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UN Symposium on Femicide: A Global Issue That Demands Action

November 17, 2012

On November 26, 2012, an international symposium on Femicide (the killing of women and girls because of their gender), was held by the UN-ACUNS in Vienna, Austria, to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

The 50 Million Missing Campaign founder, Rita Banerji, was a speaker at this symposium and talked about the various forms and extent of femicides in India (video and details of the symposium the program below).

This is a significant  development, and it has been the goal of  The 50 Million Missing Campaign  for the 6 years that we’ve been working to end female gendercide, to have femicide recognized as an international human rights crime, and to move international bodies to take action!!  As of now, if people or groups of people get killed because of their race, or religion or ethnicity, the world calls it a human rights crime.  But there is no law that says the killing of people because of their gender is a human rights crime and should not be tolerated.  There are thousands of girls and women killed in India simply because of their gender through female infanticide, deliberate starvation and violence on girls under 5-years, dowry murders, ‘honor’ killings, widow burnings (sati) and ‘witch’ lynchings.

21 Comments leave one →
  1. November 18, 2012 12:42 pm

    Reblogged this on REVOLUTIONS IN MY SPACE: A BLOG BY RITA BANERJI and commented:
    I’ll be making a presentation at the UN symposium on Femicide via video on Nov 26, 2012. Please read this post to see why your participation too will count! Finally we are on our way to declaring that women’s rights=human rights!!!

  2. November 19, 2012 8:17 am

    Reblogged this on Changing Women and commented:
    This issue is not about abortion, being pro choice or pro life, it is an issue of gender. Gender cleansing has no place in modern society.

    • November 19, 2012 12:28 pm

      Thank you Susanne — that’s exactly what we’ve been saying. This is NOT an abortion issue. It’s about systematic violation of women’s human rights. We should also point out if you listen to the recording of Rita’s speech in this blog (above), she is speaking about the 6 forms of Femicide in India — the killing of millions of girls and women after birth.

    • November 20, 2012 5:55 am

      Yes, the killing of women after birth is even more tragic and it will have a future impact on India’s economic growth as China is now starting to realize as a result of their one child policy and the desire for parents to have male children, resulting in girls being killed or aborted. You can see more about that on my Gender Economics site at The one thing that keeps me positive is that things are changing. I have seen change in my lifetime already and the amount of women that are speaking out now is incredible. I think that we now just need to help men to realise that women are not the enemy and by allowing them to be equal, men too will be enriched. Thanks so much for commenting, I really respect your work and if I can help in any way further, please let me know. Susanne

    • November 20, 2012 11:53 am

      Unfortunately Susanne — it has not got better but only unimaginably worse in India. For instance take the killing of girls between 1-5 years through starvation and violence. This is an age group in which girls survive much better than boys because of a biological advantage. In India girls were getting killed at a rate that’s 40% higher than that of boys in the 90s. However now according to the latest UN report and a number of other studies girls between 1-5 years are getting killed at a rate that’s 75% higher than boys that age. The same with women getting murdered for dowry — there are more than 100,000 women burnt to death now. In the 90s that was approximated at about 25000. So all in all because we’ve let this go too far, the floodgates of violence have opened on women and girls in a way that’s hard to even humanly imagine. We are glad the U.N. is now looking at this as a human rights crime, like they would if this was any other human group.

  3. November 19, 2012 10:54 am

    This is the most horrifying thing I have heard of. How on earth could a nation permit this to happen to their daughters? It goes against all that humanity was meant to be.

    • November 19, 2012 12:46 pm

      How can a nation permit this to happen to ANY of it’s citizens regardless of race, religion or gender — that’s what we are asking!

  4. Jibril Babayo Sulaiman permalink
    November 19, 2012 1:35 pm

    This is utterly babaric in the 21st Century. If UN really means business, it’s not only to stop it but also indict and punish the practitioners and the government that permitted such condemnable act.

  5. Fumat permalink
    November 19, 2012 2:54 pm

    this should be called “crimes against humanity ” and pursued and sentenced by the international Court of La Haye !

  6. November 19, 2012 3:24 pm

    Very unfortunate.

  7. Salerno Marianne permalink
    November 19, 2012 4:50 pm

    A horrible reality! We must be all concerned!

  8. Linda Contract Willus permalink
    November 19, 2012 8:06 pm

    All women worldwide should be aware of this horrific issue. Women and men of good faith
    should not be trading with countries that permit this atrocity, and take it to their wallets
    where it hurts. Every country should be protecting women who are killed and abused based upon their gender. It is unthinkable in the 21st Century and we can no longer hold a blind eye towards this abuse of humanity.

  9. Gwen Stainsby permalink
    November 20, 2012 5:22 pm

    This is an horfic crime against humanity. I think India needs to do away with the dowry payments and learn to love value and respect each other

  10. November 20, 2012 7:49 pm

    I hate to tell you girls and boys but it happens everywhere not just in India and Chiina it is simply more subtle. We in Canada and the US ‘allow’ both our daughters and sons to die of malnutrition. We need to step up to the plate here to and demand more of our leaders and of ourselves.

    • November 21, 2012 7:55 pm

      @Val — we don’t intend this to be a competition of violence on women and girls. There is of course violence on women and girls in all countries. However, what we need to contend with here in India is the scale of the violence which is historically unprecedented for any group based on any factor — race, religion, etc. In 20 years India will have systematically exterminated 20% of women ONLY BECAUSE THEY ARE FEMALE! It is something people find hard to believe — we know we deal with that disbelief every day. But bodies like the UN know and we are glad they are now taking notice. This move is very important. Please also read this post “Why the Annihilation of India’s women is a genocide”

  11. November 21, 2012 9:10 pm

    The Annihilation of female babies and children, is Population Control in China. A couple of years ago a young Chinese woman who had become pregnant in Australia was sent back to China when the Australian Labor Govt., refused to allow her to pleas to be accepted as a refugee, despite pleas from the public. I understand that the Chinese are encouraging young men to have male sexual partners these days. Because of their One Child Policy. One hopes that they have thought of the danger of AIDS! They could wipe out their whole population if they keep that up. There are some couples who are allowed to have 2 children.

    • November 22, 2012 11:33 pm

      @Frances — The one-child policy does not specifically state that female children have to be aborted. The system they have set up just says you can only have one child. It is the Chinese people who are choosing to have that one child as male. In fact the Chinese community outside China, in the U.S. for e.g. has an abnormally skewed sex-ratio against girls. And the U.S. does not have a one-child policy. So basically it still boils down to extreme form of misogyny — which is also the basic reason for all violence, including lethal violence against females.

  12. November 22, 2012 6:29 pm

    While this violence is committed against females it is in fact the final fatal act of violence against females. Which is not to say that other acts of violence against females is not systemic because it is, it is just to say that other acts of violence against females is not fatal.

  13. November 22, 2012 8:58 pm

    Dearest friends. I want to thank you all in the campaign and Ms Banerji. I was aware of these crimes… but only thanks to you I have known the extent and the threat pending on years to come. It’s “horricide” too… Yes, I know that means the killing of horror. But I am just appalled when I realize so many insist on looking aside, look only at their individual lives and their relatively insignificant problems that have solutions right in front of them. I’ve been in India just once, and not that one needs to go to love its people and admire its history. I find it so hard to believe that it is happening in the land of Gandhi, probably the most peaceful and yet determinant person that the history of mankind has ever known. I’ve read your lines that people find this hard to believe. True. And what gets to me, in addition, is worse… when people would rather not know… We can’t allow this. And we definitely can not cross our arms and watch this daily terror. Finally, dear friends… On Nov. 26th, 1960, the Mirabal Sisters in Dominican Republic were beaten to death with clubs and sticks to make it look like an accident, so their bodies were put back on a jeep and pushed down a ridge. They were killed though not because they were women. They courageously faced a dictatorship and paid their patriotism with death. Because of this tragedy, the date was chosen by UN as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. For the lives of millions of girls killed in India at any age and no age, and the millions disappearing in China… We must stand and at the very LEAST shout it to the world. It has got to stop!!

  14. November 26, 2012 6:02 am

    Never have I read anything so devastating in my life. That it’s permissable says we need a huge influx of grace that’s coming with the Shift. In the meantime, let’s petition so that the world knows and makes changes in what is allowable. Peace and Love, Sarah Tiers

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