|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Secretary-General, Hailing Cuba’s Role in Fighting Violence against Women,
Stresses Need to Place ‘Shame and Blame’ on Perpetrators, Not Victims
Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks at the Unite to End Violence against Women campaign in Havana, today:
Gracias por sus directivas haciendo frente a la eliminacion de la violencia contra la mujer.
Estoy profundamente conmovido e inspirado por los poderosos testimonios.
You are doing magnificent work. I am grateful for this chance to learn more about it today. I applaud Mariela Castro and all the wonderful staff at CENESEX. Thank you for helping to lead the way for tolerance and understanding, including of the rights of all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members of our human family.
I launched the UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign six years ago because we needed a global solution to this global problem. Violence against women is the most pervasive human rights violation in the world. Because it is everywhere, we all have a responsibility to stop it.
This problem cannot be tackled just by Governments, law enforcement or any other sector working in isolation. It takes all of us — women and men, girls and boys, friends and neighbours, networks and organizations — from every part of society to work together. I launched this campaign not only as the United Nations Secretary-General, but as a son and a husband and as a father and a grandfather.
Our message is clear: women and children have the right to feel safe and live with dignity — in all places, at all times — in war and peace, in poverty and prosperity, inside and outside their homes, in schools and in places of work. Cuba is a leader on many development issues, including expanding opportunity for women and girls. It has battled stereotypes and worked through its institutions to advance equality and to prevent and end all forms of violence. However, like in all countries, the challenge of violence against women and girls remains.
To solve any problem, we must recognize that there is a problem, not hide or minimize it. Since this threat is rooted in discrimination, impunity and complacency, we need to change attitudes and behaviour and we need to change laws and make sure they are enforced, just like you are doing in Cuba.
Men and boys have a special responsibility. Far too often, intimidation and physical and sexual abuse comes from the hands of those close to the victims — fathers, husbands, brothers, teachers and supervisors. Too many young men still grow up surrounded by harmful stereotypes. We know if attitudes do not change, violence will continue.
We need to say to men and boys: Do not raise your hands in violence — raise your voices to stop it. Stand up. Take action.
I am so encouraged by the work of the Iberoamerican and African Masculinities Network (RIAM). Thank you for sending the message: “El Valiente no es violento”. I appreciate the efforts of all of you — civil society leaders, journalists, health professionals, young people and so many more. Let us keep building on your progress and widening the circle of engagement and action. Ending violence against women is not a dream. We can do it.
We can build safe public spaces for women and girls, safe homes, safe schools and safe work places. We can place shame and blame where they belong — not on the victims but on the perpetrators. We can ensure lives of security, opportunity, dignity and hope for every woman and every girl.
It starts by saying in one voice: “Yo digo no a la violencia contra la mujer”.
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