Linhart: “Zero tolerance for violence against women and girls”

Vienna, 25 November 2015 - “Physical, sexual and psychological violence against women has dramatic consequences for the health of women and girls as well as on their economic situation. It endangers our efforts in the global fight against poverty, by impeding the immense potential of women and girls for development”, said the Foreign Ministry’s Secretary General, Michael Linhart on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. “We must further increase our efforts in strengthening the role of women and thereby act against discrimination and role models, which are the root of such abuse. We must not tolerate violence against women.”

“I am shocked by the proportions of brutal and systematic violence against women and girls in the armed conflicts in the Middle East, which are among the triggers for one of the greatest waves of flight and displacement in recent history. These crimes’ perpetrators must be prosecuted”, Linhart continued. The protection of women during armed conflicts in the framework of Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security is an Austrian foreign policy priority.

In the framework of the Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC), projects towards prevention of violence in Central America and for the strengthening of women’s rights in Egypt, Nigeria and in Southern Sudan are currently being supported. These programmes aim at better informing women about their rights, providing legal support for the victims of violence and to improve national legislation concerning women’s rights. Moreover Austria supports a project in South-Eastern Europe, which aims at supporting the role of men and boys as important partners in the fight against violence against women.

“I am glad that we were able to achieve the new Sustainable Development Goals, which were adopted by the United Nations in September, including a specific gender equality development goal for the first time, which addresses women as both agents of change and a target group. The fight of all forms of violence against women and girls thereby takes a major role”, Linhart further outlined. In this connection Linhart strongly welcomed the most recent ban on female genital mutilation in Nigeria and Gambia, who thus have joined 18 other African states.