The Secretary-General Message on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

Nov 25, 2010

As we observe the 2010 International Day for the Elimination of Violence againstWomen, let us acknowledge the widespread and growing efforts to address this importantissue. No longer are women’s organizations alone. From Latin America to the UnitedStates, from Asia to Africa, men and boys, young and old, musicians, celebrities andsports personalities, the media, public and private organizations, and ordinary citizens aredoing more to protect women and girls and promote their empowerment and rights.

The social mobilization platform “Say NO-UNiTE” has recorded almost 1 millionactivities implemented by civil society and individuals worldwide. In August this year atthe fifth World Youth Conference in Mexico, young activists from around the world wereclear in their message: “It’s time to end violence against women and girls!” MemberStates, too, are engaged. As of November 2010, my database on the extent, nature andconsequences of violence against women, which also logs policies and programmes forcombating the pandemic, has registered more than 100 reports from governments.

This year’s observance highlights the role the business community can play –from developing projects to providing direct financial support to organizations workingto end violence and embracing the principles of corporate social responsibility. The"Women’s Empowerment Principles", an initiative of the UN Global Compact andUNIFEM, recognize the costs to business of violence against women and are nowsupported by more 120 leading companies. A growing number of media outlets arebringing light to bear on so-called “honour-killings”, trafficking of girls and sexualviolence in conflict, and are raising awareness about the benefits to society ofempowering women. Yet much more needs to be done. In homes, schools and theoffice, in refugee camps and conflict situations, the corporate sector can help us toprevent the many forms of violence that women and girls continue to face.My UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign, and the Network of MenLeaders I launched last year, have generated welcome momentum and engagement.Theword is spreading: violence against women and girls has no place in any society, andimpunity for perpetrators must no longer be tolerated. On this International Day, I urgeall – Governments, civil society, the corporate sector, individuals – to take responsibilityfor eradicating violence against women and girls.