A key global expert on violence against women and women’s rights, Ms Dubravka Šimonović , has reiterated her call for intensification of international, regional and national efforts to prevent femicides or gender related killings of women, and other forms of gender-based violence. The statement by the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, marks the 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence, as well as International Human Rights Day on 10 December. Her full statement is as follows:
“I congratulate all those States and stakeholders who have established a gender-related killing of women (femicide) watch or observatory and call upon others to do so in all countries, and to publish every year, on the International Day on the Elimination of Violence against Women (25 November), the number of femicides under the categories of ‘family or intimate-partner related femicides’ and ‘other femicides’.
Femicide, which I define as the murder of a woman or girl on the grounds of her sex and/or gender, represents one the most horrible forms of gender-based violence. It is perpetrated against a woman because she is a woman or it disproportionately affects women and girls. Such guiding definition should be used also as global reference for the collection of data on gender-based violence against women and for the development of femicide rate indicators.
Each case of femicide is an individual woman’s tragic story and there is the urgent need to focus on the prevention of these avoidable killings by undertaking in-depth analysis aimed at identifying shortcomings in the criminal justice system.
Data collection and its analysis are indeed broadly recognized by international and regional human rights instruments, including the new CEDAW General Recommendation No. 35, as a crucial tool to prevent gender-based violence against women.
Establishing a femicide watch to collect, analyze and review data at the national, regional and global level will galvanize the gathering of information on good practices with a view to enhancing the protection of all women and girls from gender-based violence.
In order to prevent and eradicate femicide and gender-based violence against women and girls worldwide, States should increase their efforts to establish femicide watch and gender-based violence observatories and to strengthen their legal framework and its implementation by all relevant actors.*
The implementation of femicide watch in all countries will also contribute to identify existing failure of protection, boost preventive measures as well as tackle impunity for perpetrators.
Since my first call in 2015, many initiatives aimed at establishing femicide and gender-based violence observatories are emerging and growing all over the world. In this regard, I would like also to pay tribute to the important contribution of civil society, regional mechanisms and national human rights institutions initiatives to the prevention of femicide and gender-based violence.
I hope we are now moving in the direction of collection of comparable world data on femicide and towards the development of modalities for data collection and analysis. Such data could then be turned into femicide rates in order to enable States to objectively assess where they stand on the regional and global scale and to adopt actions needed to prevent many preventable deaths of women.
I also urge States and stakeholders to increase the number of shelters or safe places for women and girls who are victims or at risk of violence, and to provide immediately accessible and effective protection orders. Data on shelters and protection orders should also be considered as objective indicators under Target 2 of Sustainable Development Goal 5 on the elimination of violence against women.
All States must, as a matter of urgency and in collaboration with civil society and other stakeholders, strengthen their efforts to prevent and eradicate femicides or gender-related killings of women and all forms of gender-based violence against women and girls, including by amending their national legislation and ratifying and implementing all global and regional women’s rights instruments aimed at tackling this pandemic.”
*Report of the Special Rapporteur to the General Assembly of the United Nations on the modalities of establishing femicide watch (A/71/398)