Violence against women is an affront to all of us
25 November 2002
Violência contra a mulher é uma afronta a todos nós. Artigo de 25 de novembro de 2002
The following message from the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Sergio Vieira de Mello, was sent today to participants at ‘Not A Minute More’, a UNIFEM event on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women:
Violence against women is a universal problem that is a persistent obstacle to the promotion and protection of women’s rights. The range and frequency of gender-based acts of violence is profoundly disturbing. It is an affront not only to the victims and to women everywhere, but to us all. Many women continue to suffer violence on a daily basis, committed by both the state and by private actors: in the home, in the workplace, in the community, in detention and during armed conflict.
Violence against women has its root cause in women’s unequal status in society. Therefore, if we are to overcome the scourge of gender-based violence, we must also address these warped attitudes and the resultant discrimination that perpetuate them by preventing women from participating in society on an equal basis with men. Human rights provide us with a framework to do just that.
The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and its Protocol, which provides a complaints mechanism, offer important guidance. What we need is greater commitment to take the necessary steps for its full implementation. The international community must continue to advocate ratification of the Convention and its Protocol; the removal of reservations incompatible with the treaty; and compliance with States’ reporting obligations. States must incorporate the standards into national legislation and develop a broad range of policies and programmes to ensure complete implementation in accordance with the spirit and letter of the Convention.
The UNIFEM Trust Fund in Support of Actions for the Elimination of Violence against Women is an important element of this process because of its role in identifying and supporting innovative projects which seek to implement effective, action-based strategies to eliminate gender-based violence. The Fund is also a good example of constructive collaboration by States, international organizations and civil society. The women’s movement deserves strong praise for its role, not only in putting violence against women on the global agenda, but also in following through with the development of the very action-based strategies which the Fund supports.
Today’s event provides an opportunity to give due recognition to such projects – as well as their architects – with a view to applying best practices in similar contexts elsewhere. In this regard, I urge you all to consider valuable resources such as the Convention, as well as the work of its monitoring Committee; the landmark Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women; and the work of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, who has been so effective in highlighting the many manifestations of this blight and making concrete recommendations for action.
I would like to offer my encouragement and support to you all in your important work towards a world free of violence against women.