The UN in Afghanistan has called for united action by all Afghans to end violence against women and girls.
In a statement issued on Saturday, to mark International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and the start of th 16 days of activities aimed at raising awareness, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) Tadamichi Yamamoto said: “Violence against women in Afghanistan must immediately stop.”
He said: “For Afghan women to achieve their full potential and their immense capacity in development, in peace and in security, the violations of the rights of women and girls, particularly through violence, must cease.”
According to UNAMA, one in every three women around the world has experienced physical or sexual violence. Gender-based violence is a global issue, affecting millions each year, particularly the most vulnerable, including Afghan women and girls.
It is now widely recognized that violence against women, including harassment and harmful practices, is a major barrier to women and girls enjoying their fundamental human rights, and is a direct challenge to women’s inclusion and participation in sustaining peace.
“Violence against women and girls is not inevitable,” said Rebecca Tavares, Country Representative ad interim for the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women). “There are many ways to prevent violence in the first place, and to stop its recurrence.”
The UN mission in Afghanistan stressed that alongside the effective legal and institutional mechanisms for access to justice, stopping violence against women requires an effort from all of us, from every individual, to speak out against violence in homes, workplaces and social settings.
The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, marked every year by the United Nations on 25 November, represents the start of the global campaign on 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence.
This year’s 16 Days theme, ‘Leave No One Behind,’ reflects the importance of the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, which commits to eliminating all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres.
Through the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, supported by United Nations, the Afghan government is initiating advocacy and awareness-raising activities to address issues of violence against women and girls in Afghanistan. The campaign runs until 10 December, International Human Rights Day.
Recalling the National Action Plan for the Women of Afghanistan, the United Nations recommitted itself to support efforts by Afghan institutions and civil society to empower women and girls, and to promote the protection of their right to be free from fear, intimidation and all forms of violence.