Working Paper
VAW in China: Framework and Barriers to Implementation. Initiative on VAW, Carr Center, Harvard Kennedy School; Working Paper.Abstract

This presentation discusses barriers to implementing VAW legislation in China. 

Africa: Legal Grounds: Reproductive and Sexual Rights in African Courts. University of Toronto Faculty of Law [Internet]. 2016. Publisher's VersionAbstract

These publications include summaries and analyses of cases pertaining to reproductive and sexual rights, including gender-based violence, HIV discrimination, property and family law, abortion, and claims of fetal interests. They examine how African national courts interpret and apply regional and international human rights laws. 

Arfaoui K. Women and Leadership in the Post-Arab Spring: The Case of Tunisia. Women’s Movements in Post-“Arab Spring” North Africa [Internet]. 2015 :223-234. Publisher's VersionAbstract

This chapter aims at analyzing the expectations of Tunisian women with the outbreak of the so-called “Arab Spring” and the unexpected events that came not only to counter them but even worse: to bring them back to a status of the Middle Ages. As a result, women’s struggle had to face two things: resist threats to the gains they had made since 1956 with the advent of the Code of Personal Status (CPS) and continue their march towards full equality with men. A beautiful name was given to the revolution that was ignited by the self-immolation of a young fruit and vegetable peddler on 17 December, 2010 in Sidi Bouzid, a small town south of Tunis: the Arab Spring. Why “Spring” when the time was plain winter? Others called it “The Jasmine Revolution,” because Tunisia is a country where Jasmine is the favorite flower of people? What do flowers have to do with revolution? Both names have positive connotations of joy and festivities. This revolution had had no leader and no political party had backed it. It had been a spontaneous movement of youth and women in particular with high expectations for a new democratic Tunisia.


Herrmannsdorfer C. Acceso a la justicia en casos de muertes violentas de mujeres y de femicidios. Centro de Derechos de Mujeres; 2015. Publisher's VersionAbstract


Las mujeres organizadas, el movimiento feminista, los medios de comunicación y muchos sectores de la sociedad hondureña saben muy bien que de unos años para acá más mujeres pierden su vida como resultado de distintas violencias y para la mayoría de estas muertes, el factor de riesgo es el hecho de ser mujer. Sabemos que a las mujeres se les mata por ser mujeres. Las mujeres no se matan entre ellas. A las mujeres las matan los hombres. Desde el 2005 a la fecha (noviembre de 2014), el número de muertes violentas de mujeres y femicidios ha aumentado de manera alarmante lo que ha llevado a que estos crímenes sean considerados una epidemia; asimismo, los índices de impunidad superan el 94%. El Observatorio de Derechos Humanos de las Mujeres del Centro de Derechos de Mujeres, CDM, afirma que: “En esencia, la impunidad es la que se impone cuando de mujeres se trata”1.

Sin embargo, para el Estado, dicha información parece no tener relevancia. Así, pese a que la figura penal de Femicidio se aprobó hace más de un año -a inicios del 2013-, parece no existir acceso efectivo a la justicia para las mujeres víctimas de este flagelo ni para sus familiares.

El CDM, en su compromiso de exigir al Estado la promoción y la garantía de los derechos humanos de las mujeres y de la ciudadanía en general, realizó esta investigación con el objetivo de determinar y visibilizar la real situación de acceso a la justicia para las mujeres víctimas que permita definir estrategias que contribuyan a cambiar la situación de impunidad en el país.

El estudio se realizó en las ciudades de San Pedro Sula y Tegucigalpa ya que según las estadísticas 8 de cada 10 femicidios ocurridos en 2013 se dieron en los departamentos de Francisco Morazán y Cortés. Para la realización de este estudio se organizó un equipo del CDM bajo la coordinación de la abogada e investigadora Claudia Herrmannsdorfer.

Este estudio ha sido posible gracias al apoyo del programa “Impulsando acciones encaminadas a desa- rrollar las capacidades en incidencia y defensa de los derechos humanos de las mujeres en Honduras” que se desarrolla para Guatemala, Nicaragua y Honduras con fondos del gobierno de Dinamarca, a través de Dan Churh Aid (DCA) e IBIS (Derechos, Educación y Desarrollo).

Agradecemos a todas las personas que contribuyeron para que este estudio se concretizara. Esperamos que el mismo sea una contribución para que las mujeres en Honduras, puedan algún día disfrutar de su derecho a una vida libre de todo tipo de violencias y los femicidios sean parte de una historia triste de nuestro querido país. 

Wille B. Dispatches: Ending Child Marriage in Yemen. Human Rights Watch; 2014. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Child marriage is a major problem in Yemen, where according to UN and Yemeni government data from 2006, 52 percent of girls are married – often to much older men – before age 18, and 14 percent before 15. If the girls don’t want to marry, their families generally force them. Girls who marry often drop out of school, are more likely to die in childbirth, and face a higher risk of physical and sexual abuse than women who marry at 18 or later. Until now, Yemen has been one of the few countries in the region without any minimum age for marriage.

Nyirinkindi L, Kirya MT. Towards an Anti-Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Norm in the Great Lakes Regional of Africa. Namati; 2014. Publisher's VersionAbstract

A Civil Society Review of the implementation of the 2011 Kampala Declaration on Sexual and Gender Based Violence of the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region. This study was undertaken to assess the progress made by the eleven member states of the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), in implementing the landmark 2011 Kampala Declaration to prevent, punish and respond to Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) in the region. The 2011 Kampala declaration defined the actions to be undertaken to prevent the occurrence of SGBV, end impunity for sexual crimes and provide support with legal, financial, medical and psychosocial support. Three years later, Isis-WICCE has commissioned a research study on behalf of the Regional Civil Society Coordinating Committee on the SGBV Declaration, to examine the current status of implementation. The report looks at States efforts to domesticate and implement relevant protocols, provide concrete support for judicial and security sector reform, as well as ensuring strong supporting structures, special courts or specific legal procedures against SGBV.

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.

American Bar Association Commission on Domestic and Sexual Violence Report to the House of Delegates. American Bar Association Commission on Domestic and Sexual Violence; 2014. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Condemns forced marriage as a fundamental human rights violation and form of family violence and of violence against women and urges governments to amend existing laws or enact new laws to prevent, protect and support individuals threatened by forced marriages.

Community Tool Box Table of Contents. The University of Kansas [Internet]. 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.

More Than Bruises Are Left Behind. Matla A Bana [Internet]. 2014. Publisher's VersionAbstract


To minimise the secondary abuse children suffer when they report abuse against them. This abuse is often worse than the primary abuse, due to a very unsympathetic reporting system. 


“Getting conversation going”

To prevent more child abuse from happening by securing more reporting. To mobilise communities to start speaking about child abuse.

To educate communities on what child abuse is, signs and symptoms and how to report it.

To  educate the public and children on reporting, highlight myths and facts of child abuse and to mobilise the community to start reporting.

Ngwena C, Durojaye E. Strengthening the protection of sexual and reproductive health and rights in the African region through human rights. Pretoria University Law Press; 2014. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Strengthening the protection of sexual and reproductive health and rights in the African region through human rights uses rights-based frameworks to address some of the serious sexual and reproductive health challenges that the African region is currently facing. More importantly, the book provides insightful human rights approaches on how these challenges can be overcome. The book is the first of its kind. It is an important addition to the resources available to researchers, academics, policymakers, civil society organisations, human rights defenders, learners and other persons interested in the subject of sexual and reproductive health and rights as they apply to the African region. Human rights issues addressed by the book include: access to safe abortion and emergency obstetric care; HIV/AIDS; adolescent sexual health and rights; early marriage; and gender-based sexual violence.

2014 Trafficking In Persons Report - Israel. Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons; 2014. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report is the U.S. Government’s principal diplomatic tool to engage foreign governments on human trafficking. It represents an updated, global look at the nature and scope of trafficking in persons and the broad range of government actions to confront and eliminate it.

This 2014 report has findings specific to Israel.

Blue J. Civil Society - Background - A Just and Safe Aotearoa. 2014.Abstract

The Human Rights Commission is the lead agency for the coordination and development of the National Plan of Action for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (NPA). The preparation of the National Plan of Action is mandated by the Human Rights Act 1993.

The Act requires the Human Rights Commission to develop the NPA on behalf of New Zealand it is New Zealand’s plan, not the Commission’s plan. Therefore, a cross-agency and collaborative approach with the state sector, local government, Iwi, and civil society is essential.

The Plan will set out the concrete actions to be taken by the Government to improve human rights realisation and to action the commitments made to the United Nations as part of the Universal Periodic Review1. These commitments were included in the response to the United Nations and were Cabinet mandated. 

Eliminating All Forms of Discrimination and Violence Against Women: Written statement submitted by Al-khoei Foundation to the UN Human Rights Council. Al-khoei Foundation; 2014. Publisher's VersionAbstract


Select "A/HRC/26/NGO/15"


The Al-Khoei Foundation is submitting this statement to appeal to the Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, its Causes and Consequences, to continue her effective advocacy on a number of issues that contribute to violence against women and it’s many causal factors.

Win TL. Myanmar Activists Demand Law to Ban Violence Against Women Pearce T. The New York Times [Internet]. 2014. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Myanmar Activists Demand Law to Ban Violence Against Women

This article from The New York Times explores Myanmar's lack of infrastructure to combat violence against women and children. 

Pancio K. Barriers to Implementing VAW Law Against Domestic Violence in Three Asian Countries (China, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka), in Initiative on VAW, March 2014 Research Briefing. Carr Center for Human Rights, Harvard Kennedy School of Government ; 2014.Abstract

Subject: This research memorandum presents key findings from desk research conducted in January and February 2014, on the barriers to instituting appropriate VAW laws against domestic violence (DV), and to effectively implementing them in three countries in Asia (China, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka).

Background and Cross-Cutting Findings: China, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka have all ratified CEDAW; however, both China and Pakistan have not passed the Optional Protocol to CEDAW. Research found four cross-cutting barriers impeding the institutionalization of appropriate VAW laws against DV in these three countries:

1)  The predominant public discourse on DV is fragmented. As a result, an overall sense of urgency and severity of the problem is not felt among key stakeholders in all 3 countries.

2)  Other national policies regarding housing, marriage, fertility, migration, etc. undermine both the international (CEDAW) legal framework, and the national policies set up for service provision and protection across all three countries.

3)  There is an overall lack of appropriate resource allocation among all 3 countries for comprehensively implementing appropriate VAW laws against DV. A large body of evidence suggests multiple root causes for VAW-DV, and States disagree on where and how to allocate resources to VAW-DV (prevention, intervention, prosecution, and protection).

4)  Incomparable and unreliable data is the 4th major barrier to instituting appropriate VAW laws against DV both internationally through CEDAW, and nationally within all 3 countries. Transparency of data collection methodologies is also a noted concern. 

Eslick N. Violence against Women in Australia and The National Action Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children, in Initiative on VAW, Research Briefing. Carr Center for Human Rights, Harvard Kennedy School of Government ; 2014.Abstract

Violence against Women (VAW) is a pervasive, global human rights violation. This research memo discusses the current state of VAW in Australia, and the Australian Governments proposed National Action Plan (NAP) addressing VAW across Australia’s diverse community. Noting that women’s rights are not fully protected by the Commonwealth and revealing the current appalling statistics around domestic and sexual violence against Australian women, the memo then provides insight on Indigenous women and VAW, followed by a deeper look at NAP. Finally, after a brief look at the recent study tour of Australia by the Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, Australia’s commitment to addressing VAW is discussed with reference to reporting for CEDAW and UPR. The memo then considers the Special Rapporteur’s study tour in light of the election of a new federal government. It then concludes that if the state shows genuine commitment to its people, and to its obligations under human rights treaties, the onus ultimately rests on it to work with civil society to make use of the human rights mechanisms and seek to honestly and with purpose examine their human rights status and develop and adopt sustainable positive change. 

Sri V. Voices from the Frontline: Addressing Forced Marriage Within the United States. [Internet]. 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.

Herrmannsdorfer C. Balance de la jurisprudencia género sensitiva de Tribunales nacionales en 13 países de América Latina y el Caribe. Centro de Derechos Mujeres; 2013. Publisher's VersionAbstract

El primer documento

Desde el Programa de Litigio del Comité de América Latina y el Caribe para la Defensa de los Derechos de las Mujeres, CLADEM, nos proponemos como objetivo contribuir a promover la ampliación de los marcos interpretativos de la normatividad internacional y nacional en los países de la región, así como la justiciabilidad de los derechos humanos de las mujeres mediante jurisprudencia género-sensitiva obtenida a través del litigio internacional.

Como parte del proyecto ̈Campaña para extender el uso del derechos como instrumento de cambio entre las organizaciones de América Latina y el Caribe Hispano ̈ presentamos este Balance de la jurisprudencia género sensitiva de Tribunales nacionales en 13 países de América Latina y el Caribe. La finalidad del mencionado Proyecto es lograr una mayor incidencia de la sociedad civil en su interlocución con los Estados involucrados, mediante el uso del derecho para la defensa y exigibilidad de los derechos humanos de las mujeres, especialmente en lo referido a la erradicación de la violencia contra la mujer, mayores garantías para sus derechos sexuales y reproductivos y sus derechos económicos, sociales y culturales.

El documento, pretende acercar un balance regional de la jurisprudencia género sensitiva de Tribunales Constitucionales o Altas Cortes para establecer la línea de avance jurisprudencial a nivel nacional durante el período 2008-2012. En ella se releva las sentencias con enfoque de género de Tribunales Constitucionales y de Altas Cortes en 13 países de América Latina y el Caribe en los temas de: discriminación e igualdad, violencia contra la mujer, autonomía sexual y autonomía reproductiva, educación no sexista y antidiscriminatoria.

La selección temática surge del ̈Documento base de la Segunda Campaña de Incidencia para el cumplimiento de las deudas pendientes de los Estados con los Derechos Humanos de las Mujeres ̈1 en el que priorizan 3 temas claves, al que hemos sumado discriminación e igualdad debido a que lo consideramos transversal a los demás. En materia de igualdad para las mujeres es relevante destacar cómo los diferentes casos de violación exponen patrones de discriminación que son estructurales.

Consideramos que este documento puede ser una herramienta de utilidad para las organizaciones de mujeres y activistas que trabajan la temática; así como también alentar a operadores y operadoras de justicia de los países de la región para profundizar en el avance de la jurisprudencia género sensitiva.