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Statements on the occasion of International Women’s Day 2013

08 March 2013

United Nations Secretary-General

This year on International Women’s Day, we convert our outrage into action. We declare that we will prosecute crimes against women – and never allow women to be subjected to punishments for the abuses they have suffered. We renew our pledge to combat this global health menace wherever it may lurk – in homes and businesses, in war zones and placid countries, and in the minds of people who allow violence to continue. More

Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS)

Today, half of all people living with HIV are women. Every minute one young woman is infected with HIV. This is not acceptable. Only when we value a girl’s health and welfare as highly as a boy’s, only when we listen and act equally to women’s voices—then can we have a chance at ending this epidemic.
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Executive Director of UN Women

Every human being has the right to live in peace and dignity. Every human being has the right to shape their future and the futures of their countries. That is the call for equality that I hear wherever I go. For this reason UN Women will place special focus this year on advancing women’s economic empowerment and political participation and leadership. We look forward to continued strong partnership with women, men and young people and with governments, civil society and the private sector. More

Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)

Building on the work of the Commission on the Status of Women, we must come together to find an internationally agreed consensus which will bring us closer to keeping women and girls safe and free from violence or the threat of violence. This is our chance to have a positive impact on the lives of millions. We cannot afford to miss this opportunity. More

Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

The theme for International Women’s Day this year is "A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women." Indeed, it is now time for increased action to end this abuse. In 1995, at the Fourth World Conference for Women, governments identified violence against women as a violation of human rights and an "obstacle to the achievement of the objectives of equality, development and peace." More

Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

UNESCO is working across the board to end violence against women. Laws alone are not enough. We must educate to shape new norms and behaviors. We must support women in becoming leaders in all fields of human endeavor, starting from UNESCO’s priorities of education, the sciences, culture, communication and information, including the media. To empower women and ensure equality, we must challenge every form of violence every time it occurs. This is UNESCO’s promise on International Women’s Day. More

Leaders of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the International Development Law Organization (IDLO)

If we unite to increase food security for women, we also nourish the minds and bodies of whole communities. If a girl can attend school in a safe environment, she can reach her full mental and physical potential. She can avoid early marriage, forced marriage or other forms of violence. More

Executive Director of the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC)

Based on UNODC's statistics, in Europe, on average, 18 women are killed every day and 12 of them are murdered at the hands of their intimate partners or other family members. We must not allow these murders to continue. On International Women's Day, I call on nations, international organizations, civil society the private sector, and the public to work together to create societies where women feel safe and secure. More

Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO)

On International Women’s Day 2013 the United Nations is focusing on ending violence against women. WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan highlights the extent of the problem and the role the health sector needs to play in addressing it.
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Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO)

The world of work is an excellent context for both prevention and remedial measures. The ILO has had a long engagement in practical action against gender-based violence in work places, both at policy and programme levels. It has developed tools and guides with a strong sectoral approach targeting areas where the labour force is highly feminized, such as the health and services sectors. More