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International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

Statement of UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka at the Official Commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

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Date: 25 November 2013

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Ambassador Cardi of Italy,

Moderator Ms. Chang,

Colleagues and

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I wear orange because we can and will end violence against women and girls.

Today on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, we join in solidarity with each woman who suffers violence in her lifetime. That is one in three women worldwide.

We join in solidarity with the girls who are married as child brides, with the women and girls who are trafficked in modern day slavery, with the women and girls who suffer violence in their own homes, with young girls and young women who suffer female genital mutilation and are deprived of their bodily integrity.

We join in solidarity with the women who are murdered because they are women, victims of femicide, with the women who are disfigured by acid attacks, who are victims of cyber bullying, with the women who are raped on college campuses and who are harassed in public spaces.

We join in solidarity with the women and girls who suffer sexual violence before, during and after conflict. 

Today I call on the leaders of every UN Member State to take action to protect the human rights of women and girls.

Now is the time to keep the promises made in the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.

Now is the time to keep the promises made in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

Now is the time to keep the promises made in the agreement reached earlier this year at the Commission on the Status of Women to prevent and end violence against women and girls!

It is time for every person to be part of the solution! Today I pay tribute to civil society and women’s organizations for their hard work over the years to end violence against women.

I pledge the continued commitment of UN Women to work with governments, with civil society, with the private sector, with women and men, young and old, and across all faiths and cultures to END VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS.

This is a priority for all of us at UN Women.
And let me say this: It is a glaring omission that ending violence against women was not included in the Millennium Development Goals. We will not let this happen again.

I urge all UN Member States to make ending violence against women and girls a priority in the post-2015 development framework. 

UN Women is calling for a stand-alone goal on women’s rights, women’s empowerment and gender equality, and for gender equality to be mainstreamed across all other goals so that women and girls can live free of violence and discrimination. We will mobilize awareness and action as we commemorate Beijing+20.

We have to create a culture and the rule of law in every society— in which human rights for all are protected, and violence against women and girls is never tolerated!

Today, together with UNICEF and UN-Habitat, and many other partners, we have 15 Safe Cities worldwide. We need see safe cities in every country of the world. Every city and every town, and every village should be safe for women and girls!

We need to end impunity and bring perpetrators to justice. And we need essential services for women who have suffered violence.

UN Women and UNFPA have developed a Global Joint Project on Essential Services to provide guidance to nations on developing quality services and responses for survivors of violence.
My friends,

UN Women is also proud to manage two initiatives on behalf of the UN system:

The UN Secretary-General’s Campaign UNiTE to End Violence against Women, and the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women. 

The UN Trust Fund has awarded USD 95 million to 368 initiatives in 132 countries and territories. And there is amazing work being done. But resources do not meet the demand for funding.

Today I call for increased contributions to the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women. I call for increased funding for women’s empowerment and gender equality, for women’s groups and also for UN Women!

Today and on the 25th of every month, let us come together by organizing events to ‘Orange the World’ and symbolically paint a brighter future.

Today, on behalf of UN Women, I thank Italian Ambassador Cardi and the Government of Italy for co-sponsoring this event and for bringing theatre to the United Nations with the powerful message to end violence against women and girls.