PRESS BRIEFING

UNIQUE NEW WORLD REPORT ON VIOLENCE AND HEALTH IS PRESENTED IN CAUCASUS

A unique new report from the World Health Organization (WHO), based in Geneva, is being presented in the Caucasus region to an audience of representatives from government, international and non-governmental organisations and the press and media:

  • 7 December - Baku, Azerbaijan;

  • 14 December - Yerevan, Armenia;

  • 18 December 2002 - Tbilisi, Georgia

The aim of the report, and a related Global Campaign on Violence Prevention, is to raise awareness about violence as a major public health problem. There is now recognition that violence in all forms makes a considerable impact on public health and public health professionals can take a leading role in developing strategies to prevent violence.

This important, comprehensive new report by WHO discusses various forms of violence, their causes, and recommends possible solutions and courses of action to the international community.  The types of violence discussed within the report range from war and conflict to youth violence, child abuse, elderly abuse, sexual violence, and suicide: topics that are often overlooked and underreported.  One key benefit of the WHO report is it sheds light on those types of violence that occur out of the public eye such as domestic violence. These types of violence constitute the majority of violent acts yet are the least reported.

"The report challenges us in many respects. It forces us to reach beyond our notions of what is acceptable and comfortable—to challenge notions that acts of violence are simply matters of family privacy, individual choice, or inevitable facets of life," said Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland, Director-General of WHO on releasing the report. "Violence is a complex problem related to patterns of thought and behaviour that are shaped by a multitude of forces within our families and communities, forces that can also transcend national borders," she added.

In addition to being the first global report on violence, the WHO report is also the first report of its kind to provide substantial data and statistics on various types of violence. The report continually stresses how much violence affects not only the victim but entire communities and nations, socially and economically.  For example, the report asserts that in some countries, health care expenditures due to violence account for up to 5% of GDP. 

In terms of the impact of violence on population, the report has such startling statistics as:

  • Violence kills more than 1.6 million people every year.

  • Violence is among the leading causes of death for people aged 15-44 years of age, accounting for 14% of deaths among males and 7% of deaths among females.

  • On an average day, 1424 people are killed in acts of homicide—almost one person every  minute.

  • Roughly one person commits suicide every 40 seconds.

  • About 35 people are killed every hour as a direct result of armed conflict.

  • In the 20th century, an estimated 191 million people lost their lives directly or indirectly as a result of conflict, and well over half of them were civilians.

While violence in its many forms affects all nations and all peoples, women and children are the victims of violence more often than any other group.  Gender based violence is one of the most pressing international issues. 

In a foreword to the report Nelson Mandela says:

“The 20th Century will be remembered as a century marked by violence.” “Less visible, but even more widespread, is the legacy of day-to-day, individual suffering. It is the pain of children who are abused by people who should protect them, women injured or humiliated by violent partners, elderly persons maltreated by their caregivers.  No country, no city, no community is immune. But neither are we powerless against it.  Violence can be prevented. Violent cultures can be turned around. In order to ensure this, we must be tireless in our efforts not only to attain peace, justice and prosperity for country, but for communities and members of the same family. We must address the roots of violence. Only then will we transform the past century’s legacy from a crushing burden into a cautionary lesson.”

According to Kofi Annan, UN Secretary General,  Violence against women is a universal problem…. and it is growing.”    The World Report on Violence and Health certainly underlines that view. The report states: Women often face the greatest risk at home and in familiar settings.  Almost half the women who die due to homicide are killed by their current or former husbands or boyfriends, while in some countries it can be as high as 70%. Most victims of physical aggression are subjected to multiple acts of violence over extended periods of time. A third to over half of these cases are accompanied by sexual violence.  In some countries, up to one-third of adolescent girls report forced sexual initiation.

COUNTRY PRESENTATIONS:  Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.

WomenAid International, through its CAUCASUS 16 DAYS programme, and in collaboration with the World Health Organisation, is organising country presentations of this important report in Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan.  The first country presentation took place in Baku on 7th December and followed by presentations in Yerevan on 16th December and in Tbilisi on 18th December.

[END]

For further information please contact the CAUCASUS 16 DAYS PRESS CENTRE at

Caucasus Region: Tel: (995 32) 37-92-70     waigeo@access.sanet.ge

UK: Tel: +44 (0)20 7839 1790 or 7976 1032     C16Dpress@womenaid.org   

Official Caucasus 16 Days website: www.womenaid.org/16days

Further details of the WHO report can be found on the official WHO website: http://www5.who.int/violence_injury_prevention

Regional and Georgian Focal Point:

WomenAid International-Caucasus:

17 Khvichia St. Tbilisi 380060

Georgia

Tel/Fax: (995 32) 37 92 70

Email: waigeo@access.sanet.ge
Web: www.womenaid.org/caucasus

Headquarters:
WomenAid International
3 Whitehall Court Whitehall

London SW1A 2EL
Tel: 44 (0) 20 7839 1790
Fax: 44 (0) 20 7839 2929

Email: womenaid@womenaid.org
Visit: www.womenaid.org

CIS 16 Days ~ CaucasusNOW

© Copyright WomenAid International 2001

WOMENAID  INTERNATIONAL
3 WHITEHALL COURT  LONDON SW1A 2EL
TEL:  +44 (0) 20 7839 1790    FAX: +44 (0) 20 7839 2929
E-MAIL: womenaid@womenaid.org  Reg. Charity No. 299224