AHRCentre endorses call for international legally binding agreement on eliminating violence against women

 

Delegates at the Inaugural Asia-Pacific Conference on Gendered Violence and Violations held at UNSW last week, unanimously approved a resolution calling for an internationally legally-binding instrument on eliminating violence against women. In addressing the context for the resolution, AHRCentre Director, Andrea Durbach told the conference that the absence of such an agreement against the backdrop of the evidence presented to the conference highlights the urgent need for States to take significant and collective action to address and prevent violence against women and girls around the world.

The Resolution reads as follows:

 

We, the delegates at the Inaugural Asia-Pacific Conference on Gendered Violence and Violations, meeting in Sydney Australia from 10th to the 12th February 2015 recognize that the absence of an internationally legally-binding instrument on eliminating violence against women, in and of itself, represents a normative gap in the international human rights legal framework.  An internationally legally-binding instrument on violence against women must be specific, comprehensive and holistic to hold States accountable.  We call on the United Nations to address this normative gap so that we can achieve the transformative change needed to fight violence against women across the globe and to promote women¹s rights and gender equality.

 

Continuing the Global Conversation: Why We Need An International Legally-binding Instrument on Violence Against Women and Girls

The absence of a specific international legally-binding instrument on eliminating violence against women and girls represents a normative gap in the international human rights legal framework.

Over the last two years the Australian Women Against Violence Alliance (AWAVA) has facilitated this conversation at the UN Commission for the Status of Women, and in between those meetings in civil society.  AWAVA is also Chairing another Parallel event on this next month at CSW59 in New York.

This conversation needs to be had.  CEDAW is necessary but it is not sufficient.  It is also time for young women entering this conversation to have voice on this issue.

We argue that if we are to achieve transformative change we must have a specific, comprehensive and holistic international legally-binding instrument on violence against women and girls to hold states accountable.  To not have one represents another obstacle to the promotion and protection of women’s rights and gender equality.

Enough is enough.  We need transformative change.

We need to continue to ask why combatting violence against women and girls has not yet attracted the same level of focus, commitment and resources as non-gendered crimes.

We need a holistic approach which addresses individual, institutional and structural factors that are both a cause and consequence of violence against women and girls. We need a different set of legally binding standards with a specific monitoring body to ensure accountability.

We must recognise that we have a normative gap under international law and that we need to adopt different norms and measures to fight violence against women and girls across the globe.

States need to commit to be bound by specific legal obligations in the quest for the elimination of this widespread human rights violation.

We need to have a global consultation and the re-politicising of violence of women, including sharing information on the regional legally binding instruments on violence against women.

We are proposing a resolution for the delegates of the Conference to adopt and which the conference organisers will forward to the United Nations.