Statement on International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women by UN Resident Coordinator in the Republic of Kazakhstan, Mr. Norimasa Shimomura and Representative of Un Women in Central Asia Mrs. Elaine Conkievich

Nov 25, 2016

25 NOVEMBER, 2016

‘Orange the World: Raise Money to End Violence against Women and Girls’

This year marks the 25th year of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Campaign, initiated in 1991 and coordinated by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership.

In 2016, for the global 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign, from 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10 December, Human Rights Day, the UN Secretary-General’s campaign UNiTE to End Violence against Women’s call for action is themed ‘Orange the World: Raise Money to End Violence against Women and Girls’, to amplify and address the funding shortfall.

Violence against women and girls persists in every country in the world as a pervasive violation of human rights and a major impediment to achieving gender equality. Evidence shows that 1 in 3 women worldwide have experienced violence, mainly at the hands of a partner or spouse, and that violence against women leads to a wide range of physical, mental, and sexual health problems affecting families and entire communities. Beyond the direct medical and judicial costs, violence against women takes a toll on household and national budgets through lost income and productivity and impedes the achievement of global development goals.  

Violence against women and girls remains a persistent and widespread challenge in Kazakhstan, too. The Government of Kazakhstan (the Statistical Committee of the Ministry of National Economy of the Republic of Kazakhstan) with the support of UN Women, UNFPA and WHO,  conducted the first ever nationally representative research on violence against women in Kazakhstan. The preliminary findings of the study show that violence against women in Kazakhstan is prevalent, cuts across all groups of society, and has major health and social consequences. It is driven by gender inequality and a number of interconnected factors that operate across the individual, family, community, and society levels. Therefore, a comprehensive and coordinated approach is needed to respond to and prevent violence against women.  It is expected that Kazakhstan address the complexity of violence against women through the soon to be adopted Family and Gender Concept of Kazakhstan.

Yet violence is not inevitable. It can be prevented.

 One of the major challenges to efforts to prevent and end violence against women and girls worldwide is a huge funding shortfall. As a result, resources for initiatives to prevent and end violence against women and girls are severely lacking. Frameworks such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes a specific target on ending violence against women, offer huge promise, though must be adequately funded if they are to result in significant changes in the lives of women and girls.

Deep-rooted inequality in the roles, rights and opportunities of men and women, and attitudes and social norms that condone or normalize such violence, have made the problem tenacious, but not inevitable. With laws to protect women and punish perpetrators, services to rebuild women’s lives and comprehensive prevention that starts early, ending violence against women and girls can become a reality. Yet, robust funding for efforts to end this violence remains woefully insufficient.

To bring this issue to the fore, the UN Secretary-General’s campaign UNiTE to End Violence against Women’s call for the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence in 2016 is ‘Orange the World: Raise Money to End Violence against Women and Girls’. The initiative provides a moment to bring the issue of sustainable financing for initiatives to prevent and end violence against women to global prominence and also presents the opportunity for resource mobilization for the issue.

All available evidence shows that even relatively small-scale investments that are timely and well integrated can bring enormous benefits to women and their communities.

We at the UN believe that a country like Kazakhstan, which has already made significant progress addressing violence against women and girls, has every chance to prevent and end it, and the UN Country Team for its part is ready to provide every possible assistance in this regard.

We encourage the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan, private sector partners, and individuals to invest in ending violence against women!

Norimasa Shimomura

Elaine Conkievich