8 March 2009: International Women's Day

On 8 March 2009 the world celebrates International Women’s Day. The theme of International Women’s Day 2009 is Women and men: united to end violence against women and girls. For UN information about this day, see www.un.org/events/women/iwd. To find out what events commemorating this important day will take place in your country, please go to www.internationalwomensday.com, click on “more countries” on the right-bottom corner, then “select your country.”

There are several UN initiatives that address violence against women:

a)    http://endviolence.un.org -- campaign of the United Nations Secretary General to end violence against women called UNiTE to End Violence against Women. This campaign aims to raise awareness and increase resources and political will to prevent and respond to all violence against women wherever it occurs in the world.

b)    http://www.saynotoviolence.org – website of the global internet-based advocacy effort organized by UNIFEM called Say NO to Violence against Women. You can still add your name in support of the campaign. By scrolling down towards the bottom and clicking “International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women – Statement by the Executive Director”, more information can be found in both English and Spanish.

c)    http://www.stoprapenow.org – web site of UN Action against Sexual Violence in Conflictcalled Stop Rape Now, in which various UN entities partner together. The action’s objectives include improving coordination and accountability, advocacy, and support of national efforts to prevent sexual violence.

Trafficking constitutes an especially heinous form of violence against women. The UN Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking (UN.GIFT) was launched by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and several UN partners in 2007 to bring governments, the private sector, academia, civil society and the media together ”to combat a practice that is viewed as modern-day slavery.” For more information about UN.GIFT, seewww.ungift.org from where you can also access the newly released Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, published on 12 February 2009 (available in multiple languages).

In addition, UNANIMA International, an NGO at the UN, has launched a campaign against trafficking in human persons called Stop the Demand. For more information about this campaign, please go to www.unanima-international.org .

Cecile Meijer rscj, NGO Office
Carolina Cordon-Bouzan, intern