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In 1993, the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, which the organisation UN Women describes as “the first international instrument explicitly addressing violence against women, providing a framework for national and international action”. The declaration defines violence against women as any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women. This includes threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life. By resolution 54/134 of 17 December 1999, the UN General Assembly designated 25 November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women to raise public awareness of the issue. Activists have marked 25 November as a day against violence since 1981 in commemoration of the assassination in 1960 of the three Mirabal sisters, political activists in the Dominican Republic, on the orders of the Dominican ruler Rafael Trujillo for opposing his regime.

In 2008, the UN Secretary General launched UNiTE to End Violence against Women, a campaign aiming to raise public awareness and increase political will and resources for preventing and ending all forms of violence against women and girls in all parts of the world. The campaign designates the 25th day of each month as Orange Day, asking participants to wear orange to symbolise “a brighter future and a world free from violence against women and girls”. Over the course of 16 days, from 25 November 2018 to International Human Rights Day on 10 December 2018, UNiTE to End Violence against Women will be running a campaign entitled ‘Orange the World: #HearMeToo’. The stated aim of the campaign is to raise awareness of different women’s movements around the world.

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