Celebrating 25 years of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women: Call for submissions

With 2019 marking the 25th anniversary of the creation of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, as well as the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), it is also a precursor to the review, in 2020, of a number of key landmark women’s rights instruments, including: 25 years since the adoption of the Beijing Platform for Action (1995); 20 years since the adoption of Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) on women, peace and security; and 5 years since the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (2015).   

Recent years have witnessed a shift in the global landscape representing women’s rights, with the emerging #MeToo and #NiUnaMenos movements and their various manifestations across regions of the world highlighting sexual violence and harassment against women, and the gender inequality triggered by that violence and harassment. The newfound global momentum to end violence against women now faces an upsurge in retrogressive movements and measures.   

Sexual violence and harassment and other challenges to the human rights of women must be addressed through the robust application of international human rights law. International standards need to be embodied in national law, and institutions and procedures must be available to enforce the law.  The challenge remains as to how we can ensure that these standards, along with relevant international and regional human rights standards and mechanisms are fully implemented.

It is within this context that the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, Ms. Dubravka Simonovic, considers that this is a key moment in time to reflect on the challenges now facing women in attaining their rights, and to analyse the adequacy of the international legal framework on violence against women with a view to ascertaining how her mandate can address these challenges going forward. 

Taking into consideration the important role that different stakeholders play in reinforcing universal human rights standards, she therefore wishes to secure views from States, National Human Rights Institutions, Non-governmental organizations, as well as members of academia on the following questions:

  • As we look to the future, please indicate what are the main challenges to addressing violence against women in its various forms; e.g. the institutional and substantive disconnect between the different international instruments; a lack of understanding of the provisions in international law that link gender equality and violence against women; inadequate judicial protocol or recourse and/or legal framework; impunity of perpetrators; stereotypes and the social stigma associated with reporting etc.?
  • As the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women enters its 25th year, please provide a brief analysis of what your perceptions of the mandate are, highlighting any particular instances where you believe the Special Rapporteur has contributed to the empowerment of women in addressing gender based violence.
  • Given the changed landscape of women’s rights and the current global challenges in this regard, please indicate what specific measures should be taken to further strengthen the role of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur to accelerate prevention and elimination of violence against women
  • Please indicate what steps should be taken to ensure that the mandate of the Special Rapporteur can  effectively contribute to ensuring better institutional coordination across the various international and regional violence against women and gender equality mechanisms for the elimination of violence against women
  • Please specify what measures should be taken to support the initiative of the Special Rapporteur to encourage States to establish femicide watch and/ or observatories
  • Please indicate what are the opportunities and challenges for strengthening and using the mandate of the Special Rapporteur under the international and regional frameworks to eradicate violence against women and girls, and to accelerate that elimination.

Please feel free to respond to one or more questions. All submissions should be sent to vaw@ohchr.org by 28 February and will be used to inform the forthcoming report of the Special Rapporteur to the Human Rights Council in June 2019. You are kindly requested to provide your submissions in English, French or Spanish, which are the working languages of the Secretariat.

Submissions received

Member States

CSOs

Regional mechanisms and academic institutions