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Secretary General Insulza Highlights that Violence against Women is one of the Great Challenges Facing the Hemisphere

  November 18, 2013

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, today inaugurated the Fifth Conference of States Parties to the of Belem do Para Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women, an event during which he highlighted that the monitoring mechanism of the Convention (MESECVI) has become a "vital tool of cooperation for states and between states that allows for progress in policies related to the defense, promotion and protection of women's human rights."

The leader of the hemispheric Organization said "we all know that the biggest challenge facing women in our Hemisphere is violence perpetrated against them in all areas, in public and in private, in the streets, school and work places and often also at home." Added to this, he continued, is the problem of quantifying the cost of violence against women, which hinders recognition of the need for broader and more efficient public policies designed to eliminate this scourge.

In his address, Secretary General Insulza expressed his hope that the Conference of States Parties would represent a good opportunity to lay the foundations for a discussion on the progress and challenges to be addressed to ensure the objectives of the Convention, mainly to protect women's human rights and eliminate the violence that affects them.

The Secretary General added that "eliminating violence against women is not a quick or easy task and also requires changing traditions, stereotypes and roles, it requires modernizing our school systems, our media, our laws, our law enforcement and also changing the way our societies behave," and in that sense he analyzed the need for the Mechanism to adjust to the times and the challenges facing women today.

For her part, the Executive Secretary of the Presidential Secretariat for Women (SEPREM) of Guatemala, Elizabeth Quiróa Cuellar, representing the Presidency of the Conference of States Parties, referred to her country's commitment to the MESECVI. "From the beginning we have been committed to its principles, objectives and work and we believe that we must all together make additional efforts to achieve them before the twentieth anniversary of the Convention and the tenth anniversary of the Mechanism," she said.

Finally, she stressed that the objective of the meeting is to share lessons learned and predicted that “it could be an important starting point for our work." "We must learn from our setbacks, correct our paths and move forward convinced that everything we do will help to build a dam against violence against women," she concluded.

A gallery of photos of the event is available here.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-442/13