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The UN Secretary-General has called for an immediate ceasefire, de-escalation of tensions and a firm return to diplomacy and dialogue. He has underlined the multiplying humanitarian needs and the steps he is taking to enhance humanitarian assistance to the people of Ukraine. I urge the international community, as it rallies in support, to keep women and girls at the centre and to ensure that the humanitarian assistance planned and provided is gender-responsive.
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With 90 countries in lockdown, four billion people are now sheltering at home from the global contagion of COVID-19. It’s a protective measure, but it brings another deadly danger. We see a shadow pandemic growing, of violence against women.
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Rape isn’t an isolated brief act. It damages flesh and reverberates in memory. It can have life changing, unchosen results—a pregnancy or a transmitted disease. Its long-lasting, devastating effects reach others: family, friends, partners and colleagues. In both conflict and in peace it shapes women’s decisions to move from communities through fear of attack or the stigma for survivors. Women and girls fleeing their homes as refugees also risk unsafe transport and...
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To commemorate this year’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls, the Secretary-General’s UNiTE Campaign is calling upon us to stand in solidarity with survivors and survivor advocates and women’s human rights defenders who are working to prevent and end violence against women and girls.