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IJM urges the United Nations to add "protection from violence" as a key goal for ending poverty and ensuring human rights extend to all

International Justice Mission (IJM) hosts online forum in support of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and MDG500 on Aug. 18

This Monday, IJM will join human rights, business and political leaders around the world in raising awareness of MDG500: a day-long online event to highlight and reignite momentum around the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), eight goals established by the United Nations and governments around the world to tackle some of the world’s most significant problems like extreme poverty.

August 18, 2014, marks the 500-day milestone until the target date to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. To lend support to the global effort to achieve the MDGs - and to continue to urge the UN to include 'protection from violence' to future goals - IJM will host a Google+ hangout from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. ET on Aug. 18.

The forum will feature Holly Burkhalter, Vice President of Government Relations and Advocacy at IJM, and United Nations expert Kieran Dwyer, Chief of Communications at the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

'The original eight goals inspired enormous progress and directed great resources toward addressing issues like poverty. But one significant driver of poverty that we haven’t yet addressed is the epidemic of "everyday violence" that afflicts the poor'said Erica Boonstra, Senior Advocacy Manager at International Justice Mission (IJM). IJM is a global organization that works to protect the poor from violence in nearly 20 communities around the world. 'We need to ensure public justice systems, including police, courts, and child welfare agencies are providing protection from crimes like sexual assault and human trafficking that prevent the poor from thriving. The next phase in the fight against global poverty must include a plan to provide the poor with basic law enforcement and protection from violence.'

Boonstra adds that more obvious forms of violence - war, genocide - are easy to identify as interfering with the world's efforts to eradicate poverty. 'But victims of everyday violence are perhaps harder to spot. For millions, this violence is a present, everyday threat that keeps them from flourishing and obstructs our best efforts to eradicate extreme poverty, to provide clean water, to ensure universal primary education.' IJM details its position on ending violence in a recent book, The Locust Effect: Why the End of Poverty Requires the End of Violence by IJM founder Gary Haugen.

Erica Boonstra
'One significant driver of poverty that we haven’t yet addressed is the epidemic of ‘everyday violence’ that afflicts the poor.' - Erica Boonstra

As a U.N. commission found in 2008, a stunning 4 billion people live outside the protection of law. World Bank data suggest that, globally, women and girls ages 15 to 44 are at greater risk of being killed or disabled by gender-based violence than by cancer, traffic accidents, malaria and war combined - with poor women and girls absorbing the vast majority of the abuse. For many girls in the developing world, school is the most common place where sexual violence occurs.

As the United Nations sets the global development agenda for 2015 and onward, it is critical that protection from violence is incorporated into the conversation. In particular, IJM believes the post-2015 goals set by the UN should include targets that, for example, focus on the professionalization of police and judiciary systems and the eradication of all forms of violence against children.

When the United Nations selects its 2015 Millennium Development Goals, IJM urges the UN to include new goals that: 1) Eliminate all forms of violence against children; 2) Ensure that justice institutions are accessible, independent, well-resourced and respect due-process rights; and 3) Enhance the capacity, professionalism and accountability of the security forces, police and judiciary.

To advance these ideas, IJM started an online petition addressed to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, which the public can use to have a voice in the development of future Millennium Development Goals:

'Everyday violence against the poor undermines global efforts to improve health, education, and economic development. Public justice systems that reliably and professionally protect the vulnerable—especially women and children—from violence and exploitation are an essential component in ensuring that the opportunity to flourish is not out of reach for anyone,' said Boonstra.

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