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09.03.2007 General News

Gov’t commended for efforts at fighting violence against women

By : GNA

The Executive Director of the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA), Madam Thoraya Ahmed Obaid has commended individuals and various parliaments and governments in every country who are demanding justice and taking action on violence against women.

She, however, noted that while such progress had been made in the adoption of laws, much greater action was needed to ensure that laws were enforced and awareness was raised.

"Everyone should understand that violence against women and girls is unacceptable and will no longer be tolerated," she said in a statement issued on Thursday in Accra to mark International Women's Day, which falls on March 8.

The theme of this year's International Women's Day was "Ending Impunity for Violence against Women".

Madam Obaid said the theme called for stronger commitment and action since the widespread impunity that existed today not only encouraged further abuses and suffering but sent the signal that male violence against women was acceptable or normal.

"It is not (acceptable or normal)," she said. "Together, we can and must do more to prevent violence against women, provide services to survivors, and ensure that perpetrators are punished.

No matter where a girl is born, she should live free of discrimination and violence. Every girl and woman should enjoy equal opportunity and equal rights," she added.

Madam Obaid expressed regret that in spite of various interventions, violence against women and girls continued to be widespread and most of these crimes went unpunished.

The Executive Director therefore called for a change of deeply rooted attitudes and practices that discriminated against women and girls as well as sensitization and training of all those who responded to violence against women-whether they are police officers, judges, lawyers, immigration officials, medical personnel or social workers to enable them to provide a response that was compassionate and comprehensive.

"By ending impunity for violence against women, we will make greater progress in achieving peace, development and human rights for all."

Madam Obaid gave the assurance that UNFPA was committed in working with partners to combat discrimination and violence against women and girls.

"UNFPA will continue to work within the United Nations system and with governments and civil society to put national action plans in place that prevent and address violence against women”.

“We will continue to promote human rights, including the right to sexual and reproductive health, women's empowerment and gender equality," she added.

Source: GNA