Declaration of the
March 2002) The UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and
consequences, and the Special Rapporteurs on women’s rights of the
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the African Commission on Human
and Peoples’ Rights met for the first time on 28 February and 1 March 2002, in
Montreal, at a meeting organized by Rights & Democracy. The Special
Rapporteurs issued the following joint declaration:
that women’s rights are human rights, we, the Special Rapporteurs, reaffirm
our commitment to international standards of women’s rights contained in, inter
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.
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 law.
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.
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.
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
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.
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 counselling 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.
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’s rights; (c) harmonizing our recommendations to states; (d)
communicating regularly with regional and international NGOs, women`s
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.