Ban Ki-moon's speeches

Opening remarks at press conference on the International day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, UN Headquarters, 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 in the coming year.

Our Unite Campaign is also bolstered by the UN Trust Fund in Support of Actions to Eliminate Violence against Women. The Fund is administered by UNIFEM on behalf of the UN system.

I am happy to announce that the Trust Fund will award $10.5 million to 13 initiatives in 18 countries and territories.

These funds will support governments, NGOs, and UN Country Teams address sexual abuse, sexual violence in conflict, the intersection of violence against women and HIV/AIDS, female genital mutilation and trafficking.

My UNiTE campaign seeks to raise $100 million annually for the UN Trust Fund by 2015. I call on the international community to support this effort.

The people who are here today have taken a real leadership role in ending violence against women. I thank them for their commitment and engagement. And I look forward to working with everyone on this crucial global issue.

Thank you.