UN chief says violence against women, girls “imposes large-scale costs”

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UN chief voices concern about political situation in Maldives

UNITED NATIONS, Nov 26 (APP): UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
has called for “meaningful” action to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls, saying the world cannot afford to pay the price of violence against them.

“Violence against women and girls imposes large-scale costs on families, communities and economies,” the secretary-general said in a message, marking International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls.

“When women cannot work as a result of violence, their employment may be put at risk, jeopardizing much-needed income, autonomy and their ability to leave abusive relationships.”

November 25 is the start of the United Nation’s 16-day campaign to raise awareness against gender-based violence. It ends December 10, Human Rights Day.

Violence against women and girls is not only a human rights violation
but also an obstacle to sustainable development, Ban said. He lamented
that efforts to address such violence, while having strong political commitment, suffer from lack of resources, including funding.

“This is truly a matter of life and death,” he added.

The UN chief said gender-based violence also results in lost productivity for businesses and drains resources from social services, the justice system and health care agencies. The net result, he said, is “enormous suffering as well as the exclusion of women from playing their full and rightful roles in society.”

Ban is observing the U.N. day for the last time as U.N. chief. Incoming U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres takes over January 1, 2017.