On 8 March, International Women’s Day, United Nations Calls for Increased Action to End Violence Against Women

03 Mar 2009

3 March 2009 – UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will call for greater international action to end violence against women, as he opens the United Nations commemorative event for International Women’s Day at New York Headquarters on Thursday, 5 March. He will address an audience including ministers from over 50 countries and more than 1,000 representatives of women’s groups, who will be in New York for the annual session of the Commission on the Status of Women, from 2 to 13 March.

The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day, which is observed annually on 8 March, is “Women and Men United to End Violence Against Women and Girls.” The theme ties in with the Secretary-General’s wider campaign “UNiTE to End Violence Against Women,” which he launched in 2008, to run through 2015, the target date for achieving the Millennium Development Goals. “The link with the Goals is clear,” the Secretary-General says in his message for International Women’s Day.“We must stop the habitual and socially ingrained violence that mars lives, destroys health, perpetuates poverty and prevents us from achieving women’s equality and empowerment.”Mobilizing men and women to prevent violence against women, including through national campaigns, is one of the key outcomes which the Secretary-General has urged all countries to work towards.Other key outcomes called for under the campaign are that comprehensive national laws are in place and enforced; that multisectoral national action plans are adopted and implemented, with adequate resources provided to both prevent violence and respond to survivors; that data collection is improved through surveys on prevalence; and that sexual violence in conflict situations is systematically addressed. “Changing mindsets and the habits of generations is not easy. It must involve all of us – inpiduals, organizations and governments,” the Secretary-General says. “We must work together to state loud and clear, at the highest level, that violence against women will not be tolerated, in any form, in any context, in any circumstance.”

United Nations offices around the world are working with partners from government and civil society to organize dozens of special events in observance of International Women’s Day, bringing women and men together to tackle the scourge of violence against women in all its manifestations. From Austria to Zambia, events planned include rallies, seminars, press conferences, exhibits, film screenings and concerts, involving women’s groups and ministries, schools, faith-based organizations and many others.

Programme for UN Headquarters Event
A panel discussion will follow the opening ceremony (10:45 a.m. to noon) moderated by Ms. Pamela Falk of CBS News. Participating will be Radhika Coomaraswamy (United Nations Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict), Yakin Ertürk (United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women), William Lucy (International Secretary-Treasurer of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees), and Imrana Jalal (human rights lawyer and advisor at the Pacific Regional Rights Resource Team).

Panelists will touch on various aspects of violence against women including the scope and dimensions of the global challenge and using the law to create change, as well as violence against women in the context of armed conflict and in the work place. The panel discussion will be followed by a question and answer session. Panelists will also participate in a 12:30 p.m. press conference (see below.)

Press Conference, 12:30 p.m., Room S-226
Ms. Rachel Mayanja (Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Gender Issues and the Advancement of Women) will moderate a press conference on the various aspects of violence against women addressed in the morning session. Participating in the press conference will be Radhika Coomaraswamy, Yakin Ertürk, William Lucy, and Imrana Jalal (see titles above).

Launch of Database on Violence against Women, 1:15 p.m., Conference Room 2
Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro will launch the Secretary-General’s database on violence against women. The new database will provide the first “one-stop shop” for information on measures undertaken byMember States to address violence against women, as well as available data and statistics.

Theater Performance, 6:30 p.m., Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium
At 6:30 p.m. the theater group Tiyatroglobal will give a performance of the play MIKA – an awareness-raising play inspired by the United Nations Secretary-General’s call to UNiTE to End Violence against Women. (Open seating, first come-first seated basis; doors open 6:00 p.m.)

Contact Information

UN Department of Public Information
Charlotte Scaddan:
917-367-9378, 
scaddan@un.org

Catharine Smith: 
212-963-3748, 
smith2@un.org

UN Media Accreditation Unit
Paulina Kubiak: 
212-963-6936, 
kubiakp@un.org
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