The voices of influential male public figures are essential in the fight to end gender-based violence. Here, the Elders add their voice to this crucial issue.
"The coronavirus outbreak has exacerbated existing inequalities for women and girls in many ways – from health and the economy, to security and social protection. Yet, the pandemic also provides an opportunity for radical, positive action to redress long-standing inequalities in multiple areas of women’s lives.
As part of this redress, it is vital we prioritise the prevention of violence against women in the COVID-19 response and recovery."
Ban Ki-moon - Elder
"Securing justice and freedom for women must be a collective and urgent endeavour for governments around the world. It is an issue that must be championed by male leaders.
The idea that advancing and protecting gender equality is only the concern of women will never secure justice: sustainable and long-lasting freedom from gender-based violence requires the commitment and the unwavering support of men."
Ernesto Zedillo - Elder
"Far too much violence against women and girls continues across the world, particularly the Global South. NGOs and activists must redouble their efforts for action from governments, parliaments, religious leaders and other influential individuals and groups.
Gender-based violence is a shameful stain across humanity. The COVID-19 expected recovery provides an opportunity to stand with those fighting for gender equality and give them the support they need to do so."
Lakhdar Brahimi - Elder
"Violence against women is a pervasive global injustice that has only increased with the impact of COVID-19. It is now crucial for leaders to support an increase in funding for access to justice for survivors of gender-based violence and an increase in services for women at risk.
COVID-19 has shown us the immense human capability for change. We must now translate this into urgent action to end gender inequality."
Juan Manuel Santos - Elder
"In Latin America, we have a culture of high tolerance towards violence against women and girls. Violence has become normalised.
It is seen as a part of life for women, especially for those in socially and economically disadvantaged communities where levels of education and development are low. It is a major obstacle to the fulfilment of women’s and girls’ human rights and to the achievement of the SDGs."
Ricardo Lagos - Elder
Juan Manuel Santos
Former President of Colombia; a Nobel Peace Laureate who led complex peace negotiations, ending over 50 years of intractable civil war.
Former President of Mexico who led profound democratic and social reforms; a renowned economist; and an advocate of multilateralism, inclusive globalisation, nuclear nonproliferation, drug policy reform and universal healthcare.
Former UN Secretary-General and former South Korean Foreign Minister; championed the world’s vulnerable by putting Sustainable Development, climate change, and gender equality at the top of the UN agenda.
Former Algerian freedom fighter, Foreign Minister, conflict mediator and UN diplomat; an expert in peacekeeping and post-conflict reconstruction.
Former President of Chile; tenacious fighter for democracy and human rights; implemented health reform; and reduced economic inequality while diversifying Chile’s external trade in the era of globalisation.