went orange, including the two Bosphorus bridges, municipal buildings, and prominent landmarks like the Galata Tower, Feriye Palace, Bogazici University and the Maiden Tower.

Football players went on the field with banners that said `Say no to violence against women`. Photo: UN Women/Haluk Baylan
Football players went on the field with banners that said `Say no to violence against women`. Photo: UN Women/Haluk Baylan

Turkey's private sector also supported the campaign with about 15 landmark buildings, such as banks, companies, malls and hotels going orange.

With support from Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, orange banners and billboards donned the city’s bridges, highways and public transportation calling for an end to violence against women.

Football players kicked off Major League Football matches carrying banners calling for an end to violence against women.

The participants called for ending violence against women and girls. Photo: UN Women/Haluk Baylan
The participants called for ending violence against women and girls. Photo: UN Women/Haluk Baylan

The participants of the high-level global meeting Ending Violence against Women: Building on Progress to Accelerate Change co-organised by UN Women also took part in the closing ceremony at the Maiden Tower.

After praising the countries by name who’d made a commitment for action to be taken to end violence against women at the global meeting, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka expressed thanked Sweden and The Netherlands, for their strong support in makine the Istanbul global meeting possible, and to Australia and Spain for their on-going support to ending violence against women.

A water, light and laser show over the Bosphorus Strait closed the 16 Days of Activism. Photo: UN Women/Haluk Baylan
A water, light and laser show over the Bosphorus Strait closed the 16 Days of Activism. Photo: UN Women/Haluk Baylan

Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka then brought the Maiden Tower ceremony to a close as she issued her own call to action: “The world ended slavery. It ended colonialism in the 20th century. In our century, ending violence against women and girls is an idea whose time has come. Let’s act now and say a resounding ‘No!’ across the world to stop this violence!”

The closing ceremony concluded with a water, light and laser show over the Bosphorus Strait, with high-level participants enjoying the view from the Maiden Tower.

Related news
Global pledges ramp up campaign to end violence against women
UN Women Executive Director closes 16 days of activism in Turkey