25 November 2009, International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

24 Nov 2009

25 November 2009, International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

New York, 25 November 2009 - Secretary-General's message on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

In the ten years since the General Assembly designated 25 November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, the circle of engagement has widened. More groups and individuals, including men and boys, are getting involved in efforts to prevent and address this heinous violation of women's human rights. There has also been significant progress at the national level as many countries have adopted laws and comprehensive action plans.

However, much work lies ahead. In every country, women and girls continue to be plagued by violence, causing tremendous suffering. Such violence undermines development, generates instability, and makes peace that much harder to achieve. We must demand accountability for the violations, and take concrete steps to end impunity. We must listen to and support the survivors.

Our goal is clear: an end to these inexcusable crimes -- whether it is the use of rape as a weapon of war, domestic violence, sex trafficking, so-called "honour" crimes or female genital mutilation/cutting. We must address the roots of this violence by eradicating discrimination and changing the mindsets that perpetuate it.

The "UNiTE to End Violence Against Women" campaign that I launched last year is galvanizing action across the United Nations system. It calls for all countries to put in place, by the year 2015, strong laws, multi-sectoral action plans, preventive measures, data collection, and systematic efforts to address sexual violence in conflict situations. I invite governments, organizations and individuals to join us in this Campaign. I have also just launched a Network of Men Leaders to strengthen our advocacy.


New York, 24 November 2009

Minister [Knut] Storberget [Minister of Justice and Police of Norway],
Your Royal Highness [Princess Bajrakitiyabha Mahidol]
Ms. [Ghida] Anani [Program Coordinator at KAFA ("Enough") Violence & Exploitation],

Thank you for being here today.

Today we mark the tenth anniversary of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

My commitment to this issue stems not just from my position as UN Secretary-General, but also as a son, husband, father and grandfather.

In 2008, I launched my UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign. I am encouraged by the momentum that the campaign has created.

Many nations have taken action. But we need to do more – much more.

Up to 70 per cent of women, at some point in their lifetime, experience physical or sexual violence by men — the majority from their husbands, intimate partners or someone they know.

This means men have a crucial role to play in ending such violence -- as fathers, friends, decision makers, and community and opinion leaders.

Just as women's rights are human rights – women's issues are people's issues.

That is why today I launched a Network of Men Leaders who will support the UNiTE campaign and act as role models for men and boys everywhere.

Members of the Network will work to raise public awareness, advocate for adequate laws, and meet with young men and boys.

I look forward to many more men joining the Network