UN Launches Network of Men Leaders to Combat Violence Against Women

Dec 11, 2009

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon marked the 10th anniversary of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women by launching a Network of Men Leaders, a major new initiative bringing together current and former politicians, activists, religious and community figures to combat global violence against women.

“These men will add their voices to the growing global chorus for action,” the Secretary-General said. “As I launch this Network, I call on men and boys everywhere to join us. Break the silence. When you witness violence against women and girls, do not sit back. Act. Advocate. Unite to change the practices and attitudes that incite, perpetrate and condone this violence. Violence against women and girls will not be eradicated until all of us – men and boys – refuse to tolerate it.”

Each member of the Network, part of the “UNiTE to End Violence against Women” campaign that the Secretary-General launched last year, will work to support the longstanding efforts of women and civil society organizations worldwide to end violence, taking actions from raising public awareness to advocating for adequate laws.

By 2015, the UNiTE campaign aims to achieve the following five goals worldwide: adopt and enforce national laws to address and punish all forms of violence against women and girls; adopt and implement multi-sectoral national action plans; strengthen data collection on the prevalence of violence against women and girls; increase public awareness and social mobilization; and address sexual violence in conflict.

In addition to Family Violence Prevention Fund Program Director Juan Carlos Areán, the new Network includes: Gary Barker, International Centre for Research on Women; Ted Bunch, Co-founder of the National Association of Men and Women Committed to Ending Violence against Women; Paulo Coelho, Brazilian novelist and UN Messenger of Peace; Franco Fattini, Italian Foreign Minister; Andrew Levack, Co-chair of MenEngageAlliance; Todd Minerson, Executive Director of the White Ribbon Campaign; Ricardo Lagos, former Chilean president; Emmanuel Ochora, Gulu Youth for Action in Uganda; Dean Peacock, founder of Building Partnerships to End Men’s Violence; José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, Spanish Prime Minister; Knut Storberget, Norwegian Justice and Police Minister; Cesar Gaviria Trujillo, former Colombian President and Secretary General of the Organization of American States; and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa.

“Men have a crucial role to play in ending such violence – as fathers, friends, decision makers, and community and opinion leaders,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said. Read the Secretary-General’s complete remarks here.

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