Council of Europe Leader Stands Up for Gender Equality

April 2, 2015 – Strasbourg, France

Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland pledged his support for HeforShe, while calling on allies to join the fight for women’s empowerment.

Commenting, the Secretary General said:

“When you work in human rights you see that the strongest, safest and most prosperous societies are those in which women are empowered and the genders are more equal.

“I am delighted to join the ranks of men supporting HeforShe and I urge others to do the same. I also want to applaud this campaign for exposing the web of everyday power-plays which combine to exclude and suppress women.

“One of our biggest challenges is updating our laws to make sure we are clamping down on suppression and abuse wherever we find them. That's why the Council of Europe's Istanbul Convention – the most comprehensive international treaty aimed at preventing violence against women – criminalizes a range of new acts, including psychological abuse, stalking, FGM, forced marriage and other so-called ‘honour crimes’, along with domestic violence and rape. The Treaty has been a milestone but we urgently need more States to ratify. This is a priority for us and I'm pleased to join forces with HeforShe for what is an absolutely vital cause.”

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