Acting Head of UN Women: Decisive National and International Action Needed to End Violence Against Women
Monday, July 8, 2013 9:35 AM

Lakshmi Puri, acting head of UN Women, is calling for more than just words and agreements to end violence against women, particularly in times of conflict. In an article in The Guardian last week, Puri reported on several recent UN agreements that signal an increased policy focus on violence against women: a UN security council resolution on sexual violence in armed conflict; a UN Commission on the Status of Women declaration on violence against women; and a UN general assembly arms trade treaty that specifically addresses arms used to perpetrate gender violence. Puri also noted an increase in community activism worldwide, most notably the widespread protests in India in response to the gang rape of a young woman. Many of these activists and community organizations put themselves at risk of violence by promoting equality for women.
However, despite these promising international developments and the committed (and often life-threatening) work of women’s rights activists and groups, much work remains to be done to achieve gender equality and thereby eliminate violence against women. Puri emphasized that national and international action is crucial to this goal. Until governments turn words into action—by implementing existing conventions, developing strategies to prevent violence against women, ensuring justice for victims of gender violence, and empowering women to work for gender equality—there can be only limited progress in combating violence against women. For their part, she said, women’s rights organizations and activists should pressure the international community and national governments to turn their promises into reality.
Compiled from: Puri, Lakshmi, Words Alone Won’t End Violence Against Women in Armed Conflict,The Guardian (July 2, 2013).