STATEMENT: UNFPA Executive Director Thoraya Ahmed Obaid's Message on the International Day to Eliminate Violence Against Women

A Celebration of Women
Friday, November 26, 2010 - 19:00
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
Sexual and Gender-Based Violence
Initiative Type: 

‘Today I join UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and other leaders in condemning violence against women and calling for stronger action to end impunity.

Every woman has the right to live in dignity—free of fear, coercion, violence and discrimination. Every woman has the right to health, including sexual and reproductive health. Yet, for hundreds of millions of girls and women worldwide, these human rights are denied.

Today and every day we must speak out forcefully for zero tolerance of all forms of violence against women and girls. And we must recognize that this is not a woman's issue—this is an issue that concerns us all.

Violence against women is not inevitable. Families and communities can change social norms and attitudes. Governments can put strong laws in place, enforce them and bring perpetrators to justice. And societies can guarantee the right to sexual and reproductive health, which includes services for family planning, maternal health and HIV prevention, and the ability to make free and informed choices about reproduction.

UNFPA is working with governments, UN partners and civil society to stop violence against women and girls and to put the right laws in place to bring offenders to justice. We are working to promote the right to sexual and reproductive health and carry forward the recommendations in Security Council resolution 1325 on women, peace and security. And we are proud to be a key partner of the UN Secretary-General's Campaign, UNiTE to End Violence against Women, and the United Nations Task Force on Violence against Women.

We look forward to working closely with UN Women to mount a more effective response to end violence against women—in times of peace, conflict and natural disaster.

We are convinced that a coordinated and comprehensive approach will move us closer to a world where women and girls can live free from fear, violence and discrimination, reach their full potential, and enjoy equal opportunity and mutual respect and confidence with men.'