UN Headquarters

24 November 2009

Remarks on the Unite Network of Men Leaders To End Violence Against Women

Ban Ki-moon

Violence against women and girls will not be eradicated until all of us - men and boys - refuse to tolerate it.

Chairman Falk,

Minister Storberget,

Ambassador Yañez-Barnuevo (of Spain),

Mr. Minerson,

Ms. Rashid,

Archbishop Tutu who will join us through a video message,

Mr. Ochora, other members of my Network of Men Leaders,


Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today we mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

One year ago, I launched my Campaign “UNiTE to End Violence against Women.”

Our Campaign is helping to galvanize action across the UN system.

More than five million people have signed the Say No to Violence Against Women initiative under the Unite campaign. The UN's Stop Rape Now initiative is bringing people together to declare that rape as a tactic of war will not be tolerated.

Alliances and partnerships are being built with broad networks of civil society and faith-based organizations. The entire UN system is striving to work as one.

In launching this campaign, I acted not only as the Secretary-General of the United Nations, but as a son, a husband, a father, a grandfather.

I called on governments, women's organizations, faith-based groups, young people, the private sector, artists, the media, the entire UN system and all individuals to join forces.

Together, we must raise public awareness and boost political will and resources to prevent and address all forms of violence against women and girls.

Some 70 percent of women experience in their lifetime some form of physical or sexual violence from men -- the majority from husbands, intimate partners or someone they know.

This is unacceptable.

All of us here know that unless we change our attitudes and behaviour, violence against women will continue.

We must act together. We must build on the efforts of so many women and women's organizations who have worked tirelessly to address this epidemic. We must continue to widen the circle of engagement.

After all, just as women's rights are human rights – women's issues are people's issues.

That is why today I am launching a dedicated Network of Men Leaders. This Network will consist of men – young and old – who have pledged to work to end violence against women and girls.

These men will add their voices to the growing global chorus for action.

Each has pledged to take concrete steps in his community of influence and create partnerships with women to end this violence.

As I launch this Network, I call on men and boys everywhere to join us.

Break the silence. When you witness violence against women and girls, do not sit back. Act. Advocate. Unite to change the practices and attitudes that incite, perpetrate and condone this violence.

Violence against women and girls will not be eradicated until all of us – men and boys - refuse to tolerate it.

Together let us make that pledge.

There are many positive examples of men taking action.

Judges whose decisions paved the way to fight abuse in the workplace.

Organizations that have begun networks of men who counsel male perpetrators of violence.

National leaders who have publicly committed to leading the movement of men to break their silence.

The White Ribbon Campaign whose members pledge never to commit or condone violence.

The list is growing, but it is not long enough.

Everyone can do something.

For my part, I commit to doing everything in my power to ensure the success of this fight.

Within and outside the United Nations, I will continue to use my Campaign to highlight the issues.

Today, I ask you to join us in your own unique way.

I thank all of you for taking part. Through this Network, let us, once and for all, end violence against women and girls.