25 November 2014

Michel Sidibé

Executive Director of UNAIDS

Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations

As we unite against gender-based violence, I dedicate this message to every woman and every child who has experienced violence.

One in three women experience some form of gender-based violence in their lives—and around 120 million girls are sexually assaulted or raped before they reach the age of 20.

Violence often exists in near total impunity hidden behind a notion of cultural values.

The link between violence and HIV is irrefutable.

For women living with HIV, violence in the form of forced sterilization is a fundamental human rights violation.

I commend the decision of the Namibian Supreme Court, which upheld the earlier verdict that the rights of three women living with HIV had been violated when they were forcibly sterilized.

We can never be silent. We can never be neutral. We can never tolerate violence against women and girls.

To end the AIDS epidemic by 2030 we must eliminate all forms of violence against women.