Guten Abend. I would like to thank Herr Dr. Burda, for presenting this prize in recognition of the need to fight for the rights of women and girls and their right to a life free of violence.
Gender based violence is one of the most pervasive crimes against human rights in the world today and the strongest manifestation of inequality in our societies. It penetrates all areas of life and despite efforts to curb it over the last two decades; gender based violence continues to persist in all layers of society and in all countries of the world. Disturbingly, in the member states of the European Union, one in three women has experienced physical and /or sexual violence from the age of 15. And how often do you think an adolescent girl dies as a result of violence in the world; every 30 minutes, every 20 minutes or every 10 minutes? Shockingly, it is every 10 minutes.
Beyond the enforcement of legislation, we have to recognize that the elimination of gender based violence requires a change of mind – and of mindsets. We need to create a paradigm shift – this issue is NOT just a women’s issue. There can be no bystanders.
It is an issue of universal human rights, equal rights between men and women and, human dignity that concerns us all, involves us all, and requires concerted and urgent action from all of us. We must stand together and speak out for zero tolerance. We must ask ourselves; how can we ensure a generation in which violence against women and girls is no longer viewed as acceptable?
Less than a year from now, the international community will adopt a new global framework for sustainable development, a framework which will build on the achievements of the eight Millennium Development Goals. However, despite the achievements made, gaps continue to persist and women and girls sadly have been left behind. Now exists the opportunity, to support the empowerment of women and girls, to fight for gender equality and the elimination of violence against women and girls. This represents the basic elements for a people centered, socially just and effective global agenda that will benefit all of humanity and which will yield returns for both present and future generations. I am truly honored to accept this award tonight. And I accept it in recognition of; all the champions of a world free of violence against women and girls and all those women, men, boys and girls who have broken the silence and cycle of violence. And I accept this BAMBI Award as a ‘torch of hope’ for every woman and girl living in violence or the fear of violence.