International Day of the Girl Highlights Need for Protection from Violence
International Justice Mission Urges United Nations to Respond
On October 11, the International Day of the Girl, global human rights organization International Justice Mission urges the United Nations to include in its 2015 Sustainable Development Goals justice and security measures targeting every day violence against the poor, especially violence that disproportionately affects women and girls.
In the absence of functioning public justice systems, girls around the world suffer vicious everyday violence:
School is the most common place for sexual violence for massive populations of poor girls in the developing world. It is also a reason that girls stop attending school, greatly diminishing the effectiveness of educational opportunities (World Health Organization). [WATCH VIDEO]
Globally, girls and women ages 15 to 44 are at greater risk of being killed or disabled by gender-based violence than by cancer, traffic accidents, malaria and war combined (World Bank).
Nearly 50% of human trafficking victims are children. [US Dept of State 2008]
“Violence against girls and women must concern us all,” says Ed Wilson, Executive Director of IJM Canada. “Freedom and dignity are indivisible; the capacity of the human race—and all our development efforts-- are diminished until girls and women are accorded the same respect and safety as boys and men. We have an obligation to reduce their vulnerability.”
This year’s UN theme , Empowering Adolescent Girls: Ending the Cycle of Violence, focuses on ending the cycle of violence against girls, and moving beyond awareness-raising initiatives to tangible investments.
Based on 17 years of casework, IJM has proven that investment in justice systems can make great strides in the fight against violence.
At the end of 4 years of IJM’s concentrated casework with local government partners in Metro Cebu, the Philippines, external researchers found that the number of minors available for exploitation in the commercial sex industry plummeted 79 percent from their initial study.
“IJM has helped thousands of girls escape the crushing grip of everyday violence. With support and protection, most demonstrate a remarkable ability to move past the trauma of the past and boldly face their future,” notes Mr. Wilson. “But, while we celebrate the resilience of these girls, a greater victory will be to ensure that their sisters and daughters are effectively and equitably protected by local law enforcement and public justice systems that truly work.”
Public justice systems that reliably and professionally protect the vulnerable—especially women and children—from violence and exploitation are an essential component of sustainable development.
IJM asks the United Nations to select 2015 Sustainable Development Goals that:
- Eliminate all forms of violence against children
- Ensure that justice institutions are accessible, independent, well-resourced and respect due-process rights
- Enhance the capacity, professionalism and accountability of the security forces, police and judiciary.
International Justice Mission is a global organization protecting the poor from violence throughout the developing world. IJM partners with local authorities to rescue victims of violence, bring criminals to justice, restore survivors, and strengthen justice systems.
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