Vienna, 05 March 2015 - Twenty years young today, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, continues to be a defining moment in the global pursuit of gender equality for women and girls everywhere. But, any declaration, no matter how momentous, is reliant on the will and intent of nations to turn wise principles into solid performance.
Violence against women is the area of UNODC's main concern under the declaration. The grim headline, however, is that the world has many miles to travel before women receive equal treatment. Violence, including acts of sexual violence, plague the daily lives of women and girls. It exists in homes and schools, and in cities and rural areas. No country is immune and every country can aspire to do more.
UNODC's global efforts confront the hidden gender bias woven into many laws and criminal justice systems and aims to end impunity for violence against women. Our work encourages police, prosecutors, and legal aid providers, among others, to respect and protect victims and to view domestic violence as a serious crime that scars lives forever.
Violence against women is also an obstacle to development. Women must be drawn into the circle of opportunity and given the security to be successful members of society.
Today is International Women's Day; a time for us to reflect on the terrible violence that thrives among us and what action can be taken to extinguish the flames of discrimination that drive these crimes. Our aim must be to restore to every woman and girl on this planet equal rights that, once achieved, must never be taken away.
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