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Breaking the violence and poverty cycle

Breaking the violence and poverty cycle

Kiwi campaigners in White Ribbon action for the Pacific

Amnesty International is this year highlighting the need to break the cycle of violence and poverty facing women in the Asia-Pacific region, as part of its White Ribbon Day campaigning.

In return for a white ribbon Amnesty International members will be seeking New Zealanders’ support for its campaign for more women’s refuges in Papua New Guinea (PNG), and long-overdue justice for former “comfort women” who were forced into sexual slavery in Japan during the Second World War.

“When violence against women goes unaddressed it will continue and worsen. And one of the biggest contributors to that cycle of violence is poverty,” says Margaret Taylor, Amnesty International Aotearoa NZ’s Activism Support Manager.

“The White Ribbon campaign has contributed to a distinct attitude change about the unacceptability of violence against women here in New Zealand. By taking action locally Kiwis can also bring about positive change amongst our Asia-Pacific neighbours,” says Taylor.

Amnesty International Local Groups will be holding White Ribbon Day activities around the country next week. For more info about local events, please visit

Amnesty International is a supporting organisation of White Ribbon Day (25 November) - the international day when people wear a white ribbon to show that they do not condone violence towards women. That day also kicks off the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence, which runs until 10 December – International Human Rights Day. These dates further underline that violence against women is a grave abuse of human rights.

Through its new Demand Dignity campaign, Amnesty is demanding an end to the human rights abuses which drive and deepen poverty. For women, poverty is both a consequence and cause of violence. Violence helps keep women poor, and it is women living in poverty who are most exposed to violence. See more about the Demand Dignity campaign at

Campaign focus:
Violence against women in PNG is widespread, with police statistics revealing a 24% increase in reported rape cases between 2007 and 2008. Yet most perpetrators of violence against women are never arrested and a lack of resources and political will means women rarely find help, forcing them and their children into poverty.

Japan has still to adequately apologise or compensate surviving former “comfort women” in what is the world’s largest case of sexual trafficking involving some 200,000 women, only half of whom survived the war.

See more about Amnesty International’s work to stop violence against women at


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