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Ending global poverty begins with women’s rights

Statement on International Human Rights Day

by Oxfam | December 10, 2013

Statement by Robert Fox, Oxfam Canada Executive Director

In South Africa, every six hours a woman is killed by her partner. In Guatemala, two women are murdered on average daily. In Pakistan, a courageous 15-year-old Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head and seriously wounded by a Taliban gunman because she continued to promote education for girls.

Every day, women and girls and men and boys across the world take great risks to fight violence and to ensure that all humans can enjoy their basic human rights.

On March 8th of this year, I joined my voice to that of Michèle Taïna Audette, President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada to highlight International Women’s Day and call for a national action plan to end violence against women – including a national public inquiry into the deaths and disappearance of First Nations, Métis and Inuit women and girls.

Yesterday in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the Honourable Dr. Kellie Leitch, Minister of Labour and Status of Women Canada, pledged that the Government of Canada “is committed to protecting women and girls from violence”.

Oxfam welcomes this commitment, and those of other governments around the world. However, violence and the threat of violence remain the daily reality for far too many women. More must be done in dialogue and collaboration with those who want change.

With the passing of the great Nelson Mandela on December 6th, we all should be reminded that individually and collectively we can and should be agents of change in the fight for the right of all peoples to enjoy their basic human rights, including the right of women and girls to live free from violence.

To mark International Human Rights Day and the culmination of the 16 Days of Activism Against Violence Against Women, Oxfam Canada is hosting an online panel on violence against women and girls to discuss amazing stories we have profiled during the campaign.

I encourage all of you to participate in this important discussion.

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