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UN Raises Awareness of Violence Against Women

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon delivers a speech during a session of the Human Rights Council at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva, September 10, 2012.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon delivers a speech during a session of the Human Rights Council at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva, September 10, 2012.

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Sunday marks the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, which was first designated by the U.N. General Assembly in December of 1999.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued a statement calling on all governments to make good on their pledges to end all forms of violence against women and girls in all parts of the world.  He added that it is the perpetrators of violence who should feel disgraced, not the victims.

The U.N. Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women has announced a new initiative, called COMMIT, which asks governments to make national commitments to come up with new policies to protect women who are victims of violence.

Catherine Ashton, the European Union's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, says violence against women is arguably the most widespread human rights violations of our time.  She pledged the EU's commitment to making the world safe for women.

The United Nations says there are currently 125 countries that have laws penalizing domestic violence.  However, 603 million women live in countries where domestic violence is not a crime and as many as seven out of 10 women are targeted for physical or sexual violence in their lifetime.

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