Addis Ababa, 6 February 2013 – Executive Director of UN Women, Michelle Bachelet, recently visited Ethiopia for the 20th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU). Ms. Bachelet advocated for bringing women and youth to the center of Pan-Africanism and the African Renaissance and the urgent need to prevent and eradicate violence against women and girls.
During her visit that took place between the 25 and 28 of January, Ms. Bachelet met with Heads of States, Civil Society Organizations, Women Leaders,Young Women Networks and Ethiopian female micro-entrepreneurs.
Throughout her visit Ms. Bachelet called on African leaders, as part of the UNiTE Campaign, to take bold actions to end violence against women and girls. During her meeting with African civil society organizations, Ms. Bachelet stated, “Let us make every effort to unleash the full potential of women and girls. Let us redouble efforts towards the eradication of all forms of gender-based violence and discrimination.”
When meeting with young women Ms. Bachelet highlighted the negative effects of sexual violence, female genital mutilation and early marriage on the lives of girls and women.
UN Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, also emphasized the need to stand against all forms of violence during his statement at the opening ceremony of the AU Summit. He stated,“…we especially need to speak out against rape and sexual violence in conflict. Governments must support victims and end the culture of impunity. I urge the males here to join my Network of Men Leaders and all to support our COMMIT to End Violence against Women campaign.”
He further commended the African Group for leading the General Assembly’s adoption of the Resolution to end to female genital mutilation (FGM). Ms. Bachelet?s visit followed an African high-level ministerial meeting on ending gender-based violence, held in Addis Ababa between the 12 and 14 January during which the Addis Ababa Declaration was adopted.
The Declaration states that ending violence against women and girls is a priority for development, peace and security, human rights and economic and social cohesion. It positions the Africa UNiTE Campaign as the advocacy platform for zero tolerance to gender-based violence throughout the continent.
The meeting was held in preparation for the 57th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) that will be held in New York, 4-15 March, 2013, focusing on the elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls.