The International Labour Organization (ILO) has begun an historic standard-setting process on “Violence and harassment against women and men in the world of work”, the first discussion of which will take place at its International Labour Conference in June 2018. This discussion of a possible new Convention and Recommendation on violence and harassment takes place at a time when a range of researchers, decision makers and activists are increasingly understanding the importance of the world of work as a context to develop and implement strategies to prevent and to respond to violence and harassment against women, regardless of whether this occurs at work or elsewhere.
On 25 February 2008, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, launched his campaign UNiTE to End Violence against Women, covering the period 2008 – 2015, with the overall objective to raise public awareness and increase political will and resources for preventing and responding to all forms of violence against women and girls in all parts of the world. The Secretary- General called on governments, civil society, women’s organizations, young people, the private sector, artists, the media, the entire United Nations system, and individual women and men, to join forces in addressing the global pandemic of violence against women and girls.
The Campaign provides a collective platform in an unprecedented level of global mobilization to link a wide range of stakeholders’ initiatives to the Secretary-General’s efforts.
Indigenous women's participation at the 57th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women, 4 to 15 March 2013
A major success at the 57th CSW was the adoption of agreed conclusions on the elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls on 15 March 2013. The result is due not only to the marvellous work of States but also to the persistence and advice of the more than 600 NGOs gathered at the United Nations, including Indigenous women from around the world. In this regard, “27. The Commission reaffirms that indigenous women often suffer multiple forms of discrimination and poverty which increase their vulnerability to all forms of violence; and stresses the need to seriously address violence against indigenous women and girls.”
The Declaration contains a set of practical and political commitments to end the use of rape and sexual violence as a weapon of war, which terrorises and destroys communities during conflict. The Declaration sends an important message to the victims of these crimes that the international community has not forgotten them, and to the perpetrators of rape that they will be held to account.
The Declaration was launched in New York on 24 September 2013 during the United Nations General Assembly, by Foreign Secretary William Hague and UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict Zainab Bangura.
This document presents key data and figures can be found on the situation of women in Colombia as well as specific legislation and mechanisms protecting them. Recommendations are made to the international community. In Colombia, as in other countries, women suffer violence and discrimination in all aspects of their lives. In 2011, 70,134 cases of domestic violence against women were reported, as well as 18,982 cases of sexual violence – an increase of 11% when compared with 2010, and 130 cases of femicide. While progress has been made in the formal recognition of these crimes, the lack of implementation of norms and generalised impunity leads to worsening violence. Moreover, the armed conflict reproduces and deepens the discrimination and violence which women suffer on a daily basis. Sexual violence is still used as a weapon of war by different armed actors. And women are the main victims of forced displacement. Almost all of these crimes have gone unpunished. Likewise, women human rights defenders face greater risks because of their gender. And discrimination and inequality are still very common. In view of this situation, recommendations are made to the international community to contribute to put an end and remedy these violations.
Justice Verma Committee was constituted to recommend amendments to the Criminal Law so as to provide for quicker trial and enhanced punishment for criminals accused of committing sexual assault against women. The Committee submitted its report on January 23, 2013.
Background: On December 23, 2012 a three member Committee headed by Justice J.S. Verma, former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, was constituted to recommend amendments to the Criminal Law so as to provide for quicker trial and enhanced punishment for criminals accused of committing sexual assault against women. The other members on the Committee were Justice Leila Seth, former judge of the High Court and Gopal Subramanium, former Solicitor General of India.
The Committee submitted its report on January 23, 2013. It made recommendations on laws related to rape, sexual harassment, trafficking, child sexual abuse, medical examination of victims, police, electoral and educational reforms. We summarise the key recommendations of the Committee.
Find this report under "Papua New Guinea (March 2012);" Report Symbol Number: A/HRC/23/49/Add.2
The present report contains the findings of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, following her visit to Papua New Guinea. The Special Rapporteur examines the situation of violence against women in the country, including violence that is perpetrated within the family and the community; violence occurring in institutional settings; and violence related to the development of the country's extractive industries. She discusses the State's legislative and institutional responses to such violence, and provides recommendations.
Find this report under "Solomon Islands (March 2012);" Report Symbol Number: A/HRC/23/49/Add.1
In the present report, the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, examines the situation of violence against women in Solomon Islands. including violence perpetrated within the family and the community, violence perpetrated between 1998 and 2003 (during “the tensions”) and violence relating to the development of extractive industries. She also examines the State’s legislative and institutional responses to such violence, and makes recommendations thereon.
This report contains the findings of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, following her visit to Italy from 15 to 26 January 2012. It examines the situation of violence against women in the country taking into account its causes and consequences. It also discusses the State's response to prevent such violence, protect and provide remedies to women who have been subjected to such violence, and to prosecute and punish the perpetrators.
This presentation does not reflect a formal position of the World Council of Churches. It does not have any ambitions to be a scientific contribution to the discussion of the expert group. Instead, my paper is basically a reflection of my own experience of working for thirty-five years in the intersection of faith and politics, both out of Sweden and in the global arena.
It is a scandal that violence against women is still an everyday reality in the lives of hundreds of thousands of women and girls all over the world. The scandal is aggravated by the fact that, more often than not, victims are accused of bringing the violence upon themselves – for being disobedient wives or for dressing in a provocative way, or for any number of reasons, all of which aim at pushing the responsibility from the perpetrator to the victim.
The magnitude of the on-going violence against women, in homes, in public spaces, and in wars and conflicts, is well-known and carefully documented. Scientific studies and testimonies from abused women have been presented over the years at conferences, in reports, in media, and in courts of law. No one can say: We did not know.
"Implementation of the Elimination of Violence against Women law in Afghanistan, December 2012"
Periodic evaluation of progress on implementation of the Law on Elimination of Violence against Women, reinforced in the June 2012 Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework, is imperative in view of the widespread occurrence of violence against women in Afghanistan and resistance to women’s rights at various levels of Afghan society. Harmful practices and violence against women in Afghanistan have long prevented women from participating in public life and blocked their voices from being heard in decision-making and political forums. Progress in implementing the EVAW law can contribute to enabling women to play a meaningful and crucial role in the country’s current peace and reconciliation processes. The United Nations has repeatedly stressed the imperative of ensuring equal participation of women and their full involvement in all efforts to achieve durable peace and security, and the need to increase women’s role in decision-making and in conflict prevention and resolution.
This report examines implementation of the Law on Elimination of Violence against Women (EVAW law) by judicial and law enforcement officials for the period October 2011 to September 2012 and identifies the many challenges Afghan women still face in accessing justice. The analysis is based on information gathered from 22 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces and highlights the reporting, registration and judicial process followed under the EVAW law and the Penal Code by the Afghan National Police (ANP), prosecutor’s offices and primary courts in a representative sample of violence against women incidents. From 16 provinces, UNAMA gathered and analyzed more detailed data from police, prosecutors and courts on cases processed using the EVAW law. The report also highlights the crucial role and work of provincial departments of women’s affairs and commissions on elimination of violence against women. This report updates earlier findings on the law’s implementation in UNAMA’s November 2011 report A Long Way to Go: Implementation of the Elimination of Violence against Women Law in Afghanistan.
2011 Addendum - Mission to the United States of America
The Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences visited the United States of America from 24 January to 7 February 2011. In the present report, she broadly examines the situation of violence against women in the country, including such issues as violence in custodial settings, domestic violence, violence against women in the military and violence against women who face multiple, intersecting forms of discrimination, particularly native American, immigrant and African-American women. The Special Rapporteur highlights the positive legislative and policy initiatives undertaken by the Government to reduce the prevalence of violence against women, including the enactment and subsequent reauthorizations of the Violence against Women Act, and the establishment of dedicated offices on violence against women at the highest level of the Executive. The Violence against Women Act has steadily expanded funding to address domestic violence and, with each reauthorization, has included historically underserved groups.
This report contains the findings of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, following her visit to Zambia from 6 to 11 December 2010. It examines the situation of violence against women in the country taking into account its causes and consequences. It also discusses the State’s response to prevent such violence, protect and provide remedies to women who have been subjected to such violence, and to prosecute and punish the perpetrators.
The current report of the African Centre for Gender and Social Development provides a situation analysis of violence against women in Sudan combining it with information about the available legislative frameworks and legal institutions that could be used in order to combat it (p. 158-163).
The report indicates that most of the Sudanese women who become the victims of sexual violence are reluctant to report the commission of an offence for fear of the negative reflection it may have on their families, and their own reputation. In addition, a victim failing to prove rape may instead be accused of adultery and sentenced to death.
The report also highlights the problems of the widespread practice of Female Genital Mutilation in Sudan, abduction of Sudanese women for slavery, and their trafficking to neighbor countries. Both the Sudanese police and military as well as Janjawid militiamen have been found to be involved in the commission of these offences. Attempts to bring perpetrators to justice before the International Criminal Court have failed as the Sudanese Government has resisted arresting the alleged offenders.
At the same time, with the support of the UNPF, civil society and international organizations, Sudanese government bodies have devised a number of national plans and strategies to combat violence against women, prevent FGM, assist the victims of violence, and contribute to the empowerment of women in general. Not all of these documents have been adopted as State policy. In a move towards implementation of the existing plans the Government of Sudan has established the Unit for the Suppression of Violence against Women and Children.
The present report contains the findings of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, following her follow-up mission to El Salvador, last visited by the mandate in 2004 (E/CN.4/2005/72/Add.2). She explores the extent to which the recommendations made in the previous report have been implemented by examining the most prevalent forms of violence encountered currently by women and girls in El Salvador, the State response to such violence, and the main remaining challenges.
Despite the Government’s intention to fulfil its due diligence obligations in the area of gender equality and violence against women, significant challenges remain. As the previous mandate holder pointed out, the failure of authorities to investigate, prosecute and punish those responsible for gender-based violence contributed to an environment of impunity that resulted in little confidence in the justice system; impunity for crimes, socio- economic disparities and the machista culture fostered a generalized state of violence, subjecting women to a continuum of multiple violent acts, including murder, rape, domestic violence, sexual harassment and commercial sexual exploitation. The discussions held and the information received during the visit suggested that the situation has changed little in El Salvador. In addition to the effective implementation of the law, remaining challenges relate to sexual and reproductive rights, in particular with regard to the consequences of the absolute ban on abortions, and the need to establish a comprehensive
system on data collection to guide policy and monitor progress in the field of violence against women.
In the light of the information received, the Special Rapporteur considers the recommendations in her predecessor’s report still relevant and applicable, and thus supports and reiterates the need to take action in five ways: (a) to create a gender-sensitive information and knowledge base, including through the creation of a statistical commission; (b) to ensure the protection of women and girls through legislative, investigative and judicial reforms, including through the establishment of a specialized investigation and prosecution unit on femicides; (c) to strengthen institutional infrastructure, including through the allocation of appropriate resources, to ensure sustainability and effectiveness; (d) to initiate further training and awareness programmes; and (e) to monitor the implementation of and enforce international and regional human rights standards.
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While the Geneva Conventions contain gender-specific provisions, the reality of women’s and men’s experiences of armed conflict have highlighted gender limitations and conceptual constraints within international humanitarian law. Judgements at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) ad hoc tribunals have gone some way towards expanding the scope of definitions of sexual violence and rape in conflict. More recent developments in public international law, including the adoption of Security Council Resolutions 1325 and 1820 focused on women, peace and security, have sought to increase the visibility of gender in situations of armed conflict. This paper highlights important developing norms on women, peace and security. Although these norms are significant, they may not be radical enough to expand constructions of gender within international humanitarian law. This leaves existing provisions open to continued scrutiny.
Many acts, conducts or events may be viewed as torture in certain circumstances, while they will not be viewed as torture in some other situations. In fact, there is no single definition existing under international law but most international dispositions and bodies tend to agree on four constitutive elements of torture, as further explained in the first part of this paper “Elements of definition”. It should be recalled that usually in legal dispositions, torture is linked with cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment or ill-treatment. Torture is not an act in itself, or specific type of acts, but it is the legal qualification of an event or behaviour, based on the comprehensive assessment of this event or behaviour. Therefore, the difference between these different qualifications, torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment or ill-treatment depends on the specific circumstances of each case and is not always obvious. It is clear that, because of the specific intensity or nature of certain acts, the qualification of torture may be easily granted in certain cases. However, in some others, the vulnerability of the victim (age, gender, status, etc), as well as the environment and the cumulative effect of various factors, should be taken into account to determine whether this case amounts to torture or whether it does not reach this ultimate threshold and should be considered as cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
Afghanistan is widely known and appreciated for its rich history, culture, literature and arts as well as its magnificent landscape. It is also widely known that large numbers of Afghans die, or live wretched lives, because violence is an everyday fact of life. Such violence is not openly condoned but neither is it challenged nor condemned by society at large or by state institutions. It is primarily human rights activists that make an issue of violence including, in particular, its impact on, and ramifications for, women and girls in Afghanistan. It is also left to a handful of stakeholders to challenge the way in which a culture of impunity, and the cycle of violence it generates, undermines democratization, the establishment of the rule of law and other efforts geared to building an environment conducive to respect for human rights.
The report seeks to put back on the agenda some of the issues pertaining to the enjoyment of all human rights by all Afghan women that are being increasingly ignored. The problems identified in this report require further discussion and public debate, with a view to informing appropriate legal, policy and awareness-raising measures.
The document can be found by clicking "Fact Sheets."
Violence against women takes many forms – physical, sexual, psychological and economic. These forms of violence are interrelated and affect women from before birth to old age. Some types of violence, such as trafficking, cross national boundaries. Women who experience violence suffer a range of health problems and their ability to participate in public life is diminished. Violence against women harms families and communities across generations and reinforces other violence prevalent in society.
The Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (OP-ICESCR, or the Optional Protocol) is the instrument that will make this possible, once it becomes operational. THE OPTIONAL PROTOCOL provides groups and individuals the opportunity to bring cases (submit communications) to the Committee on ESCR - the body in charge of monitoring the Covenant compliance by state parties - for violation of their economic, social and cultural rights, when access to justice is denied or not available in their own countries.