$148 million committed to end violence against women

The European Union and United Nations have committed €50 million (T$148 million) to end violence against Pacific women and girls under their Spotlight Initiative. 

This global multi-year initiative provides a critical opportunity for leaders to address the prevalent forms of violence in the world. 

UN Population Fund Executive Director, Dr. Natalia Kanem said the new programme would build on existing work in the Pacific region, and engage civil society, intergovernmental partners, governments and the UN to addressing violence against women and girls.   

“The Pacific region has the highest recorded rates of violence against women and girls in the world,” Dr. Natalia said. 

“Seven countries in the region have prevalence rates above 50 per cent. Women’s lifetime experience of violence, including sexual violence in the Pacific, ranges from 25 per cent to as high as 68 per cent."

“When women and girls are empowered and can live lives free of violence and discrimination, we can take greater steps together to achieve the 2030 agenda for sustainable development." 

“Ending violence against women and realising gender equality are top priorities for the UN, the EU and the Pacific Islands Forum as stated in its gender equality declaration."

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“We cannot fulfill the sustainable development goals and the Pacific Forum Leaders vision for ‘a region of peace, harmony, security, social inclusion and economic prosperity’, unless we ender gender inequality and violence against women.”

EU Commissioner, Neven Mimica, said statistics don’t always reveal the full scale of the problem.

“In Europe, only about a third of women who are sexually abused by their partners contact the authorities." 

“We are making this lack of comparable and reliable data a priority in the EU, with the pilot projects made because for the step in fighting gender-based violence, is having the full picture of how many lives it affects in Europe and across the world." 

“In the Pacific, two out of three women have experienced physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner. Here again, it is important to understand the broader context and the root causes even the less obvious ones.”

Mr. Mimica said domestic and sexual violence is a worldwide phenomenon, a human rights violation, a story we see every day and we cannot continue to look away. 

“It is the stories of survivors. Collectively, all of us here today (yesterday) are here to help break this silence because the scourge of domestic violence will not be stopped by one person, one organisation or one country.”

He added the spotlight Initiative gives this boost under a unique model of partnership and in the true spirit of multilateralism. 

“Spotlight renews the European Union’s and United Nations commitment to end all forms of violence against women and girls, to support human rights and gender equality all around the world, to give women and girls the chance to shine, to give every single girl and woman her voice and a choice. We can only do this together with Government and civil society in the Pacific fully on board." 

“Spotlight’s built on your ongoing efforts to address the root causes of violence against women and girls, to fill the legislative and policy gaps, to provide quality service for providers and their families and to change deep rooted stigma and attitudes forever.” 

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