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To “silence the guns”, end violence against women before, during and after conflict - human rights experts

GENEVA (12 February 2020) – For effective peace building efforts, States and stakeholders must address the root causes of gender-based violence against women before, during, and after conflict, said UN and regional experts* asthe African Union closes its Assembly session on the implementation of its project on “silencing the guns”.

“During numerous conflicts there is an exacerbation of gender-based violence, in particular the use of sexual violence against women and girls,” said the EDVAW (Elimination of Discrimination and Violence Against Women) Platform in its joint statement. “Despite rape often being used as a tool of war, the causes and consequences of such gender-based violence are not yet fully addressed.”

The discrimination that women experience in times of conflict or peace derives from the more general patterns of gender inequality and violence against them, they said. Therefore, efforts to end gender-based violence in conflicts will only be effective through a holistic approach aiming at eliminating violence against women and gender inequality in general.

“A gendered approach to conflict prevention must include measures to silence the guns by regulating the arms trade and circulation, including of small arms, which could prevent femicides in the post-conflict context,” the experts added.

As 2020 marks the 20th anniversary of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325, which calls for greater participation of women in preventing conflict and building peace, the experts reminded States that persistent patterns of discrimination and violence against women prevent their full, equal and meaningful participation.

“The Women, Peace and Security Agenda initiatives should include the elimination of violence and sexual harassment of women in political and public life, including during elections,” they said.

The EDVAW Platform also reiterated its call for States “to increase their support to the expert mechanisms in the face of pushbacks that have been blocking and slowing down progress in the elimination of discrimination and gender-based violence against women”.


(*) Dubravka Šimonovic, Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences; Hilary Gbedemah, Chairperson of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women; Meskerem Geset Techane, Chair of the UN Working Group on discrimination against women and girls Marceline Naudi, President of the Group of Experts on Action against Violence against Women and Domestic Violence of the Council of Europe (GREVIO); Margarette May Macaulay, Inter-American Commission on Human Right's Rapporteur for Women's Rights; Lucy Asuagbor, Special Rapporteur on Rights of Women in Africa; and Tatiana Rein, President of the Committee of Experts of the Follow-up Mechanism to the Belém do Pará Convention.

The Platform of independent experts on the Elimination of Discrimination and Violence Against Women was launched in March 2018, on the margins of the 62nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women, under the leadership of the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, with the aim of enhancing cooperation between international and regional mechanisms on violence and discrimination against women and girls with the view of accelerating domestication and implementation of the international and regional standards on violence and discrimination against women. Since then, the Platform has brought together independent expert mechanisms on violence and discrimination against women to speak with one voice on issues of common concern; exchange views emerging from their work on challenges and efforts to address gender-based violence against women; and find synergies in advancing in the common quest of achieving a world free from violence against women.

For additional information and media requests, please contact: Renata Preturlan (+41 22 928 9254 / rpreturlan@ohchr.org )
For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts: The Media Unit (+ 41 22 928 9855 / mediaconsultant2@ohchr.org)

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