Academy-Award winning actress and United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) Goodwill Ambassador Nicole Kidman and senior world body officials yesterday issued a call for greater support for an online petition aimed at eliminating violence against women.
"Every voice counts, and every amount counts," Ms. Kidman told reporters at UN Headquarters in New York, urging people to add their names to the campaign and donors to step up funding for the cause. "Let survivors of violence around the world know that they can count on us."
When asked about her motivations in taking part in the movement, the Ambassador said that as a mother of two who is seven months pregnant, she seeks to help both her own children and children around the world have a "better life."
Since its launch late last November, the "Say NO to violence against women" petition has garnered more than 200,000 supporters.
"By signing on, citizens send an unequivocal message to leaders around the world, letting their governments know that they want to see decisive action," Joanne Sandler, UNIFEM Executive Director, said at the press conference. "They want to see an end to impunity, services for survivors and - most importantly - strong investments in prevention."
In a welcome development, governments have started to sign on to the campaign, including the entire Senegalese Cabinet, led by the West African nation's President, she added.
In response to a journalist's question over whether the current number of signatures is a disappointment, Ms. Sandler said that she is thrilled at the current response, observing that "this is something that catches on over time."
Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro said that the UN system is now converging around this key topic, noting that in February, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon kicked off a multi-year global campaign bringing together the world body, governments and civil society to try to end violence against women and called it an issue that "cannot wait."
Characterizing it as the "most pervasive human rights violation," Ms. Migiro said that violence against women "transcends borders, cultures and economic differences."
Calling on the international community to cooperate in stemming the scourge, UN Foundation (UNF) President Timothy E. Wirth said that everyone can play a part.
"Taking the simple step of signing on to this campaign sends the message that enough is enough, and that the cycle of violence must stop now," he said.