Femicide Watch call 2020
Further to a call by the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, Dubravka Simonovic, in 2015, to establish a “femicide watch” and/or observatories on gender related killings of women, and her subsequent report to the General Assembly in September 2016 (A/71/398), on the modalities for establishing such a mechanism, important progress has been made.
The overall aim of this initiative is to focus on the prevention of femicide through the collection of comparable data on femicide rates at the national, regional and global level, through an analysis of femicide cases by national multidisciplinary bodies, from a human rights perspective, in order to determine shortcomings within national laws and policies, including their lack of implementation, and to undertake preventive measures.
Since 2015, a growing number of States have either established femicide watches/observatories, developed measures to collect homicide/femicide data on gender related killings of women, or have undertaken research on femicide and other measures for its prevention. In an increasing number of countries it is the independent human rights institutions, civil society organizations, women’s groups and/or academic institutions that have been mandated to establish femicide watches/observatories and/or are responsible for collecting and collating data in this regard. Positive steps have also been taken at the regional level, and in March 2019, the Follow-up Mechanism to the Belém do Pará Convention (MESECVI) adopted the Model Law on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of the Gender-Related Killing of Women and Girls (Femicide/Feminicide).
The outcome document of the Beijing+25 regional review meeting organized by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe in October 2019, also supports the Special Rapporteur’s femicide watch initiative and includes recommendation 31(j) which calls on all countries to: “establish multidisciplinary national bodies such as “Femicide Watch” with the aim to actively work on prevention of femicide or gender- related killing of women” (ECE/AC.28/2019/2, annex I).
In his statement to the High-level meeting on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women on 1 October 2020, the UN Secretary General called for affirmative action to prevent violence against women, including femicide.
In the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, Ms. Simonovic presented a report to the General Assembly on 9 October 2020 (A/75/144), on the intersection between the Covid-19 pandemic and the pandemic of gender based violence against women, in which she highlights the dramatic increase globally in cases of domestic violence. While national prevention systems often lack reliable data in so-called “normal” times, the current Covid-19 context has made it even more difficult to get a clear picture of the potential increase in femicide as a result of the pandemic and the related lockdown measures. The report emphasizes the importance of tracking femicides during the COVID-19 pandemic and stresses that preexisting gaps in response to domestic violence and femicide are being compounded by gaps caused by this pandemic. States that have already started collecting data on femicide will be in a position to compare such data in the COVID-19 context, and to evaluate the extent of the increase in femicide during the pandemic.
In order to further the collection of information on prevention activities, including through the collection of data on femicide or gender-related killings of women, the Special Rapporteur kindly seeks the continued support of States, National Human Rights Institutions, civil society actors, international organizations, academics and other stakeholders to provide data on:
- The existence of, or progress in, the creation of a national femicide watch and/or observatory on violence against women, or any plans to do so.
- Other measures or research and studies undertaken to prevent femicide or gender related killings of women, or homicide of women, by intimate partners or family members.
- Information on the results of analysis of femicide cases, including the review of previous court cases and actions undertaken in this respect.
- Administrative data (by numbers and percentage) on homicide/femicide or gender-related killings of women for the last 3 years (2018-2020), disaggregated as follows:
- The total number of homicides of women and men
- The number of intimate partner homicides/femicides, (i.e. based on the relationship between the victim and perpetrator, the number of women and number of men killed by their partners/ex-partners, husband/ex-husband etc.)
- The number of family related homicide/femicide of men and of women (i.e. based on the family relationship between the victim and perpetrator, the number of women and number of men killed by their family members, but not by intimate partners )
- Other femicides or killings of women by unrelated perpetrator/s but gender-related or with a sexual motive;
- Data if available, disaggregated as above, of femicide during the Covid-19 pandemic (indicating the time period e.g. since March 2020 to the end of October 2020) and its comparison with such data before the COVID-19 pandemic.
National Human Rights Institutions