[JURIST] UN officials urged [UN News Centre report] countries on Wednesday to implement national policies that will end violence against women after Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spoke [statement] at an event commemorating the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Ban stressed the importance of countries adopting national legislation to combat violence against women and girls in addition to denouncing these acts of violence. The UN said that violence against women is one of the most widespread human rights violations. In certain countries as many as 7 in 10 children have been or will be beaten, raped, abused or mutilated at some point in their lifetimes. Ban stated:
Many international standards, treaties, declarations and resolutions recognize women’s rights as human rights and specifically condemn violence against women. These instruments apply at all times—in war and peace, in poverty and wealth, in sickness and health, and throughout the life cycle. Under all conditions, women have a right to lives of dignity and safety. Today more than ever we must hold on to the solid human rights framework that has been built over decades.
The UN General Assembly passed a resolution in 1999 designating November 25 as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, urging governmental and non governmental organizations to raise awareness about the worldwide problem of violence against women.
On Monday the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly approved a resolution [JURIST report] calling for a global ban on female genital mutilation (FGM). The committee’s resolution calls on the UN’s 193 member countries to enact and enforce legislation to protect women and girls from female circumcision and other genital mutilation procedures and to end impunity for violators. Earlier this month an independent UN rights expert urged justice [JURIST report] for victims of domestic violence in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), saying high rates of violence can largely be attributed to war-related Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, addiction and poverty. The report was offered by UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women Rashida Manjoo, who stressed the urgency for all levels of government to recognize female victims of rape and torture as a result of the Bosnian Civil War [JURIST news archive] and to ensure that women have equal access to remedies and services, regardless of their ethnic or religious backgrounds.