The UN chief made the statement at the official commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, which fell on Nov. 25, at the UN Headquarters in New York.
"Violence against women is one of the world`s most pervasive human rights violations" and "is rooted in discrimination, impunity and complacency," Ban said.
Violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread violations of human rights. In some countries, up to 7 in 10 women will be beaten, raped, abused or mutilated in their lifetimes.
The UN General Assembly designated Nov. 25 as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women in a 1999 resolution inviting governments, international organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to "organize activities designed to raise public awareness of the problem on that day."
The day harks to the Nov. 25, 1960 assassination of the three Mirabal sisters, who were political activists in the Dominican Republic, on orders of Dominican ruler Rafael Trujillo. This year` s theme, "A promise is A Promise" is a call from the UN to governments and leaders to translate international promises into concrete national action.
"Violence stems from social attitudes that belittle women and girls. It is tolerated through indifference, ignorance and fear of speaking out. And it thrives where families and communities pressure women to suffer in silence," Ban said, calling on countries to address structural patterns of discrimination and redouble their efforts to empower women.
"Each and every organization, community and individual has a responsibility to speak out against customs or beliefs that accept or condone acts of violence against women," he said.
Also at the ceremony which included a panel discussion, Michelle Bachelet, the former Chilean President and current executive director of UN Women, echoed the sentiments and said, " there is nothing excusable about violence against women and girls anywhere, at any time. Nothing."
For his part, Marjon V. Kamara, the Liberian permanent representative to the UN and the chair of the Commission on the Statues of women, emphasized that faster progress needs to be done, because "these women are our mothers, sisters and daughters" and there is "no justification for rape and gender based violence." (*)