Today is International Human Rights Day. And as part of today?s commemoration, many groups are calling attention to the growing problem of violence against women.

The ?Women?s Commission for Refugee Women and Children? ? along with the UN agencies, UNHCR and UNIFEM ? says violence against women is a leading cause of death in the world?s conflict zones.

Mary Diaz is executive director of the ?Women?s Commission for Refugee Women and Children.? From New York, she spoke to English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua about International Human Rights Day.

She says violence against women takes many forms. She says many assume violence means rape, but she says it also includes forced early marriages, female genital mutilation, forced prostitution, abuse, denial of property rights.

The groups are calling for ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, CEDAW. Ms. Diaz says some countries are reluctant to sign the treaty because they do not have a good understanding of it.

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