UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday called for greater international action to end violence against women saying; “We must stop the habitual and socially ingrained violence that mars lives, destroys health, perpetuates poverty and prevents us from achieving women's equality
The UN Chief was addressing an audience, including ministers from over 50 countries and more than 1,000 representatives of women's groups in New York for the annual session of the Commission on the Status of Women when he opened the United Nations commemorative event for International Women's Day.
The theme for this year's International Women's Day, which is observed annually on March 8, is “Women and Men United to End Violence Against Women and Girls.”
The theme ties in with the Secretary-General's wider campaign; “UNiTE to End Violence Against Women,” which he launched in 2008, to run through 2015, the target date for achieving the Millennium Development Goals.
“The link with the Goals is clear,” Mr. Ban said in his message for the Day which also called for a campaign for national laws to be put in place and enforced.
“That multi-sectoral national action plans are adopted and implemented, with adequate resources provided to both prevent violence and respond to survivors; that data collection is improved through surveys on prevalence; and that sexual violence in conflict situations is systematically addressed.”
“Changing mindsets and the habits of generations is not easy. It must involve all of us – individuals, organizations and governments,” the Secretary-General said.
“We must work together to state loud and clear, at the highest level, that violence against women will not be tolerated, in any form, in any context, in any circumstance.”
United Nations offices around the world are working with partners from government and civil society to organize dozens of special events in observance of the Day, bringing women and men together to tackle the scourge of violence against women in all its manifestations.
Planned events include rallies, seminars, press conferences, exhibits, film screenings and concerts, involving women's groups and ministries, schools, faith-based organizations and many others.