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UN calls for sterner action to end violence against women

By Joyce Namutebi

Added 22nd November 2017 04:23 PM

Violence against women and girls is one of the most prevalent human rights violations in the world

Violence against women and girls is one of the most prevalent human rights violations in the world

AS the world prepares to mark International Day for the elimination of violence against women on Saturday (November 25), UN Secretary‑General António Guterres' has called for collective action to end the vice.

In his message for the day issued yesterday (November 21), he stressed that every woman and every girl has the right to a life free of violence. 

Around the world, more than one in three women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence in their lives; 750 million women were married before age 18, and more than 250 million have undergone female genital mutilation, he said

A global campaign, the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence runs until December 10.

In June this year in Uganda, a new campaign geared towards ending all forms of violence against women and girls was launched.

The two-year campaign targeting girls and women aged 15-30 is to be implemented by Communication for Development Foundation Uganda (CDFU) in partnership with UN Women in seven districts of  Kampala, Kamuli, Kitgum, Kaboong, Gulu, Padel and Moroto.

Guterres' noted that violence against women and girls is one of the most prevalent human rights violations in the world. Globally, it is estimated that one in three women will experience physical or sexual abuse in her lifetime.

"Every woman and every girl has the right to a life free of violence.  Yet this rupture of human rights occurs in a variety of ways in every community, particularly affecting those who are most marginalized and vulnerable."

He expressed concern that women's rights activists are being targeted at alarming levels, and violence against women politicians impedes progress on women's civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights.

"It is now widely recognized that violence against women, including harassment and harmful practices, are major barriers to the fulfilment of human rights, and a direct challenge to women's inclusion and participation in sustaining peace.  Without tackling it, we will never fulfil the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development," the UN boss said.

H said that it is time to further our collective action to end violence against women and girls for good.  "That takes all of us working together in our own countries, regions and communities, at the same time, towards the same goal."

The United Nations is addressing violence against women in many ways, including the United Nations trust fund to end violence against women; the spotlight initiative with the European Union to connect our efforts with those of national governments and civil society; and the United Nations safe cities and safe public spaces global initiative.

In addition, he said that his zero‑tolerance policy towards sexual harassment in the United Nations is part of the strategy on gender parity that was launched in September. 

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