DSRSG Gyorgy Busztin’s Remarks at the 16 Days of Activism against Violence against Women

25 November 2014-
Your Excellences,
Your Excellency Eng. Bayan Noori Towfiq, Minister for Women’s Affairs,
Honorable Members of Parliament and Heads of Blocs,
Honorable Representatives of the Diplomatic Corps,
Distinguished Civil Society Representatives,
Distinguished Guests,
Colleagues in the United Nations family,


 Salaam Aleykum!
On behalf of the SRSG Nickolay Mladenov, I thank you for extending an invitation to the United Nations family in Iraq to be part of this launch of the ’16 Days of Activism against Violence against Women.’ Firstly, before I continue I would like to commend your concerted efforts in addressing gender-based violence including violence against women. Of particular note is your efforts towards implementing the National Strategy to Combat Violence against Women, the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) recommendations and the National Action Plan in UN Security Council Resolution 1325.
Violence against women is a threat to the very fabric of society and to the attainment of sustainable peace, security and development. It affects individuals while harming our common humanity. Sexual and gender-based violence is the most extreme form of the global and systemic inequality experienced by women and girls. It knows no geographic, socio-economic or cultural boundaries.

This year alone, globally, women and girls have faced untold suffering from acts of violence committed against them by not only intimate partners and family members but by terrorist groups. Here in Iraq, we continue to receive reports of the abduction of women and girls by the group that calls itself the “ the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria”. Some of the whereabouts of these women and girls who are mothers, daughters, sisters, wives, aunts and nieces remain unknown. We  hear harrowing testimonies from Iraqi women and girls who have managed to escape of rape and sexual slavery. Today as we launch the 16 Days Campaign against Violence against Women, we remember the women and girls who have suffered and continue to suffer under the atrocities committed by the group that calls itself  “ the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria” and we stand in solidarity with them, their families and their communities.
We, as the international community will not keep silent. We will continue to condemn, in the strongest terms, the explicit targeting of women and children and the barbaric acts of the group that calls itself the “Islamic State of Iraq and the Syria” has perpetrated on minorities in areas under its control, and we remind all armed groups that acts of sexual violence are grave human rights violations that can be considered as war crimes and crimes against humanity.  We continue to call on regional governments and the wider international community to advocate the immediate release of the women and girls held in captivity and to support the Government of Iraq’s efforts to protect its citizens. 
We, as the United Nations will continue to monitor the situation in Iraq as it pertains to sexual violence to ensure accountability for perpetrators and to advocate for support and assistance to the survivors of these barbaric acts.
Today, we also remember the women and girls who experience violence at home. These crimes often remain unreported and hidden. We must end the silence about these crimes.
Everyone has a responsibility to prevent and end violence against women and girls, starting by challenging the culture of discrimination that allows it to continue. We must shatter negative gender stereotypes and attitudes, introduce and implement laws to prevent and end discrimination and exploitation, and stand up to abusive behavior whenever we see it. We have to condemn all acts of violence, establish equality in our work and home lives, and change the everyday experience of women and girls.

We also urge the Government of Iraq to pass legislation that better protect from sexual violence and provide adequate funding for the establishment of safe shelters, ensure justice is served and the perpetrators of violence against women face arm of the law.
We all have a role to play, and I urge you to play yours. If we stand together in homes, communities, countries and internationally, we can challenge discrimination and impunity and put a stop to the mind-sets and customs that encourage, ignore or tolerate the global disgrace of violence against women and girls.
Finally, the United Nations family in Iraq reiterates its continued commitment to providing technical support, capacity-building and needed resources to support the ongoing efforts of the Government of Iraq and other stakeholders to fight violence against women and girls.

Thank you.   

Additional Info

  • Agency: UNAMI
Last modified on Tuesday, 25 November 2014 13:23

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