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12 Countries in New Initiatives to End Violence Against Women

New York, Dec 14 2012 (IPS) - At an international forum on “Ending Violence Against Women”, 12 countries announced Friday new, concrete initiatives to address this gross human rights violation. Responding to a call by UN Women under its initiative COMMIT, countries from every region pledged actions — ranging from improved services for survivors to national advocacy and educational campaigns. These were initiatives to address workplace harassment, as well as National Acton Plans and other innovative interventions, according to a press statement released here.

The high-level Stakeholders Forum,  hosted by UN Women Dec 13-14 in the lead up to the UN Commission on the Status of Women, aims to build consensus and identify common strategies on ending violence against women and girls.

Launched in the lead up to the next meeting of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) early next year, and on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, COMMIT, asks governments to make concrete new national commitments on ending the pandemic, which will be showcased globally. COMMIT comes at an important juncture when inspite of significant progress, violence against women and girls persists.

Currently, about 125 countries have laws that penalize domestic violence, a huge step forward from just a decade ago. Yet, up to seven in ten women continue to be targeted for physical and/or sexual violence and 603 million women live in countries where domestic violence is still not a crime, according to UN Women.

“No country can claim that violence against women and girls is non-existent in their nations. It is a horrific reality across all countries, in all strata of society, from the villages to the urban centres. But ending this pandemic is possible, if we all come together and address it through determined leadership and robust policies. And through COMMIT several countries are already leading the way and I congratulate them on their leadership”, said Michelle Bachelet, UN Women Executive Director.

The countries that have signed onto COMMIT in the first two weeks, include:

- Australia : committing to a zero tolerance approach to domestic violence and sexual abuse;
- Austria : committing to ratify and implement the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women;
- Belarus : committing to combat trafficking in persons and domestic violence;
- Denmark : committing to put a special focus on violence against young women;
- The Dominican Republic: committing to expand and strengthen programmes to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls;
- Finland : committing to improve women’s access to justice;
- France : committing to ratify and implement the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and pass new law;
- Germany : committing to ratify and implement the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women;
- Greece : committing to ratify and implement the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women;
- The Republic of Korea : committing to strengthen prosecution of violence against women, improve protection for survivors and implement education programmes;
- Togo : committing to strengthens National Strategy to end gender based violence; and
- The United States of America : committing to take concrete measures to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls.

 
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