About the Mandate

In 1994, in its resolution 1994/45, the UN Human Rights Council (formerly the Human Rights Commission) decided to appoint a Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences. The mandate was extended by the then Commission on Human Rights in 2003, at its 59th session in resolution 2003/45. In the same resolution the Special Rapporteur is requested to:

  • Seek and receive information on violence against women, its causes and consequences from Governments, treaty bodies, specialized agencies, other special rapporteurs responsible for various human rights questions and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, including women's organizations, and to respond effectively to such information;
  • Recommend measures, ways and means at the local, national, regional and international levels to eliminate all forms of violence against women and its causes, and to remedy its consequences;
  • Work closely with all special procedures and other human rights mechanisms of the Human Rights Council and with the treaty bodies, taking into account the request of the Council that they regularly and systematically integrate the human rights of women and a gender perspective into their work, and cooperate closely with the Commission on the Status of Women in the discharge of its functions;
  • Continue to adopt a comprehensive and universal approach to the elimination of violence against women, its causes and consequences, including causes of violence against women relating to the civil, cultural, economic, political and social spheres.

The Special Rapporteur also does the following to carry out the mandate:

  • Transmits urgent appeals and communications to States regarding alleged cases of violence against women. See Communications 
  • Undertakes country visits
  • Submits annual thematic reports
  • Consultations  with civil society have become an integral part of the work of the Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, its causes and consequences. Some non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have been facilitating consultations with the Special Rapporteur since the inception of the mandate in 1994.
  • Regional and national consultations provide important input into the work of the Special Rapporteur by highlighting regional and national specificities, and provide an opportunity for women’s groups from a specific region/country to inform the Special Rapporteur of the violations of women’s rights occurring in their region/country.
  • In addition, some consultations have focused on discussions around the elected topic of the Special Rapporteur’s annual report to the UN Human Rights Council (and previously to the Commission on Human Rights) or to the General Assembly.
  • Consultations with civil society also allow NGOs to become familiarized with opportunities the Special Rapporteur’s mandate offers in advancing their national and regional initiatives. The Special Rapporteur encourages NGOs to make use of such consultations and is grateful to those NGOs taking the lead in organizing them.


Pursuant to General Assembly resolution 60/251 of 15 March 2006, all mandates, mechanisms, functions and responsibilities of the Commission on Human Rights, including the Sub-Commission, were assumed, as of 19 June 2006, by the Human Rights Council.

Since its creation, the Council has considered reports of the High Commissioner for Human Rights related to violence against women, and adopted a resolution on the elimination of violence against women.

The Council also considers reports related to violence against women prepared by special procedure mandate holders, in particular the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences.

Human Rights Council resolutions

Commission on Human Rights (until 2006) 

Elimination of violence against women 

Special Procedures
Special Rapporteur on violence against women
Latest thematic reports
Issues in focus
Contact information

Special Rapporteur on violence against women
8-14 Avenue de la Paix
1211 Geneve 10, ​
Fax: + 41 22 917 9006
Email: vaw@ohchr.org

Special Rapporteur on Twitter: @UNSRVAW

Others involved
External links