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International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

Statement by the Director-General, Ms Jan Beagle

International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women
25 Novermber 2023

The International Development Law Organization (IDLO) stands united with the global community to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and the start of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence (GBV).

Violence against women and girls remains a serious and pervasive human rights violation and it is both a cause and a consequence of gender inequality. Across their lifetime, 1 in 3 women are subjected to physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner or non-partner – a number that has shown minimal change over the past decade.

IDLO’s research on Survivor-Centred Justice for Gender-based Violence in Complex Situations revealed that in situations of crisis, such as conflict, organized crime, health emergencies, and the climate crisis, women are at a higher risk of experiencing GBV and are less likely to receive justice.

The myriad of challenges women face in pursuing justice ranges from social norms that stigmatize or blame them, to discriminatory laws, constraints within justice institutions, gaps in essential services provision, and, in many contexts, a general culture of impunity.

As the only global intergovernmental organization exclusively devoted to promoting the rule of law to advance peace and sustainable development, IDLO champions a rule of law-based approach to ending GBV.

To this end, we focus our interventions on strengthening the capacity of formal and informal justice institutions to respond to GBV; empowering women to access justice and claim their rights; and supporting legal reforms to ensure the emergence of gender-responsive legal and institutional frameworks on GBV.

For example, in Kenya, IDLO supported the establishment and operationalization of a specialized Sexual and Gender-based Violence (SGBV) Court in Mombasa, the first court in East Africa exclusively designed to adjudicate SGBV cases.

As part of the support to Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Centres in Somalia, IDLO contributed to the formation of 15 GBV task forces. These task forces ensure an accompanied referral for GBV cases that fall beyond the scope of the ADR jurisdiction.

In Tunisia, we are strengthening access to justice and services for survivors of GBV by supporting the implementation of the special law on the elimination of violence against women.

To advance accountability and support Ukraine in its efforts to investigate conflict-related crimes, IDLO is contributing to the development of survivor-centred and trauma-informed approaches to investigating and prosecuting conflict-related sexual violence.

GBV is preventable, yet funding for prevention is insufficient. IDLO echoes the global call to "UNiTE! Invest to prevent violence against women and girls."

In our commitment to the Generation Equality Action Coalition on GBV, IDLO has pledged to mobilize USD 10 million. This financial support is designated to assist partners in eight countries facing conflict or other complex situations to adopt an integrated approach while addressing GBV.

We call upon partners to increase their investments for delivering transformative change in the lives of women and girls everywhere.