Commemorating Salwa Bugaighis on International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

Posted on: December 3, 2014, by :

Cairo, Egypt (November 25, 2014) – International women’s rights organisations, human rights activists, lawyers and politicians will today join together to commemorate the victims of violence against women.

Hibaaq Osman, Founder and CEO of women’s rights organisation, Karama said International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women provides a platform for women, victims of violence and organisations to raise awareness about their daily fight to end violence against women. 

“From domestic and sexual abuse, slavery, murder and rape as a weapon of war, millions of women struggle against violence every day,” Ms Osman said.

“In times of war and conflict the situation is often exacerbated. Without a just legal system to protect their most basic human rights, women are at their most vulnerable to violence and exploitation and are often directly targeted.”

Less than six months ago, one of Karama’s partners and a leading Libyan civil rights activist and human rights lawyer, Salwa Bugaighis was assassinated in her home by armed men who opposed her messages of democracy and peace.

Salwa Bugaighis was a key figure in Libya’s recent history, and was renowned for her determination and persistence in fighting for an open democracy. From a young student protestor, to a leading figure through the revolution and a member of the National Transitional Council in the post-Gaddafi period, Salwa fought for democracy even as her life was being threatened.

The murder of a woman of courage and conviction, described internationally as Libya’s  “most prominent female revolutionary”, sent shockwaves through the country and the wider world.

A close friend and colleague of Salwa, Ms Osman said Salwa was a remarkable woman.

“Salwa was one of the kindest, most charismatic and passionate people I have ever known. She wanted security for all Libyans.

“She was a true leader. She was the future of Libya.

“She fought against injustice, for basic human and civil rights, and she was murdered for it”.

Tragically, however, Salwa’s story is not uncommon. 

The 16 days following the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women were chosen to commemorate the lives of the Mirabal Sisters who were assassinated in the Dominic Republic in 1960. Today, millions of women and girls are affected by violence in the Arab region every year.

On Human Rights Day, Salwa will become the face of Karama’s campaign to end violence against women. Justice for Salwa is Justice for All will launch on the 10th December, 2014.

Media contact: Sandi Gatt +44 203 427 3336