Today begins the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence.
In this international campaign, we call for global action in the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls.
Twenty-five years ago, the world took a significant step towards gender equality with the adoption of The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.
While 2020 is a milestone year for this achievement, violence against women and girls remains one of the most widespread violations of human rights.
The situation has worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We see an alarming increase in domestic violence, as women and children are trapped at home.
School closures and food insecurity elevate the risk of violence for girls, including sexual exploitation and harassment.
Resources allocated to provide support to survivors of gender-based violence have been diverted to fight the COVID-19 health crisis.
Despite this, women’s rights organizations and civil society have been on the forefront, continuing to give vital assistance.
We must prioritize their role as first responders and adequately fund programs like shelters, counselling support and legal aid.
We should foster a culture of zero tolerance with the involvement of men to prevent gender-based violence.
We need to ensure that essential services for survivors of violence against women and girls remain open and respond to these acts with the full force of law.
And we will improve the provision of gender-based violence services and collect data to make sure the experience is survivor-centred.
We all have a role to play.
I call on the people of China, from the government to the individual, to come together and join us in the next sixteen days.
Let’s end gender-based violence, once and for all.