Deputy Secretary-General: Statements
New York, 4 June 2008 - Deputy Secretary-General's remarks to working luncheon on Violence against WomenThank you very much, Ambassador Bodini. I'm so grateful to San Marino and the Council of Europe for organizing this event. Stopping violence against women is at the top of the UN's agenda. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon himself launched our global UNiTE campaign in March with a ringing appeal to all partners to come together to end this deadly scourge.
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.
We know from past experience that when we bring players together, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. This is what happened in Beijing in 1995 when governments adopted the Platform for Action, which went beyond what many individual States might have endorsed on their own.
Partnerships are critical to the Secretary-General's campaign. This is true nationally, regionally and internationally.
Today's forum offers an excellent opportunity to exchange information about what different regions are doing to stop violence against women, and I'm happy to see so many high-level representatives here to share their experiences.
Regional cooperation is a powerful incentive. It's helping to boost national efforts to stamp out impunity for attacks on women through strong legislation. And regional organizations can also set standards and demand accountability.
We'll be hearing soon from 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. That drive helped support national efforts to apply existing laws and involve men in the fight against gender-based violence. The Council is also expected to draw up a European Framework Convention designed to protect victims and punish perpetrators.
We've seen great progress in other regions as well, like 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. In the process, they are raising awareness by shining a spotlight on the problem. And in Africa, nearly two dozen countries have ratified the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People's Rights on the Rights of Women. There's an intensive campaign underway to get all the other African States to sign on as well.
We'll be hearing more today from a number of distinguished representatives about regional efforts to stop violence against women. And my colleague Rachel Mayanja will share details about what the United Nations is doing, but let me just say that both the Secretary-General and I are personally committed to pressing for action on this critical issue.
The UN's longstanding efforts are gaining speed. Our Trust Fund to End Violence against Women has been supporting innovative solutions for over a decade. But this year for the first time it has significantly increased grant-making thanks to a tripling of donor resources.
We're very grateful for that support. But we have 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.
The UNiTE campaign has already sparked national action, and I really look forward to hearing your experiences and ideas. Together we can end this terrible human rights abuse. And when we stop gender-based violence, as the Secretary-General says, we will not only end untold suffering – we will also release our most powerful weapon in the fight for peace, development and human rights: the world's women.
Statements on 4 June 2008