North America

Working Paper
Substantive Rights Protected by International Human Rights Instruments (ICCPR, ACHR, ECHR, ACHPR*). Initiative on VAW, Carr Center, Harvard Kennedy School; Working Paper.Abstract

This working paper explores specific articles of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), American Convention on Human Rights (ACHR), European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR), and African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR). The following chart examines which articles in these international instruments protect different human rights. 

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women in British Columbia, Canada. Inter-American Commission on Human Rights; 2014. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Located under "Annexes."

This report addresses the situation of missing and murdered indigenous women in British Columbia, Canada. It analyzes the context in which indigenous women have gone missing and been murdered over the past several years and the response to this human rights issue by the Canadian State. The report offers recommendations geared towards assisting the State in strengthening its efforts to protect and guarantee indigenous women’s rights.

Indigenous women and girls in Canada have been murdered or have gone missing at a rate four times higher than the rate of representation of indigenous women in the Canadian population which is 4.3%. The most comprehensive numbers available were collected by the non-profit organization Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) through an initiative financed by the governmental entity Status of Women Canada. As of March 31, 2010, NWAC has gathered information regarding 582 cases of missing or murdered indigenous women and girls across the country from the past 30 years. Civil society organizations have long claimed that the number could be much higher, and new research indicates that over 1000 indigenous women could be missing or dead across Canada. Although high numbers of missing and murdered indigenous women in Canada have been identified at both the national and international levels, there are no trustworthy statistics that could assist in reaching a fuller understanding of this problem. The Government itself recognizes that Canada’s official statistics do not provide accurate information regarding the true numbers of missing and murdered indigenous women. In addition, there is no reliable source of disaggregated data on violence against indigenous women and girls because police across Canada do not consistently report or record whether or not the victims of violent crime are indigenous.

As the report explains, the numbers of missing and murdered indigenous women are particularly concerning when considered in light of the fact that indigenous people represent a small percentage of the total population of Canada. Although the information received by the Commission indicates that this could be a nationwide phenomenon, this report is focused on the situation in British Columbia, because the number of missing and murdered indigenous women is higher there in absolute terms than any other province or territory in Canada. 


Canada: Violence Against Indigenous Women. Human Rights Watch; 2014. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The Canadian government should set up an independent national inquiry into the violence experienced by indigenous women and girls and create a system for greater accountability for police misconduct, Human Rights Watch said today. Representatives from Human Rights Watch testified on January 30, 2014, before the Special Committee on Violence Against Indigenous Women in the Canadian House of Commons. They also urged officials to hold police responsible for misconduct.

Community Tool Box Table of Contents. The University of Kansas. 2014. Publisher's VersionAbstract

This page lists 46 Chapters through which you can obtain practical, step-by-step guidance in community-building skills. See also our related Toolkits, which offer short outlines for key tasks.

Sri V. Voices from the Frontline: Addressing Forced Marriage Within the United States. 2013. Publisher's VersionAbstract

This study aims to contribute to the paucity of information that exists on forced marriage within the United States by presenting findings from a multi-method research study that includes an analysis of the following: 1) 524 surveys with students, domestic violence professionals and refugee service providers; 2) 52 case reviews of suspected and confirmed cases of forced marriage; and, 3) 22 interviews with frontline responders. This study is among a handful of studies within the United States that aim to provide information on the responses, remedies, and protections that are available for victims of forced marriage. This paper is the first to present findings from a group of college students on forced marriage, and the forms of abuse they have witnessed as a result of forced marriage; simultaneously this is also one of the first studies that presents findings from case reviews for 52 reported and suspected cases of forced marriage. Further this paper documents the experiences and recommendations of frontline responders, scholars, activists, and survivors for improving responses to forced marriage. Overall our findings are sobering and highlight the numerous challenges victims, their support networks, and direct service providers face in seeking remedies, protection, and adequate responses against forced marriage.

Those Who Take Us Away - Abusive Policing and Failures in Protection of Indigenous Women and Girls in Northern British Columbia, Canada. Human Rights Watch; 2013. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The province of British Columbia has been particularly badly affected by violence against indigenous women and girls and by the failure of Canadian law enforcement authorities to deal with the phenomenon. Cutting through the small communities policed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in northern BC is the Highway of Tears, a 724-kilometer stretch of road which has become infamous for the dozens of women and girls who have gone missing or been murdered in its vicinity. 

The high rates of violence against indigenous women and girls have drawn widespread expressions of concern from national and international human rights authorities, which have repeatedly called for Canada to address the problem. But these calls for action have not produced sufficient change and indigenous women and girls continue to go missing or be murdered in unacceptably large numbers.

McInturff K. The Gap in the Gender Gap: Violence Against Women in Canada. Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives; 2013. Publisher's VersionAbstract

This study finds that progress on ending violence against women in Canada is stalled by the absence of a coherent national policy and consistent information about the levels of that violence. The study estimates the combined cost of adult sexual assault and intimate partner violence in Canada, and also makes several recommendations on how to improve the situation. 

Solnit R. Hate Crimes: A Rape Every Minute, a Thousand Corpses Every Year. Tom Dispatch; 2013. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Here in the United States, where there is a reported rape every 6.2 minutes, and one in five women will be raped in her lifetime, the rape and gruesome murder of a young woman on a bus in New Delhi on December 16th was treated as an exceptional incident. The story of the alleged rape of an unconscious teenager by members of the Steubenville High School football team was still unfolding, and gang rapes aren’t that unusual here either. Take your pick: some of the 20 men who gang-raped an 11-year-old in Cleveland, Texas, were sentenced in November, while the instigator of the gang rape of a 16-year-old in Richmond, California, was sentenced in October, and four men who gang-raped a 15-year-old near New Orleans were sentenced in April, though the six men who gang-raped a 14-year-old in Chicago last fall are still at large.  Not that I actually went out looking for incidents: they’re everywhere in the news, though no one adds them up and indicates that there might actually be a pattern.

VAWA 2013 and Tribal Jurisdiction Over Crimes of Domestic Violence. Department of Justice; 2013. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Congress recently passed the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013, or “VAWA 2013.”  This new law includes significant provisions addressing tribal jurisdiction over perpetrators of domestic violence. These tribal provisions were proposed by the Justice Department in 2011.

Sinha M ed. Measuring violence against women: Statistical trends. Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics; 2013. Publisher's VersionAbstract

For the past three decades, Federal-Provincial-Territorial (FPT) Ministers responsible for the Status of Women have shared a common vision to end violence against women in all its forms. Violence against women inCanada is a serious, pervasive problem that crosses every social boundary and affects communities across the country. It remains a significant barrier to women's equality and has devastating impacts on the lives of women, children, families and Canadian society as a whole.

This report marks the third time that the FPT Status of Women Forum has worked with Statistics Canada to add to the body of evidence on gender-based violence. Assessing Violence Against Women: A Statistical Profile was released in 2002 and was followed by Measuring Violence Against Women: Statistical Trends 2006. The 2006 report expanded the analysis into new areas, presenting information on Aboriginal women and women living in Canada's territories. The current report maintains this important focus and also includes information on dating violence, violence against girls and violence that occurs outside of the intimate partner/family context. It also shows trends over time and provides data at national, provincial/territorial, and census metropolitan area levels. A study on the economic impacts of one form of violence against women, spousal violence, is also presented.

A Closer Look At Forced And Early Marriage In African Immigrant Communities In New York City. Sauti Yetu Center for African Women and Families; 2012. Publisher's VersionAbstract

To view this publication, click the first link, titled "A Closer Look At Forced And Early Marriage In African Immigrant Communities In New York City."

The purpose of this report is to inform emerging policies and practices on early and forced marriage by highlighting the lived experiences of African immigrant and refugee girls and young women in New York City. Sauti Yetu supports policies and practices that are informed by the diversity of experiences in which early and forced marriage occurs across a variety of immigrant communities that protect the health, well-being, and futures of immigrant young women.

CEDAW. Kell v. Canada. Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women; 2012. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Kell submitted a communication to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women in which she claimed that Canada had violated articles 1, 2(d), 2(e), 14(2)(h), 15(1)-15(4), 16(1)(h) of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. Kell claimed that Canada had allowed its agents – the NWT Housing Corporation and the Rae-Edzo Housing Authority – to discriminate against her on the grounds of sex, marital status and cultural heritage and had failed to ensure that its agents provide equal treatment to female housing applicants. Kell noted, in particular, Canada’s failure to prevent and remedy the fraudulent removal of her name from the Assignment of Lease and the failure to ensure that its agents afford women and men equal rights in respect of ownership, acquisition, management, administration and enjoyment of property.

Second Hemispheric Report on the Implementation of the Belem do Para Convention. Organization of American States. 2012. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Second Hemispheric Report on on the Implementation of the Belém do Pará Convention (MESECVI, 2012)

The Second Hemispheric Report reviews the progress made by the States Party in their implementation of the Belém do Pará Convention, as well as the significant challenges that remain in the region in terms of a timely, appropriate and effective response to acts of violence against women, from a perspective of human rights.

The Report consolidates the results and recommendations from the 28 national reports presented to the MESECVI during the Second Multilaterial Evaluation Round, and offers a comparative overview of the progress made between the First and Second Rounds.

Forced Marriage in Immigrant Communities in the United States . Tahirih Justice Center; 2011. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Forced marriage is a serious problem in the United States today, with as many as 3,000 known and suspected cases identified in just two years by respondents of Tahirih Justice Center survey. The fact that potentially thousands of young women and girls from immigrant communities may face forced marriages each year in the United States is alarming and demands attention. 

National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey: 2010 Summary Report. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Center for Injury Prevention; 2011. Publisher's VersionAbstract


Please click "Full Report" on the page in order to view the document.


Published in 2011, the NISVS 2010 Summary Report presents data on the national prevalence of IPV, SV, and stalking among women and men in the United States. The 2010 survey is the first year of the survey and provides baseline data that will be used to track IPV, SV, and stalking trends.

Manjoo R. Report of the Special Rapporteur on violence against Women, its causes and consequences: Mission to the United States of America, 2011. United Nations General Assembly; 2011. Publisher's VersionAbstract

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. 

Violence Against Women in the United States and the State's Obligation to Protect. Center for Reproductive Rights; 2011. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Access document under "Download Resource" button

Despite legal and policy measures designed to protect victims, domestic violence remains a pervasive rights violation in the United States. Legal and policy developments in the criminal justice system over the past few decades have improved the protection scheme for victims of domestic violence, including the availability of civil protection orders, mandatory arrest laws for abusers and mandatory prosecution policies. However, these measures are not uniformly applied and can create additional problems for victims from marginalized populations. Domestic violence is greatly influenced by contextual factors such as poverty, legal status or residence.

Intimate Partner Violence and Sexual Violence in Alaska - Key Results from the 2010 Alaska Victimization Survey. University of Alaska Anchorage - Justice Center; 2010. Publisher's VersionAbstract

"Summary of Estimates" on right side

The 2010 Alaska Victimization Survey for Alaska statewide was conducted from May to June 2010. Results were released on September 30, 2010 in Anchorage. Findings include:

  • About 59% of adult women in Alaska have experienced intimate partner violence, sexual violence or both, in their lifetime;
  • Nearly 12% have experienced intimate partner violence, sexual violence or both, in the past year; 
  • About 37% of adult women in the Alaska have experienced sexual violence in their lifetime; and 
  • About 48% have experienced intimate partner violence in their lifetime.
Women, Peace and Security: Canada Moves Forward to Increase Women's Engagement. Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights; 2010. Publisher's VersionAbstract

From September 2009 to April 2010, the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights conducted a study of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution 1325 on women, peace and security, which was adopted unanimously by the Council in October 2000. The Committee focused its study on the implementation of the resolution by the UN and, in particular, Canada. Resolution 1325 was the first adopted by the Security Council to explicitly address the impact of armed conflict on women. It introduced a set of international standards for all UN member states, conflict belligerents, the UN system and its peacekeeping forces, and other stakeholders. Under the resolution, these actors must take varying steps to ensure that efforts to prevent resolve and rebuild from armed conflict incorporate the perspectives of women. They must facilitate women‘s full involvement in relevant decision-making. The resolution also calls for full implementation of international law relevant to armed conflict, condemning any violations of the rights and security of women.

This landmark resolution has since been strengthened by three additional Security Council resolutions. Resolution 1820 on sexual violence in armed conflict (2008) has as its sole objective the improvement of efforts to protect women and girls in conflict situations and to prosecute cases of human rights abuses against women therein – particularly sexual violence. Resolution 1888 (2009) institutes more robust implementing commitments. Resolution 1889 (2009) targets post-conflict peacebuilding.

No More Stolen Sisters: The need for a comprehensive response to discrimination and violence against Indigenous women in Canada. Amnesty International; 2009. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Indigenous women in Canada face much higher rates of violence than other women. In a 2004 Canadian government survey, Indigenous women reported rates of violence, including domestic violence and sexual assault, 3.5 times higher than non-Indigenous women. Studies suggest that assaults against Indigenous women are not only more frequent, they are also often particularly brutal. According to another government survey, young First Nations women are five times more likely than other women to die as a result of violence.