The European Union and the United Nations today launched a joint initiative to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls, one of the most widespread and devastating human rights violations across the globe.
“It is a harsh but true reality – one in three women will face violence throughout their lifetime,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said at the launch event, held on the margins of the General Assembly’s high-level annual debate.
“Violence against women and girls devastates lives, and causes pain across generations,” he added.
The EU-UN Spotlight Initiative is supported by a multi-stakeholder trust fund, with the EU as its main contributor in the order of half a billion Euro, which is open to other donors.
“The European Union is committed to combatting all forms of violence against women and girls, as they undermine our core fundamental rights and values, such as dignity, access to justice and gender equality,” EU High Representative Federica Mogherini told the event.
“We need first to ensure that we keep women and girls safe, in order to empower them to deploy their full potential.”
Over the next few years, comprehensive programmes will be implemented to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls, such as sexual and gender-based violence and harmful practices; trafficking and economic exploitation; femicide; and domestic and family violence.
Core areas of intervention will include strengthening legislative frameworks, policies and institutions, preventive measures, access to services and improving data gathering in Africa, Latin America, Asia, the Pacific and the Caribbean.
Consistent with the principles of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the initiative will apply a rights-based approach, and give particular attention to the most marginalised women and girls in order to ‘leave no-one behind.’
The Spotlight Initiative is “truly historic,” said Mr. Guterres. “When we shine a spotlight on the empowerment of the world’s women and girls, everyone’s future is brighter.”