24 November 2006 From bride burning and sexual violence as a weapon of war to genital mutilation, date rape and child marriage, gender-based violence will be the focus of a United Nations-backed 16-day-long campaign being launched tomorrow.
“We are working with partners to end impunity, to promote and protect the rights of women, including the right to sexual and reproductive health, and to foster equal opportunity, participation and decision-making,” UN Population Fund (UNFPA) Executive Director Thoraya Ahmed Obaid said in a message ahead of tomorrow’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
The Day marks the first of the 16 Days of Activism to End Violence against Women in which UNFPA is joining with rights organizations worldwide to bring greater attention to this pervasive and deeply entrenched human rights violation, proposing a range of steps from greater overall publicity and an ending to silence over spousal abuse to pushing for legislative reform and providing safe havens for girls escaping coerced marriages.
To kick off the event UNFPA is highlighting five under-reported stories relating to gender-based violence for 2006:
“Local and supposedly ‘traditional’ forms of violence against women, such as female genital mutilation or forced marriages, globalize as well, moving along with their potential victims. These human rights violations are not inevitable consequences of women’s migration.
“They can be curbed if states are truly committed to protecting migrant women against violence, trafficking and exploitation, without denying them the option to migrate legally, if they choose to,” she added in the statement in which she was joined by he Special Rapporteur of the UN Human Rights Council on Violence against Women, its Causes and Consequences, Yakin Ertürk and the Council’s Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants, Jorge Bustamante.