Council of Europe leaders today called on European states and citizens to continue to fight violence against women, one of the most common human rights violations, on the occasion of International Women`s Day, according to the CE Communication Unit.

Ján Kubiš, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Slovak Republic and Chairman of the Committee of Ministers, Lluís Maria de Puig, President of the Parliamentary Assembly, Terry Davis, Secretary General, and Halvdan Skard, President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, declared:

"We are determined to end the silence and indifference which keeps so many women across Europe imprisoned in the horror of daily violence, isolation and despair. Our two-year campaign is succeeding in changing some laws and regulations, but this is not enough. We need to provide practical, effective, immediate and comprehensive assistance to the victims of violence, wherever they are and whenever they need it.

"This is why we call on all Council of Europe member states and their local and regional authorities to step up implementation of the standards to fight violence against women agreed by the Council of Europe`s Committee of Ministers in November 2007 and the measures called for by the Parliamentary Assembly in its 2004 and 2007 resolutions. These steps can make a real, positive and immediate difference to the lives of victims. This is also the objective of the Council campaign `Stop Violence against Women`, which will continue until June."