Executive Director Michelle Bachelet Remarks at the General Assembly Special Cultural Event


Good Evening!

I thank the President of the General Assembly, Ambassador Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, for devoting this wonderful occasion to UN Women and to the work that we all do to end violence against women.

We can no longer accept, excuse or tolerate violence against women and girls. We can no longer afford inaction. The costs—in human suffering, and in threats to peace and development, are far too high to pay.

The good news is that wherever I go, I see growing political commitment and mobilization. I see more men standing up against violence against women and girls, concerned citizens from all walks of life challenging unacceptable attitudes, and championing new models of behavior.

This is a testament to countries around the world and to the Secretary-General's UNITE to End Violence against Women Campaign.

There is no shortage of good work being done. The limitations lie elsewhere. We see this in a severe shortfall of funds. The UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women can meet only 5 percent of the more than $1 billion in demand for life-saving programmes that we received from around the world.

While none of us alone can end violence against women, all of us share responsibility.

No woman who survives violence should be denied justice and healthcare. No woman should be forced to live in fear because she has nowhere else to turn.

And no girl or boy should grow up thinking that violence against women is in any way acceptable or normal.

Our collective efforts can make a profound and lasting difference between life and death, away from fear towards safety, and from impunity to justice.

We must end impunity and take urgent action for protection, prevention and the provision of services.

The 57th Commission on the Status of Women in 2013 will focus on the Elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls.

We all know that the best way to end violence against women is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Prevention starts early in life, by educating and working with and for young people and promoting mutual respect and gender equality.

Prevention also means making cities safer for women and girls—a global programme to which UN Women and other UN partners are committed.

We are working to guarantee access to critical services for survivors of violence. Women need shelter and safe housing; 24 hour emergency hotlines; safety and police protection; health care, including post-rape care; crisis counseling and referrals; and legal and social assistance.

In the end, what the world needs to end violence against women is equality between boys and girls and women and men. Over a year ago UN Women was created to deliver on that promise and we look forward to working with all of you to make real and lasting progress.

I thank you!

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