United Nations: The UN Secretary-General has appealed for a massive increase in funds for programs to stop the global pandemic of violence against women, saying the UN received more 2,500 applications this year requesting nearly USD 1.2 billion.

Ban Ki-moon said on Wednesday that over 15 years, the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women has delivered grants worth USD 77 million to 339 initiatives in 126 countries, "but demand continues to outstrip resources."
 At the UN commemoration of The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the secretary-general appealed to governments and other donors to help the UN meet "this vast unmet need."
    
 UN Women, the new UN agency promoting gender equality, said the Trust Fund received USD 22.7 million in 2009 but just USD 13.5 million in 2010.
 
Michelle Bachelet, the former Chilean president who heads UN Women, called violence against women "probably the most pervasive human rights violation in the world."
 
Up to six in 10 women worldwide will suffer physical or sexual violence in their lifetime, she said, and up to 50 percent of sexual assaults are committed against girls under the age of 16.

 While 125 countries have laws that penalise sexual violence, "a remarkable gain from a decade ago", more than 600 million women live in countries where domestic violence is not yet considered a crime, Bachelet said.
     
Bachelet stressed that violence against women and girls takes many forms from rape and harassment at work to sexual violence in armed conflict, and it occurs in all countries, rich and poor.
     
"We have the power to change this global pandemic," Bachelet said. "We know what works and we need to take action now."
     
She urged all countries to support the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence Campaign which starts November 25, the actual International Day, and ends on December 10, International Human Rights Day, noting that hundreds of events are already planned by organizations around the world.

(Agencies)