Violence against women is unacceptable and can be avoided

25 nov. 2013

The UNDP calls for renewed efforts to put an end to gender-based violence

New York, 25 November 2013- Every year at least two million women and girls are victims of human trafficking for prostitution, slavery and servitude. Up to 60 percent of women experience one form or another of physical or sexual violence in their lifetime.

On the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) calls for renewed efforts to put an end to violence against women. Gender-based violence hurts women, their family, and their country, and strengthens inequalities between men and women worldwide. Marital rape is not always considered as a criminal offence in more than 35 countries. More than 603 million women live in a country where domestic violence is not considered as a crime.

“This is not acceptable: better laws should be developed and implemented”, declared Helen Clark, United Nations Development Programme Administrator. She called on police and judicial authorities to collaborate with governments, civil society and international partners to address the root cause of gender- based violence, to support victims, and bring perpetrators to justice.

Gender-based discrimination remains the driving force of inequalities in the world. This is indicated in the last UNDP Regional Report on Human Development (RHD), Citizen Security with a Human Face: evidence and proposals for Latin America (available in English). It explains that gender-based violence contributes to insecurity in Latin America and constitutes a continuing threat impeding human development, public health and human rights.
According to the report, almost all the countries assessed in the region have recorded an increase in domestic violence, rape and female murders. Among the prisoners guilty of sexual offences and who have been questioned by the UNDP, between 75 and 90 percent indicated that they know their victim before the crime and between 20 and 40 percent, that they were members of the same family.

While accumulating evidence linking gender-based violence and poverty, a worldwide appeal is launched to include men in this fight. A recent study carried out by the UN in the Asia-Pacific region revealed that nearly half of 10 000 men questioned report using physical and/or sexual violence against a partner.

Although its conclusions confirm how the problem remains widespread, this study equally indicates that it is possible to address the factors associated with the use of violence by men against women. The study recommends that development initiatives address social norms linked to the acceptance of violence and gender-based dominant stereotypes, and advocates a focus on ending impunity for the perpetrators.

This same message is enunciated in the report A million voices: the world that we want, that synthesizes the results of a global consultation that addresses the future programme of global development. This report states that the current framework of Millennium Development Goals that expires in 2015 ignores violence against women and girls, although one of its eight goals explicitly targets gender.

Any future development programme, the report indicates, should concentrate strongly on gender-based inequalities, as well as gender-based violence, otherwise the world will neither be able to tackle the causes of conflicts and violence, nor able to guarantee accelerated and sustainable development.

The UNDP works with countries around the world to prevent and respond to gender-based violence, including in countries in crisis where rape and sexual assaults are used as weapons of war. It reaffirms its commitment to put an end to gender-based violence and calls for renewed efforts to fight against specific patterns of violence in contexts of development and crisis, in collaboration with women’s organizations as well as men and boys.

The UNDP forges partnerships at all levels of society to help build resilient nations, to carry out growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. Present in 177 countries and territories, we offer a global perspective and local knowledge to serve the peoples and nations.

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