Women’s rights activists from 128 nations are launching a public campaign Tuesday for an international treaty to end violence against women and girls, a global scourge estimated by the United Nations to affect 35 percent of females worldwide, the Associated Press (AP) reported.
The campaign was led by the Seattle-based nonprofit organization Every Woman Treaty. It seeks to have the UN World Health Organization adopt the treaty with the goal of getting all 193 UN member states to ratify it.
“Violence against women and girls is the most widespread human rights violation on Earth,” the organization’s co-founder and chief executive, Lisa Shannon, told The Associated Press in an interview Monday ahead of the official launch.
“All the efforts that people put into development, education, women’s empowerment, economic opportunity are being squashed when women are not physically safe,” she said.
“It’s a global pandemic. … We cannot make progress as a species without addressing violence against women and girls.”
According to AP, the activists want the treaty to require countries to take four actions that have proven to lower rates of violence against women:
—Adopt laws punishing domestic violence, which lower mortality rates for women.
—Train police, judges, nurses, doctors and other professionals about such violence, which leads to increased prosecution of perpetrators and better treatment for survivors.
—Provide education on preventing violence against women and girls, which research shows has an influence on boys’ and men’s attitudes and actions, and encourages women and girls to demand their rights.
—Provide hotlines, shelters, legal advice, treatment and other services for survivors.