Joint Statement on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and the start of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence

November 24, 2021

Today, on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, we stand together to re-affirm our collective commitment to ending violence against women and girls.

Today, we commend women activists that started a movement in 1991 and congratulate them with a successful 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence campaign, which has reached over 300 million people in 187 countries over the last 30 years.

Today, we join the United Nations Secretary General’s UNiTE by 2030 to End Violence against Women campaign, launched in 2008 in support of the “16 Days” civil society initiative.

Globally, nearly one in three women has experienced physical or sexual violence at least once in her lifetime. This level of violence against women has remained largely unchanged over the last decade, despite tireless efforts to reverse the trend.

Violence against women is estimated to have increased five-fold in some countries during the COVID-19 pandemic. Lockdowns curtailed survivors’ access to services and justice and eliminated access to crucial prevention support. Furthermore, workplace violence remains a challenge across different sectors, for example in the health sector. The global cost of violence against women is estimated at approximately 2% of the global GDP, or 1.5 trillion U.S. dollars. Reducing gender-based violence can have profound public health benefits, improve household economic security, and allow children to learn better.

Today, we stand by the UN’s call for action to FUND, PREVENT, RESPOND AND COLLECT data to end gender-based violence.

Consistent with the principles of the UNiTE campaign and its priorities for this year, we re-affirm our commitment to:

●      Advocate for inclusive, comprehensive, and long-term strategies, programmes, and resource commitments to prevent and eliminate violence against women and girls, particularly those from the most disadvantaged groups.

●      Recognize the leadership of civil society organizations in preventing and ending violence against women and girls, and, therefore, promote and support their work in this field.

●      Promote the leadership of women and girls in their diversity and create space for their participation in decision making.

We commend the Government of Kazakhstan for its effort to reform its domestic violence legislation, which we hope will lead to the criminalization of gender-based violence, while ensuring full and comprehensive protection for women and children.

We encourage the Government to strengthen its multi-sectoral, survivor-centred, and transformative approach to preventing and responding to gender-based violence.

We also encourage the Government of Kazakhstan to further engage women, survivors, and women’s movement activists in shaping the preventive and response legislation, empowering them to define the best legal instruments and other measures to protect women and girls in Kazakhstan.

Empowering survivors, examining root causes of, and eliminating violence would not only render greater protection for Kazakhstani women, it would demonstrate Kazakhstan’s principled leadership as a member of the UN Human Rights Council. It would also create a solid foundation for Kazakhstan’s future generation, setting the tone for the next decade of the country’s independence.

We call on citizens of Kazakhstan – men and women alike – and the global community to ACT TO END VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN NOW by being aware and by preventing and responding to violence in any way you can.

Every word matters, every action matters! Your action matters!

1.       Embassy of Austria

2.       Embassy of Belgium

3.       Embassy of Bulgaria

4.       Embassy of Canada

5.       Embassy of Croatia

6.       Embassy of the Czech Republic

7.       Embassy of Estonia

8.       Embassy of Finland

9.       Embassy of France

10.   Embassy of Germany

11.   Embassy of Japan

12.   Embassy of Italy

13.   Embassy of Latvia

14.   Embassy of Lithuania

15.   Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands

16.   Embassy of Portugal

17.   Embassy of the Republic of Korea

18.   Embassy of Romania

19.   Embassy of the Slovak Republic

20.   Embassy of Spain

21.   Embassy of Sweden

22.   Embassy of Switzerland

23.   Embassy of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

24.   Embassy of Ukraine

25.   Embassy of the United States of America

26.   Asian Development Bank in Kazakhstan

27.   Delegation of the European Union in Kazakhstan

28.   Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe in Kazakhstan

29.   World Bank Kazakhstan

30.   UN Resident Coordinator in Kazakhstan

31.   UNDP Kazakhstan

32.   UNHCR Central Asia

33.   UNICEF Kazakhstan

34.   UNFPA Kazakhstan

35.   UN Women Kazakhstan