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"Wounded to Death"

26 March 2014
"Wounded to Death"

Opening remarks by Mr. Michael Møller
United Nations Under-Secretary-General
Acting Director-General, United Nations Office at Geneva
“Wounded to Death”

Palais des Nations, Assembly Hall
Wednesday, 26 March 2014 at 7 p.m.

Ambassador Serra
Ambassador Fasel
Ladies and gentlemen:

I would like to warmly welcome you to the performance of “Ferite a morte” - “Wounded to Death”. My appreciation goes to the Permanent Missions of Italy and Switzerland, who have made this exceptional event possible in partnership with the United Nations Women’s Guild and with the support of the Italian Institute of Culture in Zurich and Cultura Italia – sans frontières in Geneva.

This performance, with such distinguished international personalities, powerfully and personally addresses one of the most pervasive human rights violations in the world – violence against women.

For this reason, it is very appropriate that we are highlighting this issue during the 25th session of the Human Rights Council and that High Commissioner Ms. Pillay will be among the number of notable women reading monologues this evening.

The personal stories that we will be hearing tonight show us that violence against women is found everywhere. In war and peace, in poverty and prosperity, inside and outside their homes, schools and places of work. They also show us that far too often, intimidation and physical and sexual abuse comes from the hands of those close to the victims – husbands, partners, family members.

There is no country immune to this scourge. According to a recent survey by the European Union’s Agency for Fundamental Rights, about one third of all women in the EU have experienced either physical or sexual violence since the age of 15. This corresponds to 62 million European women.

Because this is a global problem, it is clear that it will take all of us – women and men, girls and boys, networks and organizations from every part of society working together to tackle it.
We must change the attitudes and behaviour rooted in discrimination, impunity and complacency. And we must make sure that laws are up to international standards and are enforced.

No problem can ever be solved by hiding and minimizing it.

I am proud that the Palais des Nations, home of the United Nations in Geneva, can serve as the theatre tonight for a performance that brings to light these issues in such a powerful way. It is through awareness-raising and efforts such as these, that we stand up against gender-based violence and push for action.

Thank you and I hope you enjoy the performance.