On this page
- It is time to increase action to end and prevent violence against women and girls
- Combatting femicide
- Ni Una Menos movement is ahead of the problem: the state must catch up and intensify efforts to prevent femicide and other forms of gender-based violence against women and girls
- Reducing violence against women and promoting gender equality: two underused tools in bridging fragmented and divided communities and achieving peace
- Establishing a ‘Femicide Watch’
As part of her work, the SR-VAW delivers statements related to her ongoing activities and on issues she believes are paramount to advancing gender equality and combatting violence against women.
Here, you’ll find summaries of the current SR-VAW mandate holder’s statements. To review additional or archived statements (which may not be included here), visit the SR-VAW’s section of the OHCHR website.
It is time to increase action to end and prevent violence against women and girls
Delivered on: 2 December 2016
In this statement the SR-VAW joined with Margarette May Macaulay, Commissioner and Rapporteur on the Rights of Women (Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the ‘Commission’), to express strong alarm and concern over the continuing acts of extreme violence against women and girls in the Americas – and call for increased action to end and prevent such violence.
The information received by the Commission and the SR-VAW reveals that women and girls in the Americas continue to be and frequently are sexually abused, victimised, and killed. These cases do not occur in isolation, but are symptomatic and illustrative of the structural, endemic, and pervasive nature of violence against women and girls in the Americas.
In response, the Rapporteurs express their “profound repudiation” of these (gender-related) killings and jointly call for increased action to end the brutal acts of violence committed against women. In other words, the Rapporteurs call on all states to act without delay, and with the purpose of adequately prevent and respond to the ongoing crisis of violence against women and girls in the Americas. Such action includes:
- Urgently mobilising state resources to prevent, investigate, sanction, and grant reparations for all acts of violence against women and girls
- Enforcing measures to eradicate social stereotypes that fuel the problem of violence against women, and guaranteeing that women and girls can access information which is vital to the exercise all of their rights
- Full investigation of all cases, in a prompt and exhaustive way, with a gender perspective, aiming to identify and sanction those responsible
- Establishing and implementing continuous and comprehensive training for judicial and public service personnel and all police and armed forces – all irregardless of levels and rank
- Establishing a femicide watch or observatory on violence against women (for more information see statement below, ‘Combatting femicide’)
Delivered on: 25 November 2016
On the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (25 November), the German Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) organised a gender symposium on combatting femicide: ‘Combating violence against women – bringing security home’.
One year since her initial call to action (see ‘Establishing a “Femicide Watch”‘ below), the SR-VAW was invited to deliver a keynote speech on the challenges and measures needed to combat and prevent femicide.
Violence against women is a human rights violation and form of discrimination against women rooted in inequalities and discrimination, and its prevention and eradication must be grounded in gender equality and empowerment of women but based on data informed policy.
One of the SR-VAW’s immediate priorities is the prevention of femicide (or, the killing of women because of their sex and/or gender). At the Symposium, the SR-VAW emphasised the importance of establishing a femicide watch – and discussed the mechanisms for its establishment.
In her statement, the SR-VAW suggested that femicide watches could be a designated existing body or newly created interdisciplinary mechanism at the national level, consisting of legal professionals (who deal with VAW), NGO representatives and members of academia. And, data collected should fall under two broad categories (with subcategories): 1. Intimate-partner femicide/family-related femicide 2. All other femicides. This data should also include suicides or deaths related to cases of VAW, such as the killings of children related to gender-based violence against their mothers. Once collected, the data should be made publically available.
The SR-VAW also stated that each femicide watch (or ‘observatories on violence against women’) should also analyse all cases of femicide in order to determine systemic gaps in the response system to violence – in the criminal justice system and judicial procedures – and establish risk factors to prevent and to protect women and girls from femicide. This includes the collection of information on investigations, prosecutions and convictions of perpetrators, and redress and counselling provided to families. In addition, it was stressed that the review of each femicide case should occur independent of the court system.
During country visits, the SR-VAW has identified a lack of comprehensive data on femicide and other forms of VAW (leading her to call for submissions from civil society organisations, NHRIs, academia on femicide). As part of her efforts to strengthen the cooperation between global and regional mechanisms, the SR-VAW mandate issued a joint call with all other global and regional mechanisms. In this statement all key global and regional women’s rights expert mechanisms, jointly call for intensification of international, regional and national efforts for prevention of femicides and gender based violence.
Want more? Read the full statement online (English only) or the SR-VAW’s statements to the UN General Assembly (A/71/398) with recommended modalities for establishing a national “femicide watch,” or observatories on violence against women
Ni Una Menos movement is ahead of the problem: the state must catch up and intensify efforts to prevent femicide and other forms of gender-based violence against women and girls
Delivered on: 21 November 2016
From 14 – 21 November 2016, the SR-VAW undertook a country visit to Argentina. During that time she visited the provinces of Buenos Aires, Tucuman and Corrientes, meeting with authorities’ representatives (both at federal and at provincial level), civil society organisations and survivors of violence.
This statement was delivered as a preliminary response to the first-hand information she gathered on the situation of violence against women in the country.
The “Ni Una Menos” (“not one less”) movement in Argentina has organised large demonstrations to protest femicide and gender-based violence, and demand justice for victims. Ni Una Menos’s efforts have spread throughout South America and have challenged the Argentinian government to intensify its efforts to prevent and end violence against women. In her statement, the SR-VAW acknowledged the progress Nu Una Menos has made, and called on the government to take “concrete actions based on its due diligence obligation to prevent and combat femicide and other forms of violence in order to secure the right of each and every woman and girl to the right to live a life free from violence.”
Themes addressed in the SR-VAW’s statement include:
- Legal framework: international standards, institutional and policy frameworks, criminal code, implementation of law
- Action taken by the Consejo Nacional de las Mujeres (National Council of Women)
- Femicide and data on violence against women: establishment of a femicide observatory, data gathering and analysis
- Shelters, protection orders and help lines
- Legal assistance: addressing need, access to justice centres, free legal counselling
- Training of professionals on women’s rights and violence against women: judges, prosecutors, police officers, lawyers, social and health workers and teachers
- Gender stereotypes and awareness-raising activities
Want more? Read the full statement online (English only)
Reducing violence against women and promoting gender equality: two underused tools in bridging fragmented and divided communities and achieving peace
Delivered on: 22 September 2016
From 12 – 22 September 2016, the SR-VAW undertook a country visit to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory/State of Palestine. During that time she met with authorities’ representatives across ministries, civil society organisations, victims and United Nations officials in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Beer-Sheva, Haifa and Nazareth, Ramallah, Bethlehem, Hebron, Jericho, East Jerusalem and Gaza
In her statement, the SR-VAW delivered preliminary findings as a response to the first-hand information she gathered on the situation of violence against women in Israel and OPT/State of Palestine. Issues and themes discussed in the context of each country includes:
- Legal framework: international and regional standards, reservations to CEDAW, religious laws, criminal code
- Marriage and equality in the family: “GET abuse”, divorce proceedings, polygamy, mediation in family law disputes, under-age marriage
- Access to justice: legal aid, sexual harassment by police
- Vulnerable groups of women: shelter resources, access to services, education
- Effect of occupation on women: house demolitions, restricted freedom of movement, settlers’ violence, violence by Security forces, lack of access to justice
OPT/State of Palestine –
- Legal frameworks: outdated, non-harmonised legal system, criminal code
- Access to justice: lack of reporting, jurisdictional issues
- Marriage and equality in the family: under-age marriage/child marriage, marital rape, discrimination in the areas of inheritance, divorce and child custody
- Effect of occupation on women: unemployment, domestic violence, limited mobility and privacy, access to services for survivors of violence
- Gender norms and stereotypes: traditional and patriarchal norms within society
Concluding her statement, the SR-VAW called on both sides to “start a new peace process in which women would fully participate and even take the lead and in which international human rights law and humanitarian law would be applied jointly.“
Establishing a ‘Femicide Watch’
Delivered on: 23 November 2015
Speaking ahead of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (2015), the SR-VAW delivered a statement stressing that states must commit to prevent gender-related killing of women.
As part of this commitment, she urged all states to focus on prevention of gender-related killing of women by establishing a ‘Femicide Watch’.
According to the SR-VAW, barriers to preventing femicide (or, the killing of women because of their sex and/or gender) and developing meaningful prevention strategies include: weaknesses of national prevention systems, lack of proper risk assessment and the scarcity or poor quality of data. These barriers “result in misidentification, concealment and underreporting of gender-motivated killings thus perpetuating impunity for such killings.”
For this reason, the SR-VAW called on states to establish a femicide watch, to be published annually on 25 November – the International Day on the Elimination of Violence against Women – using the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence to present data collected and discuss actions needed for femicide prevention.
The SR-VAW recommended states cooperate with NGOs and independent human rights institutions working in this field, academia, victims’ representatives, as well as relevant international organisations and other stakeholders during the gathering, analysis and publication of data. Each case of gender-related killing should be carefully analysed to identify any failure of protection in view of improving and developing further preventive measures, and the data overall should be disaggregated according to:
- Age and sex of perpetrators
- Relationship between perpetrator and victim/victims
- Information concerning prosecution and punishment of perpetrators
The SR-VAW also stated that such data should be made publicly available at the national level, while the UN and other organisations should ensure the global and regional publication of such data.
Want more? Read the full statement (English only) or the SR-VAW’s statements to the UN General Assembly (A/71/398) with recommended modalities for establishing a national “femicide watch,” or observatories on violence against women