Take firm stance against sexual violence, misogyny: UN chief

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Dhaka, November 24: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called on governments, the private sector, civil society and people everywhere to take a firm stance against sexual violence and misogyny.

“We must show a greater solidarity with survivors, advocates and women’s rights defenders. And we must promote women’s rights and equal opportunities,” he said in a message marking the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women that falls on November 25.

Guterres said the United Nations is committed to ending all forms of violence against women and girls and mentioned that together, they can – and must — end rape and sexual assault of all kinds.

He said these abuses are among the world’s most horrific, persistent and widespread human rights violations, affecting one in every three women in the world. “That means someone around you, a family member, a coworker, a friend. Or even you yourself.”

The UN chief said sexual violence against women and girls is rooted in centuries of male domination. “Let’s not forget that the gender inequalities that fuel rape culture are essentially a question of power imbalances.”

He said stigma, misconceptions, underreporting and poor enforcement of the laws only perpetuate impunity. “And rape is still being used as a horrendous weapon of war. All of that must change… now.”