Taking stock of the femicide watch initiative
Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences
To inform the Special Rapporteur’s report on femicide to be presented at the 76th session of the General Assembly
The issue of femicide, or gender-related killings of women, had been a thematic priority for the former UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, Ms. Dubravka Simonovic. In 2015, she issued a call to States to establish a “femicide watch” and/or observatories, and in her report to the General Assembly in September 2016 (A/71/398), she further elaborated on the modalities for establishing such a mechanism. Since then, she has made yearly calls to States to submit information on the measures taken and provide data on cases of femicide.
The Special Rapporteur took stock on progress made to prevent and combat femicide, particularly in the context of the Femicide Watch initiative, as well as to collect good practices and issue recommendations on the use of data to design and implement effective prevention strategies on femicide. Her findings were presented in a report to the 76th session of the UN General Assembly.
The overall aim of the Femicide Watch initiative has been to promote evidence-based policies and strategies for the prevention of femicide, through the collection of comparable data on femicide rates at the national, regional and global level. Analysed from a human rights perspective by national multidisciplinary bodies, data on femicides can be used by Governments in order to determine shortcomings within national laws and policies, including their lack of implementation, and to undertake preventive measures.
Significant progress has been made in the past five years towards the creation of different types of bodies with the purpose of monitoring violence against women and femicide in particular. Created under different names, mandates and methodologies, with different geographic and thematic scopes, these observatories represent an expansion of institutional capacity to understand, respond to and prevent femicides.
However, that progress has been uneven. While some countries and regions have put significant resources into setting up their femicide watches, in others there is very little progress, if any. Likewise, considerably more data are being collected and disseminated, but these data are not yet comparable as in many cases the modalities proposed by the Special Rapporteur are not observed. States do not include information on the relationship between the victim and the perpetrator in their homicide data. It is also problematic that, in some countries, data on femicide or gender-related killings of women and girls are limited only to intimate-partner violence. A comprehensive approach should include all types of femicide relevant to a particular context, including intimate partner and family-related killings and others in which, while there is no relationship between the victim and the perpetrator, there is a gender motive.
In her report, the Special Rapporteur made recommendations to States and to the UN system on the measures necessary to prevent and combat femicide. The report also includes an analysis and recommendations relative to the work of the Platform of Independent Expert Mechanisms on the Elimination of Discrimination and Violence against Women (EDVAW Platform).
National Human Rights Institutions
UN entities and regional mechanisms
Civil Society Organizations