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Empowerment of girls on International Day of the Girl

Ljubljana, 11 October 2017 – International Day of the Girl is an international observance day aimed at raising public awareness of the disadvantages and discrimination that girls face in various situations, and at promoting the full realisation of their potential. This year, the special emphasis is on the challenges faced by girls in emergency contexts, and numerous campaigns have been launched under the slogan EmPOWER girls: before, during and after emergencies.


According to the UNICEF data, in 2016, around 535 million children lived in countries affected by conflicts, large-scale natural disasters, epidemics and other emergencies. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees points out that the protracted nature of current crises means that several million girls born during the crisis might have to spend the first years or even decades of their lives in an emergency setting and therefore are at greater risk of violence on the basis of gender, sexual and physical violence, child marriages, exploitation and trafficking in human beings. During conflict, girls are also 2.5 times more likely to be out of school than boys, which significantly compromises their future prospects. Furthermore, health services critical to the wellbeing of girls, including services and information related to sexual and reproductive health and rights, and provisions for intimate health and hygiene are often scarce in crisis situations.


Therefore, on International Day of the Girl we call for support and assistance for girls in emergencies, respect for their human rights and the assurance of appropriate conditions for them to realise their full potential. Slovenia contributes to these aims by advocating the rights and wellbeing of children and the empowerment of women in different multinational forums, as well as by supporting humanitarian projects intended to improve the situation of women and children. In 2017, Slovenia made a financial contribution to the UN Population Fund for programmes promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights in developing countries.


During this year's campaigns on International Day of the Girl, numerous activities are taking place aimed at giving girls a voice so that they can inform all the aspects of emergency responses and services put in place and ensuring access to intimate hygiene and other commodities as well as related health and nutrition information and services, while other activities address the prevention of gender-based violence and harmful practices and promote improved access to girls' education and training.


October 11 was declared International Day of the Girl Child by the UN General Assembly in 2011; its mission is the recognition of girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world.