Question of Palestine home
Economic and Social Council
20 January 2006
COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
Item 12 (a) of the provisional agenda
INTEGRATION OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS OF WOMEN AND THE
GENDER PERSPECTIVE: VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
THE DUE DILIGENCE STANDARD AS A TOOL FOR THE
ELIMINATION OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
Report of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women,
its causes and consequences, Yakin Ertürk
This is my third report to the Commission in my capacity as the Special Rapporteur on the violence against women, its causes and consequences, submitted pursuant to Commission resolution 2005/41. Chapter I of the report summarizes my activities in 2005 and chapter II examines the due diligence standard as a tool for the effective implementation of women’s human rights, including the right to live a life free from violence.
The failure of international human rights law to adequately reflect and respond to the experiences and needs of women has stimulated much debate on the mainstream application of human rights standards. This has resulted in the transformation of the conventional understanding of human rights and the doctrine of State responsibility.
The 1993 Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women as well as other international instruments adopted the concept of due diligence, in relation to violence against women, as a yardstick to assess whether the State has met its obligation. Under the due diligence obligation, States have a duty to take positive action to prevent and protect women from violence, punish perpetuators of violent acts and compensate victims of violence. However, the application of due diligence standard, to date, has tended to be State-centric and limited to responding to violence when it occurs, largely neglecting the obligation to prevent and compensate and the responsibility of non-State actors.
The current challenge in combating violence against women is the implementation of existing human rights standards to ensure that the root causes and consequences of violence against women are tackled at all levels from the home to the transnational arena. The multiplicity of forms of violence against women as well as the fact that this violence frequently occurs at the intersection of different types of discrimination makes the adoption of multifaceted strategies to effectively prevent and combat this violence a necessity.
In this regard, the potential of the due diligence standard is explored at different levels of intervention: individual women, the community, the State and the transnational level. At each level, recommendations for relevant actors are highlighted. The report concludes that if we continue to push the boundaries of due diligence in demanding the full compliance of States with international law, including to address the root causes of violence, against women and to hold non-State actors accountable for their acts of violence, then we will move towards a conception of human rights that meets our aspirations for a just world free of violence.
In accordance with Commission resolution 2005/41, the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, hereby submits her third report to the Commission. Chapter I of the report summarizes her activities in 2005 and chapter II examines the due diligence standard as a tool for the elimination of violence against women. The Special Rapporteur draws the attention of the Commission to the addenda to the present report. Addendum 1 contains summaries of general and individual allegations, as well as urgent appeals transmitted to Governments and their replies thereto. Addendum 2 reports on her visit to the Russian Federation; addendum 3 on her visit to the Islamic Republic of Iran; addendum 4 on her visit to Mexico, and addendum 5 on her visit to Afghanistan.
The Special Rapporteur sent letters to the Governments of El Salvador, Guatemala, the Sudan and Israel as well as to the Palestinian Authority requesting information on measures taken to implement the recommendations contained in her reports submitted to the Commission in 2005 (
and Corr.1, Add.1 and Corr.1, and Add.2-5).
With regard to the reply from the Palestinian Authority, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs reported the following measures taken: the approval of a quota law providing that women must make up 20 per cent of local councils; legislative steps undertaken towards addressing “honour crimes”; training of the police and the judiciary on issues related to violence against women and the creation of gender units in police departments; the creation of a Ministeria With regard to the reply from the Palestinian Authority, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs reported the following measures taken: the approval of a quota law providing that women must make up 20 per cent of local councils; legislative steps undertaken towards addressing “honour crimes”; training of the police and the judiciary on issues related to violence against women and the creation of gender units in police departments; the creation of a Ministerial Committee to amend the Penal Code to provide better protection to women and provide shelters to the victims of violence; and the formulation with the assistance of grassroots women’s groups of a National Women’s Bill of Rights to be passed by the Legislative Council, among others.
The Special Rapporteur expresses her appreciation for this response and for the steps undertaken by the Palestinian Authority to address the issues identified in her report. She also reiterates her commitment to continue working with the Governments concerned to ensure that effective measures were implemented to eliminate violence against women in their territories.