Austria exhorts UN to take lead in fight to reduce violence against women

Austria exhorts UN to take lead in fight to reduce violence against women

Federal Minister for European and International Affairs of Austria Ursula Plassnik
The United Nations must take lead in global efforts to eliminate violence against women by setting clear reduction targets and establishing a network so that countries can exchange their best ideas for the cause, Austria told the General Assembly today.

Speaking at the Assembly’s annual General Debate, Ursula Plassnik, the Federal Minister for European and International Affairs, said “appalling reports of discrimination and violence against women” continue to be received around the world, despite the recent progress by women in so many spheres of life.

“How can we speak of human rights for women, as long as one out of every three women worldwide has been beaten or abused?” Ms. Plassnik asked. “It is the responsibility of each and every government to act on this.”

She added that women have become “the politically and socially most relevant ‘emerging power’ of the 21st century. Their contribution must be valued publicly, their participation encouraged, their potential fully used.”

Ms. Plassnik paid credit to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for appointing a number of women to senior positions in the UN, both at Headquarters in New York and in the field.

She also called for strengthened efforts to support women involved in peacekeeping and peacebuilding missions, as well as mediation processes.

Ms. Plassnik addressed the General Assembly a day after religious leaders from around the world pledged to add their voices to a campaign organized by the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) to cut violence against females.