Kalinsko J. Lithuanian Foreign Minister signs Council of Europe's convention on violence against women.; 2013. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Lithuania's Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius has signed the Council of Europe's Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, also known as the Istanbul Convention, which has drawn controversial reactions in the Baltic states.

Factsheet: Violence Against Women. European Court of Human Rights. 2013. Publisher's VersionAbstract{"fulltext":["factsheet: Violence against women"],"subcategory":["factsheets"]}

Document summaries the court’s case law in relation to domestic violence, genital mutilations, rape, violence and social exclusion, violence at the hands of state authorities and violence in public places.

12 cases dealing with domestic violence refer to the violation of different articles of the European Convention of human rights, namely of the article 2 on the right to life, article 13 on the right to an effective remedy, article 8 on the right to respect for family life, prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment and article 14 on prohibition of discrimination. Both cases relating genital mutilation against Austria and Ireland were declared inadmissible for the reasons of insufficient protection of the young Nigerian girls that should be provided by their parents. 5 cases dealing with rape reaffirmed the violation of articles 3 on the prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, article 8 and artcile 13 mentioned above. The case of violence and social exclusion confirmed violation of the article 3 whereas the violence at the hands of state authorities brought forward violation of the article 3, artcile 14 and article 11 on freedom of assembly. The last case presented in the factsheet deals with the violence in public places giving declaring the violation of the article 3 and article 8.

Ngwena C. Developing Regional Abortion Jurisprudence: Comparative Lessons for African Charter Organs. Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights . 2013;31 (1). Publisher's VersionAbstract

This article is constructed around an appraisal of the decision of the European Court of Human Rights in A, B and C v. Ireland. It seeks to extrapolate comparative lessons for African Charter organs for the development of regional jurisprudence on abortion. It is argued that the A, B and C decision offers positive as well as negative lessons. The positive lessons lie in the holding of the European Court that at a procedural level, domestic abortion laws must be transparent in the sense of being formulated clearly and providing an administrative mechanism for review so as to enable women seeking abortion to exercise their rights effectively. The negative lessons lie in the continued reluctance of the European Court to resolutely affirm abortion rights as substantive rights.

Kombo B, Sow R, Mohamed FJ. Journey to Equality Publication: 10 years of the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa.; 2013. Publisher's VersionAbstract

In February 2006, when a 13 year-old Zambian school girl was raped by her teacher, the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa (the Protocol) was one of the tools that facilitated justice. R.M., the brave young girl who was under her aunt’s guardianship, sued the teacher, the school, Ministry of Education, and the Zambian Attorney General, citing Articles 4 and 12 of the Protocol (which Zambia ratified in May 2005) in addition to other international instruments in her submission to the High Court of Zambia. In June 2008, the High Court rendered a ruling in which Honorable Justice Phillip Musonda cited Article 4 of the Protocol, which elaborates “rights to life, integrity and security of the person”. In the judgment, the High Court referred the case to the Director of Public Prosecutions for criminal charges against the perpetrator, directed the Ministry of Education to take measures to protect students, and awarded significant compensation to R.M. This case, a prime example of women’s rights public interest litigation, attests to the potential of the Protocol to remedy violations and change lives. Nevertheless, the case is only one of a few well-known landmark cases using the Protocol at the national level. Currently, 36 of the 54 African Union (AU) Member States have ratified the Protocol and, as members of the Solidarity for African Women’s Rights Coalition (SOAWR) suggested in a 2004 publication, it is yet to fully become “a force for freedom”. 

Edwards A. Violence against Women under International Human Rights Law. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 2013. Publisher's VersionAbstract

*The full article is available through this link. This article may be available free of charge to those with university credentials.

Since the mid-1990s, increasing international attention has been paid to the issue of violence against women; however, there is still no explicit international human rights treaty prohibition on violence against women and the issue remains poorly defined and understood under international human rights law. Drawing on feminist theories of international law and human rights, this critical examination of the United Nations' legal approaches to violence against women analyses the merits of strategies which incorporate women's concerns of violence within existing human rights norms such as equality norms, the right to life, and the prohibition against torture. Although feminist strategies of inclusion have been necessary as well as symbolically powerful for women, the book argues that they also carry their own problems and limitations, prevent a more radical transformation of the human rights system and ultimately reinforce the unequal position of women under international law.

A Declaration of Commitment to End Sexual Violence in Conflict. United Nations. 2013. Publisher's VersionAbstract

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.

Women in Colombia – Factsheet. OIDHACO; 2013. Publisher's VersionAbstract

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.

2013 Department of State Trafficking in Persons Country Narratives. US Department of State. 2013. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Remarks from John Kerry on the release of the report: Governments bear primary responsibility for responding to this crime, and this annual Report is the gold standard in assessing how well governments—including our own—are meeting that responsibility. This year, 188 countries and territories are included, and we have taken a hard look at one of the biggest problems we face in combating modern slavery: the challenge of accurate, effective victim identification. Only through vigorous victim identification can we ensure that trafficking survivors get the services they need, can participate in legal proceedings, and can have their voices heard.

Declaration Of The Committee Of Experts Of The MESECVI On The Celebration Of The Twentieth Anniversary Of The Adoption Of The Belém Do Pará Convention. Organization of American States. 2013. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Can be found under "Key Results" from the Tenth Meeting of the Committee of Experts

CONSIDERING that the year 2014 will mark twenty years since the adoption of the Belém do Pará Convention and ten years since the creation of the MESECVI by the General Assembly of the OAS and that this historic moment warrants broad reflection on the impact of the Convention for the States Party and the women of the hemisphere reiterates its commitment to support the efforts of OAS Member States and civil society to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the adoption of the Belém do Pará Convention and the tenth anniversary of the creation of the MESECVI, which will include national and sub­regional forums and meetings for progress reports on implementation of the Belém do Pará Convention. 

Report of the Committee on Amendments to Criminal Law, 2013. New Delhi: PRS Legislative Research; 2013. Publisher's VersionAbstract

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. 

Case of Valiuliene v. Lithuania. European Court of Human Rights; 2013. Publisher's VersionAbstract{"fulltext":["Valiuliene%20v.%20Lithuania"],"documentcollectionid2":["GRANDCHAMBER","CHAMBER"]}

Facts – In February 2001 the applicant applied to a district court to bring a private prosecution after allegedly being beaten by her partner on five separate occasions in January and February 2001. In January 2002 the court forwarded her complaint to the public prosecutor, ordering him to start his own pre-trial criminal investigation; the applicant’s partner was then charged with systematically causing the applicant minor bodily harm. The investigation was twice halted by police investigators for lack of evidence, but on each occasion was reopened on appeal on the grounds that it had not been sufficiently thorough. The public prosecutor discontinued the investigation in June 2005 as a legislative reform in May 2003 meant that prosecutions in respect of minor bodily harm now had to be brought by the victim privately unless the case was of public interest or the victim could not protect her rights through a private prosecution. The district court upheld that decision. When the applicant lodged a new request to bring a private prosecution, this was refused without examination of the merits as the prosecution had become time-barred.


Moser PT. The Duty to Ensure Human Rights and its Evolution in the Inter-American System: Comparing Maria da Penha v. Brazil With Jessica Lenahan (Gonzales) v. United States. Journal of Gender, Social Policy & The Law . 2013;21 (2) :437-453. Publisher's VersionAbstract

*This full article is available through this link. This article may be available free of charge to those with university credentials.

First, this Article explains the facts and the Commission's legal analysis in Maria da Penha and Lenahan and briefly describes the different approach taken by the Commission in each case.

Second, this Article analyzes the evolution in the case law that led to the recognition that a State's failure to prevent and investigate could constitute a violation of substantive rights. Third, this Article examines the standard the Commission utilized in analyzing the duty to prevent in Lenahan and describes the theory of foreseeable risk, how it has been used, and the role it played in the Lenahan case. Finally, this Article discusses the theory of foreseeable risk, its application to cases of domestic violence, and the significance of this development in the jurisprudence of the Inter-American system.

This Article concludes that the recognition of substantive rights may be violated by the failure of the State to prevent and investigate, and that the use of the theory of foreseeable risk constitutes a significant step forward in clarifying the obligation of States to fight domestic violence. Finding a State responsible for failing to prevent, pursuant to the theory of foreseeable risk, implies that the State knew or ought to have known there was an imminent risk of domestic violence, and in the face of this foreseeable risk, the State failed to take action. This lack of prevention might be considered the equivalent of acquiescence pursuant to the definition of torture in the United Nations Convention Against Torture (UNCAT)." Consequently, this evolution could, and hopefully will, result in a recognition in the Inter-American System that in certain circumstances domestic violence constitutes torture.

Manjoo R. Report of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, Rashida Manjoo - 14 May 2013. United Nations, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights; 2013. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Report located in the second row of the fourth page - A/HRC/23/49

The present report addresses the topic of State responsibility for eliminating violence against women. As a general rule, State responsibility is based on acts or omissions committed either by State actors or by actors whose actions are attributable to the State. A longstanding exception to this rule is that a State may incur responsibility where there is a failure to exercise due diligence to prevent or respond to certain acts or omissions of non-State actors. The due diligence standard serves as a tool for rights holders to hold States accountable, by providing an assessment framework for ascertaining what constitutes effective fulfilment of a State’s obligations, and for analysing its actions or omissions. For due diligence to be satisfied, the formal framework established by the State must also be effective in practice.

Case of B v. The Republic of Moldova. European Court of Human Rights; 2013. Publisher's VersionAbstract

1. The case originated in an application (no. 61382/09) against the Republic of Moldova lodged with the Court under Article 34 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (“the Convention”) by three Moldovan nationals, Ms O. B., Mr V. B. and Mr I. B. (“the applicants”), on 19 November 2009.

2. The applicants were represented by Mr A. Bivol, a lawyer practising in Chişinău. The Moldovan Government (“the Government”) were represented by their Agent, Mr V. Grosu.

3. The applicants alleged, in particular, that Mrs O. B. (‘the first applicant’) had been subjected to violence from her ex-husband and that the other applicants had witnessed such violence and been affected by it, while the State authorities had done little to stop such violence and prevent it from happening again. 

Case of Eremia v. The Republic of Moldova. European Court of Human Rights; 2013. Publisher's VersionAbstract{"fulltext":["Eremia%20v.%20The%20Republic%20of%20Moldova"],"documentcollectionid2":["GRANDCHAMBER","CHAMBER"]}

In the decision Eremia and Others v. the Republic of Moldova, the European Court of Human Rights held that the Republic of Moldova has violated Articles 3, 8 and Article 14 in conjunction with Article 3 of the European Convention of Human Rights for failing to prevent a husband (working as a police officer) from repeatedly beating his wife in front of their two teenage daughters. The applicants in this case were three Moldovan national women; the first applicant, Lilia Eremia, and her two daughters (second and third applicants, Doina and Mariana Eremia). The mother was repeatedly beaten by her husband, a police officer, in front of their two daughters. In addition to the physical and mental suffering of the mother, the two girls’ psychological well-being was adversely affected. 

The facts: 
On the first applicant’s request, a protection order had been issued against the violent husband, who did however not respect the order. Finally, the Moldovan Courts stood on the husband’s side by upholding his appeal and partly revoking the protection order.  The first applicant had filed a criminal complaint and had claimed that she has been pressured by other police officers to withdraw the complaint. Although a criminal investigation had been finally launched, and substantive evidence of the husband’s guilt has been found, the prosecutor decided to suspend the investigation for one year subject to the condition that the investigation would be reopened if the husband committed another offence during that time. The prosecutor based his decision on the consideration that, the husband had committed “a less serious offence” and “did not represent a danger to society.”

Global and Regional Estimates of Violence against Women: Prevalence and Health Effects of Intimate Partner Violence and Non-Partner Sexual Violence. World Health Organization, Department of Reproductive Health and Research, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, South African Medical Research Council; 2013. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The report presents the first global systematic review of scientific data on the prevalence of two forms of violence against women: violence by an intimate partner (intimate partner violence) and sexual violence by someone other than a partner (non-partner sexual violence). It shows, for the first time, global and regional estimates of the prevalence of these two forms of violence, using data from around the world. Previous reporting on violence against women has not differentiated between partner and non-partner violence.

CEDAW. CEDAW General Recommendation No. 29 - 2013 - Marriage & Family Relations. C/GC/29 . 2013. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Article 16 of the Convention provides for the elimination of discrimination against women at the inception of marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution by divorce or death. In 1994 the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women adopted general recommendation No. 21, which elaborated upon many aspects of article 16 as well as its relationship to articles 9 and 15. General recommendation No. 21 notes that article 16 (1) (h) specifically refers to the economic dimensions of marriage and its dissolution. This new general recommendation builds upon principles articulated in general recommendation No. 21, other relevant general recommendations such as No. 27, and the Committee‟s jurisprudence. It invokes the definition of discrimination contained in article 1 of the Convention and calls upon States parties to take legal and policy measures as required under article 2 of the Convention and general recommendation No. 28. It also integrates social and legal developments that took place since the adoption of GR 21, such as the adoption by some State parties of laws on registered partnerships and/or de facto unions, as well as the increase in the number of couples living in such relationships. 

Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: A statistical overview and exploration of the dynamics of change. UNICEF; 2013. Publisher's VersionAbstract

A new report from UNICEF analyses prevalence and trends in female genital mutilation/cutting in 29 countries. Drawing on data from more than 70 nationally representative surveys over a 20-year period, the report finds that the practice has declined in a number of countries. Other important changes are under way.

The Global Gender Gap Report 2013. World Economic Forum; 2013. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The Global Gender Gap Index seeks to measure one important aspect of gender equality: the relative gaps between women and men, across a large set of countries and across the four key areas of health, education, economy and politics.

AHRD Book Launch Remarks – Chair of the AICHR. Association of Southeast Asian Nations. 2013. Publisher's VersionAbstract

It is indeed an honor for me as Chair of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) to officiate this important occasion as we gather to celebrate the launch of the book on the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration and the Phnom Penh Statement on the Adoption of the AHRD in the national languages of ASEAN Member States and to introduce the AHRD to all of you during the 46th Anniversary of ASEAN. The ASEAN Human Rights Declaration is a landmark document and milestone journey for our region demonstrating the commitment and support of ASEAN to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms.