Independent UN human rights expert to speak at UWE on violence against women

Issue date: 18 October 2013


Independent UN expert Professor Rashida Manjoo is to give an address at UWE Bristol on current worldwide concerns relating to violence against women on 30 October. The distinguished legal professorial address has been organised by human rights and gender and equality experts from UWE's Bristol Law School.

Ms Manjoo was appointed Special Rapporteur on Violence against women, its causes and consequences in June 2009 by the UN Human Rights Council. As Special Rapporteur, she is independent from any government or organisation and serves in her individual capacity.

Ms Manjoo's role requires her to transmit urgent appeals and communications to States regarding alleged cases of violence against women, undertake country visits and submit annual thematic reports.

In 2014, Ms Manjoo will visit the UK on an official mission, examining UK laws, policies and practices in relation to violence against women.

She presented her fourth thematic report on the issue of State responsibility for eliminating violence against women to the UN Human Rights Council on 3 June.

She says, “States are required to hold accountable those who fail to protect and prevent, as well as those who perpetrate, violations of women's rights. Each State has an obligation to investigate all acts of violence against women, including systemic failures to prevent violence against women.

“However despite numerous developments, violence against women remains endemic, and the lack of accountability for violations experienced by women is the rule rather than the exception in many countries.

“Some challenges as regards State responsibility include lack of acceptance of violence against women as a human rights issue; inadequate attention devoted to investigating patterns, causes and consequences of violence; where cases are reported, few perpetrators are prosecuted or convicted; and sanctions often do not reflect the seriousness of the crime perpetrated.

“There is a need to create a framework for discussing the responsibility of States to act with due diligence, by separating the due diligence standard into two categories: individual due diligence which States owe to individual victims of violence, and systemic due diligence which requires States' obligations to create a functioning system to eliminate violence against women.”

Examples of due diligence are ensuring effective investigations, prosecution and sanctions; guaranteeing access to adequate and effective judicial remedies; and treating women victims and their relatives with respect and dignity throughout the legal process.

Other key factors are ensuring comprehensive reparations to victims and their relatives; identifying certain groups of women as being at particular risk; modifying the social and cultural patterns of conduct of men and women; and eliminating prejudices.

Organiser Jackie Jones said, “We are delighted to welcome a human rights expert of such high standing as Ms Manjoo to Bristol. This is an excellent opportunity to hear her speak about current critical concerns worldwide and also take part in a question and answer session.”

Ms Manjoo also holds a part-time position as a Professor in the Department of Public Law of the University of Cape Town.

The event is being held at UWE's Frenchay campus on Wednesday 30 October and begins with a drinks reception at 6 pm, followed by the lecture at 6:30 pm. To register for the event e-mail CLR@uwe.ac.uk

Here is more information on the role of the Special Rapporteur.

The latest report can be downloaded here.

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