Statement marking International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women

Global Affairs Canada

The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada, today issued the following statement:

“Right now, women in Iran are leading a powerful and necessary call to end violence against women and girls. The killing of Mahsa Amini while in the custody of the so-called morality police has sparked a courageous, global movement to stand up for a more fair and inclusive future for women and girls in Iran.

“It’s rare that accounts of violence against women, including sexual and gender-based violence, make headlines around the world. When they do, some might lose sight of the fact that the women and girls at the heart of the story are human beings with hopes, dreams and potential. Not symbols. Not statistics.

“Mahsa Amini’s vibrant, unique life was so much more than the devastating circumstances of her killing.

“Canada will continue to stand firmly with the Iranian people and for the human right of women, girls and gender-diverse people everywhere to live in safety and with dignity and respect. As the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence begin, we are underlining and reaffirming Canada’s unwavering commitment to eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls.

“To live free from violence is a human right. While anyone can experience violence, there are increased risks for women and girls who are Indigenous, racialized, lesbian, bisexual, trans, queer or two-spirit, refugees, living with disabilities or experiencing homelessness.

“Globally, an estimated 736 million women-almost 1 in 3-have been subjected to violence. And this staggering statistic threatens to climb even higher because of the disproportionate impacts that the COVID-19 pandemic and conflicts like Putin’s unjustifiable war in Ukraine and other humanitarian emergencies have on the lives of women and girls.

“We cannot become numb to the numbers, because behind each statistic are human beings from all walks of life.

“Internationally, Canada’s feminist foreign policy and Feminist International Assistance Policy are centred on building a more gender-equal world, one that is free from violence. In the last 2 years, Canada has reached more than 34 million people through projects aimed at ending sexual and gender-based violence. And through initiatives like the Women’s Voice and Leadership Program and the Equality Fund, Canada has supported over 2,000 women’s rights organizations worldwide in promoting gender equality, end discrimination, and empower women and girls.

“We all have a role to play in ensuring that women and girls are safe at home, at work, in public spaces and online. Over the next 16 days, join us in using the hashtag #16Days and share your commitment to ending violence against women and girls.”

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