Morocco is a stakeholder in international efforts to combat violence against women and girls, said, in New York, Permanent Representative of the Kingdom to the UN, ambassador Omar Hilale.

The ambassador was speaking at a high-level meeting marking the first anniversary of the creation of the Group of Friends for the elimination of violence against Women of which Morocco is a founding member.

In April 2020, Morocco “did not hesitate to join the efforts of the European Union, Argentina, Mongolia, New Zealand, Namibia, and Turkey to adopt a Joint Declaration in support of the UN Secretary-General’s call for peace at home, and in homes, around the world,” Hilale said at the high-level meeting, which was held under the theme “Women’s economic empowerment and the shadow pandemic”.

Recalling this call launched in response to the “alarming” upsurge of all forms of violence against women and girls during the lockdows decided in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the ambassador said that the Joint Declaration has been signed by more than 146 UN member states and observers.

He explained that the international support and commitment that accompanied the Declaration, in addition to the momentum created by all the calls of the UN SG and the global solidarity related to the “16 days of activism against gender-based violence”, constituted the “driving force” to launch the “Group of Friends for the elimination of violence against women and girls”.

Hilale noted that this “noble” alliance has initiated, throughout its first year of existence, multiple activities with the objective of forging, with serenity and persistence, a “way forward” that is protective and safe for women and girls in times of challenge, while reiterating the commitment of the members of the Group to this common goal.

The Group will spare no effort to prioritize the prevention of and response to gender-based violence “as essential elements in our respective national and global responses to current and future health crises,” he noted, adding that members of this alliance demonstrate an “enduring” commitment to zero tolerance for violence against all women and girls.