International day for the elimination of violence against women

Governance and Human Rights

Communiqué issued by M. Jean-Yves Le Drian Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs (25 November 2020)

On the 21st International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, France reaffirms its commitment and determination to combat and eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls.

This year was marked by a dramatic increase in such violence, resulting in particular from the COVID-19 pandemic and periods of lockdown. In an international context also marked by a return to conservatism in terms of women’s rights, we must remain mobilized more than ever.

This is the thrust of our ambitious, resolute feminist diplomacy. We have considerably strengthened our international advocacy of women’s rights, particularly during France’s G7 presidency last year, and are promoting our priorities – particularly the fight against violence and the defence of sexual and reproductive rights and health – in every forum. We shall continue our efforts to promote the universalization of the Council of Europe’s so-called Istanbul Convention, which is the most successful international instrument in the battle against violence against women. Our Official Development Assistance dedicated to gender equality has also been steadily increasing and should reach €700 million in 2022. We have set up a Support Fund for Feminist Organizations in the Southern countries (€120 million over three years).

In 2021, France will continue its commitment to fighting all forms of sexist and sexual violence. France will host the Generation Equality Forum in Paris in June 2021. It will be the largest international meeting on women’s rights next year and establish six major Action Coalitions, one of which will focus on fighting violence. Finally, France will use its presidency of the Human Rights Council (2021-2023) to actively promote the rights of women and girls.

This feminist diplomacy is also promoted within our ministry, which must set an example. This is why, since 2018, a ministerial plan to combat sexual harassment has been in place, with the creation of a support and monitoring unit for victims of sexual violence and sexist behaviour, because there must be no impunity. On 1 December, it will be integrated into a unified reporting mechanism called Tolérance zéro [“Zero Tolerance”].

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