International Day for the Elimination of VAW

25 November 2017 marked the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (VAW), an annual event that seeks to raise awareness and mobilise action on this most extreme form of discrimination. This year’s theme was: “Leave no one behind: end violence against women and girls”. UPR Info analysed the extent with which the UPR has been utilised to combat VAW through recommendations addressing the issue. It was found that during the second cycle of the UPR, 1,285 recommendations expressly related to the topic of VAW, of which 90% were supported. 

UN Human Rights Council resolutions 5/1 and 6/30 expressly call for the inclusion of a gender perspective in all stages of the UPR, and thus recommendations addressing VAW are well-founded in the mechanism’s foundation. Indeed, the UPR has acted as a catalyst to strengthen cooperation with other human rights bodies such as the Convention for the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). In terms of concrete examples of UPR impact, Nauru ratified CEDAW after receiving a recommendation, while Thailand withdrew its reservation to Article 16, which guarantees the rights of women in all matters relating to marriage and family relations. Thailand further introduced legal reforms to give effect to the withdrawal, including the criminalisation of marital rape. In a similar vein, the Republic of Korea also criminalised marital rape, one year after accepting the relevant UPR recommendation.

On the home front, UPR Info systematically integrates a gender perspective at its Pre-sessions to ensure that gender and women’s rights are raised at this international advocacy platform. The first-hand information shared by local NGOs offers a unique insight into the level of gender equality on the ground. During the Pre-session on Nepal in 2015, national women's rights advocates highlighted the narrow definition of rape, which included a 35-day statute of limitation. Following the recommendations made on that issue, Nepal extended the timeframe to 180 days, and has stated it will consider further prolongation. More information on the Nepalese example is available on pg. 25 here.

To help monitor gender-related advancements, all States should collect and disseminate disaggregated data that includes, but is not limited to, sex-disaggregation. This data should also be qualitatively analysed and discussed in the national report. In addition, the Donor community can help to advance gender integration and the promotion of women’s rights in the UPR process by providing financial and technical support to NGOs and Governments alike.

To see the infographic in full, click here: https://s.upr-info.org/2BrvQxA