Women face violence "in four corners of the world" and the focus should be on how to stop this, secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon's spokesperson said on Friday in reply to a question about the debate in India over the issue of rape being "internationalised".
"I think it's not a matter of internationalising or not internationalising the issue," the spokesperson, Stephan Dujarric, said.
"So the debate really should be all over how do we stop violence against women?"
Dujarric was replying to a question by a Pakistani journalist, asking about Ban's stand on whether the issue of rapes should be internationalised or not.
Dujarric replied: "The issue of violence against women is a global issue, which the secretary-general has addressed everywhere he goes and will continue to speak out on... As you heard in the message, the secretary-general delivered, it is an issue that women have to face in the four corners of the world, in societies that are at war and in societies that are at peace. So the debate really should be all over how do we stop violence against women?"
He was referring to Ban's speech Friday at the general assembly's high-level debate on "Advancing Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women and Girls."
"Rape continues as a vile weapon of war and we see too many examples of violent extremists suppressing and abusing women and girls.," Ban had said.
"Early and forced marriages continue to violate the rights of girls, trapping them in ignorance and ill-health, and exposing them to violence."
Appeals to the Supreme Court by the Singh and the three others facing death penalty for raping and killing a woman is pending.