November, 25th, International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

November, 25th, will mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. The European Commission underlines its commitment to fight any form and expression of gender-based violence and to protect and reintegrate victims, in close cooperation with Member States and civil society organisations.

Women activists have commemorated November, 25th as a day against violence since 1981, marking the brutal assassination in 1960 of Patria Mercedes, Maria Argentina Minerva and Antonia María Teresa Mirabal, political activists in the Dominican Republic, on the orders of then dictator Rafael Trujillo.

Benita Ferrero-Waldner, EU Commissioner for External Relations and Neighbourhood Policy, highlighted that “today is an important moment to reiterate our opposition to all forms of gender-based violence and to underline our support for the international movement for women’s empowerment and gender equality. Repeated cases of sexual violence against women in Eastern Congo make the full implementation of UN resolution 1325 ever more important”.

This resolution addresses both the protection of women in armed conflict, and seeks to enhance their pro active role in peace building. For that reason, in September of this year Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner took the initiative to ask 40 international women leaders to join her in a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, proposing to hold a ministerial conference on the implementation of UN SC resolution 1325 in 2010, ten years after its historic adoption. “Fighting violence against women means promoting peace and human security on the international stage”, stressed Commissioner Waldner.

UN Security Council Resolution 1325 was the first resolution ever passed that specifically addresses the impact of war on women, and women's contributions to conflict resolution and sustainable peace. UN Security Council Resolution 1820, adopted in June 2008, is the first resolution to recognise sexual violence as a self-standing security issue, linked with reconciliation and durable peace. Those Resolutions are part of the overall United Nation's approach to the issue of violence against women intending to address any type of violence against women, which has been developed since the adoption, in 1993, of the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women.

For the first time a Comprehensive EU Approach is being worked out to guide the implementation of these resolutions in the EU external action. This will be major building block towards the 2010 review conference for the EU. The aim being to distil into a single operational text the existing commitments and actions in this policy field as well as to propose a set of new concrete measures to be implemented in a clear timeframe.