Over five million people endorse effort to end violence against women

November 26th, 2008 - 2:28 pm ICT by IANS  

Nicole KidmanNew York, Nov 26 (DPA) More than five million people have signed a petition to support the UN campaign to end violence against women, a programme spearheaded by Academy Award winner Nicole Kidman, the UN has said.The petition was presented to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to mark Tuesday’s International Day to End Violence Against Women.

“We thought that the more names we collected, the stronger our case to make ending violence against women a top priority for governments everywhere,” Kidman said at a press conference at UN headquarters in New York.

The campaign, known as “Say NO,” was managed by the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), for which Kidman serves spokeswoman and goodwill ambassador.

“Well, the results are in,” Kidman said. “We’ve tallied the numbers from Bangkok and Tanzania, from Ecuador to Fiji, from Jordan to India. I am so delighted to announce that they have far, far, surpassed our goal.”

The campaign has been urging governments to set up protective measures such as prompt police response to complaints of violence and providing health and legal services, providing shelters and safe options to women, national round-the-clock hotlines and accountable judiciary and national action plans.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in a message that violence against women take place in poor and rich countries.

“These human rights violations do more than harm individuals, they undermine the development, peace and security of entire societies,” Ban said.

He cited numerous rape cases that had taken place in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s North Kivu province, Haiti and Liberia. He said while governments are doing their best to fight violence against women, more law enforcement and punitive measures are needed to protect women and girls.

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