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Violence against women: UN human rights expert to visit Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory

GENEVA (9 September 2016) – United Nations Special Rapporteur Dubravka Šimonović will visit Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory from 12 to 22 September to examine the overall situation of violence against women and girls, and gather first-hand information from women survivors of violence.

“I am very grateful to both authorities for their invitation to conduct an official visit which will enable me to assess progress made and remaining challenges in their responses to violence against women and girls,” Ms. Šimonović said. “I am confident that my visit will help strengthening the authorities’ capacity to respond to acts of violence against women and girls, and to better protect and promote women’s rights.”

During her eleven-day visit, the expert will meet with representatives of the authorities and civil society organisations, as well as with UN officials. In Israel, the expert is scheduled to visit Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Beer-Sheva, Haifa and Nazareth. In the Occupied Palestinian Territory, she plans to visit Ramallah, Bethlehem, Hebron, Jericho, East Jerusalem and Gaza.

The Special Rapporteur will also visit shelters for victims of domestic violence and she will meet with women victims of violence. “I hope that as a result of my interactions with the numerous stakeholders, I will contribute to the current discussions and efforts in the fight against gender-based violence in both Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory,” she said.

The Special Rapporteur will hold a press conference on the initial findings of her visit on Thursday 22 September 2016 at 13:00 at the American Colony hotel, Jerusalem. Access to the press conference is strictly limited to journalists.

Based on the information obtained during the visit, Ms. Šimonović will present a report with final findings and recommendations during the thirty-fifth session of Human Rights Council, in June 2017.

Ms. Dubravka Šimonović (Croatia) was appointed as Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences by the UN Human Rights Council in June 2015, to recommend measures, ways and means, at the national, regional and international levels, to eliminate violence against women and its causes, and to remedy its consequences. Ms. Šimonovićhas been member of the CEDAW Committee from 2002 to 2014. She headed the Human Rights Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Croatia and was the Minister Plenipotentiary at the Permanent Mission of Croatia to the UN in New York. She was also Ambassador to the OSCE and UN in Vienna. She co-chaired the Ad hoc Committee (CAHVIO) of the Council of Europe that elaborated the Convention on Preventing and Combatting Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention).She has a PhD in Family Law and published books and articles on human rights and women’s rights. Learn more, log on to: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Women/SRWomen/Pages/SRWomenIndex.aspx

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

UN Human Rights, Country Page – Israel: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/MENARegion/Pages/ILIndex.aspx

UN Human Rights, Country Page – the Occupied Palestinian Territory: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/MENARegion/Pages/PSIndex.aspx

For further information and media requests, please contact Karin Hechenleitner Schacht (+41 79 752 0484 / khechenleitner@ohchr.org), Nathalie Stadelmann (+41 79 752 0483 / nstadelmann@ohchr.org) and Mr. Bahaaeldin Sadi (+972 599676123 / bsadi@ohchr.org)

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)  

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