Source: Sudan Vision
Human rights and development responses to violence against women Ending Violence against Women: A Challenge for Development, this book was written by Francine Pickup with Suzanne Williams and Caroline Sweetman and published by OXFAM GB.

General Recommendation 19 states: 'The Convention in article 1 defines discrimination against women. The definition of discrimination includes gender-based violence, that is, violence that is directed against a woman because she is a woman or that affects women disproportionately. It includes acts that inflict physical, mental or sexual harm or suffering, threats of such acts, coercion and other deprivations of liberty. Gender based violence may breach specific provisions of the Convention, regardless of whether those provisions expressly mention violence.' (para. 6)
General Recommendation 19 emphasizes that its prohibition on violence against women is not restricted to acts by the State, but extends to acts by private individuals. It states: 'Traditional attitudes by which women are regarded as subordinate to men or having stereotyped roles perpetuate widespread practices involving violence or coercion, such as family violence or abuse, forced marriage, dowry deaths, acid attacks, and female circumcision. Such prejudices and practices may justify gender-based violence as a form of protection or control of women. The effect of such violence on the physical and mental integrity of women is to deprive them of equal enjoyment, exercise and knowledge of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
In adopting General Recommendation 19, the CEDAW Committee enshrined the prohibition of violence against women in the Convention, and obliged states to report on the measures they are undertaking to combat violence against women.


Women's Human Rights
Women activists worldwide have made good use of the opportunities presented by the United Nations Decade for Women (1976-85) and the various United Nations conferences of the past 25 years, to draw attention to violence against women as an abuse of women's human rights on a global scale, and to campaign for international and national laws that will protect women from violence. Local and regional NGOs have played, and continue to play, a crucial role in documenting human rights abuses, monitoring governments' commitments to human rights standards, and campaigning for positive change.
The UN World Conference on Human Rights, held in 1993, ended with the adoption of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action that declared women's rights to be human rights. This was to a great extent due to the actions of women's rights activists in the run-up to the conference.
They argued that it was no longer sufficient simply to extend existing human rights provisions to women on the basis of their equality with men.
They claimed that in order to understand gender-based abuses as human rights abuses, the concept of human rights must reflect the specific nature of women's experience of violence.

In 1994, the UN Commission on Human Rights appointed a Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, Radhika Coomaraswamy. She is authorized to seek and receive information on violence against women from governments, UN bodies, and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations. She is to respond to such information and recommend measures to eliminate violence against women. To fulfil her mandate, the Special Rapporteur engages in direct dialogue with governments to seek clarification of allegations of violence against women she has received. In April 2000, her mandate was extended for another three-year term.

In her first report in 1995, the Special Rapporteur dealt with the issues of violence against women generally. Subsequently, her main reports have addressed domestic violence; rape and sexual violence, including sexual harassment and trafficking and forced prostitution; violence against women in armed conflict, custodial violence against women, and violence against refugee and internally displaced women; violence in the family; migration and trafficking in women; and in 2001 on violence against women perpetrated and/or condoned by the State during times of armed conflict. Alongside these, she has also compiled reports following missions to Korea and Japan on the issue of military sexual slavery, to Poland on trafficking in women and forced prostitution, to Brazil on domestic violence, to South Africa on rape in the community, to Rwanda on violence in the situation of armed conflict, to the United States, to Indonesia and East Timor, to Cuba, to Afghanistan and Pakistan, and to Bangladesh, Nepal, and India.

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