4 June 2008 Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro today pressed for action to end gender-based violence, stressing that stopping the deadly scourge will free up the world’s women – a powerful weapon in the fight for peace, development and human rights.
“Together we can end this terrible human rights abuse,” Ms. Migiro told an event in New York on violence against women, organized by San Marino and the Council of Europe.
Stopping gender-based violence is at the top of the UN’s agenda, Ms. Migiro noted, recalling that Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched in March a multi-year global campaign bringing together the UN, governments and civil society to try to end the horrific crime.
“That call energized many advocates who have long been working to stop violence against women. Now our challenge is to build on this momentum so that we can translate passionate commitment into concrete progress,” she stated.
The UN’s own efforts in the area are “gaining speed,” Ms. Migiro said, noting that the Trust Fund to End Violence against Women has significantly increased grant-making this year thanks to a tripling of donor resources.
While the Organization is grateful for that support, it had an even more ambitious goal: to get a minimum of $100 million in annual contributions to the Trust Fund by 2015. “This may sound like an abstract target but it would translate into concrete results by changing attitudes, strengthening enforcement and helping victims,” said the Deputy Secretary-General.
Ms. Migiro added that regional cooperation is “a powerful incentive,” noting that it is helping to boost national efforts to end impunity for attacks on women through strong legislation. In addition, regional organizations can set standards and demand accountability.
Among those participating in the event is Deputy Secretary-General Maud de Boer-Buquicchio of the Council of Europe, which just wrapped up a two-year Campaign to Combat Violence against Women. The Council is also expected to draw up a European Framework Convention designed to protect victims and punish perpetrators.
Ms. Migiro also pointed to progress in other regions such as Latin America, where advocates are using the Inter-American Court on Human Rights to seek justice for attacks on women that went unpunished in national courts. Meanwhile, nearly two dozen countries in Africa have ratified the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women, and a campaign is under way to get all the other African States to sign on as well.
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