Our Voice at the UN

This edition follows the activities of SI’s United Nations Representatives in Vienna.

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the UN Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ), the UN Industrial Development Office (UNIDO) and the UN Convention on Transnational Organised Crime (UNTOC) are all based in Vienna.

Here, SI UN Representatives focus on a range of issues critical to eliminating violence against women and girls, including human trafficking, aging (elder abuse), harmful traditional practices, and women in the economy.

We currently have three representatives in Vienna: Christine Peer, Martina Gredler, and Marion Prechtl. Our representatives attend major meetings such as the CCPCJ held annually in May, and are currently preparing for the Conference to the Parties to the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime (COP UNTOC ), scheduled for October 2020. The 2020 Conference will focus on the prevention of trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants.

Martina Gredler conducting a CoNGO meeting in Vienna

Our Vienna team represents Soroptimist International in leadership roles on committees, raising our profile and our voice for women and girls. Martina Gredler is the Second Vice-President of CoNGO (Conference of Non-Governmental Organisations in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations), Christine Peer is the Center Contact and Vice-Chair of NGO-CSW Committee, and Marion Prechtl is the treasurer of the Sustainable Development Committee. Our Representatives collaborate with other Civil Society Organisations to arrange side-events during major meetings, for example, arranging a side-event on the topic of Misogynistic Hate Crimes at the 28th Session of CCPCJ.

Through UNIDO, our representatives also follow issues relating to women and girls in industry, including youth and entrepreneurship schemes.

Often, critical issues are interlinked. For example, on 21 November, SI UN Representatives, Marion Prechtl, and Christine Peer, attended the first-ever Vienna Discussion Forum, which saw experts from all over the world coming together to discuss how to end violence against women through crime prevention, criminal justice responses, and women’s economic empowerment. The event was organised by the Permanent Missions of Finland, Norway, and Sweden and UNODC and UNIDO.

Image courtesy of the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC)

 

The forum emphasised that effective solutions to combat violence against women must include crime prevention and criminal justice interventions, including providing proper support to victims and understanding masculinities that underlie violence.  It was noted that we have more data, research, and recorded practical experience than ever, and improved institutional structures to gather evidence and to prosecute perpetrators more effectively. Despite this progression, violence against women continues to be the most prevalent human rights abuse globally. To strengthen efforts in eliminating gender-based violence, panellists urged Member States to ensure proper implementation of policies, share best practices, raise awareness, and provide appropriate training for public officials.

Economic empowerment was identified as a key aspect to eradicating violence against women. Panelists emphasised that Member States should support the economic empowerment of women as a strategy to end violence against women as it enables individuals to take charge of their own lives and increase their chances of escaping an abusive situation.

 “It is clear that we need to develop comprehensive approaches to address violence against women. Crime prevention and criminal justice responses and women’s economic empowerment can complement each other in this endeavour”. – opening remarks from, Director-General of UNIDO, Mr. LI Yong.

 

Gender-based violence is a serious global problem affecting millions of women and girls every day. It strips women and girls of their dignity, violates their fundamental rights, damages their health, and prevents them from achieving their full potential. The global problem of gender-based violence is a serious ongoing threat to women and girls everywhere. It is urgent that effective progress continues to be made so that women and girls may live in a world where they are no longer under threat.

Click here to view the Soroptimist International Where We Stand Statement on ‘Gender-Based Violence’.

Click here to view the Soroptimist International Where We Stand Statement on ‘Women’s Economic Empowerment’.

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