By SundiataPOST, Abuja
As lessons of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women echoes, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) has reaffirmed its commitment to ending violence against women and the girl child.
This is contained in a statement signed by Mr Abubakar Dungus, Chief, Media and Communications Branch of the UNFPA and made available to SundiataPOST on Thursday in Abuja.
According to the statement, the UNFPA’s Executive Director, Babatunde Osotimehin, stresses that violence against women is a breach of the fundamental human rights and an impediment to peace and development.
“Violence against women and girls is a violation of their fundamental human rights, an affront to human dignity and a serious threat to their health and well-being.
“It impedes their civic engagement and role in development; it generates instability and makes peace harder to achieve.
“One of every three women has been subjected to physical, emotional and/or verbal abuse in her lifetime. More than 600 million women are living in countries where domestic abuse is not against the law.
“Denying women access to sexual and reproductive health services, including family planning, is another form of violence and a further violation of their rights,” he said.
The statement cited Osotimehin as saying that it was even disheartening that in countries where it was outlawed, gender-based violence still topped the list of civil crimes.
He said that millions of girls continued to suffer from harmful practice, including child and forced marriages, female genital mutilation and cutting.
He added that in conflict and disaster settings, violence against women and girls was worsened by displacement, breakdown in social norms and lack of access to services.
Osotimehin said that the UNFPA would stop at nothing in its fight to end violence in all its forms.
“On the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, the UNFPA reaffirms its commitment to working for the prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls.
“We will continue to work in partnership with governments, civil society and through the UN Secretary General’s Unite To End Violence Against Women campaign, so that survivors get the essential services they need.
“We are particularly committed to advancing our work in humanitarian contexts; we will continue to engage men and boys to help change social and cultural norms so that gender equality is upheld.
“UNFPA fully supports UN Women’s call for a goal on gender equality and women’s empowerment in the post 2015 development agenda, and we are working to ensure that this includes special attention to the vulnerabilities of adolescent girls,” he said.