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Marking the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the United Nations chief called on governments worldwide to live up to their obligations to end violence against women and girls - one of the most widespread human rights violations.

"On this International Day, I call on all governments to make good on their pledges to end all forms of violence against women and girls in all parts of the world", UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a released statement.

"I urge all people to support this important goal", he added.

His appeal comes ahead of the March 2013 session of the 45-member UN Commission on the Status of Women in New York, which will focus on preventing and eliminating violence against women and girls.

Last month Afghanistan's Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) said that it has recorded 550 cases of violence against women in the last month, showing a remarkable increase on the previous months.

Afghanistan is widely regarded as one of the most challenging countries for women to live, despite moves to criminalise child marriage, forced marriage, selling and buying women for the purpose of or under the pretext of marriage, baad (giving away a woman or girl to settle a dispute), rape, and beating.

States have concrete and clear obligations to address violence against women under international law, including the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

Activists on women's rights have observed the day against violence on the anniversary of the deaths of three women from the Dominican Republic since 1981.

On November 25, 1960, three sisters, Patria Mercedes Mirabal, Maria Argentina Minerva Mirabal and Antonia Maria Teresa Mirabal, were assassinated on the orders of the Dominican ruler Rafael Trujillo after they had fought against his dictatorship.

On December 17, 1999, the United Nations General Assembly designated 25 November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

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