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View the document(introduction...)
View the documentThe Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Violence against Women
View the documentConvention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
View the documentThe Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women
View the documentU.N. Model Strategies and Practical Measures on the Elimination of Violence Against Women in the Field of Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

With the exception of Article 6 on trafficking in women, the Convention does not explicitly address violence against women. However, in 1991, the U.N. committee of independent experts which monitors compliance with the Convention, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), adopted a "general recommendation" which concludes that gender-based violence violates many of the rights guaranteed by the Convention. CEDAW's general recommendations are authoritative interpretations of the Convention but are not legally binding.

General Recommendation No. 19 defines violence against women as a form of discrimination which limits women's ability to enjoy human rights on a basis of equality with men. It identifies specific forms of violence prohibited by the provisions of the Convention and outlines preventive, punitive and remedial measures to be taken by States that have ratified the Convention. It emphasizes that the Convention applies to discrimination by non-governmental as well as governmental actors and so prohibits violence by private persons or groups.

States parties are required to report to CEDAW on the steps taken to implement their obligations under the Convention. This reporting process provides a means of monitoring efforts to end violence and identifying effective preventive and remedial measures, as well as laws and practices which are inconsistent with the Convention. CEDAW's guidelines for States parties' reports call for information on the legal and practical steps taken to prevent and remedy violence, in light of General Recommendation No. 19. CEDAW reviews those reports in public meetings in a process of discussion with Government representatives and routinely questions the officials about action related to various forms of violence.