Editor's note: November 25 marks the commencement of a global campaign – 16 Days of Activism to End Violence against Women and Girls. Smriti Aryal, Head of the Office for UN Women China, sends a video message for this year's activism campaign.
Violence against women and girls is a serious violation of fundamental human rights and continues to be one of the most persistent development challenges globally.
In the context of the COVID-19 lock-downs, evidence from around the world suggests that rates of domestic abuse have increased, as women and girls are trapped with abusers and services that they rely on have been shut down. Women with disabilities and other vulnerable groups are worst affected. National and local responses vary in focus and quality, and consequently, too many women and girls lack access to potentially life-saving support while services are stretched and operating under difficult conditions. Women's organizations, which play a critical role in providing essential lifesaving gender-based violence (GBV) services, are increasingly under financial and operational pressure.
This underscores an urgent response: from everyone, policymakers to planners, service providers to community leaders, influencers, family members and each one of us.
Today (November 25) marks the commencement of the global campaign on 16 Days of Activism to End Violence against Women and Girls and this year's theme is to promote greater commitment and actions towards zero tolerance to end violence against women and girls, in line with the United Nations Secretary General's political engagement strategy on GBV and COVID-19. On this occasion, I invite everyone to participate in the campaign and show your solidarity. Specifically, we urge for greater commitment and actions to 1) ensure adequate funding allocation for GBV prevention and response services including those led by women's organizations; 2) take explicit actions to ensure continuity in life-saving services for GBV survivors; 3) address deeply rooted values that perpetuate violence; and 4) and strengthen gender data for improving GBV prevention and responsive services.
Today and forever, let us all be the champions, advocates and supporters of generation equality and join forces to create a world that is safe and dignified for all women and girls globally and in China. Let us say NO to violence.
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