UNITED NATIONS: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stressed the need to tackle violence against woman.
“Every woman and every girl has the right to a life free of violence. Yet this rupture of human rights occurs in a variety of ways in every community. It particularly affects those who are most marginalized and most vulnerable,” Guterres said.
The UN chief made the remarks at a gathering to commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, which falls on Nov. 25.
Around the world, more than one in three women faces violence throughout their lifetime; 750 million women were married before age 18, and more than 250 million have undergone female genital mutilation, he noted.
Women’s rights activists are being targeted at alarming levels; violence against women politicians impedes progress on women’s civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights; and horrifying sexual violence in conflict shows no sign of abating, said the UN chief.
“There is increasing recognition that violence against women is a major barrier to the fulfilment of human rights, and a direct challenge to women’s inclusion and participation in sustainable development and sustaining peace. There is also increasing evidence that violence against women and girls is linked to other attacks, including violent extremism and even terrorism.”
The recent emergence of reports detailing sexual harassment in the workplace from many organizations and institutions worldwide shows how pervasive this form of sexual violence is, he noted.
“It is time to further our collective action to end violence against women and girls — for good. That takes all of us working together in our own countries, regions and communities, at the same time, toward the same goal,” he added.
Violence against women is fundamentally about power. It will only end when gender equality and the full empowerment of women becomes reality, said Guterres.
“I hope we are now seeing unprecedented momentum toward empowering women and achieving gender equality across the board and across the globe. It is time for united action from all of us, so that women and girls around the world can live free from all forms of violence.”