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12.03.2009 General News

UN chief calls for stronger alliance

By Daily Guide

UN SECRETARY General, Ban Ki-Moon has emphasized that though changing mindsets and habits of generations is difficult to attain, it is necessary for individuals, organizations as well as governments to eliminate indiscriminate violence meted out to women in the world.

“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”, he said.

Mr. Ki-Moon made the call in a message to mark this year's International Women's Day in Accra on Monday.

Additional files from the internet disclosed that the International Women's Day was declared in 1910 by the German socialist leader, Clara Zetkin, at a conference in Copenhagen, as a day of solidarity that marked the fight for equal women's equal rights.

The day was officially recognized by the United Nations in 1975 as the International Women's Year.

On March 8 every year, thousands of events were held   worldwide to inspire women and celebrate their achievements.

A global web of rich and diverse local activity connects women from all around the world ranging from political rallies, business conferences, and government activities and networking events through to local women's craft markets, theatric performances, fashion parades and more.

However, Mr. Ki-Moon stressed the need for economic and social policies, which support the empowerment of women and called for a positive image of women in the media. “We need laws that say violence is a crime, that hold perpetrators accountable and are enforced,” he added.

Highlighting on the theme for the celebration; “Women and Men: United to End Violence against Women,” the United Nations' boss noted that it would encourage both sexes to join hands in opposing violence against women.

“Only by acting together can we create more equal and peaceful societies. Let us all, on this International Women's Day, resolve to make a difference,” he urged.

Violence against women, he mentioned is linked also to the spread of HIV/AIDS, explaining that in some countries, as many as one in three women would be beaten, forced into sex or otherwise abused in her lifetime.

Mr. Ki-Moon noted that women are systematically and deliberately subject to rape and sexual abuse during wars.

Meanwhile, statistics from the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) as quoted by the Acting Director, Department of Women at the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs (MOWAC), Frances Pobee-Hayford revealed that from January to December last year,  a total of 721 cases of defilement were recorded.

Out of the number, 99 percent of these victims were girls while boys represented two percent.

She further said that men, who committed such atrocities on their female counterparts, were ninety eight percent as against two percent, perpetrated by women themselves.

According to her, there were a total of 227 reported rape cases by men, whereas nine girls were said to have been forced into marriages.

“These and other statistics indicate that more women and girls suffer violence with men dominating as the perpetrators. “This therefore explained why the theme is apt,” she said.

Studies, she pointed out have shown that an end to violence against women and girls should be a collaborative effort between men and women at homes, work places, schools and in the communities.

Her outfit called on Civil Society Organizations, Gender Advocates and arms of government responsible for the implementation of gender based laws not to relent on their effort to end violence against women and girls.

She was of the view that funding to cater for victims should be increased in order to create a supportive environment to be committed to existing policy.

By Nathaniel Y.Yankson