Violence against women devastates individuals and societies alike, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today, calling for united action to demand accountability, end impunity and support the victims of this global scourge.
“Whether it is domestic violence, sex trafficking, so-called ‘honour’ crimes or female genital cutting, violence against women and girls continues to be a horrific and all-too common crime,” Mr. Ban said in remarks to a panel at UN Headquarters on the issue.
In addition to causing personal suffering, violence against women undermines development, generates instability, and makes peace in society much harder to achieve, he noted.
“We all need to unite to demand accountability for the violations of the rights of women and girls. We all need to take concrete steps to end impunity. We must listen to and support the victims.
“We must address the roots of violence against women by eradicating discrimination and changing the mindsets that perpetuate it,” the Secretary-General said.
Mr. Ban noted that the Beijing Platform for Action, the outcome of the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women, identified putting an end to violence against women as critical to achieving equality, development and peace.
Among the progress made on the issue since then, he cited the adoption by the Security Council of resolutions on women, peace and security, as well as sexual violence in conflict. Mr. Ban, who is strongly committed to the struggle to end sexual violence in conflict, has appointed a UN Special Representative to tackle this horrible practice.
In addition, he has launched the “UNiTE to End Violence against Women” campaign which seeks to raise public awareness and generate political will, and established a Network of Men Leaders bringing together current and former politicians, activists, religious and community figures to combat the global pandemic.
“Let us rid our societies of this cause for global shame,” Mr. Ban told the panel, which took place as part of the 54th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). “Let us end the violence and empower women and girls for the benefit of all.”