The United Nations on Thursday embarked on the annual occasion to address against the culture of impunity in its statement dedicated to International Day of the Girl.
Taking on the occasion, as the world’s renowned human rights defenders highlight the needs and challenges girls face, the UN released a note for the public to promote girls’ empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights.
“On this International Day of the Girl, let us recommit to supporting every girl to develop her skills, enter the workforce on equal terms and reach her full potential. ” — UN Secretary-General António Guterres
The note states:
This is a critical time for the girls of our world. It is a time for the protection and assertion of rights, a time to listen hard and speak louder, no matter how difficult; to call out the continuing imbalances of power; to band together and take a stand on the changes that must happen so that girls and women are heard and their experiences are taken seriously. It is a time to act, together with men and boys, on the issues that will determine a lived equality for all, central to which is the ending of violence against women and girls.
We see over and over again how hard it is as an individual to raise your voice in defense of rights and how easily authority figures can discount, trivialize or silence it.
It should not be difficult to complain about the violation of rights, but it is, especially in situations where shame has become normalized, as is often the case for example with the experience of sexual violence. Globally, less than 40 per cent of women who experience sexual harassment and assault seek help of any sort, with only 4 per cent seeking help from the police.
We are working to shift the burden of shame to those who commit the abuse, and to stop the stigmatization and silencing of the survivor. Survivors must be at the centre of any response; and their experiences must be listened to and acted on to end the culture of impunity. We urge all institutions, public and private, to do the same, whether a school, a place of worship, a sports club, a transport company or any employer or political leader. Young people also have a responsibility to hold leaders to account and to call on them to put survivors at the centre, upholding the highest standards of respect, with zero impunity.
United Nations had marked October 11 as the ‘International Day of the Girl’ in 2012.