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UN expert on violence against women to visit Canada

Canada visit

09 April 2018


GENEVA (9 April 2018) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, Dubravka Šimonović, will undertake her first official visit to Canada from 11 to 23 April to assess the extent of the problem there and measures being taken to stop it.

“Violence against women is a devastating and pervasive human rights violation which crosses every social boundary and affects women worldwide,” Ms Šimonović said, “and I will gather information from different parts of Canada to allow me to assess laws, policies, the provision of services and good practices aimed at preventing and combating it.”

The independent expert will visit Ottawa first, followed by Iqaluit, Montreal, Toronto and Winnipeg. She will meet Government representatives at federal, provincial and territorial level, as well as officials from the legislative and judicial branches, the Canadian National Human Rights Commission, the Office of the Correctional Investigator and others including a range of civil society representatives such as academics, indigenous women and human rights defenders.

“I will assess measures taken by the Government to address gender-based violence against women, to ensure Canada is honouring its commitments under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women,” said the independent expert.

Ms. Šimonović will pay special attention to the root causes of gender-based violence and the situation of women who encounter multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination and violence, including indigenous women, those with disabilities, migrant and refugee women, and others from remote or rural communities.

At the end of the visit, Ms. Šimonović will share her preliminary conclusions at a news conference on 23 April at 15:40 local time, at the National Press Theatre, 150 Wellington Street, 1st floor, Ottawa. Access to the news conference will be strictly limited to journalists.

The Special Rapporteur will present a report of her findings and recommendations to a forthcoming session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.


Ms Dubravka Šimonović (Croatia) was appointed as Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequencesby the UN Human Rights Council in June 2015, to recommend measures, ways and means, at the national, regional and international levels, to eliminate violence against women and its causes, and to remedy its consequences. Ms. Šimonović has been a member of the CEDAW Committee from 2002 to 2014. She headed the Human Rights Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Croatia and finished her diplomatic career as Ambassador to the OSCE and UN in Vienna. She co-chaired the Ad hoc Committee (CAHVIO) of the Council of Europe that elaborated the Convention on Preventing and Combatting Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention). She has a PhD in Family Law and has published books and articles on human rights and women’s rights.

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Proceduresof the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

UN Human Rights, Country Page: Canada                           
For more information and media requests, please contact Ms. María Vivar Aguirre (+41 79-444 4355 / [email protected]), Sara Cavallo (+41 229179942/ [email protected])
For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts please contact:
Jeremy Laurence, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+41 22 917 9383 / [email protected])

This year is the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN on 10 December 1948. The Universal Declaration – translated into a world record 500 languages – is rooted in the principle that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” It remains relevant to everyone, every day. In honour of the 70th anniversary of this extraordinarily influential document, and to prevent its vital principles from being eroded, we are urging people everywhere to Stand Up for Human Rights: