Elimination of Violence Against Women Day commemorated
Commitment to ending violence against women and girls received the solid backing of governments, the justice and law enforcement sectors, civil society organizations and UN agencies today at the Asia-Pacific regional commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
Observed each year on 25 November, the international day marks the beginning of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence Campaign. The16 days were chosen to symbolically link the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (25 November) and International Human Rights Day (10 December).
Held under the framework of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's global campaign UNiTE to End Violence against Women, the event also served to introduce two members of the Secretary-General's Network of Men Leaders, Chulasingh Vasantasingh, Attorney-General of Thailand and Mr. Pham Anh Khoa, a Vietnamese musician and activist. Both men joined an interactive panel discussion which was organized to emphasize the roles of every person in ending this grave injustice.
Speaking at the opening, Shun-ichi Murata, Officer-in-Charge and Deputy Executive Secretary of ESCAP, told the audience: "Governments must deliver on their commitments to undertake policy and legal reforms, and mobilise multi-sectoral actions to end violence. The issue must be put at the centreof our policy agenda and the post-2015 development agenda."
His words echoed those of both the Secretary-General and UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet, calling for governments to make good on their pledges to end all forms of violence against women and girls in all parts of the world.
In Thailand, over 40 per cent of women report having experienced physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner. In her address to the audience, PM’s Office Minister Sansanee Nakpong noted that the Thai government is focusing on empowerment citing the Prime Minister's newly established National Women's Development Fund which offers advice to women suffering from abuse and domestic violence.
Today 125 countries have laws that penalise domestic violence, a huge step forward from just a decade ago but up to seven in ten women continue to be targeted for physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetimes, and 603 million women live in countries where domestic violence is still not a crime.
This year's commemoration falls only months before the 57th Commission on the Status of Women scheduled for March 2013, which will have preventing and ending violence against women as its priority theme.
The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women was first declared in 1981 by the first Feminist Congress for Latin America and the Caribbean to commemorate the violent assassination of the Mirabal sisters on November 25 in 1960 in the Dominican Republic. In 1999, the General Assembly designated 25 November as the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to direct the world's attention to the urgent priority of ending the pandemic of violence against women and girls.