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Council opens annual full-day discussion on the human rights of women, discusses domestic violence against women and girls

Human Rights Council
MORNING

19 June 2015

The Human Rights Council this morning opened its annual full-day discussion on the human rights of women and held a panel discussion on the elimination and prevention of domestic violence against women and girls.

Joachim Rücker, President of the Human Rights Council, in his introductory remarks said that real progress had been made over the past 20 years, and that violence against women was today considered a human rights issue of international concern, and not a private matter.  Still, violence against women remained unacceptably widespread, and lack of acceptance by States of gender-based violence as a human rights issue was often the rule rather than the exception.  More efforts were needed, and it was also up to men to promote women’s rights and equal access to decision-making processes. 

Flavia Pansieri, United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, said in her opening statement that the international community had come a long way in the previous 20 years in framing domestic violence as a human rights violation.  Yet, the figures on domestic violence were still shocking: one out of three women in the world would suffer from some form of domestic violence during their lifetimes.  At the heart of violence was the belief that men had an entitlement over women and the right to control their behaviour and protect their honour.  A comprehensive intervention that addressed both causes and impacts of violence was needed and action of States was absolutely crucial in a number of areas, starting from constitutionally recognizing equality between men and women and prohibiting marital rape, ensuring accountability for perpetrators and reparations for survivors, guaranteeing real access to justice for women, changing mind sets, re-engineering gender power relationships, and combatting inequalities

NYARADZAYI GUMBONZVANDA, General Secretary of the World Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) and African Union Goodwill Ambassador for the Campaign to End Child Marriage, panel moderator, said that the panel should explore the manifestations and prevalence of domestic violence against women and girls, explore new forms of domestic violence, and discuss national responses to prevent domestic violence and protect victims, and the measures to accelerate efforts for the elimination of violence against women.

Marie Yves Rose Morquette Myrtil, Minister on the Status of Women and Women’s Rights of Haiti, said that Haiti had adopted laws against sexual violence, ensured regular reporting and raised awareness on the issue among the population.  Ms. Myrtil stressed that eradicating domestic violence required the implementation of public policies based on reliable statistics.

Blanca Hernández Oliver, Spain’s Government Delegate for Gender-based Violence on successful good practices, noted the importance of promoting the knowledge and making data transparent and available, and ensuring wide political support and sufficient resources for public policies.  Employment was empowerment, and women needed to form networks to ensure that they were protected from abuse.  Subtle forms of mistreatment needed to be registered and stopped early, and prevailing macho and chauvinist attitudes among the young generation needed to be addressed.

Nur Hasyim, Aliansi Laki-Laki Baru Indonesia and Member of the Secretary-General’s UNiTE Network of Men Leaders to End Violence against Women, said almost 90 per cent of women victims of domestic violence in Indonesia had only two options: get divorced or remain with their abusive partners and continue to live in the cycle of violence.  It was not easy to deal with the perpetrators of domestic violence, but that was necessary, and prevention programmes targeted young men and boys, as well as also couples, mothers and fathers. 

Begoña Lasagabaster, Director a.i., Policy Division, UN Women, noted progress by States in the adoption of laws, but challenges remained in the form of the lack of political will and adequate resources, and insufficient monitoring of the impact of relevant programmes.  The most persistent challenges were deeply entrenched social attitudes towards violence against women.  Prevention was the only way to reduce and eventually eliminate violence against women and girls; prevention strategies should be holistic and multi-sectoral, addressing social and economic inequalities between men and women.

Julia Estela Monárrez Fragoso, Professor and Researcher, El Colegio de la Frontera Norte, elaborated on the causes and challenges of domestic violence, as well as necessary steps to be taken and urgent measures to save the lives of women and girls, adding that gender was not the only issue in considering femicide.   In developing countries it was also important to link it with social class and the geopolitical position of the country.  States and societies had to recognize that there existed multiple reasons for femicide, such as political problems, structural and hierarchical issues, distribution of wealth, and security policies of States.

Sven Pfeiffer, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, said that the open-ended intergovernmental expert group on killing of women and girls, which had taken place in Bangkok in November 2014, recognized that the killing of women and girls often represented the final event of a continuum of domestic and other forms of violence, which continued due to high levels of impunity and a lack of accountability.  Experts stressed the importance of laws, policies, procedures and practices to prevent and address not only the killing, but violence against women and girls and making use of international standards and norms in crime prevention and criminal justice.

In the discussion that followed speakers expressed deep concern that violence against women continued to be one of the most pervasive human rights violations, while domestic violence remained the most frequent form of violence women suffered around the world.  Domestic violence often remained shrouded in a culture of silence which shifted the burden of shame from the perpetrator to the victims, and it was crucial to recognize that gender inequalities and discrimination were at the root of violence against women in all societies.  The elimination of violence against women needed to remain a top priority for all States, which needed to put in place a transformative agenda to address root causes such as poverty and lack of education, but also to eradicate gender stereotypes, empower women, and address negative social attitudes and norms that tolerated violence.  Experience had shown that all those were fundamental to providing effective solution for prevention and elimination of domestic violence.  More had to be done to support conflict-affected States to enable them to prevent and respond effectively to sexual violence in conflict. 

Speaking were the European Union, China on behalf of 24 countries, Morocco on behalf of the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie, Algeria on behalf of the African Group, Philippines on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Norway on behalf of the Nordic Group, Ecuador on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, Mexico, United Kingdom, Albania, Paraguay, Egypt, Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Nicaragua, Iraq, Nepal, Slovenia, Germany, Chile, Sierra Leone and Thailand.

Also speaking were the National Council of Human Rights of Morocco, and the following non-governmental organizations: Verein Sudwind Entwicklungspolitik, Allied Rainbow Communities International, Friends World Committee for Consultation (joint statement), Action Canada for Population and Development, and Africa Culture International.

The Human Rights Council is holding a full day of meetings today.  At noon it will continue its interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the right to education, and the Independent Expert on human rights and international solidarity, followed by a clustered interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, and arbitrary executions, and the Working Group on discrimination against women in law and practice.  At 3 p.m. the Council will continue its annual full-day discussion on human rights of women, with a panel discussion that will focus on women’s empowerment and role in decision-making.

Opening Statements

JOACHIM RÜCKER, President of the Human Rights Council, in his introductory remarks said that today’s panel discussion would present an opportunity to reflect on progress made, as well as remaining and emerging challenges since the Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995 in which the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action had been adopted.  Real progress had been made over the past 20 years, and violence against women was today considered a human rights issue of international concern, and not a private matter.  Nevertheless, violence against women remained unacceptably widespread, and lack of acceptance by States of gender-based violence as a human rights issue was often the rule rather than the exception.  More efforts were needed, and it was also up to men to promote women’s rights and equal access to decision-making processes. 

FLAVIA PANSIERI, Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, said that the international community had come a long way in the previous 20 years in framing domestic violence as a human rights violation.  States had recognized that domestic violence against women was a result of deep-rooted structural discrimination which States had the obligation to address and hold accountable.  Worldwide awareness was growing on the issue, and policies were being put in place.  Yet the figures on domestic violence were still shocking: one out of three women in the world would suffer from some form of domestic violence during their lifetimes.  The reasons why domestic violence continued to be so widespread were multiple and were compounded by discrimination and economic inequalities.  At the heart of the matter there continued to be a very basic tenant: the belief that men had an entitlement over women, and a right to control their behaviour and protect their honour.  Those beliefs were subtly ingrained in society and were often triggers of violence.  Families and communities sometimes viewed victims with suspicion.

What was needed was a comprehensive intervention that addressed both causes and impacts of violence.  State action was absolutely crucial in three areas.  First, addressing discriminatory legislation.  Over 50 countries still did not recognize equality between men and women in their constitutions.  In at least 10 countries, women were required by law to obey their husbands.  Marital rape was not prohibited in many countries around the world. Second, accountability for perpetrators and reparations for survivors ought to be ensured.  Women needed to have real access to justice, which would also help protect them from stigma and retaliation.  Thirdly, targeted efforts needed to be introduced to change mind sets and re-engineer gender power relationships and combat inequalities.  Engaging traditional and religious leaders could be, and had been in some cases, extremely powerful.  New understanding valuing full equality needed to be promoted.  Boys needed to be helped to escape expectations of their own masculinity that promoted aggressive behaviour.  Education played a key role in teaching children about consent and choice, and helping future adults build healthy couples, relationships and families.

It was heartening to see the matter of domestic violence regularly addressed by the Human Rights Council.  This would have been unthinkable several decades earlier.  2015 provided a great opportunity to change the world for the better.  Efforts had to be maximized in order to ensure that every woman and every girl lived in a world free from the fear of violence. 

Statements by the Moderator and Panellists
 
NYARADZAYI GUMBONZVANDA, General Secretary of the World Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) and African Union Goodwill Ambassador for the Campaign to End Child Marriage, panel moderator, in her introductory remarks said that family members should nurture each other, and domestic violence was a negation of that space.  The YWCA provided shelters, legal assistance and counselling services in 120 countries, and yet it was important to note that domestic violence was preventable.  The panel should explore the manifestation and prevalence of domestic violence against women and girls, explore new forms of domestic violence, and discuss national responses to prevent domestic violence and protect victims, and the measures to accelerate the efforts for the elimination of violence against women.

Turning to the panellists, the moderator asked Ms. Myrtil to share her perspective of some of the key dimensions that States should ensure in addressing violence against women, and in particular domestic violence.

MARIE YVES ROSE MORQUETTE MYRTIL, Minister on the Status of Women and Women’s Rights of Haiti, said that fighting violence against women was one of the 12 key areas identified in the Beijing Platform for Action.  In Haiti, there were efforts to regularly report violence against women, laws against sexual violence had been adopted, and measures were in place to raise awareness on those issues.  Victims reporting sexual violence enjoyed support and protection and programmes were in place to protect women and girls, which included developing partnerships.  Eradicating domestic violence required the implementation of public policies based on reliable statistics.  Haiti intended to strengthen measures aimed at eradicating domestic violence.

NYARADZAYI GUMBONZVANDA, General Secretary of the World Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) and African Union Goodwill Ambassador for the Campaign to End Child Marriage, panel moderator, said that it was shocking that one in three women over 15 years of age had experienced violence, frequently by the intimate partner, which was the most prevalent form of violence against women.  What were good practices among States in the protection of victims?

BLANCA HERNÁNDEZ OLIVER, Spain’s Government Delegate for Gender-based Violence,
said that publicity on this issue should be used to promote knowledge.  Data needed to be transparent and available.  If anything was not made public, people would not know about it.  Another successful good practice was having public policies that enjoyed wide political support.  It was important to assign sufficient resources to those policies.  Employment was empowerment, and women needed to form networks to ensure that they were protected from such abuse.  Awareness among people on violence against women had increased dramatically, which was thanks to awareness-raising campaigns, but also thanks to the involvement of other actors in society.  Main pending challenges included the prevalence of subtle forms of mistreatment, which needed to be registered and stopped early, and prevailing macho and chauvinist attitudes among the young generation, thanks to new technologies.  Each member of the society had to be involved in the struggle.

NYARADZAYI GUMBONZVANDA, General Secretary of the World Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) and African Union Goodwill Ambassador for the Campaign to End Child Marriage, panel moderator, asked Mr. Hasyim if he could share some good practices and stereotypes facing women and constructs of masculinity that encouraged violence by men.

NUR HASYIM, Aliansi Laki-Laki Baru Indonesia and Member of the Secretary-General’s UNiTE Network of Men Leaders to End Violence against Women,  stated that he was working with a women’s crisis centre helping women victims of domestic violence.  Almost 90 per cent of women victims of domestic violence had only two options: get divorced or remain with their abusive partners and continue to live in the cycle of violence.  The Centre was working on a third option: working with male partners to stop their abusive behaviour.  Counselling manuals for the perpetrators of domestic violence consisted of 12 sessions, which focused, inter alia, on building healthy relationships and good fatherhood.  It was not easy to deal with the perpetrators of domestic violence, but it was necessary.  There were many challenges in that regard, such as high rates of dropouts, or failing sessions completely.  Prevention programmes were also conducted, targeting young men and boys, but also couples, mothers and fathers.  Fathers were encouraged to spend more time engaged in fathering, which was believed to contribute to a decrease in domestic violence. 

NYARADZAYI GUMBONZVANDA, General Secretary of the World Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) and African Union Goodwill Ambassador for the Campaign to End Child Marriage, panel moderator, asked about the role of prevention as part of States’ and other stakeholders’ efforts for the elimination of domestic women, including in conflict contexts.

BEGOŇA LASAGABASTER, Director of Policy Division at UN Women, said there was progress by States in the adoption of laws.  However, many challenges persisted, such as the lack of political will, lack of adequate resources, and insufficient monitoring of the impact of relevant programmes.  The most persistent challenges were deeply entrenched social attitudes towards violence against women.  Prevention was the only way to reduce and eventually eliminate violence against women and girls.  However, without the critical mass of data it was not possible to do so.  Unfortunately, the approach towards prevention was often fragmented.  Prevention strategies should be holistic and multi-sectoral, addressing social and economic inequalities between men and women.  Education programmes strengthened the awareness of men and boys about gender relations.   Strengthening of partnerships in the community was crucial.  All forms of violence against women could increase by the actions of armed actors.  UN Women in collaboration with other United Nations agencies was about to finalize a global inter-agency framework on the prevention of violence against women.

NYARADZAYI GUMBONZVANDA, General Secretary of the World Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) and African Union Goodwill Ambassador for the Campaign to End Child Marriage, panel moderator, reminded that almost half of female victims were killed by their marital and intimate partners.  She asked about the underlying causes of such behaviour.

JULIA ESTELA MONÁRREZ FRAGOSO, Professor and Researcher at El Colegio de la Frontera Norte in Mexico, elaborated on the causes and challenges of domestic violence, and the necessary steps to be taken and urgent measures to save the lives of women and girls.  There was a very high percentage of female murder victims.  That was especially true among elderly women.  The murder of women by their intimate partners was particularly concerning.  Gender was not the only issue in considering femicide.   In developing countries it was also important to link it with social class and the geopolitical position of the country.  In the globalized world it was very important to consider the gender perspective on violence.  States and societies had to recognize that there existed multiple reasons for femicide, such as political problems, structural and hierarchical issues, distribution of wealth, and security policies of States.  A very important development in Latin America was the fact that 17 countries legally recognized femicide as a crime. 

NYARADZAYI GUMBONZVANDA, General Secretary of the World Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) and African Union Goodwill Ambassador for the Campaign to End Child Marriage, panel moderator, asked about outcomes of the open-ended intergovernmental expert group on killing of women and girls that had taken place in Bangkok in November 2014.

SVEN PFEIFFER, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, said that the meeting had recognized that killing of women and girls often represented the final event of a continuum of domestic and other forms of violence, which continued due to high levels of impunity and a lack of accountability.  The meeting stressed the importance of laws, policies, procedures and practices to prevent and address not only the killing, but violence against women and girls and making use of international standards and norms in crime prevention and criminal justice.  A resolution had been adopted calling for further action by States and the United Nations to continue to step up efforts to address violence against women and girls.

NYARADZAYI GUMBONZVANDA, General Secretary of the World Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) and African Union Goodwill Ambassador for the Campaign to End Child Marriage, panel moderator, noted that what had emerged from panellists’ statements was that domestic violence also included incest, and child and forced marriages and said that the issue of impunity needed to be discussed.

Discussion

European Union stated that the European Union had undertaken steps to eradicate the problem of domestic violence.  The European Union asked if panellists could point out the best schemes in combatting violence against women.  China, on behalf of a group of like-minded countries, said that the elimination of violence against women needed to remain a top priority for all States, for which a transformative agenda was needed, including through the eradication of gender stereotypes.  Morocco, speaking on behalf of the countries of the Organization of the Francophonie, said that the most common form of violence against women was inflicted by an intimate partner.  Engagement with Francophone countries in combatting this scourge was continuous.  Algeria, speaking on behalf of the African Group, said that regardless of the form or context in which violence took place, it had to be combatted.  Those responsible needed to be denounced and punished, so that impunity was avoided.

Philippines, speaking on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), expressed firm commitment to the elimination of violence against women and in 2013 regional countries had adopted the ASEAN declaration for the elimination of all forms of violence against women.  Norway, speaking on behalf of Nordic States, expressed deep concern that violence against women continued to be one of the most pervasive human rights violations.  Ecuador, speaking on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, stressed the importance of empowering women against poverty, social disadvantage and all forms of violence.  Mexico noted that domestic violence against women undermined the social development of women and, thus, States had to take measures to empower women to break the cycle of violence.

United Kingdom said that all forms of domestic violence were unacceptable and must be addressed, including intimate partner violence, sexual violence and harmful practices, and more must be done to support conflict-affected States to enable them to prevent and respond effectively to sexual violence in conflict.  Domestic violence often remained shrouded in a culture of silence, which shifted the burden of shame from the perpetrator to the victim, said Albania, adding that it had criminalized domestic violence and introduced harsher sanctions against perpetrators.  Paraguay said that reality indicated that domestic violence remained the most frequent form of violence that women suffered from around the world and had in place a comprehensive law to protect women from violence.  Egypt said that experience in many countries proved that addressing root causes such as poverty, lack of education, low levels of empowerment, and negative social attitudes and norms that tolerated such practices were fundamental to providing effective solution for prevention and elimination of domestic violence.

National Council of Human Rights of Morocco took note of the alarming scale and prevalence of domestic violence and had drafted a memorandum which defined regulatory and legislative frameworks which should be adopted and included measures to support and protect victims and survivors.  Vereen Unwind Entwicklungspolitik said that Iran had denied the existence of prevalent violence against women during its second Universal Periodic Review cycle, and yet it was poised to become a member of the UN Women Executive Board in 2016.  Allied Rainbow Communities International said that forms of oppression and violence were accentuated against lesbian, bisexual, transgender women. 

Response

NYARADZAYI GUMBONZVANDA, General Secretary of the World Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) and African Union Goodwill Ambassador for the Campaign to End Child Marriage, panel moderator, noted that violence against women was not a social issue, but a crime.  If there was no implementation and enforcement of existing laws, the scourge would continue.  There was a growing number of regional initiatives, including the Istanbul Convention and the ASEAN commitments.   The role of civil society was recognized, as well as the strong link between the lack of economic empowerment and gender based violence.

MARIE YVES ROSE MORQUETTE MYRTIL, Minister on the Status of Women and Women’s Rights of Haiti, said that violators should to be denounced, or otherwise frustration would emerge.  Awareness and information raising campaigns needed to be organized.  Acts of violence needed to be severely punished, and people needed to hear about that.

BLANCA HERNÁNDEZ OLIVER, Spain’s Government Delegate for Gender-based Violence,
stated that violence against women was a public policy problem.  Communication with the mass media needed to be strengthened.  Statistical data, results of studies, research and investigations had to be made public.  Comprehensive political agreements were indispensable.  Needs of the youth had to be taken into consideration.

BEGOÑA LASAGABASTER, Director a.i., Policy Division, UN Women, said that the post-2015 legal framework provided a great opportunity to promote gender equality.  Work on the accountability of State and non-state actors in conflicts was important.  It was very significant to allocate resources through national channels to combat violence against women.

NUR HASYIM, Aliansi Laki-Laki Baru Indonesia and Member of the Secretary-General’s UNiTE Network of Men Leaders to End Violence against Women, stressed that counselling had to be integrated in domestic violence prevention policies.  Most victims decided to remain with their abusive partners, which was why counselling was essential.  Working with young boys had to be an integral part of preventing violence. 

JULIA ESTELA MONÁRREZ FRAGOSO, Professor and Researcher, El Colegio de la Frontera Norte, said that State policies were a crucial factor.  States had to spell out what their policies on women were.  Violence against women was a political issue; databases had to contain various factors, including details on femicide.  If impunity continued, they would have a colossal problem on their hands in the future. 

NYARADZAYI GUMBONZVANDA, General Secretary of the World Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) and African Union Goodwill Ambassador for the Campaign to End Child Marriage, panel moderator,  underlined the importance of moving from awareness towards behaviour change.   She added that in her work it was very difficult to find a client coming from an aware family.

Discussion

Ecuador said that respecting and protecting women’s rights was enshrined in Ecuador’s Constitution and that it was one of the first countries to recognize femicide as a crime.  United States asked what the international community could do to ensure that the breakdown of social order did not lead to a dramatic escalation in domestic violence, and to ensure the same level of assistance to victims of domestic violence.  Brazil noted that major obstacles and challenges remained in the elimination of violence against women, and thus it supported the introduction of a specific sustainable development target for the elimination of domestic violence against women.  Republic of Korea said that domestic violence was a major social ill that threatened public safety and thus the Government took a holistic approach to dealing with the issue.   Argentina noted that States needed to deal with the problem of domestic and gender-based violence through appropriate educational and social programmes.  Indonesia shared the concern that violence against women, in particular domestic violence, persisted at the global level.   Full gender equality depended on targeting the root causes, such as socio-economic factors.  Monaco voiced its commitment to combatting violence against women and had introduced a law on domestic violence, which aimed to reduce repressive acts of violence committed against marital partners.

Organization of Islamic Cooperation said that it was vital to raise awareness about national legal arsenals and international instruments available on domestic violence, and to use centres for survivors as places of open discussion in which stereotypes, including gender, could be deconstructed.  Nicaragua said that women must be promoted and empowered within societies and countries and encouraged the Council to continue to promote exchange of good practices.  Iraq said that since the Gulf War in 1991, the situation of the rights of women in the country had worsened, but since 2003 a number of measures and policies had been put in place to limit discrimination against women.  Nepal said that it was integrating the fundamental principle of equality between men and women in its new Constitution and had in place a plan for the elimination of discrimination against women and ensuring their equal rights.  Slovenia asked the panellists how to accelerate the closing of the gap between the normative framework of prohibiting violence against women and the practical elimination of it.

Friends World Committee for Consultation in a joint statement said that measures to address domestic violence must include women in prison, because of the proven links between domestic violence and incarceration and the continuum of violence after incarceration.  Action Canada for Population and Development said that it was crucial to recognize that gender inequalities and discrimination were at the root of violence against women in all societies and in families, and emphasized the importance of addressing gender stereotypes and patriarchal norms around women’s sexuality.  Indian Law Resource, in a joint statement with the National Congress of American Indians and Native American Rights Fund, called on States to ensure that indigenous women enjoyed full protection against all forms of violence and discrimination, and on the United Nations to develop a system-wide action plan to that end.  Africa Culture International believed that States had the obligation to protect life and the well-being of both men and women.  Poverty, as one of the main sources of inequality, had to be overcome. 

Germany highlighted the link between domestic violence and violation of sexual and reproductive rights of women and girls, and asked the panellists about best practices in that respect.  Chile said that domestic violence was anchored in gender relations and Chile was not exempt in that respect.  Particular attention had to be paid to women with disabilities who were victims of violence.  Namibia raised the issue of women who suffered disproportionately in armed conflicts and other humanitarian crises, especially of the high level of sexual violence committed against women in conflict-ridden areas.  Holy See warned that women in many parts of the world were subject to modern forms of slavery, forced prostitution, early and forced marriages, lack of access to education, employment and wage discrimination.  Mali said the rights of women should be protected through a holistic approach of the Sustainable Development Goals, and reaffirmed its commitment to continue working until violence against women was eradicated. 

Sierra Leone stressed the need for awareness-raising and well-functioning mechanisms within the police and judicial systems to ensure that offenders could indeed be brought to justice.  Victims had to be protected from recourse by their families and communities when they reported cases of domestic violence.  Thailand stated that gender-related killing was at one extreme end of the continuum of violence, which might begin at home.  A draft resolution to enhance gender-specific criminal justice policy and strategies would be recommended for adoption by the General Assembly.

Concluding Remarks

NYARADZAYI GUMBONZVANDA, General Secretary of the World Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) and African Union Goodwill Ambassador for the Campaign to End Child Marriage, panel moderator, invited the panellists to provide their concluding remarks and answer the outstanding questions by national delegations and civil society organizations.
 
MARIE YVES ROSE MORQUETTE MYRTIL, Minister on the Status of Women and Women’s Rights of Haiti, in her concluding remarks said that domestic violence was an impediment to women both in the north and south.  She underlined the necessity to introduce education on rights and gender-based violence, as well as to establish national observatories on domestic violence and to allocate appropriate funds.  A legal framework would help to make headway.

BLANCA HERNÁNDEZ OLIVER,  Spanish Government’s Delegate for Gender-based Violence, said that any action at the public level that would bring equality between men and women would promote the ultimate goal and tackle other social inequalities.  Anything to publicize and raise awareness would help bring about a solution.   Data did not just inform about what was going on, but it also helped raise awareness.  Agreement had to exist among stakeholders.  A message of rejection towards perpetrators needed to be sent, and that of respect for women reinforced.  Everyone could be involved in finding solutions.  Women with disabilities and rural women deserved special attention in that respect.

JULIA ESTELA MONÁRREZ FRAGOSO, Professor and Researcher at El Colegio de la Frontera Norte in Mexico, said that many examples of good practices existed.  There had to be a national budget on an annual basis, and States had to ensure that institutes for women were independent and properly funded.   Impunity was another important question that had to be addressed.  Youth groups and groups of men committed to equality also had to be strengthened.  Good practices for women who came out of prison was another important issue.  They were often in prison because of what was done to them by their partners.  Without help, they were destined to be murdered by their men.

NUR HASYIM, Aliansi Laki-Laki Baru Indonesia and Member of the Secretary-General’s UNiTE Network of Men Leaders to End Violence against Women, noted that men were not naturally violent.  They became violent and thus they needed to be educated about gender relations.  They had to be engaged in order to avoid harmful masculine practices through school curricula. 

BEGOŇA LASAGABASTER, Director of Policy Division at UN Women, said that conflict contexts exacerbated violence against women.  One of the ways to counter that situation was through the involvement of civil society organizations.  The impact of women’s movements was proven to be effective.  

NYARADZAYI GUMBONZVANDA, General Secretary of the World Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) and African Union Goodwill Ambassador for the Campaign to End Child Marriage, panel moderator, in her concluding remarks noted that States needed to recognize the linkages between the right to sexual and reproductive health and violence against women.  Other important topics in tackling domestic violence were: access to justice and fighting impunity, the importance of dealing with domestic violence in disaster management policies, and new forms of social media and their psychological consequences on violence against women.

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