The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) has said gender-based violence remains a major health and human rights concern, and that no human development can be achieved as long as women and girls continue to suffer from violence or live in fear of it.
In a statement by the UNFPA Executive Director, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, Friday to mark the International Women's Day, the UN agency therefore renewed its commitment to strengthening efforts aimed at ending gender-based violence.
Dr. Osotimehin's statement, received here by PANA, coincided with the ongoing meeting in New York of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), which this year focuses on the theme 'Addressing Violence against Women'.
“Globally, millions of women and girls are subjected to all forms of violence, including rape, intimate partner violence, female genital mutilations/cuttings, child marriages and sexual violence in armed conflicts and during humanitarian crisis,” Dr. Osotimehin said.
He said women and girls who were abused might suffer prolonged psychological pain, might be rejected by their families and communities, and might be denied opportunities for health care and economic self-sufficiency in addition to direct physical consequences.
Sexual violence can result in unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions, traumatic fistula and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV - all of which can be fatal, the UNFPA boss said, adding 'as part of the global community, we have an obligation to ensure that these human rights violations come to an end.
“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.'
The UNFPA is involved in the promotion of the right of every woman, man and child to enjoy a life of health and equal opportunity. It does this through major national and demographic surveys and with population censuses.
The data generated are used to create programmes to reduce poverty and address issues concerning the rights of particular minority population groups.
One of the UN agency's aims is to ensure that every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, every young person is free of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, and every girl and woman is treated with dignity and respect