The traditional UN campaign on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women this year started amid reports that the Covid-19 pandemic has increased domestic violence across the world. As if the situation was not alarming enough before the lockdown measures: one in three women in Europe had experienced physical and/or sexual violence which went largely unreported. In a great part of the world, safety and protection measures for victims are limited. Legislation on violence against women remains insufficient.
According to UN data, 45% of surveyed women and girls in North Macedonia stated that they had experienced some form of violence.
One of the aims of the campaign is to highlight that the scale and true nature of the issue is often hidden. And to call for action since, as the EU Ambassador to North Macedonia David Geer stressed in his video message, ‘violence against women is violence against all’.
The start of this year’s campaign saw another important step on the part of the EU to tackle the issue – the launch of the new EU Gender Action Plan, an ambitious agenda for gender equality and women’s empowerment in the EU’s external action.
‘Change is possible, but it requires action, commitment and determination. The EU is committed to continue to work tirelessly with its partners to investigate and punish acts of violence, ensure support for victims, and at the same time to address the root causes and reinforce the legal framework. Through our Spotlight Initiative we are already fighting violence against women and girls, in 26 countries across the globe […] We also call on Member States to ratify the Istanbul Convention - the first legally binding instrument at the international level to combat violence against women and domestic violence. Our goal is very clear: to end all forms of violence against women and girls. We owe it to all the victims’, reads the joint statement of the European Commission and High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.