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Opening remarks United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, its causes and consequences Dubravka Simonovic 25th session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice 23 May 2016 Vienna, Austria

Distinguished delegates,
Ladies and gentlemen,

             I would like to start by congratulating you, Mr. Chairperson, on your election as well as members of your bureau and by thanking the UNODC Executive Director, Mr. Fedotov, for inviting me to participate in the work of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ).

It is my pleasure to deliver this statement in my capacity as the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences. I welcome this first opportunity to address the CCPCJ at its 25th session and hope that this will be the start of a fruitful cooperation between my mandate and this Commission.

I have been appointed by the Human Rights Council in June last year and took up functions in August. As Special Rapporteur, I engage with States through sending communications on allegations of violence against women; carrying out country visits, where I meet with Government representatives, civil society organisations, human rights defenders, victims and other stakeholders and provide action-orientated recommendations through visit reports; participating  in conferences, meetings, workshops related to the work of my mandate. The last but not least component of my mandate is the preparation of thematic reports for both the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly consideration, beside my oral report before the Commission on the Status of Women. I also greatly value partnerships with other entities and intergovernmental fora such as this one which are committed to the collective efforts to eliminating violence against women.  

The first report that I will present in June of this year (A/HRC/32/42) outlines the vision for my mandate and the thematic priorities that I intend to focus on.

I have noted in this report that the legal and policy landscape around my mandate has changed owing to developments in international and regional frameworks and mechanisms on violence against women. These developments have led me to reshape the role and focus of this mandate on prevention, implementation challenges and collaboration with all other relevant global and regional mechanisms in order to accelerate the elimination of violence against women, its causes and consequences. 

In this context, I am particularly glad to be able to engage with the CCPJ which, as the principal policymaking body of the United Nations in the field of crime prevention and criminal justice, has carried out an important body of work in the field of violence against women.

A strong cooperation with the Commission is key to accelerate the implementation of the goals of the mandate at the level of gender sensitive national criminal justice systems. As mentioned earlier, my immediate priority on which I intend to report at the General Assembly is the issue of femicides.

You may be aware that last year, on 25 November 2015, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, I called upon all States to establish a “femicide watch”, or a “gender-related killing of women watch” and publish data on the number of femicides , disaggregated by age and ethnicity of victims, and the sex of the perpetrators, and very importantly indicating the relationship between the perpetrator and the victim . Information concerning the prosecution and punishment of perpetrators should also be collected and published. Each case of femicide should be analyzed by national bodies established for this purpose in order to determine the shortcomings of national prevention systems, the lack of risk assessments and management, and consequent misidentification, concealment and underreporting of gender-related killings. This mechanism would provide crucial information related to such violence and will point out on effective measures and strategies needed to prevent  femicides.

I am very mindful of the body of work carried out by the CCPCJ. This Commission remarkably initiated and adopted two resolutions on the issue which eventually were adopted by the General Assembly, placing this issue at the highest level of the international political agenda and calling for renewed actions. I note in particular the intergovernmental expert group meeting convened at the request of the CCPCJ and held in Bangkok in November 2014 which developed a set of recommendations on practical steps against gender-related killing of women. I am further aware of UNODC lead work on the preparation of an analytical study it has been tasked to prepare through the last GA resolution 70/176.

I am currently building on the body of work done and actions taken at the international level, but also regional, national and local level to prepare my thematic report that will be presented in October at the GA. At this stage of my research, I plan to develop a methodology that would be workable for all States to assist them in the establishment of femicides watches at the national level.

 I also envisage looking at designing a Protocol at the global level for the investigation of femicides inspired by the Latin American Model Protocol for the investigation of gender-related killings of women.

My current work on femicides also fits into the broader context of the gathering and analysing of data on VAW in the framework of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.  This gendered agenda, with its 17 transformative Sustainable Development Goals aimed at the realization of the human rights of all, including the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls, has a real transformative potential.  While it is remarkable that, for the first time, the elimination of violence against women is included as a target for the achievement of sustainable goals, violence against women is also an issue addressed in Goal 11, on safe spaces, and Goal 16, relating to peace and security. I stand ready not only to assist to monitor progress but also to give guidance to States and other stakeholders in the implementation of Goal 5.

In light of the complementary  of both my mandate and the mandate of the CCPCJ in relation to violence against women and criminal justice, I am looking forward to further engage and cooperate with the Commission in areas of common interest of both mandates to accelerate, at the level of national criminal justice systems, the prevention, protection and criminal responses to all forms of VAW, in compliance with States’ international human rights obligations including the due dilligence obligation with respect to  crimes committed by private persons.

I trust that such cooperation could be enhanced by regular consultations between the Commission and my mandate.

I thank you for your attention.