John Steiner: Muslim States Agree Violence Against Women and Girls Not Justified by Any Custom, Tradition, or Religious Consideration

Cultural Intelligence
John Steiner
John Steiner


Muslim and western nations overcame deep divisions to agree a historic United Nations declaration setting out a code of conduct for combatting violence against women.

Iran, Libya, Sudan and other Muslim nations agreed to language stating that violence against women and girls could not be justified by “any custom, tradition or religious consideration.”

Western nations, particularly from Scandinavia, toned down demands for references to gay rights and sexual health rights to secure the accord after two weeks of tense negotiations between the 193 UN member states.

Some 6,000 non-government groups were in New York for the Commission on the Status of Women meeting. Cheers and wild applause erupted when the accord
was announced in the UN headquarters late Saturday.

Michelle Bachelet, executive director of UN Women, said it had been an “historic” meeting. It was announced straight after that Bachelet would be
leaving her post. She is expected to return to politics in Chile where she has already been president.

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