Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro has pledged the support of the United Nations in ending violence against women, which she said will require adopting new laws, enforcing the ones that exist and working to change the backward mindsets that contribute to this scourge.
“There is still an enormous amount of work ahead,” she said, noting that violence against women is everywhere, on every continent, in poor slums and in rich suburbs.
“But if the challenge of ending violence against women remains monumental, it is at least no longer a lonely task,” she told European justice ministers yesterday at their meeting in Tromsø, Norway, which focused on breaking the silence of domestic violence.
“More and more leaders around the world are joining the struggle. More and more individuals understand that any abuse of any woman is intolerable,” she said.
Ms. Migiro stressed that domestic violence is “especially evil.” Surveys from around the world show that half of the women who die from homicides are killed by their current or former husbands or partners.
“They lose their lives to gunshots, beatings, burns and other horrendous forms of abuse,” she stated. “This violence is pervasive and its effects are widespread. Not only are individual women victimized, but whole societies suffer major setbacks.”
Breaking the silence that contributes to a culture of impunity, and protecting women and girls, will require “adopting new laws, enforcing the ones we have and working tirelessly to change the backward mindsets that condone, excuse or ignore violence committed against women.”
She highlighted Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s UNiTE Campaign, which calls on world leaders to spur action through national campaigns and to achieve five key outcomes by 2015.
“By then, we want all countries to have strong laws, action plans, preventive measures and data collection systems. These are the essential elements for stopping and defeating all forms of domestic violence,” she stated.
Ms. Migiro added that the Secretary-General had made a personal commitment to this cause since the launching of the campaign, and since then has been using the power of his office to denounce violence against women and children.
She recalled in particular Mr. Ban’s recent visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where he spoke to young victims of horrific crimes.
The Deputy Secretary-General also met with a number of ministers and officials in Oslo during her five-day visit to Norway which wrapped up today.