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Ending gender-based violence: ​activists and survivors aim to shape the global agenda

The Government of Iceland and the city of Reykjavík will welcome activists and survivors from around the world on August 16th-18th, digitally and in-person in a bid to hasten the end of gender-based violence, with a conference and activist meeting.

Activists and survivors will come together globally to focus on violence against women and girls for the first time in 25 years, to influence the global policy agenda in the wake of a mass rise of gender-based violence during the pandemic and the revelations of the #MeToo and #SayHerName movement still ongoing today.

Influential policymakers and activists including Icelandic PM Katrín Jakobsdóttir, UN Women Police Advisor Jane Townsley and feminist advocate Marai Larasi will speak at the conference. The agenda will be championed by the Government of Iceland through its membership of the Nordic Council of Ministers and the UN Women Action Coalition on Gender-Based Violence.

The conference is organized in collaboration with RIKK – Institute for Gender, Equality and Difference at the University of Iceland on 16–17th August and will focus on survivor-centred justice by exploring how to advance traditional as well as non-traditional pathways to justice. As part of demands for state and perpetrator accountability, the goal is to investigate the different dynamics of deep-rooted issues of gender-based violence and sexual harassment.

Katrín Jakobsdóttir, Prime Minister of Iceland: “As long as we face gender-based violence worldwide, the fight to end this violence remains relevant. It is driven by the energy and persistence of brave activists from all over the globe.  Survivors of gender-based violence have been at the heart of women's rights activists' work for a long time. We must continue to center their voices, as experts and leaders, not as a marginal group.”

Dr Purna Sen, leading expert on violence against women and member of the Reykjavík Dialogue Advisory Group: “Movements such as #MeToo have created an important momentum for the fight against gender-based violence which we must now use to drive the global agenda forward. The pandemic has put women and girls around the world at an increased risk of suffering from violence and abuse. Now is the time to act.

“However, politicians and policymakers should be at this event to learn, not to lead. It’s activists and survivors from every part of the world who have the knowledge and power to develop an impactful agenda. That’s why we are coming together – virtually and in Reykjavík.”

The policy agenda will cover gender-based violence, including concepts of justice and the impact of colonialism and racism on gender inequalities designed in the three days by survivors, activists, policymakers and leading academics.

The three-day event is taking place virtually and in person. Registration for the conference and the virtual dialogue are open for everyone to register. Updates on the conference are shared on the website or on social media.

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