International Women's Day is a day to celebrate the towering achievements and immense strengths of women and girls everywhere. But it is also a day to reflect on continuing challenges and to agree on joint action to further advance gender equality and the empowerment of women.
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Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Montserrat and Saint Kitts and Nevis were today certified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as having eliminated mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis.
Women and girls across the world continue to confront ferocious violence, discrimination, harassment and even murder. For these victims, living in every country and drawn from every section of society, life is often filled with despair and misery. The scars of violence are not always visible.
International Women's Day is a day to reflect on the need for every woman and girl to lead lives of dignity, equality and respect. The theme of this year's day is: "Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030".
Children make up almost a third of all human trafficking victims worldwide, according to a report released today by UNODC. Additionally, the report states that women and girls comprise 71 per cent of human trafficking victims, and highlights the recruitment or abduction of children by armed groups for forced marriages, sexual slavery or as combatants.
In 2012, 43,600 women globally were murdered at the hands of their intimate partner or another family member. That's 119 women, on average, killed every single day or one woman murdered every 12 minutes. These figures are harrowing and sobering in equal measure.
Human trafficking is a parasitic crime that feeds on vulnerability, thrives in times of uncertainty and profits from inaction. While the international community struggles with what UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called the biggest refugee and migration crisis since World War Two, human traffickers and migrant smugglers are taking advantage of misery to turn a profit.
Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) calls for human traffickers and migrant smugglers to be stopped as part of overall response to refugee crisis.
Concerted global efforts have led to a 60% drop in new infections among children, which has averted 1.2 million new HIV infections among children in 21 priority countries since 2009.
In every field of human endeavour - science, law, politics, and many others - women have made incredible contributions. Across the globe, however, the daily story of millions of women and young girls is too often not one of success, attainment and accomplishments; instead, it is a frightening story of alarming discrimination, economic disparity and appalling violence, including sexual violence.