25 November 2015, Male’; Today as the world mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, it is a timely occasion to reflect back, take stock and step up this noble initiative. Indeed, governments, civil society and the international community have been active to raise awareness and prevent violence against women. The United Nations Secretary-General’s Campaign UNiTE to End Violence against Women this year states, “Orange the world: End violence against women and girls”. This year the campaign calls on governments, individuals and civil society organizations to come together to step up efforts and end violence against women.
As we mark the 20th Anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and the Platform for Action, the most comprehensive road map to gender equality, progress have been made globally and nationally to end violence against women. The international community recognizes violence against women in its severity and complete depth and breadth. Violence against women is a hindrance to the empowerment of women. It is the most degrading violation of human rights. I commend the work of the international community to drive attention to the elimination of violence against women with urgency and commitment. National laws, multi-sectorial networking and public awareness have been implemented and launched across the globe.
The Maldives itself has made significant efforts in preventing violence against women; the Sexual Abuse and Harassment Prevention Act, the Sexual Offences Act, the Domestic Violence Prevention Act and the draft Gender Equality Bill strengthens our legal framework to prevent violence against women. Further, the civil society and non-governmental organizations are working continuously on preventing violence against women in collaboration with the government.
One of the key pledges of President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom’s administration is zero tolerance for violence against women. Moreover, the government is committed to address the root cause for violence against women by investing in gender equality and empowerment. It is now time to ensure commitment is realized in practice by enhancing women’s empowerment, by ensuring women’s rights and equal opportunities. Violence against women can be prevented.
The Maldives will remain committed, steadfast and persistent in all efforts to eliminate violence against women both locally and globally. We will continue to step up our efforts to protect women and girls from the flagrant violation of human rights; that is all forms of violence against women. Let us Orange the World, for our Women; Let us Orange the World for a violence free world, for our women and girls.