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Following is UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, observed on 25 November:

Violence against women and girls is the most pervasive human rights violation in the world.

Every 11 minutes, a woman or girl is killed by an intimate partner or family member — and we know that other stresses, from the COVID‑19 pandemic to economic turmoil, inevitably lead to even more physical and verbal abuse.  Women and girls also face rampant online violence, from misogynistic hate speech, to sexual harassment, image abuse and grooming by predators.

This discrimination, violence and abuse targeting half of humanity comes at a steep cost.  It limits women’s and girls’ participation in all walks of life, denies their basic rights and freedoms, and blocks the equal economic recovery and sustainable growth our world needs.

Now is the time for transformative action that ends violence against women and girls.

This means Governments designing, funding and implementing national action plans to tackle this scourge.

It means involving grass-roots and civil society groups at every stage of decision-making.

It means ensuring that laws are implemented and respected, so survivors see their rights to justice and support upheld.

It means supporting public campaigns that challenge patriarchal norms and promote different forms of masculinities that reject misogyny and violence.

And as this year’s theme — “UNITE:  Activism to End Violence Against Women and Girls” — reminds us, it means standing with activists around the world who are calling for change and supporting survivors of violence.  I call on Governments to increase funding by 50 per cent to women’s rights organizations and movements by 2026.

Let’s take a stand and raise our voices in support of women’s rights.

Let’s proudly declare:  We are all feminists.

Let’s consign violence against women and girls to the history books.

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