Baghdad, 25 November 2013 – On International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (EVAW) today, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq (SRSG), Mr. Nickolay Mladenov, used the opportunity to appeal to Iraqi leaders to “take concrete steps to enact and enforce laws which prevent and respond to gender-based violence (GBV), including holding perpetrators accountable, and to create a framework for better outcomes for women and communities.”
Acknowledging that a National Strategy on Combating Violence against Women for 2013-2017 had been endorsed in March 2013 by the Council of Ministers, the UN Envoy deplored that “violence still intersects with nearly every facet of women’s lives, including at home, at school, in the workplace and in society,” and called for a fundamental change in mindsets that have been allowing violence to continue.
“Violence against women is a human rights violation. The scale and true nature of it is often hidden,” said Ms. Frances Guy, Representative of UN Women for Iraq. She highlighted the need for continuing action to eliminate violence against women, and for creating the appropriate framework that will enable women to enjoy physical safety as well as economic security. “It is crucial that all Iraqis support this important goal,” she stressed.
Every year, 25 November and the ensuing 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence which follow – ending on 10 December, Human Rights Day – are commemorated around the world, providing individuals and groups a chance to mobilize and call attention to the urgent need to end violence against women and girls.