Engaged Street Action in Vilnius for the Istanbul Convention!
Every three months, right on the 25th, Vilnius Women's House stages a big street action to raise awareness about the Step Up! Campaign in their country. The street action takes place at a very central Vilnius city’s location - Vinco Kudirkos square. Already three times this year (May, August, November) Vilnius city’s residents and guests were invited to take a picture with one of the Campaign’s posters and by this express their support of Istanbul Convention’s ratification. Using posters reflecting the spirt of the Istanbul Convention, this street action initiative engages the public and informs it about the Istanbul Convention. This way Istanbul's Convention name gets to be associated with something more tangible and concrete.
The key messages in posters include the importance of: ratifying the Istanbul Convention, ensuring women’s rights including the right to live free from violence, strengthening women’s NGOs, and Specialized Help Centres for victims of domestic violence, improving and increasing access to service, ensuring specialized police training to better respond to situations of violence against women, client friendly institutional response to the survivors and State responsibility implementing women’s human rights protection. Along these statements every poster has an underlying key message to Stop Violence against Women (#Stabdykime_Smurtą_prieš_moteris) and ratify the Istanbul Convention (#Ratifikuokime_Stambulo_konvenciją!). All the photos made during the street action or shared by the public can be seen on the Facebook profile of Vilnius Women’s House or by entering an active hashtag (#Ratifikuokime_Stambulo_konvenciją!).
We have collected all the pictures that were available through active hashtag (#Ratifikuokime_Stambulo_konvenciją!) and put them together to a picture collage and made 7 roll up posters that were exhibited on December 5th 2016, at the Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania during the international conference Women’s Human rights in Lithuania - achievements and challenges. The implementation of the Protection from violence in immediate surroundings law 2011-2016. Organized by the Association Vilnius Women's House.
Since the launch in May 2015, ten organizations (mainly non-governmental) have already shown their support, along with over 500 people! At the 18th WAVE Conference in Berlin, this support was also consolidated by WAVE Members and other participants. For more information about this street action, check out the photos posted regularly on their Facebook page.
Following the first street action Vilnius City vice-mayor Gintautas Paluckas endorsed the action on his facebook account and due to association's Vilnius Women’s House efforts the conversation was started. On May 30th, 2016 Vilnius Women’s House and other NGOs met with members from City Hall, the first of such an unprecedented event, in which the City of Vilnius government shows the competence of the protection of human rights of women and consults with representatives of civil society. Meeting attendees discussed a special programme for 2017-2019 to ensure gender-based violence prevention and specialized help provision in Vilnius city. One of the key priorities of the Porogramme is to strengthen institutional capacity of the NGOs working in the field of gender equality, human rights protection and provision of specialized complex help; wide prevention; specialized training for professional groups; promote inter-institutional collaboration; widely spread information and awareness raising campaigns lead by discursive social advertisements. A constructive dialogue has begun in Lithuania between civil society and public authorities, and Vilnius Women’s House salutes the civil organizations addressing gender-related issues. On 1st of December the second meeting was held and already written Programme was reviewed and adjusted taking into account experts opinions.