Subject: [fem-women2000 774] Women's GlobalNet #187: Declaration for International Women's Day
From: iwtc <>
Date: Tue, 12 Mar 2002 19:16:25 +0000
Seq: 774

Initiatives and Activities of Women Worldwide
By Anne S. Walker 

March 12, 2002


Three Special Rapporteurs on Women's Rights (from the UN Commission on 
Human Rights, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and African 
Commission on Human and People's Rights) met for the first time in 
Montreal on 28 February and 1 March, 2002, under the auspices of the 
International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development (Rights 
& Democracy), to identify avenues of collaboration on issues of common 

The three Special Rapporteurs then issued the following Joint 
Declaration for International Women's Day, March 8, 2002.

"Recalling that women's rights are human rights, we, the Special 
Rapporteurs, reaffirm our commitment to international standards of 
women's rights contained in, inter alia:

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights;
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;
The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights;
The UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women;
The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against 
Women and its Optional Protocol;
The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court;
The American Convention on Human Rights and its Additional Protocol in 
the Area of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights;
The American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man;
The Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and 
Eradication of Violence against Women (Convention of Belem do Par;
The African Charter on Human and PeoplesRights, and
The 1999 Grand Baie Declaration and Plan of Action on human rights."

"We affirm that these international and regional instruments provide 
comprehensive protection against gender-based violence and 
discrimination against women. We call on all States that have not yet 
done so to ratify the relevant treaties and to ensure compliance with 
international norms."

"We emphasize that violence against women is understood as violence 
perpetrated by any person within the home and the family, and within the 
community, as well as that perpetrated or condoned by the State, 
including during armed conflict. Violence against women is a 
manifestation of discrimination based on gender. We reaffirm that the 
right of every woman to be free from violence includes the right to be 
free from such discrimination and to enjoy equal protection under the 

"We recognize the diversity among women and the right of people in 
community and with other members of their group to enjoy their own 
culture. We recognize the particularities in the different regions 
regarding the application of women's rights. However, States must not 
invoke any custom, tradition or religious consideration to avoid their 
obligations with respect to the elimination of violence and 
discrimination against women. All women have the right to live in 
freedom, equality and dignity."

"Violence against women and girls is perpetrated in every country in the 
world. This occurs in situations of peace and conflict. However, the 
State agents and private actors responsible are not held to account. 
This climate of impunity encourages the persistence of such violations. 
We urge States to take immediate action to end such impunity and to 
bring perpetrators to justice."

"We reiterate that international standards of human rights protect women 
from violence and discrimination by private non-State actors. States 
have a duty to take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination 
against women by any person, organization or enterprise. States are held 
to a due diligence standard to prevent, prosecute and punish those who 
commit violence against women and to take measures to permanently 
eradicate violence against women in their societies."

"While the international and regional communities have established 
standards to prevent, punish and eradicate violence and discrimination 
against women, many States have yet to take the steps necessary to 
implement these standards in domestic legislation and practices. We urge 
States to take appropriate action to bring their laws and practices into 
conformity with these standards."

"We highlight the fact that women who have been subjected to violence 
and discrimination generally lack access to effective judicial 
protection and remedies. Strategies must be implemented that involve law 
reform and, in particular, reform of the criminal justice system. 
Training is required for policy makers, police, judges, and prosecutors. 
There must also be provision of legal, medical and psychological 
counseling and adequate social services for the victims. States should 
use the education system and awareness-raising campaigns aimed at the 
general public to assist them in implementing international standards at 
the national level."

"In light of these shared concerns we undertake to coordinate our 
efforts to achieve greater effectiveness in our work through: (a) 
exchange of information, including on laws and cases, as well as 
mission-related information; (b) sharing ideas and strategies on how to 
approach emerging issues and the violation of women龝 rights; (c) 
harmonizing our recommendations to States; (d) communicating regularly 
with regional and international NGOs, women龝 organizations and other 
representatives of civil society for whom the promotion and protection 
of women's human rights are central objectives. We undertake to keep 
each other informed of the latest developments."


Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and its 
consequences, UN Commission on Human Rights

Special Rapporteur on Women's Rights
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

Ms. Angela MELO
Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Women in Africa,
African Commission on Human and People's Rights

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