The global pandemic of violence against women and girls thrives in a culture of discrimination and impunity. We must speak out. That is why I launched my global UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign. As part of this, I am proud to emphatically raise my voice and join the chorus of all those taking part in the One Billion Rising campaign.
But this must be more than a day of advocacy. It must be a day that triggers action.
In less than three weeks, at the meeting of the Commission on the Status of Women, the world will gather at United Nations Headquarters for the largest-ever UN assembly to end violence against women and girls. Eighteen governments have pledged to come to this historic gathering with new initiatives to stop gender-based violence by improving access to justice, ratifying international conventions, strengthening protection, toughening punishment and enhancing prevention and education. They are part of UN Women COMMIT to end violence against women and girls initiative.
I encourage all of you to call on your leaders to join this effort. On this special day, I urge all governments to send us a Valentine message: a concrete commitment of action to end violence against women and girls. Bring that commitment to the Commission on the Status of Women meeting in New York in 18 short days.
By standing together we can end violence against women and girls and build a world where all live free from harassment and fear. This will have benefits that reverberate far beyond the affected individuals as they become empowered to help create a better world.