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Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences

Purpose of the mandate

As violence against women continues to impact the lives of women and girls everywhere, the establishment of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and its consequences, as the first independent human rights mechanism on the elimination of violence against women, represented an important benchmark within the global women’s rights movement. Not only did it recognize violence against women as a human rights violation, but it also tasked the Special Rapporteur with ensuring that violence against women was integrated into the United Nations human rights framework and its mechanisms.

About the mandate

The United Nations Commission on Human Rights appointed a Special Rapporteur on violence against women, including its causes and consequences, on 4 March 1994 (resolution 1994/45). Since March 2006, the Special Rapporteur reports to the Human Rights Council, as per Human Rights Council’s decision 1/102. The mandate was most recently renewed in 2019 by resolution 41/17. Read more about the mandate.  

Current mandate holder

Reem Alsalem, Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences © OHCHRMs. Reem Alsalem (Jordan) is the United Nations Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, since August 2021. She holds a Masters in International Relations from the American University in Cairo, Egypt (2001) and a Masters in Human Rights Law from the University of Oxford, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (2003). She is an independent consultant on gender issues, the rights of refugees and migrants, transitional justice and humanitarian response. Read Ms. Alsalem's full biography.

Key documents

The EDVAW Platform from 2017 to today

This document provides an overview of the journey toward strengthening cooperation among international and regional mechanisms on women's rights.
PDF: English

25 years in review of the Beijing Platform for Action 

This booklet looks at the different contributions to the platform made by the 7 independent expert mechanisms mandated to address discrimination and gender-based violence against women and girls. Together they've creating a unified response to the many challenges that remain for the full enjoyment of women's right to a life free from discrimination and violence.
PDF: English

15 years of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, its causes and consequences (1994-2009) - a critical review and stock taking.
PDF: English

Latest thematic reports

Taking stock of the femicide watch initiative: In this 2021 report to the 76th session of the General Assembly, the Special Rapporteur takes stock of progress made in the implementation of the femicide watch initiative and makes recommendations for further progress on the prevention of femicide or gender-related killings of women and girls. View report page | View document A/76/132

Rape as a grave, systematic and widespread human rights violation, a crime and a manifestation of gender-based violence against women and girls, and its prevention: In this 2021 report to the 47th session of the Human Rights Council, the Special Rapporteur provides an overview of applicable international human rights and criminal law standards; encourages a process of review and harmonization of national criminal laws and pratices with international standards; and provides recommendations on the criminalization and prosecution of rape. View report page  | View document A/HRC/47/26

Violence against women journalists:  In this 2020 report to the 44th session of the Human Rights Council, the Special Rapporteur builds on existing human rights standards to offer a more holistic approach to addressing challenges faced by women journalists, and provides recommendations to States and other stakeholders on how to tackle these issues. View report page | View document A/HRC/44/52

COVID-19 and the increase of domestic violence against women:  This 2020 report to the General Assembly's 75th session looks at the intersection between two pandemics—gender-based violence against women and the coronavirus. The Special Rapporteur focuses on domestic violence and the “peace in the home” initiative. View report page | View document A/75/144

Twenty-five years of the mandate: The Special Rapporteur analyses the evolution of the mandate, current challenges and the way forward in this 2019 report presented at the Human Rights Council's 41st session. View report page | View document A/HRC/41/42

Latest country reports

Mission to Bulgaria (14 to 21 October 2019)
View document A/HRC/44/52/Add.1

Mission to Ecuador (29 November to 9 December 2019)
View document A/HRC/44/52/Add.2


Latest news:


More press releases and statements

Archived news
(over 3 years old)

Calls for input

Femicide Watch 2020 (Français | Español)
Closed: submissions available online

Activities 

Statement to the 47th session of the Human Rights Council, 28 June 2021

Leading human rights experts call for overdue implementation of the UN Bangkok Rules a decade after they were adopted, 10 December 2020

Statement on online violence against women and girls, 2020

Statement to the 75th session of the UN General Assembly, New York, 9 October 2020

Statement to the high-level meeting on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women, 1 October 2020

Joint statement on Covid-19 and the increase in violence and discrimination against women, 14 July 2020

View more activities

Videos

Violence against women during COVID-19 lockdowns, what can governments do?
June 1, 2020
Watch on YouTube

SRVAW-UN Women side event: ending violence against women in politics
8 Oct 2018
Watch on UN Web TV

View more videos

Former Special Rapporteurs

Ms. Dubravka Šimonović (Croatia)
August 2015-July 2021

Ms. Rashida Manjoo (South Africa)
August 2009-July 2015

Dr. Yakin Ertürk (Turkey)
August 2003-July 2009  

Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy (Sri Lanka)
1994-2003


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

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

Special Rapporteur on Twitter: @UNSRVAW

Others involved
External links