Parliamentary Action on Elimination and Prevention of Violence Against Women



Parliamentary Action on Elimination and Prevention of Violence Against Women

The priority theme of the 57th UN Commission of the Status of Women will be the elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls.

Inequalities in women's lives are complex and intersected and violence against women and girls can be tackled from many angles by different stakeholders.

It is an issue of universal interest, affecting women and girls globally, and parliamentarians can play a role in the elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls. To support parliamentarians in their preparation for CSW 57, in March 2013, iKNOW Politics will run an online discussion, in partnership with the Gender Parliamentary Reference Group of AGORA (the Portal for Parliamentary Development). This virtual discussion will focus on:

  • Identifying the gaps and challenges in achieving the most effective responses among parliamentarians on this issue
  • Highlighting the most effective parliamentary mechanisms for building policy and legislation to prevent violence, to support victims/survivors, and to tackle primary prevention (stopping violence before it starts)
  • Discussing the impact violence against women has on perpetuating unequal gender political representation

Through this discussion, iKNOW Politics members and the Gender Parliamentary Reference Group can answer questions, and share experiences and best practices of parliamentarians' work to eliminate gender-based violence. All are welcome to participate!

From 9 November through 23 November 2012, iKNOW Politics will co-host a virtual discussion on the elimination and prevention of violence against women with AGORA (


There are 25 Comments in this language version, More comments are available in different languages.

Use below option to post comment using Social account

iKNOW Politics's picture

Dear Dr. Chandler,

We are pleased to have you join our e-discussion on Parliamentary Action on Elimination and Prevention of VAW. We look forward to you posting your comments to this space!


The iKNOW Politics Team

Daniela Agres-Eloy's picture

The IPU has organized five regional seminars to sensitize parliaments and their members to violence against women and girls and strengthen their knowledge in order to prevent and counter such violence. These were held in Europe (on VAW and migration), Latin America (on enforcement of anti-VAW laws) and Arab countries (on CEDAW and VAW), Central and Western Africa (legislating against violence), and Asia (on legislation and effective enforcement to prevent and respond to VAW). A regional seminar adapted to the needs and concerns of the parliaments in East and Southern Africa will be organized in December 2012

Comment posted by Sophia Ostler on AGORA on 5th November

Moderator's Note: this comment is cross-posted from AGORA, the Portal for Parliamentary Development

Daniela Agres-Eloy's picture

See my recent additions on action underway in the Pacific to address violence against women and the work of the PIF Reference Group on SGBV.

Comment posted by Rick Nimmo on AGORA on 9th November

Moderator's Note: this comment is cross-posted from AGORA, the Portal for Parliamentary Development

Daniela Agres-Eloy's picture

Also provided in documents a valuable UN handbook and some model provisions from the Pacific addressing the sorts of legislative requirements needed to address sexual violence.

Comment posted by Rick Nimmo on AGORA on 10th November

Moderator's Note: this comment is cross-posted from AGORA, the Portal for Parliamentary Development

Daniela Agres-Eloy's picture

Also see the videos of my dear friend Imrana Jalal on the front of the gender section of the Agora website as her views helped shape significantly the UN's approach to best practice legislative reform to address violence against women and her knowledge of this issue is extensive and her passion compelling. The videos are at the bottom of the page on

Comment posted by Rick Nimmo on AGORA on 10th November

Moderator's Note: this comment is cross-posted from AGORA, the Portal for Parliamentary Development

Daniela Agres-Eloy's picture

I would recommend a series of powerful material provided by “Say NO - UNiTE to End Violence against Women, a social mobilization platform on ending violence against women and girls and contributing towards UN Secretary General’s campaign launched in 2008. This campaign is a multi-year effort aimed at preventing and eliminating violence against women and girls around the world.

“We must unite. Violence against women cannot be tolerated, in any form, in any context, in any circumstance, by any political leader or by any government. The time to change is now. Only by standing together and speaking out can we make a difference.” – Secretary General Ban Ki-moon

Quote from the website :

The UNiTE Framework for Action provides an overall “umbrella” for existing and new initiatives at global, regional, national and local levels, and provides five key outcomes to be achieved in all countries by 2015.

These outcomes include:

·         Adoption and enforcement of national laws to address and punish all forms of violence against women and girls, in line with international human rights standards.

·         Adoption and implementation of multi-sectoral national plans of action that emphasize prevention and are adequately resourced.

·         Establishment of data collection and analysis systems, on the prevalence of various forms of violence against women and girls.

·         Establishment of national and/or local campaigns and the engagement of a diverse range of civil society actors in preventing violence and in supporting women and girls who have been abused.

·         Systematic efforts to address sexual violence in conflict situations and to protect women and girls from rape as a tactic of war, and the full implementation of related laws and policies. (end of quote)

If you wish to read the full Framework of the campaign, you are welcome to visit the platform.

Kristine Yakhama's picture

Women causes have been undermined and this is a manifestation of historically unequal power relations between men and power. This has led to domination over and discrimination against women forcing them into sub-ordinate positions in comparison to men. This has contributed to women low level of political participation, education and work opportunities.

Daniela Agres-Eloy's picture

Press Release on 9 November During first official trip to Japan, UN Women’s Executive Director thanks Government for support and calls for women’s full participation

Ending violence against women was highlighted during the three-day visit to Japan (12-14 November) of the Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women Michelle Bachelet. Son agenda included the Tokyo Tower’s Lighting event organized by the Cabinet Office’s Gender Equality Bureau, as part of the ending violence against women week. Ms Bachelet highlighted the urgency to end violence against women in every country around the world.

Read the press release on UN WOMEN website at and also several other speeches Ms Bachelet gave during the visit.


iKNOW Politics's picture

Comment from Sophie Ostler:

Wilton Park conference on preventing sexual violence in conflict and post-conflict situations

Moderator's Note: this comment is cross-posted from AGORA, the Portal for Parliamentary Development

Daniela Agres-Eloy's picture

The Secretary-General’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign proclaims every 25th of the month as Orange Day!

The first in a series of Orange Days was launched on 25 July this year, and will be repeated every consecutive month leading up to the 57th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (March 2013), which will focus on the prevention and elimination of violence against women.

Daniela Agres-Eloy's picture

Join the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence campaign from 25 November through 10 December.

16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign is an international campaign that began in 1991. From November 25th, the International Day of Elimination of Violence against Women, to December 10th, International Human Rights Day, the campaign calls on individuals and groups around the world to act to end all forms of violence against women and girls.

At Say NO – UNiTE, activism to end violence against women and girls happens every day. Through the 16 Days of Activism and leading up to the UN Commission on the Status of Women in 2013, where world leaders will discuss progress and the way forward to prevent this, Say NO – UNiTE is calling upon governments to make new national commitments to end violence against women and girls.


Daniela Agres-Eloy's picture

UN WOMEN: Ending Violence against Women

In Sudan, UNIFEM (now UN Women) has partnered with the UN Mission in Darfur, the local police and tribal leaders in training women in refugee camps to protect themselves from sexual violence. The women receive information on where to seek medical support and about safety measures, such as walking together in groups or carrying a whistle to use in case of attacks. Targeted outreach to men, mentoring them on becoming champions for the protection of women’s human rights, is also underway. The UN Women-supported initiatives have resulted in the establishment of Child and Family Units in police stations and the recruitment of 500 female police officers for Southern Darfur.
In Burundi, significant progress was made when the traditional judicial institution for conflict resolution, the Bashingantahe, amended its Charter to allow for the effective involvement of women. UNIFEM (now UN Women) supported the sensitization of the Bashingantahe on women’s rights and its role in addressing violence against women. For the first time, women are admitted to participate in judicial decisions and now constitute 40 percent of the judges in each session. A direct outcome has been an increase in cases of sexual violence heard by the Bashingantahe: more women are now willing to break the silence on violence and report cases of abuse.

Americas and the Caribbean
In Mexico City, the burgeoning public transport system has gotten a facelift aimed at preventing violence against women in buses and subways. The Safe Travelling programme provides specialized security personnel in select locations, and dedicated women-only buses at certain hours, along with reserved entrances and compartments within subway cars. For the women in one of the world’s largest cities, these measures mean better access to education, health services and job markets.
In Ecuador, UN Women supported efforts to reform the ancestral indigenous justice system in Kichwa communities in the province of Imbabura, to better respond to cases of violence against women. A set of “Rules for a Good Coexistence” was created by indigenous women and is currently being used by the communities, with technical and financial support from UN Women. Following an invitation by the Secretariat of the National Plan to Combat Violence against Women, the indigenous women leaders presented their experience as a successful example of ways to curb gender-based violence in indigenous communities.

Asia and the Pacific
Improving access to justice for Afghan women, in particular violence survivors, has been a focus of UNIFEM (now UN Women) efforts. Statistics indicate that in Afghanistan more than 87 percent of all women suffer from domestic abuse, making the country one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a woman. Since 2008, referral centres provide a safe haven and 24-hour legal advice for cases concerning elopement, divorce, domestic violence and land rights. Staffed and used solely by women, the centres were established by the Ministries of the Interior and Women’s Affairs, with support from UNIFEM (now UN Women), and plans are underway to extend them to all 34 Afghan provinces.
In Thailand, training of the judicial staff at the Thonburi Criminal Court has resulted in increased commitment to enforce the Domestic Violence Act, and rearrangement of courtrooms using partitions and cameras now protects the survivor from directly encountering the perpetrator.

Europe and Central Asia
UNIFEM (now UN Women) supported efforts in Slovakia to conduct a study on the prevalence and perception of violence against women, including an assessment of institutional responses. The findings of the research have been used to update the national strategy on preventing violence against women and serve as a baseline for gender equality advocates to monitor progress.
In Kazakhstan, efforts have been focused on supporting civil society members and parliamentarians in drafting a domestic violence law.

Daniela Agres-Eloy's picture

The definition of “violence against women” in the UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women : 'Any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.'

Read the Amnesty international page for more information

Daniela Agres-Eloy's picture


Violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread violations of human rights. It can include physical, sexual, psychological and economic abuse, and it cuts across boundaries of age, race, culture, wealth and geography. It takes place in the home, on the streets, in schools, the workplace, in farm fields, refugee camps, during conflicts and crises. It has many manifestations — from the most universally prevalent forms of domestic and sexual violence, to harmful practices, abuse during pregnancy, so-called honour killings and other types of femicide.

International and regional legal instruments have clarified obligations of States to prevent, eradicate and punish violence against women and girls. The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) requires that countries party to the Convention take all appropriate steps to end violence. However, the continued prevalence of violence against women and girls demonstrates that this global pandemic of alarming proportions is yet to be tackled with all the necessary political commitment and resources.

Read the whole section @

Daniela Agres-Eloy's picture

Facts & Figures on VAW


Compiled by UN Women in 2011, The Violence against Women Prevalence Data: Surveys by Country [ en | es | fr ] presents data available for 86 countries on the prevalence of physical and sexual violence against women, forced sexual initiation and abuse during pregnancy, mainly drawn from leading international surveys, including: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Reproductive Health Surveys, Demographic and Health Surveys, Violence Against Women Surveys and the World Health Organization Multi-Country Study.


Violence against women and girls has pandemic proportions. Based on country data, up to 70% of women experience physical or sexual violence from men in their lifetime — the majority by husbands, intimate partners or someone they know.


Among women aged between 15 and 44, acts of violence cause more death and disability than cancer, malaria, traffic accidents and war combined. Perhaps the most pervasive human rights violation that we know today, violence against women devastates lives, fractures communities, and stalls development.


Read the whole article on UN WOMEN @

Daniela Agres-Eloy's picture

End the impunity of Congo's war criminals

By Navi Pillay


The soldiers who marched into Goma this week are led by the world's worst violators of human rights.

Last Monday, when the eastern Congolese city of Goma once again fell into the hands of an armed group – this time the M23 movement – I had a clear sense of history repeating itself. The name may have changed, but the play and many of its leading characters remain the same – arguably the most brutal and tragic situation anywhere in the world during the last 20 years.

Reports suggest that the fall of Goma has been accompanied by the killing and wounding of scores of civilians – many of them children – during the fighting over the past few days. Tens of thousands of civilians have fled, and many journalists, human rights defenders, and local officials have received death threats from M23 elements.

Read the article on The Guardian website

Daniela Agres-Eloy's picture

Congo, Brazzaville

Taking advantage of the World Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the Congolese government, the Minister of State, Keeper of the Seals, Minister of Justice and Human Rights, Aimé Emmanuel Yoka, launched on 25 November in Brazzaville, a national campaign of "zero tolerance now on sexual violence based on gender."

read the article in French 

Daniela Agres-Eloy's picture

War’s Silent Scourge: Sexual Violence Against Women
by Peter Westmacott , Melanne Verveer

It’s one of the most disturbing horrors of the conflict in Syria: the use of sexual assault as a weapon. Ambassadors Melanne Verveer and Peter Westmacott on how to put an end to the epidemic.

Read the article @

Daniela Agres-Eloy's picture

Dear participants,

The e-discussion on Elimination and Prevention of Violence Against Women shared on Agora by the Gender Parliamentary Reference Group and on iKNOW Politics website is ending today.

Please find below our last article:

The Elimination of Violence Against Women: "Time has Run Out for Complacency or Excuses"

By James Wan from Think Africa Press

Progress in the struggle to eliminate violence against women has been excruciatingly slow. The 19th century rights of men to “physically chastise an errant wife” may no longer exist, and a host of conventions, declarations and resolutions against gendered violence may have been enshrined in international law in the meantime. But violence against women continues to corrode the fabric of society in every country of the world. In homes, workplaces, and public spaces; in times of conflict and peace; through explicit and criminalised (though rarely prosecuted) acts, and through implicit and culturally-sanctioned practices, violence against women prevails and is widespread.”

Read the article @