|Speech of Mr Neal Walker - UN Resident Coordinator in the Kyrgyz Republic - in the occasion of the first UNiTE Art Workshop
Distinguished Speaker of the Parliament,
Civil society representatives,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am honoured and moved to be with you today.
Today, we came together to contribute to a global UN Secretary General's Campaign to end violence against women. We came to act to fundraise for 13 crisis centers of Kyrgyzstan who day-to-day work to help the women victims of violence, and who need our support and help.
Violence against women is an issue that cannot wait. A brief look at the statistics makes it clear. At least one out of every three women is likely to be beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused in her lifetime. Through the practice of prenatal sex selection, countless others are denied the right even to exist. No country, no culture, no woman young or old is immune to this scourge. Far too often, the crimes go unpunished, the perpetrators walk free.
On my visits to different areas around Kyrgyzstan, I have spoken with women who have endured various forms of violence – bride kidnapping, early marriages, rapes, sexual harassment. I will forever be haunted by their suffering -- but equally, I will always be inspired by their courage. These mothers, sisters, daughters, and friends are determined to reclaim their lives and rights.
This is a campaign for them. It is a campaign for the women and girls who have the right to live free of violence, today and in the future. It is a campaign to stop the untold cost that violence against women inflicts on all humankind.
We know that gender inequality is hampering progress towards the Millennium Development Goals -- our common vision to build a better world in the 21st century.
We know that violence against women compounds the enormous social and economic toll on families, communities, even whole nations.
And we know that when we work to eradicate violence against women, we empower our greatest resource for development: mothers raising children; law-makers in parliament; chief executives, negotiators, teachers; doctors, policewomen, businesswomen and more.
Our campaign will build on a deep and broad partnership, bringing in all society to take us to the end of violence against women and girls everywhere.
To help us reach our destination, the UN calls on young people around the world -- our leaders of tomorrow.
The UN calls on the private sector around the country, whose reach is indispensable in advancing our cause.
The UN calls on women's groups around the country, whose valiance and vision have brought us to where we are today, and who will keep charting the way forward.
The UN calls on men around the country to lead by example: to make clear that violence against women is an act perpetrated by a coward, and that speaking up against it is a badge of honour.
The UN calls on leaders of the state: the responsibility, above all, lies with you.
The UN calls on all of you to pledge with us:
United We Shall Succeed.
In the photos: Mr. Neal Walker - UN Resident Coordinator in the Kyrgyz Republic (left); Ms. Kalima Aknazarova - Deputy Chairperson of the Supreme Court of the Kyrgyz Republic (right)