Historic Day for Women at the UN

Progress for Women Is Progress for All

To end violence against women, we must all join together

25th November 2010

This was the key message from UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet on the occasion of the 2010 International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. She also said that as we come together to end violence, a core part of our responsibility must be to provide enough resources and that so far investment has been inadequate. She drew attention to the importance of the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women which recently announced an additional $10 million in grants for innovative projects in 18 countries.

To end violence against women, we must all join together

In her statement Michelle Bachelet said:

'We join with the millions of women and men, community groups, women's rights networks, government partners, parliamentarians, health workers and teachers who have made 25 November - the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women - a day to come together and renew our common commitment to ending the global pandemic of violence against women.

Worldwide, women and girls continue to suffer violence inside and outside of their homes, often at the hands of intimate partners or persons of trust. Gender-based violence, particularly sexual violence, has also become a troubling and persistent feature in situations of armed conflict. Stopping violations of women's human rights is a moral imperative and one which we must come together to combat. The impact of such a scourge on society - psychological, physical, and economic - cannot be overstated. Addressing this persistent violation can also reverse the economic impact of significantly lower productivity and higher health care costs.

The UN Secretary-General's campaign UNiTE to End Violence against Women has given new impetus to efforts to end violence against women. More than 130 countries now have laws against domestic violence, but more needs to be done to enforce them and counter impunity. More men and men's organisations are joining in the campaign but we need to combat attitudes and behaviours that permit or even encourage this violence. We need services so that the millions of women and girls who survive abuse every year can recover and secure justice. We must hold perpetrators to account. We must intensify prevention efforts, so that some day we will no longer need to meet on 25 November and call for ending violence against women.

Joining in the efforts to stop violence is everybody's responsibility. Governments, private enterprises, civil society groups, communities and individual citizens can all make essential contributions. Men and boys must be active in encouraging respect for women and zero tolerance for violence. Cultural and religious leaders can send clear messages about the value of a world free of violence against women.

As we come together to end violence, a core part of our responsibility must be providing enough resources. So far, this investment has been inadequate. Last year the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women met only 3% of the requests it received for programmes vital to progress. The fund has a $100 million annual funding goal that we can all strive to reach. These funds will go to governments, civil society groups and UN agencies at the forefront of advocacy and innovation to end violence against women and girls.'

UN Trust Fund to End VAW announces an additional $10 million in grants

Established in 1996 by the General Assembly, the Trust Fund is managed by UN Women on behalf of the UN system. Today the Trust Fund is an essential source of support and a hub of knowledge for promising approaches to address violence against women and girls. Annual grants, based on an open and competitive process, are made to support the most innovative and effective strategies.

In October an additional $10 million in grants was announced for 13 initiatives in 18 countries to fund grassroots efforts to protect women and girls. These grants complete the Trust Fund's 14th grant-making cycle (2009/10), delivering a total of $20.5 million for projects in 33 countries and territories. However, resources fall drastically short due to the high demand. For the present grant cycle alone, the Fund was able to meet less than 3% of the demand: a total of 1,643 applications with grant requests totalling $857 million were received. The UN Secretary-General's UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign includes a specific target of raising $100 million annually for the UN Trust Find by 2015 in recognition of the urgent need.

The new UN Trust Fund grantees will spearhead pioneering approaches worldwide, including:

  • UN Country Teams in Belarus, Indonesia and Sri Lanka will support multi-sectoral interventions to enforce national laws addressing violence against women and girls;
  • In Burundi, the Ministry of Human Rights and Gender will focus on prevention of sexual and domestic violence in schools;
  • In Cambodia, Nepal and Uganda, Acid Survivors Trust International will pilot and upscale groundbreaking strategies for ending acid burning against women;
  • In China, the Beijing Cultural Development Centre for Rural Women will develop protection mechanisms for girls 'left behind' and at risk of sexual abuse in the countryside while their parents pursue work in urban centres;
  • The Jordanian Women's Union will establish the first regional NGO network in Egypt, Jordan and Morocco to tackle trafficking and protect women migrant workers' rights;
  • In the Marshall Islands, Women United Together Marshall Islands will strengthen domestic violence legislation and protocols, ensure enactment of culturally sensitive laws, and establish a gender responsive national policy;
  • In Peru, Asociación de Comunicadores Sociales Calandria will empower rural adolescent girls to become leaders in the anti-violence movement
  • In Turkey, the Mother Child Education Foundation will model an innovative programme engaging fathers in the prevention of gender-based violence within the family.

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