UN Women Executive Director closes 16 days of activism in Turkey

On her first official visit to Turkey, UN Women Executive Director met with government, civil society, private sector and media representatives, called on all stakeholders to act now to end violence against women and girls, and emphasised prevention, ending impunity for crimes, survivor services, and engaging men to stop violence against women.

Date: Friday, December 11, 2015

10 December

UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka concluded her two-day official visit to Turkey with a full day of meetings with Turkish women activists, high-level government officials, a top business leader and media.

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women met with Turkish civil society. Photo: UN Women/Ventura Formicone
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women met with Turkish civil society. Photo: UN Women/Ventura Formicone

At a meeting with leading Turkish women’s groups and activists, the Executive Director emphasized the importance of ensuring the participation of women’s rights advocates in all national dialogues and offered UN Women’s support in their interactions with the government.

“UN Women can build bridges between the government and independent civil society,” said Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka

UN Women Executive Director with Güler Sabancı, Chairwoman of Sabancı Holding. Photo: UN Women/Ventura Formicone
UN Women Executive Director with Güler Sabancı, Chairwoman of Sabancı Holding. Photo: UN Women/Ventura Formicone

The Executive Director also met with Ms. Güler Sabancı, Chairwoman of Sabancı Holding, and a leading supporter of women’s rights in Turkey. She thanked Ms. Sabancı for her comprehensive support of improving gender equality and women’s empowerment in Turkey. Ms. Sabancı funded UN Women’s work with 11 pilot municipalities across Turkey to ensure their local budgets respond equally to the needs of women and girls.

UN Women Executive Director with Miki Yamada, Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan. Photo: UN Women/Ventura Formicone
UN Women Executive Director with Miki Yamada, Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan. Photo: UN Women/Ventura Formicone

Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka met with Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Miki Yamada of Japan and reiterated her commitment to a long-standing partnership with Japan. On 30 August, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe and the Executive Director officially inaugurated the new UN Women Liaison Office in Tokyo, located in Bunkyo City.

UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka with Kadir Topbas, the Mayor of Istanbul at the global closing ceremony of the 16 Days of Activism. Photo: UN Women/Ventura Formicone
UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka with Kadir Topbas, the Mayor of Istanbul at the global closing ceremony of the 16 Days of Activism. Photo: UN Women/Ventura Formicone

Ahead of the global closing ceremony of 16 Days of Activism in Istanbul, the Executive Director met with the Mayor of Istanbul, Kadir Topbaş, who hosted the closing reception of the campaign at the Maiden Tower and supported a city-wide campaign to call for an end to violence against women. Throughout the 16 days of activism, 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.

9 December

The opening of the global meeting on ending the violence against Women. Photo: Office of the Prime Minister, Republic of Turkey
The opening of the global meeting on ending the violence against Women. Photo: Office of the Prime Minister, Republic of Turkey

After welcoming the Prime Minister of Turkey, Mr. Ahmet Davutoğlu, Executive Director joined him, Dr. Sema Ramazanoğlu, Turkey’s Minister for Family and Social Policies, and her conference co-organiser, UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, to open the high-level global meeting Ending Violence against Women: Building on Progress to Accelerate Change. The meeting brought together high-level government ministers from Turkey and 16 other countries, along with nearly 200 practitioners, experts and civil society to assess progress, share data and good practices, and identify challenges.

Throughout two days, in meetings with the media, civil society, UN officials and high-level Turkish and government representatives from 16 countries, Executive Director called for zero tolerance and immediate action to end the global epidemic of violence against women and urged that existing laws protecting women be vigorously enforced.

UN Women Executive Director with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and others. Photo: UN Women/Ventura Formicone
UN Women Executive Director with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and others. Photo: UN Women/Ventura Formicone

Executive Directors of UN Women and UNFPA met with the Prime Minister of Turkey, Mr. Ahmet Davutoğlu and stressed the importance of effective implementation of laws to protect women and prevent violence. UN Women Executive Director congratulated the Prime Minister for the leading role Turkey has played in ratifying the Istanbul Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence. Executive Director urged the government to continue its leadership in the implementation of the Convention. 

UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka with Sema Ramazanoğlu, Turkey’s Minister for Family and Social Policies. Photo: UN Women/Ventura Formicone
UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka with Sema Ramazanoğlu, Turkey’s Minister for Family and Social Policies. Photo: UN Women/Ventura Formicone

Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka also met with Dr. Sema Ramazanoğlu, the Turkish Minister of Family and Social Policies, the host of the global meeting and encouraged further collaboration between UN Women and the Turkish government. Executive Director mentioned UN Women’s interest in supporting the government in the implementation of the National Action Plan on Combatting Violence against Women. She also stressed the importance of following up on the Women 20, a new engagement group under the auspices of the G20 to advance the economic empowerment of women, so that it can become a strong and influential group under the G20. Executive Director also emphasized the importance of working with the civil society as key partners in advancing gender equality.

UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka spoke at the press conference before the opening of the global meeting on Ending the violence against Women in Istanbul, Turkey. Photo: UN Women/Ventura Formicone
UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka spoke at the press conference before the opening of the global meeting on Ending the violence against Women in Istanbul, Turkey. Photo: UN Women/Ventura Formicone

The Executive Directors of UN Women and UNFPA met with the media at a press-conference where they emphasized the importance of prevention, ending impunity for crimes, survivor services and engaging men to stop violence against women and called on all governments to step up implementation of laws to prevent and end violence against women. “Violence against women and girls remains one of the most widespread and tolerated violations of human rights – but it is not inevitable, and we can prevent it. We are here today to say that this is enough. Now is the moment for coherently executed, decisive action to eliminate this global pandemic,” said UN Women Executive Director at the Press Conference.

UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and Mustafa Koc, Chairman of Koc Holding. Photo: UN Women/Ventura Formicone
UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and Mustafa Koc, Chairman of Koc Holding. Photo: UN Women/Ventura Formicone

Executive Director met with Mr. Mustafa Koç, Chairman of Koç Holding, which is the only Turkish company among 10 companies worldwide that are HeForShe Impact Champions. Executive Director stressed the importance of “the power of one” and the crucial role that leaders of companies play in setting the tone within the company and influencing others in advancing gender equality beyond. Mr. Koç emphasized that they aim to reach 100 thousand people by next year with gender sensitization trainings.

8 December

UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mambo-Ngcuka with members of the Father Support Association in Istanbul. Photo: UN Women/Ventua Formicone
UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mambo-Ngcuka with members of the Father Support Association in Istanbul. Photo: UN Women/Ventua Formicone

Under-Secretary-General and UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka began her first official trip to Turkey the day before the global meeting, where she visited Istanbul Father Support Association, a ground-breaking fatherhood project in Turkey run by the Mother Child Education Foundation (ACEV), to discuss family issues and dynamics that lead to more equitable and non-violent households. ACEV’s Father Support Programme, which is funded by the United Nations Trust Fund to End Violence against Women, has a simple, yet life-changing aim: to prevent domestic violence against women and girls in Turkey by engaging men in a comprehensive and community-based prevention programme.

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