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Femicide Watch Initiative

Special Rapporteur on violence against women and girls, its causes and consequences

Background and aim

In 2015, the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women and girls, its causes and consequences, Dubravka Simonovic, called for a “femicide watch” and/or observatories on gender related killings of women. Her subsequent report of 2016 (A/71/398) laid out the modalities for establishing such a mechanism.

The Femicide Watch initiative aims to focus on femicide prevention through the collection of comparable data on femicide rates at national, regional and global levels. Data on femicide cases is analyzed by national multidisciplinary bodies, from a human rights perspective. This is done in order to identify shortcomings within national laws and policies, including their lack of implementation, and to undertake preventive measures.

Read the Special Rapporteur's 2015 interview on why all States need to participate in a global 'Femicide Watch'.

Important progress

Since 2015, a growing number of States have embraced this initiative by establishing femicide watches, developing measures to collect data on gender related killings of women, or by undertaking research on femicide and other measures for its prevention. In an increasing number of countries, independent human rights institutions, civil society organizations, women’s groups and/or academic institutions are being mandated to establish femicide watches/observatories.

Positive steps have also taken place regionally. For example, in March 2019, the Follow-up Mechanism to the Belém do Pará Convention (MESECVI) adopted the Model Law on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of the Gender-Related Killing of Women and Girls (Femicide/Feminicide) (English | Español).

The Beijing+25 regional review, organized by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe in October 2019, also supports the Special Rapporteur’s initiative. The meeting report calls on all countries toestablish multidisciplinary national bodies such as 'Femicide Watch' with the aim to actively work on prevention of femicide or gender-related killing of women” (ECE/AC.28/2019/2, annex I). 

In his statement to the High-level meeting on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women on 1 October 2020, the UN Secretary General called for affirmative action to prevent violence against women and girls, including femicide.

In the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, Ms. Simonovic presented a report to the General Assembly on 9 October 2020 (A/75/144), on the intersection between the Covid-19 pandemic and the pandemic of gender based violence against women and girls, in which she highlights the dramatic increase globally in cases of domestic violence. While national prevention systems often lack reliable data in so-called “normal” times, the current Covid-19 context has made it even more difficult to get a clear picture of the potential increase in femicide as a result of the pandemic and the related lockdown measures. The report emphasizes the importance of tracking femicides during the COVID-19 pandemic, and stresses that preexisting gaps in response to domestic violence and femicide are being compounded by gaps caused by this pandemic. States that have already started collecting data on femicide will be in a position to compare such data in the COVID-19 context, and to evaluate the extent of the increase in femicide during the pandemic. Read more on the report page.

Building an online global database

Since 2016, each November, in advance of the International Day on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, the Special Rapporteur has called on different stakeholders—including States, National Human Rights Institutions, civil society, as well as members of academia—to submit data on gender based killings and femicide.  In particular she requests information on the following:

  • Existing legislative models or operational guides for the investigation of gender-related killings of women;
  • Existing good practices regarding collection of data on femicides or gender related killings of women;
  • Landmark jurisprudence from international, regional, and national courts, on gender-related killings of women.

View details on the latest call for inputs page.

View previous calls and submissions received.