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Statement of the OAS Secretary General on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

  November 25, 2010

The Organization of American States (OAS) and I as its Secretary General join today's commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, renewing our commitment to maintain and develop our efforts and work until we achieve the elimination of this scourge in all its forms. As such, the OAS urges its Member States, civil society participants, business leaders, academics, and societies across the hemisphere to continue supporting this fight for rights and equality between men and women.

The systematic violence of which women and girls are the objects in the countries of the Americas is a factor that threatens human rights, peace and democratic governance in the region. The rise in the deaths of women as a result of organized crime and by those in their family circles is an indicator that machismo and gender inequality place their lives at constant risk, and place obstacles to the construction of peaceful societies.

Today, on the 50th anniversary of the brutal murder of the Mirabal sisters by the Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominican Republic, the world remembers their courage in the fight for freedom, social justice and the right of women to lead lives free of violence. It was this event in particular that led the United Nations to establish November 25 the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

The OAS celebrates the Inter-American Year of Women under the banner, "Women and Power: For a World with Equality." It also commemorates 15 years since the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment, and Eradication of Violence against Women, known as the Convention of Belém do Pará, entered into force, and 15 years since the adoption of the Beijing Platform for Action, as well as 10 years since the adoption of the Inter-American Program on the Promotion of Women's Human Rights and Gender Equity and Equality. These are all instances in which we have been able to reflect on the need to end the threat of violence against women.

Since the Convention of Belém do Pará entered into force, laws and policies, as well as norms and procedures, have been enacted at the national level. Nevertheless, we still cannot say that the incidence of violence has decreased. The gap that still exists between the adoption of these laws and their rigorous implementation threatens women's security and development. Eliminating this gap is a fundamental priority of the Organization of American States and its Inter-American Commission of Women (CIM), and our efforts are directed towards that objective.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-455/10