FIMITIC celebrates International Women´ s Day 8 March 2007

During more than 50 years of its existence FIMITIC affirming the basic human and equal rights has always attached great importance to the issues of women with disabilities.

Women with disabilities often discover that the social stigma of disability and inadequate care are greater barriers to health than the disabilities themselves. Lack of adequate regulations on the specific issues concerning women with disabilities is known. Creating equity of women with disabilities needs development of a better understanding of their special situation. To this end the role of disability movement is very important.

It is FIMITIC´ s special message connected to the International Women´ s Day 2007 devoted to ending impunity for violence against women and girls.

It is FIMITIC´ s task to reveal the necessity of establishing legal instruments concerning women with disabilities, other than on women without disabilities and on men with disabilities.

Messages on International Women´ s Day 2007 by

- the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon
- the President of the United Nations General Assembly, H.E. Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa
- the Director General, Dr. Margaret Chan, World Health Organization


8 March 2007

I am happy and honoured to send you my warmest wishes on International Women’s Day – my first one as Secretary-General of the United Nations. I hope you will all come to know me as your representative and ally in the years ahead.

This day is an opportunity for all of us -- women and men -- to unite in a cause that embraces all humankind. Empowering women is not only a goal in itself. It is a condition for building better lives for everyone on the planet.

No one can dispute the evidence that this is so. And no one can gainsay the outcome of the 2005 World Summit, when leaders reaffirmed that gender equality and human rights for all are essential to advancing development, peace and security.

Yet we are still so very far from turning this understanding into universal practice. In almost all countries, women continue to be under-represented in decision-making positions. Women’s work continues to be undervalued, underpaid, or not paid at all. Out of more than 100 million children who are not in school, the majority are girls. Out of more than 800 million adults who cannot read, the majority are women.

Worst of all, violence against women and girls continues unabated in every continent, country and culture. It takes a devastating toll on women's lives, on their families, and on society as a whole. Most societies prohibit such violence -- yet the reality is that too often, it is covered up or tacitly condoned.

That is why International Women’s Day is so important. It spells out our responsibility to work for enduring change in values and attitudes. It calls on us to work in partnership -- Governments, international organizations, civil society and the private sector. It urges us to work for a transformation in relations between women and men, at all levels of society. It compels us to strengthen every means of empowering women and girls -- from education to microcredit.

The United Nations must be at the forefront of those endeavours. I pledge to do all I can to ensure that it is -- not only on International Women’s Day, but every day. I look forward to working with you in our collective mission.


International Women’s Day

8 March 2007

Violence against women and girls is widespread in all societies. The United Nations Charter affirms faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women. The right to live without fear of violence is a basic human right for all people, including women and girls. The right to seek equal justice, without discrimination, is a basic human right. We have a moral and political duty to uphold these rights.

The comprehensive study on violence against women issued during the 61st Session of the General Assembly includes strong recommendations that can end the impunity of violence committed against women. We have made huge advances in setting global standards to prevent, punish and eradicate these heinous crimes. Our efforts have gone far to reverse what used to be the traditional lack of response. But progress in ending violence and impunity remains insufficient and inconsistent in all parts of the world. States have binding obligations and can be held accountable. The failure to comply with international standards or to exercise due diligence is a violation of the human rights of women.

Sates cannot abdicate their international obligations to punish perpetrators and prevent violence against, and the exploitation of, women and girls. Neither can they hide behind cultural and religious reservations to international treaties condemning this violence. We must demonstrate by our actions that we intend to keep our promises.

We also need to recognize that ending violence against women and girls is not only the responsibility of the State. It also requires a change of mindset. It requires us to demonstrate, once and for all, that there are no grounds for tolerance and no tolerable excuses. If we are going to stop violence against women and girls – we must begin by speaking out. We must ensure that women and girls enjoy their basic human rights without discrimination. Criminal impunity must end. Every crime must be prosecuted.

When the Charter was being signed, Eleanor Roosevelt said that universal human rights begin in small places, close to home. Most violence against women and girls happens at home - not only physical, but sexual and psychological violence too. To change attitudes, to prevent and prosecute violence against women and girls we need to begin in the home.


On International Women's Day, I invite you to join me in celebrating women worldwide. Women are the backbone of all our societies - as leaders, as caregivers, and as mothers. Yet on this day and every day, we remember that too many women in the world lack access to the most basic health care.

Women have particular needs and face specific health issues. However, the health needs of women are given neither the attention nor the prominence they deserve. Each year, for example, more than half a million women die from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth alone - a number that has hardly changed in 20 years. In 2006, 74% of people living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa were young women.

This year's International Women's Day is devoted to ending impunity for violence against women and girls. We know that intimate partner violence is the most common form of violence in women’s lives - much more so than assault or rape by strangers or acquaintances. The high level of physical and sexual violence committed by an intimate male partner has shocking consequences for women's health. Furthermore, one in five women reports being sexually abused before the age of 15, which is associated with ill health for years to come.

The health of women is given far too little space in plans for development and too little attention in many health agendas.

Women's health is threatened because of the poor conditions in which many women work, the risks we encounter in our reproductive roles, and the discrimination and poverty that women face. I would like to use this opportunity to underline my commitment to making sure that the work of the World Health Organization will have a positive and lasting impact on the health of women.

We know that poverty is the single greatest impediment to development and change. Poverty is responsible for the majority of deaths from preventable causes. In every country, poverty appears as high rates of maternal and childhood mortality and high rates of death and illness from infectious diseases. The health of women is clearly at risk when they have little money, no medicines and no access to prevention or treatment services. This is often compounded by social norms that do not give women voice or equal opportunities.

WHO is working to address the specific vulnerabilities and health needs of women. We are working to meet women's sexual and reproductive health needs. We are working to prevent violence against women and to reduce the burden of infections, injuries, chronic diseases, mental health problems and other chronic conditions that affect women.

Women make up a large proportion of the health workforce. We work as doctors, nurses, midwives and community health workers. Women also provide the bulk of care for their families. This is particularly striking in sub-Saharan Africa where the burden of care for people living with AIDS and affected children is provided in the home. WHO is investing in strengthening the health workforce.

I strongly believe that women hold the key to improving health, as agents of change in the family and in the community, and as leaders in all areas. Given the right support, women can be a positive force in ways that can lift households and entire communities out of poverty.

In my personal role as a health leader, I am committed to improving the health of women everywhere, so that all people can attain the health and development goals that we have set ourselves. Investing in women and women's health means investing in human progress.