Kate Allen: Here and abroad, violence against women continues

From a speech by the Director of Amnesty International UK, given at the House of Commons, London
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The Independent Online

Last year, Amnesty International launched a global campaign to stop violence against women. A key aim of the campaign is to hold governments to account for failures to prevent, investigate or protect women from violence.

Last year, Amnesty International launched a global campaign to stop violence against women. A key aim of the campaign is to hold governments to account for failures to prevent, investigate or protect women from violence.

In the past year we have shed light on abuses against women, and used the international human rights framework to hold governments accountable in several countries across the world. And, for the first time, we are also working in partnership with the women's sector across the UK to hold our own government to account.

In 1995 the UK Government, as a signatory to the Beijing Platform for Action, made a commitment to ending violence against women. As we meet here, activists and government representatives from around the world are gathering in New York to review the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action, 10 years on.

One of the obligations under review is the Platform for Action requirement that states should devise and implement strategic action plans to address and end violence against women. Signatories to the Platform for Action from every continent, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Indonesia, Morocco, the Netherlands, Norway, Thailand and the USA, have gone some way to meeting this obligation by doing this already.

Whilst we welcome the advances the UK Government has made across the many forms of violence against women, we also recognise that the attitudes that tolerate or justify violence are not changing, incidence rates are not falling, conviction rates are not increasing, and women and children still fall through the gaps.

It is time for the UK Government to honour the obligations it made almost a decade ago.

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