EWL News

‘Due diligence’ and violence against women - States’ responsibilities in the spotlight with new international project

[Brussels, 20 June 2012] On 15-16 June, the EWL participated in the experts’ meeting of the international project examining the requirement of ‘Due Diligence’ of States in relation to violence against women, highlighting the problematic diversity of engagement between EU Member States in combating the phenomenon.

The aim of the project is to examine States’ responsibility and the due diligence principle in relation to violence against women. Public international law mandates that States take action to prevent, protect, fulfill and promote human rights. A State is obliged to take positive measures to prevent human rights abuses before they occur, such as adopting relevant laws and policies, and to effectively prosecute and punish them once they have occurred. The principle of Due Diligence is increasingly recognised as an obligation for the State regarding violence against women: it is notably in the CEDAW General Recommendation n° 19 (1992), in a number of Court decisions and in regional treaties, including the Council of Europe convention on violence against women.

The project is research-advocacy project. The principle aim of the project is to add content to the international legal principle of ‘due diligence’ in the context of State responsibility to end violence against women. The objective is to create compliance indicators that are concrete and measurable across regions.

The meeting, held in Sofia, Bulgaria, gathered experts from different regions and discussed specific regional themes and issues, as well as the framework of regional/global reports. As the EWL is involved in the European context (together with BGRF for wider Europe), it highlighted the diversity of States’ responses to make concrete changes that will decrease violence against women or to protect them, including crisis intervention which are accessible and empowers women – shelters and safe houses, helplines, etc; the lack of disaggregated data or concerted state actors intervention.

The first results of the project will be presented in October to the UN Special Rapporteur on VAW, who is devoting her 2013 report to the Due Diligence obligation to address violence against women.

More information on the project: http://duediligenceproject.org/ or detroy[at]womenlobby.org

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