International

Atrocities against women ‘a threat to progress’: Ban Ki-moon

ISLAMABAD: United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said that the atrocity crimes being committed against women and girls in conflict zones, along with the domestic abuse found in all countries, are grave threats to progress.

According to a released by UN Information Centre in Islamabad, Ban Ki-moon in his address on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women said that he is deeply concerned about the plight of women and girls living in conditions of armed conflict, who suffer various forms of violence, sexual assault, sexual slavery and trafficking.

“Violent extremists are perverting religious teachings to justify the mass subjugation and abuse of women. These are not random acts of violence, or the incidental fallout of war, but rather systematic efforts to deny women’s freedoms and control their bodies. As the world strives to counter and prevent violence extremism, the protection and empowerment of women and girls must be a key consideration”, he stated.

Moon added that roughly half of today’s 60 million forcibly displaced people are women. He also said that many who flee war and violence are often exploited by unscrupulous smugglers, and frequently suffer gender discrimination and xenophobia in host societies.

“Those who are too young, too old or too frail to make the risky journey are left behind even more vulnerable without those who have left”, he added.

The UN general secretary stated that even in areas at peace, violence against women persists in the form of femicide, sexual assault, female genital mutilation/cutting, early marriage and cyberviolence. These practices traumatize individuals and tear at the fabric of society.

He added that he has led a global response through the UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign and the HeForShe initiative to engage men in promoting gender equality.

“I call on governments to increase contributions to the United Nations Trust Fund to End Violence against Women, which aims to address chronic underinvestment in this area”, he added.

“Millions of people across the world are uniting under the banner colour orange, chosen to symbolize the brighter future of a world free from violence against women and girls. This year, in a sign of the growing momentum for change, orange lights will illuminate iconic landmarks from the historic ruins at Petra in Jordan to Niagara Falls in North America”, he added.

“A path to a future of dignity and equality can be blazed for all by implementing the newly adopted 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which recognizes the importance of eliminating violence against women, with related targets across several of the Sustainable Development Goals”, the UN official said.

He also said that recent major reviews of United Nations peace operations, peacebuilding efforts and the women, peace and security agenda have all highlighted the critical value of women’s participation in peace and security.

He added that pervasiveness of violence against women and girls means we can all take steps to address it. Let us join forces to end this crime, promote full gender equality and realize a world where women and girls enjoy the safety they deserve – for their sake and for all of humanity.

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