Statement of the UN Resident Coordinator, Helena Fraser, at the launch of the “16 days of activism against gender-based violence” campaign

I am grateful to the UN Country Team’s gender theme group for their efforts in organizing this important event.

Excellencies, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen.

On behalf of the United Nations Country Team, I join Mme. Narbaeva in warmly welcoming you to the launch of this year’s 16-days of Activism against Gender Based Violence campaign.

Yesterday, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, marked the launch of the annual global campaign 16 Days of Activism.

And while we’re marking this moment online for the first time, I am thrilled to see so many participants, which is a demonstration of your solidarity to contribute to a world free from gender-based violence.

This pandemic of violence against women is not new.

Yet the COVID pandemic has significantly intensified the violence. Reports of all forms of violence against women and girls, particularly domestic violence, have increased.

Trapped in their homes, millions of women have been living in fear; it’s estimated that for every three months that lockdowns continue, an additional 15 million women globally will be affected by domestic violence.

In Uzbekistan, there are similar concerns.

Between February and 1 November over 8,400 protection orders were issued by the Ministry of Internal Affairs against perpetrators of violent abuse.

Between January to October over 15,000 people applied to the rehabilitation centres nationwide, including 13,500 women who suffered from physical, sexual, psychological and economic violence.

We have seen distressing reports in the media.

And we have also seen concerted action by Government, Parliament, civil society and development partners to address the legislative challenges and to ramp up response & prevention activities.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In April 2020, responding to the UN Secretary-General’s call, 146 Member States, including Uzbekistan, expressed strong commitment to making the prevention and redress of gender-based violence a key part of their national response plans to COVID-19. 

Yesterday, speaking in New York, the Secretary-General renewed that call, underscoring the importance of adequate resources and measures in place to support health and social services to care for survivors of violence.  

Mr. Guterres also underlined measures should not only focus on response, but should aim to reduce the risk of violence occurring in the first place.  This includes providing financial and material support to women and households; encouraging positive messaging around gender equality, stereotypes and norms; supporting access to mental health services; and engaging key stakeholders, including women and girls, men and boys, and faith-based leaders, and ensuring the collection of data to inform decision-making.

So that is why today, I am delighted to join hands with survivors, activists, decision-makers, parliamentarians, journalists, bloggers, diplomats, development partners, to shine a light on the need for intensified actions for funding, essential services, prevention and data that shapes better-informed responses.

The UN Country Team in Uzbekistan is proud to support the efforts and initiatives of the Government of Uzbekistan and civil society to eliminate gender-based violence, in line with the national Sustainable Development Goals. We salute the leadership of the National Gender Commission, and we also salute the dedication of civil society organizations at the front line of response, and of journalists & bloggers who shine a light on this phenomenon.  

The UN family pledges to provide our support to further improve the legislative framework, and to work to make services available for the victims of violence in line with international standards.  We will continue to recognize the power of listening to the concerns and experiences of women survivors of violence, tackling the root causes of gender inequality including persisting patriarchal attitudes and stereotypes, attaining accurate data analysis, and putting preventative measures in place. And we will continue to speak out, combating the perception that domestic violence is a shameful phenomenon that is better hidden and suppressed than recognized and redressed.

So please join us in taking a stand. Everyone has a role to play.

  • Help teach the next generation,
  • Mobilize male decision-makers,
  • Partner with men and boys,
  • Collaborate with religious leaders and the media,
  • Capacitate and fund service providers,
  • Raise awareness about women’s rights.

Dear Friends,

Together let’s continue showing our solidarity in the fight for gender equality and a world free from violence against women and girls.

Not only today, but every day, not just for 16 days, but for 365 days a year.

Katta rahmat!

Speech by
Helena Fraser
Resident Coordinator
Helena Fraser
UN entities involved in this initiative
UN Women
United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women
United Nations Population Fund
United Nations Children’s Fund