Human Rights & Democracy

Speech by the High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini at the high-level event on the Spotlight Initiative

Brussels, 27/09/2019 - 00:16, UNIQUE ID: 190927_1
HR/VP speeches

Speech by the High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini at the high-level event on the Spotlight Initiative

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Thank you very much.

Let me thank you, Amina [Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations]. You have been here since the beginning and you have always believed in this initiative.

And also thank you, Commissioner Neven Mimica, because he has also believed from the day before we started to think this programme. I feel particularly proud of having a Commissioner that is a man spending most of his political energy and his budget on this initiative. I think we need this coalition of men and women when it comes to this issue. I am proud to see men and women equally represented today in this room.

In these two years of Spotlight, we have seen the rise of a global movement of women fighting for their rights and for their place in society. And this has happened all around the world. It has happened in Africa.

We have seen a young girl climb on the roof of a car to lead a peaceful revolution in South Sudan. We have seen the first gender-balanced government in the continent. And further away from the media spotlight, we have seen women working every single day in their communities to mend the wounds of a civil war, from the Central African Republic to Mozambique.

Yet at the same time, violence against women is also on the rise. It is a global trend, no continent is excluded. This is the starting point for Spotlight. We are all in this together. There is not a single place where our action is not needed and urgent. We can only tackle it globally and, at the same time, with specific solutions in each different context. This is why it is so important to have this broad ownership that is represented in this room.

The good news is mentalities and mind-sets can change. There is no cultural explanation, no customary law that can justify violence. At the same time, we need to go deep into our societies knowing that change is possible.

Spotlight is for all of us, women and men. For all those who want to eradicate violence against women, gender violence and make our societies everywhere better places.

It is about respect, human rights and also peace and security because a society can not be defined peaceful and secure if it is not peaceful and secure for all.

We need a broad coalition to do this. I am proud. This is one of the positive stories that we have this week. I am proud that we are here so many with men and boys on board as well. We need the schools, local institutions, private sector, business community. We need each and every citizen of our society so that change can take deep roots in every community.

Together, men and women, we can change our culture and reverse the dangerous trend of these years. Let me add, I think that political leaders have a joint responsibility on that showing correct behaviour and correct narratives, and showing respect.

Together we can make it with a collective work that we share all together. A few years from now, we can come together and celebrate a society that is free from gender violence.

Thank you.