Legislators from UN member states on Tuesday discussed the importance of laws [press release] against sexual, domestic and gender violence during the second day of the UN women's commission annual session. Michelle Bachelet, the Executive Director of the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women [official website], in a speech to the legislators [transcript] called for gender equality and an end to violence against women:
In the aftermath of highly public tragedies over the past year, women, men and young people have raised their voices in a singular cry: enough is enough. People demand an end to impunity and insist on the protection of the rights of women and girls to live lives free of violence. And they do this because we are at this tipping point of deeper social transformation where indeed, and this is my biggest hope, gender equality becomes reality for all.Bachelet praised the nations that have already criminalized domestic violence, but pressed the legislators to enact laws penalizing violence against women. At the same event, UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon [official websites] echoed Bachelet's sentiments in a speech [transcript] that condemned impunity and called for laws that empower women.
Violence against women has been a long-standing issue around the world. Last month Bachelet denounced [JURIST report] rising violence against women in Egypt. In January Ban urged India's government [JURIST report] to strengthen critical services for rape victims, expressing sympathy for the family of the 23-year-old medical student who died from injuries sustained in a gang-rape in December. Police in New Delhi charged six men [JURIST report] with rape and murder of the woman. In December the UN released a report declaring that women in Afghanistan [JURIST report] are still suffering abuse at the hands of men. In November the UN urged countries to implement policies that will end violence against women [JURIST report]. Also in November the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly approved a resolution calling for a global ban on female genital mutilation [JURIST report]. At the same time, Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] released a report detailing violence and obstacles women are facing in Colombia [JURIST report], where the legal framework is often not properly applied despite the government's progress in enacting legislation to protect violence against women.