United Nations: Expert on Violence against Women Addresses Human Rights Council
Tuesday, June 20, 2017 12:55 PM

On June 12, 2017, the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against women, its causes and consequences addressed the 35th session of the Human Rights Council. She spoke at length about her thematic report on violence against women, with a special focus on shelters and orders for protection (OFPs) that benefit survivors of domestic violence. The Special Rapporteur also spoke about the need to collect global data on femicide, or the murder of women because of their gender. She proposed that States collect data in two categories: “intimate partner femicide/ family related femicide – based on the relationship between the victim and the perpetrator,” and all other femicides. The Special Rapporteur stated that comparable data would help States understand their global position regarding femicide, and to adopt policies to help combat femicide. She also proposed that the collection of accurate femicide data should serve as “an objective indicator” of whether states were meeting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals on gender equality and the elimination of violence against women.

The Special Rapporteur also discussed her recent country visits to Israel, the Occupied Territory/State of Palestine, and Argentina. With regards to Irsael and Palestine, she stressed that both human rights law and international humanitarian law applied to the territory under state control. She noted that women in Palestine suffer from “multiple form of discrimination and violence” stemming from patriarchal societal norms and she encouraged Palestine to adopt draft legislation on domestic violence. She emphasized the gendered impact of occupation, and urged Israel to address human rights violations that occur within the occupied territory and at checkpoints. She concluded her remarks on Israel and Palestine by stating that, “reducing violence against women and promoting gender equality are two underused tools in bridging fragmented and divided communities and achieving peace.

Turning to Argentina, the Special Rapporteur highlighted the National Council of Women’s efforts to “promote and monitor the implementation of the international obligations on violence against women,” but noted that these obligations are not uniformly met in the various Argentinian provinces.  She expressed concern that, by law, prosecution of sexual offenses cannot occur without action from a private citizen. The Special Rapporteur ended her address by noting that her next thematic report will be about online violence against women.

Compiled from: 35th session of the Human Rights Council, Statement by Ms. Dubravka Šimonović, Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, its causes and consequences, UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (June 12, 2017).