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WOMEN'S LINKAGE CAUCUS

Recommendations on Bracketed Text in the WCW Draft Platform for Action
(A/CONF.177/L.1) August 30, 1995

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D. Violence against women

113. Violence against women is an obstacle to the achievement of the objectives of equality, development and peace.* Violence against women both violates and impairs or nullifies the enjoyment by women of [delete: their universal] all human rights and fundamental freedoms.* The long-standing failure to protect and promote those rights and freedoms in the case of violence against women is a matter of concern to all States and should be addressed. Knowledge about its causes and consequences, as well its incidence and measures to combat it, have been greatly expanded since the Nairobi Conference. In [retain: all] societies, to a greater or lesser degree, women and girls are subjected to physical, sexual and psychological abuse which cuts across lines of income, class and culture. The low social and economic status of women can be both a cause and a consequence of violence against women.

115. Other acts of violence against women include violations of the human rights of women in situations of armed conflicts, including in particular murder, systematic rape, sexual slavery and [retain: forced pregnancy]. [retain: Acts of violence against women also include terrorism, forced sterilization and [retain: forced abortion], coercive/forced use of contraceptives, [delete: female foeticide)/ retain: prenatal sex selection and female infanticide].

117. Displaced women, repatriated women and women migrant workers, women living in poverty and [retain: and women living in areas under foreign occupation or where acts of terrorism occur] are also particularly vulnerable to violence.

118. Acts or threat of violence, whether occurring within the home or in the community, or perpetrated or condoned by the State, instil fear and insecurity in women's lives and are obstacles for the achievement of equality [retain: and equity] and for development and peace. The fear of violence including harassment is a permanent constraint on the mobility of women and limits their access to resources and basic activities. High social, health and economic costs to the individual and society are associated with violence against women. Violence against women is one of the crucial social mechanisms by which women are forced into a subordinate position compared with men. In many cases, violence against women and girls occurs in the family or within the home, where violence is often tolerated. The neglect, physical and sexual abuse, and the rape of girlchildren and women by family members and other members of the household, as well as incidences of spousal and non-spousal abuse, often go unreported and are thus difficult to detect. Even when such violence is reported, there is often a failure to protect victims or punish perpetrators.

119. Violence against women is a manifestation of the historically unequal power relations between men and women, which have led to domination over and discrimination against women by men and to the prevention of women's full advancement. Violence against women throughout the life cycle derives essentially from cultural patterns, in particular the harmful effects of certain traditional or customary practices and all acts of extremism linked to race, sex, language or religion that perpetuate the lower status accorded to women in the family, in the work place, in the community and in society. Violence against women is exacerbated by social pressures, notably the shame of denouncing certain acts that have been perpetrated against women; women's lack of access to legal information, aid or protection; the lack of laws that effectively prohibit violence against women; failure to reform existing laws; inadequate efforts on the part of public authorities to promote awareness of and to enforce existing laws; and the absence of educational and other means to address the causes and consequences of violence. Images in the media of violence against women, in particular those that depict rape or sexual slavery as well as the use of women and girls as sex objects, including pornography, [retain: are] factors contributing to the continued prevalence of such violence, adversely influencing the community at large, in particular children and young people.

122. [retain: Refugee women, other displaced women in need of international protection and internally displaced women and migrant girls and women, including women migrant workers as well as women in detention, and women in situations of armed conflict or [retain: women living under foreign occupation or alien domination] are especially vulnerable to all types of violence, including terrorism, murder, torture, prostitution, including forced prostitution, rape, in particular its systematic use as a weapon of war, [retain: forced pregnancy], sexual abuse, slavery, harassment and other forms of violence, which are often perpetrated by persons in positions of authority. Such practices constitute crimes against humanity and violations of human rights [amend & retain: and relevant provisions of the Geneva Conventions]]. Training of all official in humanitarian and human rights law, and the punishment of perpetrators of violent act against women would help to ensure that such violence does not take place at the hands of public official in whom women should be able to place trust, including police and prison officials and security forces.

123. The effective suppression of trafficking in women and girls for the sex trade is a matter of pressing international concern. Implementation of the 1949 Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others,18/ as well as other relevant instruments, needs to be reviewed and strengthened. The use of women in international prostitution and trafficking networks has become a major focus of international organized crime. The Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on Violence against Women who has explored these acts as an additional cause of the violation of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of women and girls, is invited to address, within her mandate and as a matter of urgency, the issue of international trafficking for the purposes of the sex trade, as well issues of forced prostitution, rape, sexual abuse and sex tourism. Women and girls who are victims of this international trade are at an increased risk of further violence, as well as [retain: unwanted pregnancy] and sexually transmitted infection, including infection with HIV/AIDS.

[Eliminate violence against women]

Strategic objective D.1. Take integrated measures to prevent and eliminate violence against women

Actions to be taken

125. By Governments:

(a) Condemn violence against women and refrain from invoking any custom, tradition or religious consideration to avoid their obligations with respect to its elimination [retain: consistent with the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women].

(d) Adopt and/or implement and periodically review and analyse legislation to ensure its effectiveness in eliminating violence against women, emphasizing the prevention of violence, and the prosecution of offenders; take measures to ensure the protection of women subjected to violence, [retain: compensation for] and healing of victims, and rehabilitation of perpetrators;

(e) [delete: Consider,] [retain: ratify and] implement [retain: all relevant] [delete: universally accepted] international human rights [delete: norms] [retain: instruments] as they relate to violence against women., including those contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,19/ the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,12/ the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,12/ and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment;20/

(i) Enact and enforce legislation against the perpetrators of practices and acts of violence against women such as female genital mutilation, [delete: female foeticide/ retain: pre-natal sex selection] infanticide and dowry-related violence and give vigorous support to efforts of non-governmental and community organizations to eliminate such practices;
(j) Formulate and implement [retain: national and local] plans of action to eliminate violence against women;
(p) Allocate adequate resources within the government budget and mobilize community resources for activities related to the elimination of violence against women, including resources for the implementation of [retain: national and local] plans of action;

126. By Governments, including local governments, and community organizations, non-governmental organizations, educational institutions, the public and private sectors, particularly enterprises, and the mass media, as appropriate:

(f) Recognize, support and promote the fundamental role of intermediate institutions such as primary health-care centers, [amend & retain: family-planning centers, existing school health services including reproductive and sexual health], mother and baby protection services, centers for migrant families and so forth in the field of information and education related to abuse;

(g) [retain: Organize and fund information campaigns, educational and training programmes for girls and boys and women and men, in particular those at high risk of violence, about the personal and social detrimental effects of violence in the family, community and society, [retain: how to communicate without violence] so that they can learn to protect themselves and others against violence];

(i) [delete: Encourage the provision of,] [amend & retain: Impose penalties on perpetrators of violence and when appropriate provide,] [retain: initiate and fund] counselling and rehabilitation for the perpetrators of violence, and promote research to further efforts concerning such counselling and rehabilitation so as to prevent the recurrence of such violence;

(j) [retain: Raise awareness of the responsibility of the media in promoting non-stereotyped images of women and men, as well as in eliminating patterns of media presentation that generate violence, and encourage those responsible for media content to establish professional guidelines and codes of conduct; and also raise awareness on the important role of the media in informing and educating people about the causes and effects of violence against women and in stimulating public debate on the topic];

Strategic objective D.2. Study the causes of violence against women and effective methods of prevention strategies

Actions to be taken

130. By Governments, regional organizations, the United Nations, other international organizations, research institutions, women's and youth organizations and nongovernmental organizations, as appropriate: (d) Encourage the media to examine the impact of gender role stereotypes, including those perpetuated by commercial advertisements [retain: which foster] gender-based violence and inequalities, and how they are transmitted during the life cycle, and take measures to eliminate these negative images with a view to promoting a violence-free society.Strategic objective D.3. Adopt special measures to eliminate trafficking in women and to assist female victims of violence due to prostitution and trafficking

Actions to be taken

131. By Governments of countries of origin, transit and destination, regional and international organizations, as appropriate:

(d) [amend & retain: Allocate resources to provide comprehensive programs designed including through job training, legal assistance to ensure equal protection of the law in any legal proceedings in countries of origin, transit, or destination, including those rights necessary to exercise their right to seek asylum, or to choose their country of residence, or to legalize their status, and confidential health-care] and take measures to cooperate with non-governmental organizations to provide for the social, medical and psychological care of the victims of trafficking;


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