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Women’s activists have marked 25 November as a day against violence since 1981. In December 1999, the UN General Assembly officially recognized 25 November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (Resolution 54/134).

In the weeks leading up to the International Day, NGLS would like to highlight on this Online Focus page some of the recent reports, such as the Secretary-General’s In-depth report on all forms of violence against women, and campaigns, initiatives and events that seek to eliminate violence against women.

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In-depth study on all forms of violence against women

On 9 October 2006, the Secretary-General’s In-depth study on all forms of violence against women (A/61/122/Add.1) was presented to the General Assembly. Mandated by GA resolution 58/185 in December 2003 and prepared by the Division for the Advancement of Women of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the study identifies ways to close the gap between States’ obligations under international norms, standards and policies and calls for efforts to eradicate violence against women to become a higher priority at the local, national and international level.

“Violence against women must be given greater priority at all levels-it has not yet received the priority required to enable significant change. Leadership is critical. Much can be achieved with political will, but there is also a need for considerable investment of resources and for consistent assistance, especially to the least developed countries and countries emerging from conflict. A more cohesive and strategic approach is needed from all actors, including governments, the international community and civil society,” the report stresses.

Security Council Resolution 1325

Security Council Resolution 1325, adopted in October 2000, addresses the impact of war on women, and women’s contribution to conflict resolution and sustainable peace. In 2004, the UN Security Council requested that all UN entities develop action plans for the implementation of its resolution 1325 on women, peace and security.

An open debate in the Security Council on the Secretary General’s Report annual report on women, peace and security was held on 26 October 2006. The result of the debate was the adoption, by consensus, of a Presidential Statement. More information is available online on the WomenWatch website and the Security Council Report website.

Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO)

Based on the Security Council’s 2004 request that all UN entities develop action plans for the implementation of its resolution 1325 on women, peace and security, each of DPKO’s six Offices/Divisions have developed action plans that have been consolidated into a department-wide Global Action Plan that is framed around three broad goals: policy guidance for peacekeeping missions to ensure that post-conflict transitions advance gender equality; operational support to guide gender mainstreaming in peacekeeping missions; and increasing the numbers of women serving in peacekeeping missions. More information is available online.

The Gender Mainstreaming in Peacekeeping Operations Progress Report is largely drawn from quarterly progress reports prepared by gender advisers and contains two parts: an overview and a series of mission profiles. The overview provides a global summary of work undertaken at policy and operational levels and in the different functional areas. The report also provides a review of current efforts by gender units to support the incorporation of gender perspectives into the various functional areas of peacekeeping and the collaborative partnerships being forged to support this work. It is available online.

The Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW)

The DAW website provides information on the Commission on the Status of Women, the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, the Fourth World Conference on Women, technical information, country information, a number of publications and more. See also the DAW website for information on an Expert Group Meeting organized by DAW in collaboration with the Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) and World Health Organization (WHO) on violence against women.

Office of the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women (OSAGI)

The Office of the Special Adviser’s main objective is to promote and strengthen the effective implementation of the Millennium Declaration, the Beijing Declaration and the Platform for Action of the Fourth World Conference on Women (FWCW) held in Beijing in 1995 and the Outcome Document of the special session of the General Assembly on Beijing+5. The Office develops new strategies and programmes to advance gender equality and the empowerment of women in all sectors of society. More information is available online.

UN Inter-Agency Network on Women and Gender Equality (IANWGE)

The UN Inter-Agency Network on Women and Gender Equality is a network of Gender Focal Points in United Nations offices, specialized agencies, funds and programmes. IANWGE’s Women Watch website provides information and resources on gender equality and empowerment of women.

The Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women

The Special Rapporteur is requested to seek and receive information on violence against women, its causes and consequences from governments, treaty bodies, specialized agencies, other special rapporteurs responsible for various human rights questions and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, including women’s organizations, and to respond effectively to such information. The Rapporteur also recommends measures, ways and means, at the national, regional and international levels, to eliminate violence against women. Reports of the Special Rapporteur on the activities undertaken and themes analyzed under its mandate are available online.

Inter-Agency Standing Committee

The Inter-Agency Standing Committee has issued Guidelines for Gender-based Violence Interventions in Humanitarian Emergencies: Focusing on Prevention and Response to Sexual Violence to meet the need for a coherent and participatory approach to prevent and respond to gender-based violence. The guidelines are a tool to for field actors to establish a multisectoral coordinated approach to gender-based violence programming in emergency settings.

Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Panel Discussion

An ECOSOC panel discussion was held on the topic of gender-based violence in humanitarian emergencies on 17 July 2006. Information is available online.

United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM)

UNIFEM works on several fronts to interrupt the cycle of violence against women, with an overall objective of linking violence to the source that feeds it: gender inequality. UNIFEM multiplies the power of its groundbreaking strategies through advocacy campaigns and close partnerships with governments, women’s groups and other branches of the UN system. UNIFEM works on several fronts to interrupt the cycle of violence against women, with an overall objective of linking violence to the source that feeds it: gender inequality. UNIFEM multiplies the power of its groundbreaking strategies through advocacy campaigns and close partnerships with governments, women’s groups and other branches of the UN system.

UNIFEM’s Work on Violence against Women

Trust Fund in Support of Actions to Eliminate Violence against Women

November 25th & 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence Not a Minute More: Ending Violence Against Women

Report of UNIFEM on the Elimination of Violence against Women

Other UNIFEM Resources on VAW

UNFPA recognizes that violence against women is inextricably linked to gender-based inequalities and works to change the paradigm of masculinity that allows for the resolution of conflict through violence. UNPFA is also committed to keeping gender-based violence in the spotlight as a major health and human rights concern and advocates for legislative reform and enforcement of laws for the promotion and the protection of women’s rights to reproductive health choices and informed consent, including promotion of women’s awareness of laws , regulations and policies that affect their rights and responsibilities in family life. The Fund promotes zero tolerance of all forms of violence against women and works for the eradication of traditional practices that are harmful to women’s reproductive and sexual health, such as rituals associated with puberty.

The UNFPA webpage on gender and violence provides a link to the UNFPA, UNIFEM, and Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues (OSAGI) publication Combating Gender-Based Violence: A Key to Achieving the MDGs, an advocacy kit that outlines the problem of gender-based violence, elaborates its linkages to poverty, reproductive health, HIV/AIDS and conflict, and discusses its impact on a nation’s development. The UNFPA website also provides web links and videos on resources to combat gender based violence. See also A Practical Approach to Gender-based Violence.

United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT)

This issue of UN-HABITAT’s Habitat Debate, March 2005, Vol.11 No. 1 focuses on women in citiesand the problems they face everywhere - in their homes and on the streets of towns and cities around the world: that of under-representation in national and local government, a constant fear of crime and physical attack, health, poor sanitation conditions, employment, a lack of statistics and indicators, and the girl-child. See also the UN HABITAT Gender Policy Unit.

United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII)

The UNPFII webpage on Indigenous Women provides links to a number of resources on Indigenous Women and the UN. See also the Report of the Third Session of the Permanent Forum (10-21 May 2004) which had as a theme Indigenous Women.

World Health Organization (WHO)

The WHO Multi-Country Study on Women’s Health and Domestic Violence (WHO, 2005) shows that violence against women has been identified as a major public health and human rights problem throughout the world, but lack of reliable and comparable data on the root causes, magnitude, and consequences of the problem has been a major obstacle in the search for solutions. In 1997, in order to collect such data, WHO initiated the ground-breaking WHO Multi-Country Study on Women’s Health and Domestic Violence Against Women. The study is available online. See also the WHO webpage on gender based violence.

OCHA/IRIN

Broken bodies - broken dreams: violence against women exposed offers a powerful testimony of the different types of gender-based violence experienced by women and girls worldwide throughout their lives, through the use of photographs, individual case studies and illustrative text. The publication is part of UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs/Integrated Regional Information Networks’ (OCHA/IRIN) ongoing campaign to highlight the issues of violence against women through film, text and photography. The publication is available online. See also the IRIN webpage on gender based violence in conflict zones.

16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence

The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence is an annual international campaign since 1991 that starts on 25 November, the International Day Against Violence Against Women, and continues through 10 December, International Human Rights Day, symbolically linking violence against women and human rights. The goal is to place the issue of gender violence on the local and national agendas of both government and civil society.

The 16 Days Campaign, organized by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership (CWGL), aims to: raise awareness about gender-based violence as a human rights issue at the local, national, regional and international levels; strengthen local work around violence against women; establish a clear link between local and international work to end violence against women; provide a forum in which organizers can develop and share new and effective strategies; demonstrate the solidarity of women around the world organizing against violence against women; and create tools to pressure governments to implement promises made to eliminate violence against women.

The CWGL website also features an electronic discussion. To join the discussion or for further information, contact the Center at cwgl@igc.org.

More information is available online. See also the 16 Day of Activism Against Gender Violence Bibliography and Resources list.

Global Coalition on Women and AIDS

A brief by the Global Coalition on Women and AIDS—Stop Violence Against Women—Fight AIDS, is the second in a series that explores a range of key issues that particularly affect women and girls in the global fight against AIDS. The first briefing, Educate Girls, Fight AIDS, can be found online. The Stop Violence brief by the Global Coalition on Women and AIDS, led by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), finds that violence against women is a global health crisis of epidemic proportions and often a cause and consequence of HIV.

Geneva Center for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces

Women in an Insecure World: Violence against Women, Facts Figures and Analysis (Geneva Center for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces, 2005) is a comprehensive study on violence against women - in daily life, during war and conflict, and in post-conflict situations - that maps the pervasiveness of violence against women, analyses strategies to prevent and punish that violence, and highlights the key role that women play in initiatives to counter violence. It is available online.

United Nations International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW)

The INSTRAW webpage on ending violence against women provides links to different international conventions, declarations and other agreements protecting women’s rights, a working paper series and a virtual seminar series on ending gender violence.

Securing Equality, Engendering Peace: A Guide to Policy and Planning on Women, Peace and Security (UN SCR 1325) This INSTRAW guide examines one of the crucial steps on the path towards the full implementation of existing laws, namely the formulation and implementation of concrete policies and plans. It also concentrates on the creation of action plans of the issue of women, peace and security (WPS). The purpose of the guide is to help facilitate the development of realistic action plans on women, peace and security through the provision of good practices, specific recommendations and a six-step model process. It is designed as a resource for governments, United Nations and regional organizations as well as NGOs who are interested in developing plans and policies on women, peace and security issues. It is available online.

The Info Project: End Violence against Women

The Info Project of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health provides an extensive list of resources as well as tools and guidelines for eliminating gender based violence in a number of areas, including in conflict settings; within communities; protecting migrant workers who are vulnerable; working with men and boys; and in school settings. More information is available online.