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Spotlighting 16-Day Healing Campaign in Samoa, Deputy Secretary-General Stresses Community-Based Dialogue, Sharing Key for Ending Violence against Women, Girls

Following is the text of UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed’s video message for the 16-day Healing Campaign in Samoa under the Spotlight Initiative, today:

Talofa Lava!

Although I have yet to visit Samoa, I was fortunate to visit the beautiful Pacific region before the COVID-19 travel restrictions to commemorate International Women’s Day.  On that occasion, I met with strong, vocal women and drew attention to a difficult issue that affects us all:  violence against women and girls.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, gender-based violence has increased globally.  The Pacific — where rates of violence were already among the highest in the world — has not been spared.

Collective and comprehensive action could not be more urgent.  In 2017, the European Union and United Nations launched the Spotlight Initiative, a global partnership to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls by 2030.  In the Pacific region, including in Samoa, the Initiative focuses on domestic violence and intimate partner violence, working closely with communities — joining and complementing existing efforts led by civil society and women´s rights groups that have always been at the vanguard of change.

The 16 Days of Healing Campaign, which is conducted as part of the Spotlight Initiative this month, is a powerful demonstration of a community-driven prevention approach.  It is premised on the notions of “dialogue” and “sharing” and highlights diverse voices and experiences from survivors, advocates and influencers.  The campaign aims to spur a change in mindsets and behaviours by using traditional Samoan dance and song, which bring a sense of community, self-worth and pride in one’s culture and identity.  It is also a reminder that it is the responsibility of each of us to prevent and end this violence.

By delivering the 16 Days of Healing Campaign as One United Nations with our civil society partners in Samoa, we recognize that strong and meaningful engagement with civil society is indispensable.  The solution is with us.  It starts with us, and we are all in this together.

Soifua ma ia manuia — Farewell and best wishes.

For information media. Not an official record.