On 9 December as part of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, singer, finalist of Eurovision 2021 and UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) Russia Goodwill Ambassador Manizha arrived in Almaty.
The singer visits Kazakhstan as a founder of the SILSILA Foundation for Support and Protection of People in Difficult Life Situations. Manizha held a press conference today, organized by UN Women and the UN Refugee Agency.
“For me, these 16 days are perhaps the most valuable days of the year. Together with my mother Najiba Usmanova, we travel to the countries of Central Asia to study the cultural traditions, mentality and legislative experience in the fight against domestic violence, see how the work of public organizations and how women are helped on the ground. Our task is to create the protocols of the SILSILA Foundation and work out a program of assistance that we could provide in Russia. But without the experience of neighboring countries, we cannot cope. Kazakhstan for us is the most important point on the map,” Manizha said.
Manizha spoke about her foundation, which began its work on November 25 this year, on the first day of the global campaign the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence. The singer came to Kazakhstan from Kyrgyzstan, where the presentation of the SILSILA foundation was also held.
Michaela Friberg-Storey, UN Resident Coordinator in Kazakhstan, noted: “The 16 Days of Activism call us to raise public awareness of gender-based violence and its destructive impact, change the mentality regarding violence, and step up our efforts to combat violence against women and girls. To achieve all of this, we need effective collaboration and successful partnerships. I am delighted to welcome Manizha to the UN in Kazakhstan and warmly support her desire to share experiences with local women’s initiatives and meet with survivors of gender-based violence. “
Unfortunately, the problem of gender-based violence is relevant for all countries of the world. Every third woman in the world experiences violence in her lifetime. Every day 137 women die as a result of gender-based violence in the world. And only 40% of victims seek help of any kind. Moreover, with the onset of the pandemic, the situation has only worsened. Now in the countries of Central Asia, up to 340 complaints of domestic violence to the police are registered daily. For 10 months of this year, according to official statistics, 48 women were killed in domestic conflicts in Kazakhstan, more than 1600 female girls suffered from criminal offenses related to gender-based violence.
“We welcome the government’s intentions to further strengthen accountability for these crimes and improve coordination of all structures and organizations that are involved in preventing violence and providing assistance to those who survived it. In addition, we support the recommendations of our partners on the criminalization of domestic violence in Kazakhstan,” said Maria Dotsenko, UN Women Representative in Kazakhstan.
During the visit, Manizha and her team met with international experts, public activists, representatives of crisis centers, human rights organizations, bloggers. The SILSILA Foundation intends to actively support people in difficult life situations, including migrant women, refugees and women who have suffered from domestic violence.
“Globally, one in five refugee or internally displaced women have faced sexual violence. Addressing this problem requires action by authorities, supported by civil society, the international community and Goodwill Ambassadors like Manizha. We highly appreciate Manizha’s initiative to promote safe access to legal and other types of assistance for survivors of gender-based violence, including displaced women and girls,” said Hans Friedrich Schodder, UNHCR Representative for Central Asia.
The global campaign “16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence” is held annually from 25 November to 10 December. This year Kazakhstan joined the global Coalition of Action to Combat Gender-Based Violence. In addition, the President Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev announced the need to consider the issue of toughening responsibility for domestic violence and update the Concept of Family and Gender Policy until 2030.