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Total Count of Supporters Now Close to 200,000 – Far Exceeds Challenge Grant by UN Foundation
For immediate release
Date: 6 March 2008
Nanette Braun, Communications Specialist, UNIFEM Headquarters
United Nations, New York/Beijing — More than 125,000 people in China have signed on to UNIFEM's Internet-based advocacy campaign, Say NO to Violence against Women (www.saynotoviolence.org). The signatures were collected on a separate web site created on a pro-bono basis by NetEase, one of China's leading Internet portals and content providers (http://go.lady.163.com/vow/sites). They were symbolically handed over to UNIFEM at a ceremony in Beijing today. This puts the total count of campaign supporters at close to 200,000.
"Through our daily online interactions with women, we found that many women, especially the young ones, suffer from domestic violence. We hope that through activities like this, NetEase can express its support to these women and take a stance against domestic violence," said Zhang Danping, Chief Editor of the Women's Section, where the sign-up page to the Say NO campaign is hosted.
One in three women and girls may be affected by violence. The Say NO campaign invites people to sign their names to a virtual book as an expression of public support and a call on decision-makers worldwide to make ending violence against women a top priority. The initiative will run until November 2008; it is designed to feed into and support UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's campaign on the same issue.
"The support through NetEase is a demonstration of corporate social responsibility," said Guo Ruixiang, National Coordinator of UNIFEM China. "It is an excellent example of how the private sector can contribute to pressing social issues. UNIFEM and its UN partners in China have been able to use the campaign platform provided by NetEase throughout the country to enhance awareness."
The collaboration was initially facilitated through the Anti-Domestic Violence Network of the China Law Society, a long-standing partner of UNIFEM. "We want to use the Internet to educate the general public, especially youth who are the majority of Internet users," said Chen Benjian, Director of the Anti-Domestic Violence Network about the motivation to get NetEase involved in the work on ending violence against women.
UNIFEM's Regional Programme Director for East and Southeast Asia, Jean D'Cunha, added: "Saying NO to violence against women is everybody's business. The partnership of civil society advocates, NetEase, UNIFEM and the rest of the UN family is a shining example of multi-sector collaboration to end violence against women. In the following months, it is important that NetEase's demonstration of corporate social responsibility be upscaled to end violence against women and girls and advance gender equality."With the Chinese signatures, the total number of campaign supporters exceeds by far the challenge grant by the UN Foundation of $100,000 to the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women for the first 100,000 signatures. "It is heartening that nearly 200,000 supporters have signed on to this campaign," said Timothy E. Wirth, President of the United Nations Foundation. "The UNIFEM 'Say NO' campaign provides a valuable way for individuals and the international community to go on record and stand up for a world free of violence against women. Together, we can turn the tide on violence against women around the world." The UNIFEM-managed UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women awards grants to innovative local initiatives in the developing world. The Say NO campaign encourages contributions to the Trust Fund.