A Joint Statement by UN agencies and International Partners on Gender Equality in Ethiopia, November 2023
Gender-based violence (GBV) is one of the most persistent and devastating human rights violations in the world today and remains largely unreported due to impunity and stigma.
As we mark the 16 Days of Activism Against GBV campaign, we note that the persistent, ongoing instability and conflict in Ethiopia exacerbate the plight of women and girls, exposing them to severe violations of their human rights. The undersigned highlight the high prevalence of GBV in Ethiopia. More than a third (34%) of ever-married women experienced physical, sexual, or emotional violence by their spouses; nearly one-quarter (23%) of women have survived physical violence at some point in their lives; and 10% have experienced sexual violence.1 We also condemn in the strongest possible terms the persistent use of gender-based violence as a tool of control in conflicts throughout the country.
We commend the Government of Ethiopia for developing the first comprehensive National GBV Prevention and Response Policy. We strongly believe this policy will serve as a milestone and help establish a normative framework, paving the way for the adoption of a stand-alone GBV law in the future.
Recognizing the need for evidence-based, comprehensive and coordinated efforts to address gender-based violence:
- We call on the Government of Ethiopia to endorse the draft National GBV Prevention and Response Policy for implementation. A stand-alone policy is critical to guide and enhance efforts to eliminate GBV in Ethiopia and to fortify the country’s commitment to respect and protect the human rights of women and girls.
- We stand ready to support the efforts of the Government to pursue accountability for human rights violations, among them GBV.
- We support women’s rights organizations, civil society organizations and other development actors’ continuous engagement and advocacy for the adoption and implementation of this policy and for comprehensive prevention and response services to survivors of violence in development and humanitarian settings.
- As partners and donors, we commit to supporting the adoption and implementation of the National GBV Prevention and Response Policy; and
- We pledge to respond to this year’s campaign theme, “Invest to prevent violence against women and girls” through long-term, sustained funding.
Together, let us work towards a future where women and girls in all their diversity are empowered and where their rights and dignity are safeguarded.
1 Figures on VAWG derived from Central Statistical Agency (CSA) [Ethiopia] and ICF (2016). Ethiopia Demographic and Health Survey (EDHS) 2016. The median age of marriage in Ethiopia is 16.5 years; 40% of women are married before they are 18, and 20% before they are 15.