New York

29 September 2020

Secretary-General's video message for High-Level Event on Gender-Based Violence and COVID-19

Gender-based violence is a global scourge, and the COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating it in all its forms: from domestic violence to sexual abuse, online harassment and increased child marriage.
 
Millions of women are living in fear, with long-term consequences for families and communities, and for all our efforts for peace and security, human rights and sustainable development.  
 
At the start of the pandemic, I made a global appeal to end all violence, from war zones to people’s homes.
 
I urged governments to prioritize preventing and ending gender-based violence in their response plans for COVID-19.
 
Some 146 Member States and Observers answered the call. They have increased resources and taken innovative action to protect women and girls.
 
These measures are welcome – but they are not enough. We urgently need new thinking and momentum on this critical issue.
 
Together, we must tackle male violence that affects everyone and damages everyone.
 
We need to increase accountability and question attitudes and approaches that enable violence.
 
And we must provide resources for women’s civil society organizations on the front lines.
 
In the coming months, I will engage with Member States, civil society, faith leaders and the private sector to launch a new push for progress.  We will build on the Spotlight Initiative, our partnership with the European Union to end all forms of violence against women and girls.
 
Today’s event is an important opportunity to raise awareness, share best practice and move to action.
 
Together, let us redouble our efforts to end gender-based violence during COVID-19 and beyond.
 
Thank you.