“For far too long, women’s rights activists like ourselves have shouldered the burden of responding to violence against women in the face of huge obstacles, and to the best of our abilities,” says the letter, which can be read in full along with the complete list of signatories here. “In doing so, we put our own lives on the line each and every day. This is not safe, scalable, or sustainable…
“We are aware that there are international agreements to address this issue, but they are not enough,” the letter continues. “The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and regional treaties, for example, offer a patchwork of protection. We need something comprehensive, specific, up-to-date and legally binding…
“This is not about one country telling another country what to do. This is about nations coming together to take a stand on ending violence against women and girls once and for all.”
The letter was spearheaded byJudge Najla Ayoubi from Afghanistan; Dr. Eleanor Nwadinobi, physician and gender expert from Nigeria; andLisa Shannon, CEO of Every Woman Treaty, from the United States. Other signatories include women’s rights activists from: Australia, Brazil, Canada, India, Iraq, Kenya, Mexico, Pakistan, Russia, Tunisia, UK, Zimbabwe, and many more – a total of 64 nations worldwide.
According to the World Health Organization, violence against women is “devastatingly pervasive, impactingone in three women globally, with younger women most at risk. This already bad situation has grown exponentially worse in the wake of COVID-19, according to the latest UN Women’s report,The Shadow Pandemic.
The proposed global treaty would mandate: new laws proven to lower rates of violence; training and accountability for police officers, judges, social welfare and health care workers; violence prevention education; services for survivors such as hotlines, shelters and legal protections; and increased funding for implementation. It would also create a universally accepted definition of violence against women and girls and provide explicit standards for criminal prosecution and punishment, as well as concrete remedies that bring justice to survivors.
The letter concludes: “We must come together as an international community to create a comprehensive and legally binding international treaty to end violence against women and girls. As leaders of the Generation Equality Forum, you have the power to take a stand by encouraging nations to consider this potent and much-needed solution.”