EU-UN initiative on gender-based violence spotlights needs of most marginalized women, girls

New York, US (PANA) - As #MeToo activists continue to push for political, economic and social equality between the sexes, a key question is being asked: Are marginalized women and girls – ones who are part of indigenous communities, disabled, or part of the lesbian and transgender community – being heard?

“We all need to step up now. If there can be any ray of light, it’s that these issues are finally out in the open. Gender-based violence can no longer hide in the shadows,” said Neven Mimica, European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, in his opening remarks to a special event held on the margins of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW62), whose two-week programme opened on Tuesday at United Nations Headquarters in New York.

Mr. Mimica is one of the founders of the Spotlight Initiative, which was launched by the European Union (EU) and the UN in September of last year, with an initial investment of 500 million Euro. Its goal is to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls around the world.

A UN statement said speaking at the Spotlight Initiative special initiative, Mr. Mimica noted that a revolution of refusal and a push to stop accepting the unacceptable was underway. But unless each person acts, all the current struggles will be in vain.

“When my granddaughter looks back, I want to be able to say that we didn’t despair, but that we accepted the call to action,” he told a UN hall, packed with civil society leaders and equality champions from around the world, including Helga Schmidt, Secretary General of the European External Action Service (EEAS).

Following his address, activists from Fiji, Guatemala, Kenya, and Peru, as well as UN official Dubravka Simonovic, UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, took the stage and discuss concrete problems in their regions – from infanticide, to brutal rapes and killings, and a continued reliance of silos in the fight against violence.

The event moderator was journalist Munizae Jahangir, whose late mother, Asma Jahangir, was a leading Pakistani rights activist and founder of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.

“My sister would ask – why are you willing to be in prison just to make sure that women’s rights come one hour earlier. We’re still struggling for women’s rights to come a half-hour earlier,” Ms. Jahangir said.

Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed, who had earlier given a keynote address to the session, brought up additional issues, such as problems with identification and citizenship, and the need to build institutions and collect more data related to the many forms of violence affecting women and girls.  

She noted that beginning later this year, the Spotlight Initiative would launch among its first projects – in Central and South America.

The chosen countries include El Salvador and Honduras, which have been listed as among the world’s deadliest countries for women based on the number of hundreds of confirmed killings – though the unofficial numbers are likely even higher.

“We’re taking violence out of the shadow and into the spotlight. We’re coming for it, in all its manifestations around the world,” the Deputy Secretary-General said, “We’re creating a world in which all women and girls can walk free and tall in safety and dignity.”
-0- PANA MA 14March2018

14 Março 2018 06:50:13

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