UN, experts call for end to global epidemic of femicide

GENEVA, In a joint statement issued ahead of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 25th November, the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women and other UN and human rights experts called on all States and relevant stakeholders to end the global epidemic of femicide, or gender-related killings of women, and gender-based violence against women.

Available data from both States and the United Nations indicate that among the victims of all intentional killings involving intimate partners (in which there is an established intimate relationship between perpetrator and victim) almost 80 percent of victims are women.

Most of these deaths are preventable. Intimate partner, family related, and other femicides, or gender-related killing of women persists in all corners of the world as a global epidemic that permeates both the private and public spheres, as recognised by the 2015 UN General Assembly resolution on taking action against gender-related killing of women and girls.

Despite the global reach of Sustainable Development Goal 5, which calls for the achievement of gender equality, and specifically target 5.1, which further commits States to eliminate all forms of violence against women, girls and adolescents, and reaffirms the aim of the international and regional women’s rights instruments in this regard, its implementation remains a challenge for all States.

Commenting on the #MeToo movement, the statement said that the campaign has also “demonstrated that violence against women, girls and adolescents is happening throughout our communities and affecting us all. It impacts women from all social backgrounds, of all ages, and in all professional settings, and is deeply linked to damaging gender stereotypes and women’s lack of equality.”

While the movement has broken the silence on sexual harassment and other forms of sexual violence, for the most part, it has not always been followed by adequate reforms of laws and policies, nor has it produced much-needed results and changes in women’s daily lives, the statement added. “International and regional mechanisms should capitalise on this transformative movement to re-affirm States’ obligations under various human rights instruments that protect women’s rights to promote lasting change.”

The Experts also highlight that gender-based violence remains widely unpunished across the world. “As women, girls and adolescents strive access to fair, unbiased and opportune justice; impunity prevails in cases of femicide, sexual violence, harassment and other violent and discriminatory crimes against them. As such, States must comply with their international and regional obligations in terms of their due diligence to investigate, identify those responsible and hold them accountable. The prevalence of impunity breeds social tolerance to this phenomenon which perpetuates these inadmissible crimes,” they affirmed.

The UN and NGO bodies also addressed new forms of gender-based violence against women, including online violence against women, which is spreading rapidly and poses a significant risk. “Internet intermediaries, such as Facebook, Google, Twitter, Instagram and others, as well as States share a joint responsibility to prevent and address such cyber violence against women,” the statement continued.

The international bodies called for strengthened cooperation between independent global and regional mechanisms, to address violence against women under the existing normative framework on human rights, which will contribute to closing gaps in combating and preventing violence against women worldwide. The Experts also called for the inclusion of monitoring mechanisms to ensure full implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 5.

They also urged States, civil society and other stakeholders, to intensify efforts to eradicate violence against women and to ensure that gender-based violence is no longer tolerated, and reiterate their call to end the global epidemic of gender-based killings or femicides (#NiUnaMenos) and support the voices of those speaking up against endemic violence against women (#MeToo).

Source: Emirates News Agency