Women's Human Rights Resources Database

 

Your search for the subject "Violence Against Women" found 90 records.

[ Articles Documents Links ]

Click each title for item details
 
Case Law

1
A v. Croatia, App. No. 55164/08, (2010)

In A v Croatia, the Court reaffirmed that a State failure to provide women with protection against domestic violence can violate Article 8 of the Convention, the right to respect for private and family life. In this case, the State failure was not systemic; rather, the violation was established on the basis that the authorities failed to implement measures ordered by a domestic court, thus failing to provide the applicant with protection against further violence. A and her daughter had been subjected to violence at the hands of her husband from 2003 to 2006, followed by a number of attempts by A to file complaints against her husband between 2004 and 2009. The protective measures ordered were simply not enforced and the husband's jail sentences were not served.

View Article - [ HTML Format]

2
Bevacqua and S. v. Bulgaria, App. No. 71127/01, (2008).

The Bevacqua case was the first to recognize that a failure to protect a woman and her child from violence and harassment can constitute a violation of Article 8 of the Convention, the right to respect for private and family life. Bevacqua, along with her minor son, left Bulgaria for Italy after her divorce. She applied for an interim custody order, stating that her husband had battered her. Over the course of one year, Bevacqua was unable to obtain the order, and continued to be harassed and assaulted by her ex- husband. Despite repeated assaults, the police did nothing to assist Bevacqua, and upon complaining of their inaction, Bevacqua was told her that the issue was a "private matter". The Court held that Article 8 was violated based on the Bulgarian authorities' failure to protect Bevacqua and punish her husband for the assaults. The Court also found that the categorization by the Ministry of the Interior of the issue as a "private matter" was incompatible with the state's obligation to protect the applicant's family life. It is especially noteworthy that the Court chose to interpret Article 8 not as requiring the State to stay out of private and family matters, but rather as requiring the State to intervene where women face situations of violence in the private sphere.

View Article - [ HTML Format]

3
Branko Tomasic and Others v. Croatia, App. No. 46598/06, (2009)

The Tomasic decision affirmed the holding in Kontrova that a failure to protect women from domestic violence can result in the violation of the right to life (Article 2). The Court found such a violation in this case on the basis that death threats were not followed up on, despite being made to officials during psychiatric treatment in prison. The applicants, relatives of the mother and child victims M.T. and V.T., claimed that the State failed to exercise due diligence to protect the victims after M.T.s husband was released from prison. The husband was serving a jail sentence, along with compulsory psychiatric treatment, for threatening to kill his wife and their baby with a bomb. Shortly after his release, the husband shot and killed his wife and baby. The Court held that State officials, in this case, should have required the husband to undergo a psychiatric assessment before his release, required the husband to undergo the psychiatric treatment that he was sentenced to while in prison, and should have searched his vehicle and home after the death threats were reported. A failure to undertake all these actions amounted to a violation of the States positive obligations to uphold the right to life.

View Article - [ HTML Format]

4
Da Penha (Fernandes) v. Brazil, Inter-Am. Commn H.R., Report No. 54/01, OEA/Ser./L/V/II.111 Doc. 20 (2001)

Da Penha v Brazil was the first decision, under the Inter-American system and worldwide, to hold that a State had committed a human rights violation for failing to protect a woman from domestic violence. Maria De Penha Fernandes filed a petition against Brazil in 1998, alleging that the Brazilian government condoned the ongoing domestic violence perpetrated against her by her husband, which culminated in two attempted murders, the first of which left her paralyzed. Despite clear evidence implicating the perpetrator, the initial investigation into the complainant's situation began eight years after the first murder attempt, and a final sentence had not yet been reached at the time of the complaint, seventeen years later. The Commission found that the States failure to effectively prosecute violated the American Convention of Human Rights (CADH), namely the rights to a fair trial and to judicial protection (Articles 8 and 25). Articles 2 and 18 of the American Declaration on the Rights and Duties of Man and Article 7 of the Convention of Belem do Para were also found to have been violated. One of the key elements of the Commission's decision is its focus on the pattern of negligence and ineffectiveness in the prosecution of violence against women cases. This case is also noteworthy for its discussion of temporal jurisdiction and the requirement that domestic remedies be exhausted. In Da Penha, the Commission shows a willingness to interpret its jurisdictional rules in favour of assuming jurisdiction.

5
E.S. and Others v. Slovakia, App. No. 8227/04, (2009)

In E.S., the Court confirmed its previous decisions in Bevacqua and Opuz by holding that State failures to protect women and children from domestic violence can violate Articles 3 (freedom from inhuman and degrading treatment) and 8 (respect for private and family life) of the European Convention on Human Rights. E.S., who was recently divorced from her husband and had obtained legal custody of their children, filed a criminal complaint against her husband stating that he had mistreated both her and the children, and had sexually abused one of their daughters. She requested interim measures ordering her husband to move out of the flat in which they were joint tenants. The courts denied her request, finding that it did not have the power to restrict the husbands right to use his property. E.S. was consequently required to move away with the children. Though the property interests were eventually severed, the fact that domestic law prevented E.S. from obtaining protection when she needed it was found to be in violation of the Convention. In finding that the Convention had been violated, the Court stated that the domestic authorities failed to protect the applicant and her children from ill treatment, and also failed to meet their positive obligations to respect the family and private lives of the applicants.

View Article - [ HTML Format]

6
Gonzales et al. (Cotton Field) v. Mexico, Preliminary Objection, Merits, Reparations, and Costs,, Inter-Am. Ct. H.R. (ser. C) No. 205 (Nov. 16, 2009)

The Cotton Field petition concerned the State's response to the disappearance, torture and murder of three young girls near Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, whose bodies were among eight found in a cotton field. This case is noteworthy for its application of the due diligence standard to assess the State's response to the girls' disappearances. The Court found the murders formed part of a systematic pattern of gender-based human rights abuses in the Ciudad Juarez region, as the murders shared common factors that were indicative of a pattern of violence against women. The Court highlighted that the victims were primarily girl children, a particularly vulnerable group identified in Article 9 of the Convention of Belem do Para. The Court also concluded that the police investigation of the disappearances was inefficient, incompetent and insensitive, and that this failure contributed to a climate of impunity in the Ciudad Juarez region. The Court consequently held that Mexico was in violation of Articles 4(1), 5(1), 5(2) and 7(1) of the American Convention on Human Rights (CADH), namely the rights to life, personal integrity and liberty of the named victims. The Court also found that these rights were violated in connection to Articles 19 and 1(1). However, the Court placed an important limitation on the States obligation of due diligence, noting that a pattern of systemic violence against women does not give rise in and of itself to obligations towards individual victims. It was only once the girls were reported missing by their families that a strict due diligence obligation was triggered.

7
Hajduova v. Slovakia, App. No. 2660/03, 53 Eur. H.R. Rep. 8, (2010)

In Hajduova, the European Court of Human Rights held that Article 8 of the Convention, the right to respect for private and family life, was violated on the basis of well-founded fears of violence. Hajduova had brought criminal complaints against her ex-husband after he attacked her and threatened to kill her. The State failed to punish the husband for offences for which he had been convicted in the past, and he was released without having undergone psychiatric treatment. Upon release, he continued to threaten Hajduova. Though those threats had not yet materialized, the Court stressed the importance of protecting the physical and psychological integrity of an individual from others, particularly in the case of victims of domestic violence.

View Article - [ HTML Format]

8
Ines Fernandes Ortega v. Mexico, Case 12.580, Inter-Am. Comms H.R., OEA/Ser.L/V/II. Doc. 51 (2009)

Ines Fernandes Ortega, an Indigenous woman who was raped by a member of the Mexican military, filed a claim centered on the State's failure to provide her with adequate medical and legal services after the incident. Ortega also alleged that the military's investigation of her case had been ineffective, as it had progressed little over the course of eight years. The Ortega case is noteworthy primarily for its discussion of rape as a form of torture under the Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture, as well as its attempt to analyze the case taking into account the victim's multidimensional identity as an Indigenous woman living in a marginalized community. The Court also found that the State was responsible for violating Articles 5 and 11 of the Convention in relation to Article 1(1), Articles 1, 2, 6, 8 and 25 of the Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture, and Article 7(a) of the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment, and Eradication of Violence against Women. One of the key holdings in Ortega is that rape never bears a link to military discipline, and that it will always be inappropriate for the military to assume jurisdiction over investigations of incidents of sexual violence.

9
Kontrova v. Slovakia, App. No. 7510/04, (2007).

Kontrova was the first case in which the European Court of Human Rights recognized a rights violation for failing to offer adequate protection from domestic violence. In 2002, Kontrova filed a criminal complaint against her husband, accusing him of assaulting her and beating her with an electric cable. Days later, she returned to the police station with her husband to modify the complaint such that her husband's alleged actions were treated as a minor offence, which called for no further action. The following month, the police were called by Kontrova and a relative to report that the husband had a shotgun and was threatening to kill himself and the children. A few days later, he acted on these threats and killed the children. Although the domestic courts found that the tragedy was a direct consequence of the police's failure to act, Kontrova was unsuccessful in seeking compensation. In light of these facts, the Court held that there had been a violation of Article 2, the right to life, given the domestic authorities' failure to protect the lives of the applicant's children. The Court found that the police had failed in their obligations by not accepting the criminal complaint, launching an investigation and commencing criminal proceedings. The Court also condemned the State's failure to take action pursuant to the emergency calls placed shortly before the murders. Finally, the Court held that the State had also violated Article 13, the right to an effective remedy, stating that Kontrova should have been able to apply for compensation where she had suffered harm as a result of police failures.

View Article - [ HTML Format]

10
Lenahan (Gonzales) et al. v. United States, Case 12.626, Inter-Am. Commn H.R., Report No. 80/11 (2011)

The Gonzales decision offers a concrete application of the due diligence standard in the context of domestic violence. Lenahan petitioned the Commission following the murders of her three minor daughters by her estranged husband. She alleged violations of her rights based on the failure of the police to respond to her calls on the night of the murders, and the failure to investigate the circumstances of the deaths, including possible errors by the police that may have contributed to the deaths. This case is particularly noteworthy for its canvassing of the international bodies' positions on the due diligence standard, which the Commission adopts and applies in this case. The Commission's analysis is also noteworthy for the emphasis placed on the existence of a restraining order as providing notice of danger to the State, as well as its discussion of the concrete steps that the police should have taken. The Commission re-iterated that a State's failure to act with due diligence to protect women from violence constitutes a form of discrimination, and that this responsibility extends to preventing, prosecuting and sanctioning acts of violence committed by private actors. The Commission held that in this case, the United States failed to exercise due diligence to protect Lenahan and her children from domestic violence, and was thus in violation of its obligations under the American Declaration on the Rights and Duties of Man, namely the rights to equal protection before the law (Article II), life (Article I), special protection as girl children (Article VII) and judicial protection (Article XVIII).

11
Opuz v. Turkey, App. No. 34401/02, 50 Eur. H.R. Rep. 28, (2009)

Opuz is the case in which the Court established that State failures to protect women from violence can violate the right to non-discrimination, enshrined in Article 14. Turkeys failure to set up a system to protect domestic violence victims and punish offenders was also found to violate the rights to life (Article 2) and freedom from degrading or inhuman treatment (Article 3). Opuz alleged that State authorities had failed to protect her and her mother from domestic violence at the hands of her husband, which led to the infliction of life-threatening injuries on the complainant and to the death of her mother. Several complaints had been filed over the course of seven years, with no action by the authorities. It was only when Opuzs mother was murdered that her husband was arrested, though he was released pending his appeal, and continued to threaten Opuz. The States failures in this case were recognized to be systemic, as the Turkish legal system did not offer many of the measures generally used to protect victims of domestic violence.

View Article - [ HTML Format]

12
Valentina Rosendo Cantu et al., Case No. 12.579, Inter-Am. Commn H.R., OEA/Ser.L/V/II, doc. 51 (2009)

The Cantu decision analyzes rape as torture and attempts to recognize the victims' multidimensional identities as Indigenous females living in poverty. In Cantu, the Court emphasizes the victim's status as a child and the role that that status plays in determining the scope of the States obligations. This factor was considered in conjunction with the victim's status as an Indigenous woman, which also led the Court to conclude that the State was to be held to a higher standard of conduct. Cantu reaffirmed the test used in Ortega to determine whether rape constitutes torture under the Inter- American Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture. It also confirms one of the key findings in Ortega that military involvement in rape investigations is always inappropriate.

 
Documents by United Nations Bodies and Agencies

13
UN Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, General recommendation No. 28 on the core obligations of States parties under article 2 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women , CEDAW/C/2010/47/GC.2 (Dec. 16, 2010)

This recommendation aims to clarify the scope and meaning of Article 2 of CEDAW, which identifies the nature of the general legal obligations of state parties. The recommendation clarifies that these obligations include States legal obligations to protect and fulfill womens rights to non-discrimination and enjoyment of equality, and explains the nature and scope of those obligations. States have an obligation to refrain from directly or indirectly denying women equal opportunities, to protect women from discrimination by private actors, and to take steps to eliminate sexist customary practices. The recommendation provides a list of appropriate means and measures for implementation and accountability and concludes that the Committee views reservations to article 2 as incompatible with the object and purpose of the Convention.

View Article - [ HTML Format]

14
United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Access to Justice for Victims of Sexual Violence, Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, (2005)

This report by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) assesses the extent to which the Government of the Sudan has lived up to its commitments with regard to combating domestic violence in Darfur. The OHCHR recommends that the Government of the Sudan take responsibility to protect against re-victimization of victims of sexual violence. Judicial and law enforcement staff, as well as local authorities, and medical and social workers should be trained so that they can work effectively and respectfully with victims of sexual violence. Judicial and administrative structures must provide victims recourse to expeditious, fair, inexpensive and accessible procedures, and gender-insensitive laws must be modified accordingly. The Government of the Sudan must publicly acknowledge the scope of the problem of sexual violence, and take action to end the culture of impunity among perpetrators. Prompt, thorough and impartial investigations into all reports of sexual violence, along with punishment of perpetrators and compensation to victims that are in accordance with the gravity of the crime will send a clear message to perpetrators that rape will no longer be tolerated.

View Article - [ HTML Format]

15
United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, Addressing Conflict-Related Sexual Violence  An Analytical Inventory of Peacekeeping Practice (2007) ,

This report by UN Women examines efforts to combat sexual violence during times of armed conflict and makes recommendations for peacekeepers to improve these efforts. The report notes the importance of the military in this regard, as the first responder to most crises. The report argues that sexual violence is the least condemned war crime, and that it is thus crucial that it receive increased attention. The report proposes the installation of ceasefire monitors during times of declared ceasefire, noting the prevalence of rape at those times. The report also recommends the creation of specialized tasks to be instituted in military installations based on preventive physical protection, joint protection, quick impact projects, and community liaisons. The report draws a clear distinction between gender balance and gender capacity, arguing that increasing the involvement of women will not suffice without training for all those involved with peace-keeping efforts.

View Article - [ HTML Format]

16
United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, Breaking the Silence on Violence against Indigenous Girls, Adolescents and Young Women,

This study examines the violence experienced by Indigenous girls, adolescents, and young women in Africa, Asia Pacific, and Latin America. It considers the structural and underlying causes and risk factors for such violence and provides an overview of the current initiatives taking place at a national level. The study focuses on the pervasiveness of violence against women and girls and how it relates to recognized human rights, such as the right to education and health. It also highlights the correlation between the high risk of violence to Indigenous women and the ongoing marginalization of Indigenous peoples. The study concludes that protection of Indigenous women's right to be free from violence is essential to a fulsome implementation of CEDAW, CRC, and UNDRIP.

View Article - [ PDF Format requires pdf reader]
17
Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, Concluding Comments of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women: Burundi, 40th Sess, U.N. Doc. CEDAW/C/BDI/CO/4 (2008)

Commenting on the country report submitted by Burundi for its 40th Session, the Committee expresses its concern over the high number of women and girls who are victims of sexual violence, as well as the impunity enjoyed by perpetrators and the amicable settlement of cases through forced marriage of the victim to the perpetrator. Sexual violence is also present in detention centres, where women are not always separated from male prisoners. The Committee also notes the absence of effective measures within Burundi to combat trafficking in women. The Committee makes clear that a comprehensive strategy involves legislation, public-awareness campaigns, training for the judiciary, law enforcement, legal professionals and health professionals, and enhanced access to justice and legal, medical and psychological support for victims.

View Article - [ PDF Format requires pdf reader]
18
Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, Concluding Comments of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women: Colombia, 37th Sess, U.N. Doc. CEDAW/C/COL/CO/6 (2007)

Commenting on the country report submitted by Colombia for its 37th Session, the Committee notes the positive steps that Colombia has taken to combat VAW, including measures to strengthen legislative, policy and institutional frameworks with respect to persistence of violence. The Committee is concerned, however, that the general climate of violence and insecurity negatively impacts the full implementation of the Convention and that the links between drug trafficking and other forms of trafficking, including sex tourism and economic exploitation, are particularly harmful to women.

View Article - [ PDF Format requires pdf reader]
19
Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, Concluding Comments of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women: Cook Islands, 39th Sess, U.N. Doc. CEDAW/C/COK/CO/1 (2007)

Commenting on the country report submitted by the Cook Islands for its 39th Session, the Committee expresses concern about the persistence of VAW, the failure to recognize marital rape as an offence under the penal code, and the extent of prostitution linked to the country's tourism industry. The Committee recommends the development of a comprehensive strategy in conformity with General Recommendation 19, including public- awareness campaigns, service provision for victims, and training for the judiciary and public officials. It also encourages the State to pursue a holistic approach to addressing prostitution which involves providing women with educational and economic alternatives, taking steps to discourage the demand for prostitution, and ensuring the effective prosecution and punishment of those who exploit prostitution.

View Article - [ PDF Format requires pdf reader]
20
Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, Concluding Comments of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women: France, 40th Sess, U.N. Doc. CEDAW/C/FRA/CO/6 (2008)

Commenting on the country report submitted by France for its 40th Session, the Committee notes with approval the State party's VAW awareness-raising programs, research initiatives and the adoption of legislation to strengthen the prevention and punishment of domestic violence and violence against children. The Committee expresses concerns, however, about the prevalence of domestic violence and trafficking in women and children. The Committee recommends that the State analyze all cases, especially those that result in murder, to ensure the adoption of effective measures to protect women from violence. The Committee emphasizes the need for coordinated action between the police, the public prosecutor and NGOs. It calls upon the State to study and identify the root causes of trafficking in order to formulate and implement policies to address them.

View Article - [ PDF Format requires pdf reader]
21
Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, Concluding Comments of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women: Guinea, 39th Sess, U.N. Doc. CEDAW/C/GIN/CO/6 (2007)

Commenting on the country report submitted by Guinea for its 39th Session, the Committee expresses concern over the persisting stereotypes, and cultural norms, customs and traditions, such as female genital mutilation (FGM), that are harmful to women and girls. It also notes with concern the prevalence of violence and persisting patriarchal attitudes that deem such conduct acceptable, and the lack of information about the extent of trafficking within Guinea, particularly from rural to urban areas. The Committee encourages the State to "view culture as a dynamic dimension of the country's life and social fabric, subject to many influences over time and therefore subject to change". Consequently, it recommends that the State put in place a strategy with clear goals, timelines and monitoring mechanisms to modify or eliminate harmful cultural stereotypes or practices and their underlying justifications. The Committee also offers recommendations specific to the issue of FGM.

View Article - [ PDF Format requires pdf reader]
22
Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, Concluding Comments of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women: Indonesia, 39th Sess, U.N. Doc. CEDAW/C/IDN/CO/5 (2007)

Commenting on the country report submitted by Indonesia for its 40th Session, the Committee commends the State party for its new legislation combating domestic violence and trafficking in women. It does note, however, three particular areas of concern  the prevalence of female genital mutilation (FGM), the abuse of domestic workers by employers, and the persistence of domestic and cross-border trafficking in women and children. Recommendations include enacting new legislation, undertaking public awareness campaigns and increasing monitoring of employers of female domestic workers.

View Article - [ PDF Format requires pdf reader]
23
Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, Concluding Comments of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women: Jordan, 39th Sess, U.N. Doc. CEDAW/C/JOR/CO/4 (2007)

In commenting on the positive steps reported by Jordan during the 39th Session, the Committee takes note that it amended its penal code so that it no longer exonerates perpetrators of crimes committed in the name of honour and that it established the Family Reconciliation Centre as a refuge for women fleeing abusive situations. The Committee also identifies a number of areas of concern, including the prevalence of VAW and harmful social attitudes that may deter victims from reporting abuse, the fact that honour crimes are treated differently from other crimes of violence, the persistent lack of shelters and services for victims of VAW and the practice of putting women at risk in "protective custody" which deprives them of their liberty.

View Article - [ PDF Format requires pdf reader]
24
Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, Concluding Comments of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women: Malawi, 35th Sess, U.N. Doc. CEDAW/C/MWI/CO/5 (2006)

Commenting on the country report submitted by Malawi for its 39th Session, the Committee commends Malawi on its recently adopted Prevention of Domestic Violence Act. It expresses concern, however, about the fact that marital rape is not criminalized and that violence against women and girls and the perpetuation of negative cultural practices continues to persist. It also notes the increase in sexual exploitation of young girls in schools by teachers, continued prevalence of prostitution due to the poverty of women and girls, and alleged cases of trafficking of women in Malawian refugee camps.

View Article - [ PDF Format requires pdf reader]
25
Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, Concluding Comments of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women: Sweden, 40th Sess, U.N. Doc. CEDAW/C/SWE/CO/7 (2008)

Commenting on the country report submitted by Sweden for its 40th Session, the Committee commends the State party for its 2007 action plan on VAW, new legislative initiatives with respect to domestic and sexual violence, the introduction of a provision criminalizing human trafficking, and the possibility of issuing time- limited residence permits to victims and witnesses of trafficking. The Committee does note, however, that the provision of support services varies between municipalities, to the detriment of particularly vulnerable victims, such as those with disabilities. It is also concerned with insufficient data on the prevalence of trafficked women and girls within Sweden, and the occurrence of trafficking, prostitution and related issues committed by Swedish citizens abroad.

View Article - [ PDF Format requires pdf reader]
26
Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women: Iceland, 41st Sess, U.N. Doc. CEDAW/C/ICE/CO/6 (2008)

Commenting on the country report submitted by Iceland for its 41st Session, the Committee commends Iceland for positive amendments to its penal code, the reappointment of the government's Committee on VAW and the re-launch of a national domestic violence projected entitled "Male Responsibility". The Committee does, however, note several areas of concern, including light penalties for crimes of sexual violence, the lack of detailed information regarding the use and effectiveness of restraining orders, obstacles faced by immigrant women and women of vulnerable groups when seeking protection, the absence of appropriate measures regulating prostitution, and the lack of a victim and witness program for trafficked persons.

View Article - [ PDF Format requires pdf reader]
27
Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women: Nigeria, 41st Sess, U.N. Doc. CEDAW/C/NGA/CO/6 (2008)

Commenting on the country report submitted by Nigeria for its 41st Session, the Committee notes with approval the awareness-raising campaigns, training programs, and support service provision undertaken by the State party. It also raises concerns about the lack of a comprehensive national law and strategy within the State on VAW, and the lack of government support for NGOs working to combat VAW. The Committee's recommendations focus specifically on combating trafficking, enacting comprehensive legislative on violence against women, and increasing support for NGOs.

View Article - [ PDF Format requires pdf reader]
28
Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women: United Republic of Tanzania, 41st Sess, U.N. Doc. CEDAW/C/TZA/CO/6 (2008)

Commenting on the country report submitted by Tanzania for its 41st Session, the Committee focuses on three particular areas of concern  the high prevalence of violence against women and girls coupled with a widespread attitude of impunity for perpetrators, the continued prevalence of female genital mutilation (FGM) and the persistence of trafficking and sexual exploitation of women and girls. The Committees recommendations centre on awareness and legal measures to combat violence against women generally, as well as female genital mutilation and trafficking in particular.

View Article - [ PDF Format requires pdf reader]
29
United Nations Human Rights Committee, Concluding Observations of the Human Rights Committee: Russian Federation, 24 November 2009, CCPR/C/RUS/CO/6

In this report, the UN Human Rights Committee (the Committee) makes observations noting a continued prevalence of violence against women and a lack of shelters available to women experiencing violence in the Russian Federation. The Committee expresses concern with regard to allegations of the "honour killings" of eight women in Chechnya. It recommends that the Russian Federation promptly investigate and prosecute complaints relating to violence against women, allocate sufficient funding to victim assistance and support, and institute mandatory training for police to sensitize them to crimes involving violence against women.

View Article - [ HTML Format]

30
United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties under Articles 16 and 17 of the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: Concluding Observations of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: Sweden, 1 December 2008, E/C.12/SWE/CO/5

The Committee, in its concluding observations for the country report submitted by Sweden, expresses concern that the State party does not have a specific criminal offence for domestic violence. Also, despite the State party's efforts, most reports of violence against women are not prosecuted. The Committee recommends that the State party adopt specific legislation to criminalize domestic violence and increase efforts to prosecute offenders.

View Article - [ HTML Format]

31
United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties under Articles 16 and 17 of the Covenant: Concluding Observations of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: Australia, 12 June 2009, E/C.12/AUS/CO/4

The Committee, in its concluding observations on Australia's country report, expresses concern that, despite the State party's attempts, incidents of violence against women continually persist, especially with regard to indigenous women. The Committee recommends that the State party enact specific legislation criminalizing domestic violence, consider adopting the Australian Human Rights Commissions proposals related to the development of the Plan of Action to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children, and provide additional shelters and support services to victims. The Committee also recommends that the State party increase efforts to prosecute crimes of domestic violence.

View Article - [ HTML Format]

32
United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties under Articles 16 and 17 of the Covenant: Concluding Observations of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: Cambodia, E/C.12/KHM/CO/1

In this report, The Committee recognizes Cambodia's adoption of the Law on Prevention of Domestic Violence Protection of Victims, but expresses concern over the continuing high levels of violence against women and girls that is accompanied by gender-biased attitudes blaming the victim and limiting her options and support. The Committee recommends that Domestic Violence Law be strictly enforced and prosecuted and that the State party take steps to increase gender equality in all aspects of its law and policy. The Committee further requests a detailed update to follow in the State partys next periodic report.

View Article - [ HTML Format]

33
Edwards, Alice, Displacement, Statelessness, and Questions of Gender Equality and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, (Apr. 2009)

This article demonstrates how CEDAW can be used to protect displaced and stateless women and girls who are vulnerable to violence and discrimination. The article provides an overview of the role of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women and describes the structures in place that support it in this role. The article discusses the lack of formal structures supporting the UNHCR in its function of overseeing implementation of statelessness conventions. The article suggests that CEDAW can be used to complement the role of the UNHCR by monitoring the implementation of human rights obligations in respect of displaced and stateless women.

View Article - [ PDF Format requires pdf reader]
34
UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre, Domestic Violence Against Women and Girls, (2000)

This report discusses the domestic abuse of women and girls on a global scale, noting that despite advancement of women's human rights and a growing understanding of domestic violence, significant portions of the female population continue to suffer gender-based maltreatment on an international scale. The report argues that recognition of domestic violence as a criminal offence and ending impunity are necessary to end the violence. The report begins with an overview on domestic violence and a description of the scope and magnitude of the problem. Causes and consequences of domestic violence are then analyzed. It ends with a series of recommendations and strategies. [Descriptors: Violence Against Women, International]

View Article - [ PDF Format requires pdf reader]
35
United Nations, Ending violence against women: From words to action, Study of the Secretary-General , (2006)

This study provides an overview of the context and structural causes of violence against women, describes the types and forms of violence experienced, and its consequences and costs. The study discusses States responsibilities to address violence against women and identifies gaps in the implementation of international standards. The study describes promising practices currently in action as well as challenges in implementation of law and services for the prevention of violence against women. Lastly, the report calls on states to prioritize efforts to eradicate violence against women at the local, national and international levels

View Article - [ PDF Format requires pdf reader]
36
Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, General Recommendation 24 (Women and Health), U.N. Doc. A/54/38/Rev.1 (1999)

The Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) issued General Recommendation 24 to address women's health. The Committee emphasizes that States have a duty to take appropriate measures "to the maximum extent of their available resources" to ensure that women have access to health care. Transferring State health functions to private agencies does not absolve State parties of responsibility in these areas. Because of unequal power relations, women and adolescent girls are often subjected to harmful traditional practices and sexual abuse, which may expose them to a greater risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases. Therefore, States should ensure the right to access sexual health information, and education and services for all women and girls, including those who have been trafficked, on an equal basis as men.

View Article - [ HTML Format]

37
Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, General Recommendation No. 12 (Violence Against Women), U.N. Doc. A/44/38 (1989)

In its General Recommendation 12, the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) states that articles 2 (policy measures), 5 (guarantee of basic human rights and fundamental freedoms), 11 (employment), 12 (health), and 16 (marriage and family life) of CEDAW require States to act to protect women against violence of any kind through the use of legislation and other appropriate measures, the provision of support services for victims, and the aggregation of statistical data on the incidence of VAW. States should also include information on VAW in their country reports to the Committee, including measures introduced to combat VAW.

View Article - [ HTML Format]

38
Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, General Recommendation No. 14 (Female Circumcision), U.N. Doc. A/45/38 (1990)

In its General Recommendation 14, the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) notes that action must be taken to eliminate the practice of female circumcision (female genital mutilation) and other practices harmful to women's health and well-being. Such action may include the collection of data about such traditional practices, the encouragement of all political and community leaders to influence attitudes towards the eradication of FGM, the introduction of appropriate public-awareness programs and health policies, and coordination with appropriate UN organizations.

View Article - [ HTML Format]

39
Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, General Recommendation No. 19 (Violence Against Women), U.N. Doc. A/47/38 (1993)

General Recommendation 19 is the CEDAW's key recommendation on violence against women. The Committee notes that gender- based violence in all forms "impairs or nullifies the enjoyment by women of human rights and fundamental freedoms" and that States are responsible for violence perpetrated by public authorities and for private acts with respect to which they have failed to act with due diligence to prevent, investigate and/or punish the violation of rights. Thus, laws against family violence and other forms of VAW must reflect the seriousness of such offences, give adequate protection to all women in all areas, and respect their integrity and dignity. Such legislation should also be coupled with appropriate support services. Because certain entrenched prejudices and traditional practices may justify gender-based violence as a form of protection or control over women, States must act to overcome and eliminate such harmful attitudes and customs. States must also take all appropriate measures to suppress all forms of trafficking in women and the exploitation and prostitution of women, including by taking preventive and punitive measures against traffickers and by addressing vulnerabilities raised by poverty, unemployment, armed conflict and the occupation of territories. Unequal access to health care, compulsory sterilization and forced abortion put the health and lives of women at risk and, therefore, also constitutes VAW.

View Article - [ HTML Format]

40
UN Division for the Advancement of Women, Good Practices in Combating and Eliminating Violence Against Women, (2005)

This report summarizes the results of an expert group meeting on good practices in ending violence against women that took place in Vienna, Austria in May 2005. The report begins with a background on violence against women and a discussion on its definition. Using examples, the remainder of the report focuses on good and promising practices in law, provision of services and prevention. The report emphasizes that what are considered good practices are not necessarily universal and depend on the context of their implementation. In its conclusion, the report identifies remaining challenges including the involvement of men in the campaign to end violence against women. [Descriptors: Violence Against Women, International]

View Article - [ PDF Format requires pdf reader]
41
UN Division for the Advancement of Women, Handbook for Legislation on Violence Against Women, ST/ESA/32 (2010)

This handbook is intended to help States and stakeholders develop and enhance existing laws to protect women based on the results of an expert group meeting by the UN Division for the Advancement of Women. The handbook outlines the international and regional legal and policy frameworks which mandate States to enact and implement comprehensive and effective laws addressing violence against women. A model framework for legislation is offered, which includes recommendations on legislative content and examples of best practices. The handbook also identifies considerations relevant to drafting legislation on violence against women.

View Article - [ PDF Format requires pdf reader]
42
Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, Ms. A.T. v. Hungary, Comm. No. 2/2003, U.N. Doc. CEDAW/C/36/D/2/2003 (2005)

In A.T. v Hungary, the complainant ("author") alleges that Hungary has violated articles 2(a) (equality in legislation), (b) (legislative measures prohibiting discrimination), and (e) ("all appropriate measures" to eliminate discrimination), 5(a) (modification of social and cultural patterns) and 16 (marriage and family life) of the Convention by failing to take all positive measures to provide her with effective protection from her common-law husband, who was allowed to return to their apartment based on arguments regarding his right to property, notwithstanding pending criminal charges of battery against the author. The author could not move to a shelter as there was none in the country equipped to house her disabled child. The Committee finds that Hungary has violated all the articles of the Convention alleged by the author, because of the inadequacy of the legal and institutional arrangements in Hungary to provide immediate protection, the primacy given to privacy and property rights by Hungarian courts over the author's rights to life and security, and the lack of alternative avenues for the author to pursue protection.

43
Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, Ms. Fatma Yildirim (deceased) v. Austria, Comm. No. 6/2004, U.N. Doc. CEDAW/C/39/D/6/2005 (2007)

In Yildirim v Austria, the authors alleged that the State failed to protect their deceased mother from her abusive former husband. The authors alleged that Austria violated articles 1 (discrimination), 2 (policy measures), 3 (guarantee of basic human rights and fundamental freedoms), and 5 (sex role stereotyping and prejudice) of the Convention by failing to take positive measures to protect the deceased's right to life and personal security. They argued that women are disproportionately and negatively affected by the inappropriate prosecution and punishment of offenders in domestic violence cases, the lack of coordination between the judiciary and law enforcement officials, and the lack of training for law enforcement and judicial personnel about domestic violence. The Committee concluded that in Yildirim's case, the State should have known that the victim was in a dangerous situation, thereby creating a duty to act to protect her. The Committee also emphasizes that a woman's right to life must not be superseded by a perpetrator's right to privacy or liberty. The Committee lists a number of recommendations aimed at preventing all forms of domestic violence and providing access to protection and redress to all victims.

View Article - [ PDF Format requires pdf reader]
44
UNIFEM, Not a Minute More: Ending Violence Against Women, (2003)

Noting the pandemic of violence against women and the silence of governments and the general public, this report demands action. It examines achievements and challenges, and assesses past practices in order to identify future strategies. It argues that while there have been moderate successes, "too many governments have made commitments, established legal frameworks and created policies and action plans to end violence, yet have not lived up to these commitments". It indicates that structural, legal, budgetary and attitudinal changes are necessary to improve the security and basic human dignity of the world's women. Recommendations are also included. [Descriptors: Violence Against Women, International]

View Article - [ PDF Format requires pdf reader]
45
United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Report of the Panel on Remedies and Reparations for Victims of Sexual Violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo to the High Commissioner for Human Rights, (2011)

In August 2010, the High Commissioner for Human Rights convened a panel to address the issues faced by victims of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This report documents the findings of the panel, including its assessments and recommendations with regard to the judicial mechanisms and other mechanisms necessary to provide the victims adequate access to remedies and reparations. Through interviewing victims of sexual violence in the DRC, the panel found that despite the country's efforts to address sexual violence through the implementation of a National Strategy to Combat Gender-Based Violence, the needs of the victims were still largely unmet. Some of the most significant concerns included the unavailability of health care, the lack of education available for their children, and rejection by their families and society. Many of the victims also have little possibility of receiving reparations because they cannot identify their perpetrator or the perpetrator has not been arrested, and the judicial system does not allow reparations without the perpetrator.

View Article - [ HTML Format]

46
Ward, Jeanne, Marsh, Mendy, United Nations Population Fund, Sexual Violence against Women and Girls in War and Its Aftermath: Realities, Responses, and Required Resources, (2006)

This briefing paper was prepared for the Symposium on Sexual Violence in Conflict and Beyond that took place in Brussels, Belgium in June 2006. Part I discusses the nature and scope of sexual violence against women and children in situations of armed conflict. Part II describes international actions that have been taken to combat gender-based violence against women. Here, the authors advocate a multi-sectoral approach, which "calls for holistic inter-organizational and inter-agency efforts, across the health, social services, legal and security sectors". Part III assesses progress in this area, arguing that states and the international community as a whole have failed to prioritize violence against women as a major health and human rights issue. The report concludes by highlighting the importance of ending impunity for perpetrators of violence. [Descriptors: Armed Conflict, Violence Against Women, International]

View Article - [ PDF Format requires pdf reader]
47
United Nations Population Fund, State of World Population 2005: The Promise of Equality: Gender Equity, Reproductive Health and the MDGs, (2005)

Chapter 7 of this report discusses gender-based violence, noting that "gender-based violence is perhaps the most widespread and socially tolerated of human rights violations". It begins with an overview of violence against women and girls, highlighting that domestic violence is the most common form of gender-based violence. The report then examines the scope and the various forms of gender-based violence. Gender-based violence is also discussed against the backdrop of UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) related to gender equality and the empowerment of women, infant and maternal health and mortality, and combating HIV/AIDS. The role of international campaigns and the involvement of men in the fight against gender-based violence are also discussed. [Descriptors: Violence Against Women, International]

View Article - [ HTML Format]

48
UN Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, Statement of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women on the 10th Anniversary of Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security (2010),

With the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security in 2000, the international community signaled its commitment to addressing the inequalities that exist between men and women in armed conflict. While attempts have been made to address the inequalities, progress has been limited and sexual violence and rape continue to be used as a means of war. One of the primary issues is the lack of an accountability mechanism to ensure implementation of the resolution. CEDAW is requesting that Member States collaborate with civil societies and NGOs to improve implementation. The Committee notes that states can help reduce the level of violence during armed conflict by responding to womens needs and protection, prosecuting the individuals responsible for the violence, and encouraging the involvement of women in decision-making.

View Article - [ PDF Format requires pdf reader]
49
United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, UN Sourcebook on Women, Peace and Security (2010), (2012)

UN Security Council Resolution 1325 recognizes that armed conflict affects women and girls differently than men and boys. This resolution has resulted in some improvements, but implementation challenges remain. Four recent resolutions (1820 in 2008, 1888 and 1889 in 2009, and 1960 in 2010) attempt to address these challenges. Together with Resolution 1325, these resolutions are known as the Women, Peace, and Security resolutions (WPS). This collection of papers provides resource material to support the implementation of these resolutions.

View Article - [ OTHER Format]

50
World Health Organization, Violence Against Women, (2000)

This fact sheet by the World Health Organization discusses violence against women as a health and human rights issue. It is based on the definition of violence against women set out in the UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women: "any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life". A public health approach to the prevention of violence against women and the impact on health care systems and society are also discussed. [Descriptors: Violence Against Women, International]

View Article - [ HTML Format]

51
Organization of American States, Violence in the Americas - A Regional Analysis Including a Review of the Implementation of the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence Against Women, Inter-American Commission of Women, Final Report, July 2001

This comprehensive report scrutinizes the effectiveness of strategies currently being employed by Organization of American States (OAS) members in the domestic implementation of the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women. The report focuses on national policies, social, economic and institutional barriers, and the relative impact of measures taken. Specific areas covered by the report include institutional violence against women; confronting legal, social and cultural conditions that perpetuate violence against women; legislative and administrative frameworks; the obligation of due diligence; access to justice and specialized services for victims: protection of particularly vulnerable groups; trafficking; research and evaluation methods; and international cooperation. The report concludes by stating that while the existence of the Convention has contributed to a growing recognition of the seriousness of the problem, little documented impact on women's conditions has materialized. As a result, the report warns that the legitimate need for patience and perseverance should not be utilized as a guise for complacency. [Descriptors: Key Treaties and Texts, Violence Against Women, International - Latin America, International - North America]

View Article - [ HTML Format]

52
Moser, Annalise, United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, Women Building Peace and Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict-Affected Contexts: A Review of Community-Based Approaches (2007),

This report by UN Women examines peace-building initiatives and the difficulties women face in participating in such. The document focuses on womens roles in reconciliation mechanisms for developing peace and protecting women. The document examines obstacles and solutions to womens engagement in peace-building initiatives and notes risks to physical safety, fear and gender roles encouraging male violence as disincentives to female participation. The document also notes problems in current funding mechanisms. In response to this funding challenge, UNIFEM provides some small grants, but this report notes difficulties in implementation of the grant system. The report also examines access to support services, awareness raising programs and conflict monitoring systems and concludes that these programs are helpful and essential, but insufficient in providing security for women at risk during armed conflict.

View Article - [ HTML Format]

 
Government Bodies

53
Funk, Anette, Lang, James L., Ending Violence against Women and Girls - Protecting Human Rights: Good Practices for Development Cooperation, (2005)

This report by a German governmental organization, GTZ, discusses the relationship between violence against women and development, noting that the former impedes the latter and places heavy social and economic burdens on society as a whole. It argues that "the root causes of violence against women are dominant gender norms and the unequal power balance between men and women" and seeks to develop a set of good practices to end this structural inequity. It begins by analyzing violence against women and the harmful impact on development. Violence against women is also discussed in relation to international human rights law and UN Millennium Development Goals. The report ends by using the activities of GTZ to illustrate potential strategies to end gender-based violence against women. [Descriptors: Violence Against Women, International]

View Article - [ PDF Format requires pdf reader]
54
United States Department of State, United States Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender-Based Violence Globally (Aug. 2012),

This document articulates the policies the United States intends to implement toward a comprehensive, multi-sector strategy for preventing and responding to gender-based violence worldwide. The strategys stated objectives are: 1) coordination of gender-based violence prevention and response efforts among US government agencies and other stakeholders ;2) enhanced integration of gender-based violence prevention into foreign policy goals; 3) improvement of data gathering and research on response efforts; and 4) enhancement and expansion of programming to address gender-based violence. The methods necessary to achieve these objectives are detailed specifically and at length.

View Article - [ PDF Format requires pdf reader]
 
Information from Non-Governmental Organizations

55
Human Rights Watch, At a Crossroads (2011),

This report provides an overview of ways in which the US-led invasion into Iraq has impacted that countrys respect for human rights, focusing on the rights of women and girls, freedom of expression, the torture of detainees, and marginalized communities. The report reveals that, while progress has been made, Iraqs transition to a functioning and sustainable democracy is far from over. The first section of the report, which addresses the rights of women and girls, describes how the invasion into Iraq caused the deterioration of security in that country, which resulted in a rise in tribal customs and religiously-inflicted political extremism. The report describes that it is common for militias, insurgents, Iraqi security forces, and multinational forces to rape and kill women and girls. The report further notes that women and girls are not safe in their own homes either, as they are regularly physically punished and sometimes killed by their own fathers, brothers and husbands for actions that allegedly shame the family, and that they are unable to seek protection from the all-male police and other security forces as that would likely result in further harassment and abuse.

View Article - [ HTML Format]

56
Human Rights Watch, Bring the Gun or Youll Die (2009), http://www.hrw.org/reports/2009/06/28/bring-gun-or-you-ll-die-0

This report documents the torture, rape and other serious human rights violations by Kenyan Security Forces in the Mandera Triangle. Human Rights Watch tracks the joint police-military operation launched by the Kenyan government in October 2008 that was planned as a deliberate attack on the local civilian population. The report reveals that over the course of several days, the Kenyan army and police targeted 10 towns where members of the security forces beat and tortured men and raped women in their own homes. Many of the victims report that senior police and army commanders were present during the operation and witnessed the widespread abuse and torture of civilians. While the Kenyan government has proposed security reforms, Human Rights Watch emphasizes that the only way it can prove its commitment to ending the impunity of its security forces is through implementation of reforms and prosecution of those responsible for these abuses.

57
Amnesty International, Broken Bodies, Shattered Minds: Torture and Ill-treatment of Women, (2001)

This report discusses whether violence committed against women in private and public settings constitutes torture. Noting governmental indifference to the maltreatment of women, the report demands for states to be held accountable for violence against women when they have failed to provide effective protection. It notes that gender-based violence is compounded by the many forms of discrimination that women face: "for all the gains that women around the world have made in asserting their rights, women worldwide still earn less than men, own less property than men, and have less access to education, employment and health care&. Violence against women feeds off this discrimination and serves to reinforce it". Personal experiences of victims of gender-based violence and recommendations for governments are also included. [Descriptors: Violence Against Women, International]

View Article - [ PDF Format requires pdf reader]
58
Cabrera-Balleza, Mavic, Popovic, Nicola, Costing and Financing 1325: Examining the Resources Needed to Implement UN Security Council Resolution 1325 at the National Level as well as the Gains, Gaps, and Glitches on Financing the Women, Peace and Security Agenda (Cordaid and ICAN-GNWP, 2011),

This resource addresses the issue of how UNSCR 1325 (2000), which recognizes womens rights to protection from violence and to participation in all peace and security processes, has yet to be substantially realized. Women continue to be the victims of gender-based sexual violence in the context of conflict and its aftermath, while perpetrators of these crimes go unpunished and women continue to be institutionally underrepresented in developmental decision-making. This report presents a strategic focus outlining the commitments that must be made to the mobilization of domestic and international financial resources towards implementing UNSCR 1325s mandate. The use of international instruments as tools for conflict resolution and prevention demands strong collaboration and coordination among different actors. Implementing UNSCR 1325 will require national action plans systemically translating its resolutions into executable, measurable and accountable acts. Effective national action plans will reflect the realities of the country, and will allow for comprehensive and systemic implementation, monitoring, and evaluation by the government, womens groups, the security sector, and other stakeholders in the country.

View Article - [ PDF Format requires pdf reader]
59
Sircar, Oishik, Engendering Persecution: Refugee law, International Protection and Violence Against Women in South Asia, WISCOMP (Women in Security, Conflict Management and Peace). Discussion Paper.

This paper makes a case for including gender-based persecution as a legal ground for seeking protection under international refugee law.

60
Center for Reproductive Rights, Female Genital Mutilation: A Matter of Human Rights: An Advocates Guide to Action, (2d ed. 2006)

This resource is a guide for advocates working to stop FGM, intended to assist with engaging governments by holding them accountable under international human rights law. Characterizing FGM as a violation of the human rights of women and girls has significant consequences for both NGOs and governments. A multi-strategy approach receptive to the efforts of NGOs and international organizations must be guided by respect for the human rights of girls and women, and will promote social participation and economic empowerment as critical practices in establishing accountability for human rights violations. Regional coordination is essential in advancing policies to eliminate FGM, as is the adequate monitoring of national progress.

View Article - [ PDF Format requires pdf reader]
61
Amnesty International, From Promises to Delivery: Putting Human Rights at the Heart of the Millennium Development Goals (2010),

This report focusing on the Millennium Development Goals features sections on womens human rights and indigenous women. The report notes that women account for 70 percent of people living in poverty, due in part to lack of sexual and reproductive health services. The report notes that indigenous women experience increased discrimination in some countries where they experience significantly higher rates of violence and less access to police protection and the justice system, and that there is often a disparity in health maternal risks between indigenous and non-indigenous women. The report draws attention to the states failure to protect human rights defenders and the detrimental effect that failure has on womens rights in general. Among its recommendations, the report suggests that states fulfill their obligations under international human rights law by identifying and addressing gender discrimination within their institutional frameworks.

View Article - [ PDF Format requires pdf reader]
62
Committee on African Affairs of the New York City Bar, Gender-Based Violence Laws in Sub-Saharan Africa (2007),

This report provides an overview of legislation in sub-Saharan Africa intended to combat gender-based violence against women, specifically rape, sexual assault, and domestic violence. The report reviews prohibitions on gender-based violence in international and regional instruments, including decisions from international tribunals and assesses applicable constitutional provisions in certain sub-Saharan African states. The report identifies what should be included when drafting and implementing relevant legislation, such as training for public officials and provision of services to victims. The report is intended as a guide for countries in sub-Saharan Africa that have not yet passed legislation addressing gender-based violence.

Committee on African Affairs of the New York City Bar, Gender-Based Violence Laws in Sub-Saharan Africa.

View Article - [ PDF Format requires pdf reader]

63
Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition, Global Report on the Situation of Women Human Rights Defenders , (Jan. 2012)

This report provides a contextual analysis of Women Human Rights Defenders (WHRDs) work and the violence they face because of it. This report aims to systematically collate individual and collective analysis of WHRDs experiences in order to address the gap in documentation of gender-based violence against WHRDs. The report focuses on five key phenomena: fundamentalism, militarization and situations of conflict, globalization, crises of governance, and heteronormativity. The report explores strategies for protecting WHRDs at risk, and for addressing structural challenges they face in their lives and work. Urgent protection and security strategies are necessary in immediate situations of WHRDs at risk; however, it is also crucial to address the repressive structures of law and policy that put WHRDs at risk by consolidating civil and political rights such as those established by the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.

View Article - [ PDF Format requires pdf reader]
64
Association for Women's Rights in Development (AWID), How Effective is a Human Rights Framework in Addressing Gender-based Violence? , (2008)

This article discusses how human rights mechanisms can be utilized to combat violence against women. Local movements must be linked to the growing global womens movement, and women must be encouraged to recognize themselves as subjects with rights and the capacity to confront oppressive judicial institutions. The demand for human rights must be linked with alternative ethical visions against the patriarchal structure of the geopolitical system. However, the human rights framework can only be effective as a legal mechanism of advancing social change in conjunction with the strengthening of feminist social welfare states and the building of a movement that positions itself as a political actor in a position to negotiate and make agreements with other legitimate actors. Translating international advances into legal norms and government policies requires a holistic and inclusive development model under the feminist principles of equality, empowerment, solidarity, and cooperation.

View Article - [ HTML Format]

65
Amnesty International, Indonesia: Briefing to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women: Women and girl domestic workers , (Jan. 1, 2011)

This briefing focuses on the lack of protection for female domestic workers against gender-based violence, and discrimination faced in the fields of employment, health and education in Indonesia. Discriminatory employment legislation and a lack of state mechanisms to prevent and punish violence against women domestic workers results in many women being subjected to physical, psychological and sexual violence. The briefing focuses on two concerns with regard to CEDAW: the obligation of the state to prevent and punish all forms of violence against women; and the obligation of the state to take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against female domestic workers in the fields of employment, health and education.

View Article - [ HTML Format]

66
Amnesty International, Issue Brief No.2 : THE INTERNATIONAL VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN ACT (I-VAWA) (S.2982, HR.4594), (Mar. 2010)

This brief describes the International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA) as a comprehensive, integrated approach to violence. The brief provides a short history of the I-VAWA and its intended effects, including addressing violence against women and girls, alleviating poverty, reducing social tensions, supporting survivors, creating a 5-year strategy to fight violence against women, defining a mandate for State officials and USAID, enabling the US government to develop a better response to violence against women, and building the effectiveness of overseas NGOs.

View Article - [ PDF Format requires pdf reader]
67
Amnesty International, It's In Our Hands: Stop Violence Against Women, (2004)

This report discusses violence against women, describing this phenomenon as "the greatest human rights scandal of our times". Chapter 1 uses a human rights framework to provide an overview of violence against women and international campaigns to end it. Chapter 2 discusses the relationship between sexuality, violence, and human and sexual rights. The impact of cultural and community values on women's rights and violence against women is discussed in chapter 3. Chapter 4 looks at three factors that fuel and reinforce this violence. Violence against women in conflict situations is discussed in chapter 5. Following chapters look at international laws and standards that establish women's right to be free from violence, states' obligations to protect this right and the impunity of perpetrators. Alternative legal routes and outlets for change are also explored. [Descriptors: Violence Against Women, International]

View Article - [ HTML Format]

68
Organization of American States, Legal Standards Related to Gender Equality and Womens Rights in the Inter-American Human Rights System: Development and Application, 2011,

This report examines the impact of orders from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (Court) on jurisprudence in the Americas relating to womens human rights. The report supports the standards of the Court and advocates an expansion of its recommendations. The report examines issues of violence and discrimination against women, and outlines the position of courts in the Americas on the merits of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). Subsections of the report include discussions of domestic violence, violence against women and homicide, violence against women and divorce, human trafficking, reproductive rights, political rights, and labour rights. The report ultimately recommends holding nations responsible for enforcing the legal policies they have committed to and notes the importance of the judicial branch in this endeavour. Finally, the report notes positive legislative and policy developments that have occurred in the Americas since the IACHR standards were established.

OAS, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Legal Standards Related to Gender Equality and Womens Rights in the Inter-American Human Rights System: Development and Application, OR OEA/Ser.L/V/II.143/Doc.60 (2011), online: http://www.oas.org.

View Article - [ PDF Format requires pdf reader]

69
Association for Womens Rights in Development, Militarism, Violence And Conflict  How Women Bear The Brunt Of War (2012),

This interview with Mavic Cabrera-Balleza examines implications of increased military spending for women. Cabrera-Balleza concludes that greater militarism and conflict increase incidences of violence against women and other attacks on womens human rights, which become normalized in the context of the conflict. Cabrera-Balleza argues that recent world crises have led to increased visibility of violence against women and increased solidarity between global activists. Cabrera-Balleza examines the effect of neoliberalism on the increase in poverty, and concludes that it has diminished access to healthcare services and ultimately reinforced gender inequality. Recommendations are made for an increase in positive rights alternative development strategies and a reduction in military spending, as the jobs and benefits created through state military expenditure would be more beneficial if applied to poverty and environmental crisis.

View Article - [ HTML Format]

70
Martin, Sarah, Refugees International, Must Boys be Boys? Ending Sexual Exploitation & Abuse in UN Peacekeeping Missions, (2005)

This report discusses the sexual exploitation and abuse committed against women and girls by UN officers during peacekeeping missions. Criticizing the "boys will be boys" approach to sexual exploitation and abuse, this report calls for the political will and action necessary to support the implementation of zero tolerance policies. It begins by introducing the problem and situating gender-based violence in various UN peacekeeping missions. The report also describes how the hyper-masculine culture of UN peacekeeping missions and a tradition of silence encourage the "boys will be boys" attitude. The rest of the report focuses on solutions, strategies and recommendations made by Refugees International to change this approach. [Descriptors: Armed Conflict, Violence Against Women, International]

View Article - [ PDF Format requires pdf reader]
71
Human Rights Watch, Soldiers Who Rape, Commanders Who Condone (2009),

This report addresses sexual violence and military reform in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the Forces Armées de la République Démocratique du Congo (FARDC), the government army, is one of the primary perpetrators of sexual violence. In this report, Human Rights Watch (1) provides a background of the abuses of sexual violence committed by FARDC, (2) examines efforts to stop that violence and (3) considers why such efforts have been unsuccessful. Senior officials of FARDC have escaped prosecution entirely and to date the only military personnel that have been prosecuted for sexual violence have been lower-ranked soldiers. Military commanders have also been documented to go to great lengths to shield their soldiers from prosecution. The report recommends that the Congolese government focus on strengthening the weak military justice system, improving living conditions of soldiers and removing officers from FARDC who have been responsible for past crimes. As these initiatives will take time to implement, the report recommends establishing a mixed chamber to prosecute high-ranking officers, armed group leaders, and civilian leaders responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity who would otherwise not be tried by the International Criminal Court.

View Article - [ HTML Format]

72
Human Rights Watch, Submission to the UNHCR: Violence Against Women and Girls with Disabilities , (Dec. 20, 2011)

This submission proposes that women and girls with disabilities face a double discrimination resulting in increased risk of violence by a larger range of perpetrators, at a higher frequency, and for a longer duration than that faced by women without disabilities. Key issues identified are legalized forced sterilization of women and girls with disabilities in many countries, less reporting of and barriers to prosecution and punishment for crimes of violence against women and girls with disabilities, and lack of consideration of women and with disabilities when programs addressing violence against women are developed. The submission provides an overview of relevant international instruments, including the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Uganda is examined as a case study, and specific recommendations for that country, as well as for the UN agencies and development parties working there, are offered.

View Article - [ PDF Format requires pdf reader]
73
Milliken, Jennifer, Gilgen, Elizabeth, Tackling Violence Against Women: From Knowledge to Practical Initiatives , (2011)

This working paper from the Geneva Declaration Secretariat supports work on the elimination of violence against women (VAW) in armed conflicts. In order to achieve a measurable reduction in the global burden of armed violence, researchers need to fill knowledge gaps in accounting for its gendered dimensions. To this end, the paper identifies key initiatives that researchers can undertake. These include 1) mapping VAW in different forms over time (changes in patterns, prevalence, and frequency); 2) standardizing the data collection to make cross-national comparisons possible; and 3)enhancing costing tools to estimate the financial and other negative impacts of VAW on development, which will enable a cost/benefit approach to evaluating programming. This last initiative will support more contextually adequate policy making, and in turn facilitate a more systematic approach to strategic analysis of programming.

View Article - [ PDF Format requires pdf reader]
74
Geneva Declaration Secretariat, The Global Burden of Armed Violence 2011: Lethal Encounters 113 , (2011)

This chapter monitors and interprets femicide in both armed conflict and in the domestic sphere, finding that more than half of all femicides occur in the domestic sphere, a result of intimate partner violence. Despite the underdiagnostic effect of the scarcity of data, the study concludes that femicide correlates strongly with intimate partner violence. This study disaggregates actors, causes and circumstances to show that the place where women are most unsafe is often in their own homes. The chapter finds that hidden forms of both lethal and non-lethal violence against women must be documented and reported in order to effectively map strategies for its prevention. To this end, the aggregation of data tracking the distribution of violence against women is a crucial factor in undertaking cross-national and sub-national initiatives to confront the problem.

View Article - [ PDF Format requires pdf reader]
75
Center for Reproductive Rights, The Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa: An Instrument for Advancing Reproductive and Sexual Rights , (Feb. 2006)

This briefing paper outlines the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa, which was ratified by 15 African governments in 2005. The protocol calls for broad protection for womens human rights, including their sexual and reproductive rights. Concrete suggestions are offered for womens health and rights advocates within and beyond Africa. Detailed information is also provided to help African women use the protocol to exercise their reproductive rights, as well as suggestions for governments to implement the protocols landmark provisions. The paper can also serve as a resource for advocates outside Africa who are seeking to establish similar guarantees. The topics covered by the protocol include reproductive health services, abortion, HIV/AIDS, sexual education, violence against women, and rights within marriage.

View Article - [ PDF Format requires pdf reader]
76
77
U.S. Civil Society Working Group on Women, Peace and Security, U.S. Civil Society Working Group Expert Statement for the U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security (2011),

The National Action Plan presents specific strategies to assist the United States government to enact policy regarding womens issues in the international community. Among the recommendations is for the U.S. to ensure more inclusive support in mediation and negotiation processes in resolving international conflicts, and seeks to achieve substantial womens participation in multilateral and bilateral post-conflict planning and programming. Concomitantly, this action plan recommends prioritizing the needs of women and girls in U.S.-funded emergency response and recovery programs, and to maintain zero tolerance and 100% accountability for sexual and gender based violence. The U.S. should also ensure that financial support for multilateral organizations is contingent on compliance with the provisions of UNSCR 1325, and to require U.S. government security and development contractors to demonstrate core competencies on UNSCR 1325 provisions in the contractors work, programs, and policies.

View Article - [ PDF Format requires pdf reader]
78
Amnesty International, Violence Against Women: A Fact Sheet , (Jul. 20, 2005)

This document provides general information on violence against women and States responsibilities to combat the problem. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) are identified as the three most prominent foundations for international womens human rights

View Article - [ PDF Format requires pdf reader]
79
De Bruyn, Maria, Ipas, Violence, Pregnancy and Abortion: Issues of Women's Rights and Public Health, (2003)

This report discusses the relationship between violence against women, and sexual and reproductive health issues. It begins by providing a background to the problem of gender-based violence related to pregnancy and abortion, including a discussion on international human rights law and the impunity of perpetrators. The links between violence, pregnancy and abortion are then discussed. The last portion of the report focuses on solutions based on a health promotion approach that can be implemented to address this problem at the local, national and international levels. Personal accounts are included to illustrate the extent of human rights violations experienced by women around the world. [Descriptors: Violence Against Women, International]

View Article - [ PDF Format requires pdf reader]
80
Human Rights Watch, What Will It Take? Stopping Violence Against Women, (2000)

In this document, Human Rights Watch observes that five years after the Beijing Conference, few advances have been made in the area of combating violence against women. Referring to reports on Jordan, Pakistan, Peru, Russia, South Africa, and the United States, HRW demonstrates that states continue to fail their human rights commitments with regard to violence against women. HRW recommends that states should take the following minimum steps: 1) repeal and revise all laws that discriminate against women and deny them access to justice; 2) eliminate police mistreatment of and bias against female victims of violence; 3) ensure that the medico-legal system provides women with appropriate diagnosis and treatment; 4) provide protection from violence; 5) ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice; and 6) eliminate judicial bias against women. [Descriptors: Violence Against Women, International]

View Article - [ HTML Format]

81
Global Network of Women Peacebuilders, Women Count: UN Security Council Resolution 1325: Civil Society Monitoring Report 2012 (2012),

Annotation This report provides comprehensively indexed country-specific analysis and recommendations on major trends in the implementation of UNSCR 1325 in each of the participating countries. Systematizing this information is intended to better enable GNWP members and their partners to use these findings as advocacy tools in pushing for more extensive implementation of the recommendations. The study uses tiered indicators to measure and monitor progress, and finds that post-conflict contexts appear to offer a window of opportunity for reforming discriminatory legislation and for initiating pro-gender policies. While there is a major implementation gap hindering the effectiveness of these laws and policies, access to transitional justice through community-based initiatives can be effective at both local and regional levels. Regional coordination in conjunction with smaller and more flexible funding opportunities has been established as among best practices; however inadequate budget allocations remain a major issue, and lack of data as well as disaggregated data remain problematic.

View Article - [ PDF Format requires pdf reader]
 
International Conventions and Declarations

82
United Nations Human Rights Committee, Concluding Observations of the Human Rights Committee: Republic of Moldova, 4 November 2009, CCPR/C/MDA/CO/2

The UN Human Rights Committee (the Committee), in its concluding observations of the country report for the Republic of Moldova, recognizes the State party's recent support of victims of domestic violence in their courts, but expresses concern at continued domestic violence and lack of judiciary intervention and shelter capacity. The Committee recommends that the State party enforce the laws on domestic violence and provide increased support to victims in the form of additional shelters, access to free counselling, and other necessary supports. The Committee also recommends that the judicial and law enforcement staff, local authorities, as well as, medical and social workers be trained on and sensitized to the issue of domestic violence. It is further recommended that statistics and reports related to the State party's successes and failures in this area be maintained and provided to the Committee in the future.

View Article - [ HTML Format]

83
United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties under Articles 16 and 17 of the Covenant: Concluding Observations of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: Cyprus, 12 June 2009, E/C.12/CYP/CO/5

The Committee, in its concluding observations to the country report for Cyprus, expresses concern about the prevalence of widespread domestic violence against women and children and the alarming fact that this type of violence largely goes unreported. The Committee recommends that the State party adopt a strategy to address domestic violence, allocate sufficient human and economic resources to support the strategy, and provide shelters for victims of domestic violence.

View Article - [ HTML Format]

84
United Nations General Assembly, Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women, G.A. Res. 48/104, 1993.

The Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women (DEVAW) focuses specifically on the problem of gender-based violence against women and girls. In Article 1, it sets out the definition of violence against women as "any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life". Subsequent articles outline women's human rights and fundamental freedoms, and state parties' obligations to uphold these rights and eliminate violence against women and girls. [Descriptors: Violence Against Women, International]

View Article - [ HTML Format]

85
Amnesty International, Hidden From Justice: Impunity For Conflict-Related Sexual Violence, A Follow-Up Report , (Oct. 2012)

A report detailing progress made since Amnestys September 2011 report, This is what we demand. Justice!: Impunity for Sexual Violence against Women in Colombias Armed Conflict, regarding conflict-related sexual violence against women in Colombia over the past 45 years and the failure to protect women from such violence. Since the initial report, governments and state authorities have partly demonstrated a greater level of intent to deal with sexual violence, but there is still a significant gap in terms of implementing laws, resolutions, decrees, protocols and directives. Obstacles include authorities lack of political will, lack of security for victims, and the role of military justice system. Many sexual violence crimes go unreported. Lack of effective protection is a principal obstacle to justice, as is discrimination by judicial officials, lack of accurate information, localized investigations, and failure to investigate conflict-related sexual violence as international crimes. The report makes specific recommendations to the Colombian government and calls on guerilla groups to end gender-based violence, and end violations of international humanitarian law.

View Article - [ PDF Format requires pdf reader]
86
United Nations General Assembly, Intensifying global efforts for the elimination of female genital mutilations, UN Doc A/C.3/67/L.21/Rev.1 (2012)

This is the first draft UN Resolution aimed at the practice of ending female genital mutilation (FGM), urging states to take measures, including legislative means to not only protect women and girls from FGM, but to end impunity for those who practice it. In addition to the development, implementation, support and financing of national legislative frameworks for the strategic elimination of FGM, the General Assembly calls for enhanced awareness-raising, so that key actors can better work to eliminate the attitudes that lead to this practice. The Assembly also calls upon states to support programmes that engage local community practitioners of FGM in community-based initiatives for the abandonment of the practice and the identification of alternative sources of livelihood for its practitioners. The Assembly calls upon the international community for the financial support, technical assistance, and implementation of targeted programs necessary to coordinate the elimination of FGM within a generation, and establishes February 6th as the International Day of zero tolerance for female genital mutilation.

View Article - [ PDF Format requires pdf reader]
87
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence Against Women , 33 I.L.M. 1534 (1994), entered into force March 5, 1995.

This is the first and only multilateral human rights treaty that focuses exclusively on violence against women. It was adopted in 1994. The Convention sets out the definition and scope of application, the rights protected, the duties of States, and the Inter-American mechanisms of protection. The Convention affirms "that violence against women pervades every sector of society regardless of class, race or ethnic group, income, culture, level of education, age or religion and strikes at its very foundations." The Convention provides a broad definition of violence, which includes acts that occur in the private or public sphere. The Convention recognizes that women may be particularly vulnerable to violence due to their race or ethnic background. Article 6 provides that the right to be free from violence includes the right to be free from all forms of discrimination. [Descriptors: Race and Gender, Key Texts, Violence Against Women, International - Latin America, International - North America]

View Article - [ HTML Format]

88
UN Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, Statement of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women on the Need for a Gender Perspective in the Text of the Arms Trade Treaty (2012),

This statement from by the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (the Committee) begins by establishing that gender-based violence against women is a form of discrimination that can seriously inhibit womens ability to enjoy rights and freedoms. The Committee encourages international efforts to establish a legally-binding Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) at the United Nations, as the arms trade is directly linked to gender-based violence against women and proliferation of arms and ammunition perpetuates the violence and abuse women are subjected to during times of conflict. The Committee emphasizes that the main focus of the ATT should be to prevent human suffering caused by the arms trade, especially among vulnerable groups such as women and children.

View Article - [ PDF Format requires pdf reader]
89
United Nations Security Council, Women, Peace and Security, SC Res 1820, UN SCOR, 63d Sess UN Doc S/Res/1820 (2008)

UNSCR 1820 condemns sexual violence as an instrument of conflict and commits the Security Council to implementing the steps necessary to decisively end this practice and punish its perpetrators. The resolution notes that rape and other forms of sexual violence can constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity, and constitutive acts with respect to genocide. In response to this, the resolution stresses the need for the exclusion of sexual violence crimes from amnesty provisions in the context of conflict resolution process, and mandates a zero tolerance policy for sexual violence crimes. The resolution emphasizes the necessity of womens contribution to peacebuilding, and to their full participation and involvement in decision-making with regard to security, conflict-prevention and resolution.

View Article - [ HTML Format]

 
Other

90
Steinitz, Maya, The Role of International Law in the Struggle Against Sex-Based and Gender-Based Violence Against Refugee Women, (2001)

This report examines how international law can be used to protect refugee women's rights in situations of sexual and gender-based violence. The first section of the report provides an introduction to international law and international judicial bodies. The second part of the report discusses the many forms of violence against women and the work of the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women. The report then focuses on the security of refugee women in particular and how international law can protect their rights. While the report is introductory in nature, it also includes an extensive list of other resources that may be useful for more in-depth research. [Descriptors: Migration - Refugees and Immigration, Violence Against Women, International]

View Article - [ PDF Format requires pdf reader]

Credits and History Privacy  Contribute to WHRR Bora Laskin Law Library  U of T Faculty of Law