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Foundation for monitoring of laws

Goal of monitoring of laws on violence against women and girls

The overarching goal of monitoring of laws on violence against women and girls is to determine the effectiveness of the laws, policies, and protocols, and to determine if amendments or reforms are needed. See: United Nations Handbook for legislation against women, (hereinafter UN Handbook) 3.3.1.

For a video on the UN Handbook, click here.

Objectives of monitoring of laws

Monitoring of laws should:

  • Determine the prevalence of cases of violence against women. 
  • Determine the laws, policies and protocols which are used to address violence against women.
  • Evaluate laws, policies and protocols used to address violence against women.
  • Propose changes in laws, policies, and protocols in order to further the goals of safety for victims and accountability for offenders.
  • Reveal unintended consequences of laws, policies, and protocols.
  • Reveal gaps in the law, policies, and protocols.
  • Pressure a government to apply international standards or to change its actions.
  • Reveal the need for a coordinated community response to enforce the laws.
  • Reveal the need for capacity-building and training for professionals who must enforce the laws.
  • Be performed on a regular basis.

See: UN Handbook, 3.3.1.

Sources of international laws on monitoring

Under the following declarations and conventions, the state has a duty to provide an effective remedy for acts which violate the human rights of women and girls.  In order to provide an effective remedy, a state must monitor the implementation of its laws on violence against women and girls.

These agreements outline the duty of a state to protect the rights of women and girls by providing an effective remedy:

  • The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948, states that “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person” in Article 3.  In Article 7, it states that “All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law.” In Article 8, it declares that “Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.”
  • The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966) prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, and mandates states parties to “…ensure that any person whose rights or freedoms as herein recognized are violated shall have an effective remedy.” Article 2

To establish legal protection of the rights of women on an equal basis with men and to ensure through competent national tribunals and other public institutions the effective protection of women against any act of discrimination;…

To take all appropriate measures, including legislation, to modify or abolish existing laws, regulations, customs and practices which constitute discrimination against women;…Article 2 (b) and (f)

  • General Recommendation 12 (1989), made by the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) recommends that all parties to the Convention report to CEDAW on the legislation which is in force, statistical data on the incidence of violence against women, and on measures which have been adopted to eradicate the violence.
  • In General Recommendation 19, 1992, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women recommended that:

States parties should encourage the compilation of statistics and research on the extent, causes and effects of violence, and on the effectiveness of measures to prevent and deal with violence; 24 (c)

In 24 (v) the Committee stated:
The reports of States parties should include information on the legal, preventive and protective measures that have been taken to overcome violence against women, and on the effectiveness of such measures.

Promote research, collect data and compile statistics, especially concerning domestic violence, relating to the prevalence of different forms of violence against women and encourage research on the causes, nature, seriousness and consequences of violence against women and on the effectiveness of measures implemented to prevent and redress violence against women; those statistics and findings of the research will be made public;…Article 4 (k)

  • Security Council Resolution 1960 (2010) encouraged the UN Secretary-General to include detailed information on parties to armed conflict that are suspected of being responsible for sexual violence and states the intention of the Security Council to use the information for further engagement with UN procedures, including sanctions. It requested that the Secretary-General use information gathered from monitoring of conflict-related sexual violence to engage in a coordinated approach within each country. Further, it encouraged Member States to provide military and police personnel with adequate training on sexual and gender-based violence and to deploy more women personnel to UN peacekeeping missions and reinforced the zero-tolerance policy on sexual exploitation for the peacekeeping forces.

PeaceWomen, Women, Peace and Security Handbook: Compilation and Analysis of United Nations Security Council Resolution Language 2000-2010. This handbook, by Maria Butler, Kristina Mader and Rachel Kean for the The PeaceWomen Project, provides advocates with a compilation and gender analysis of United Nations Security Council resolutions adopted between 2000 and 2010. The analysis covers 432 resolutions related to 20 country-specific situations, and reviews the resolutions in the framework of 13 core themes outlined in SC Resolution 1325, including sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual violence. The handbook highlights good practices for each thematic area and proposes recommended actions for inclusion in future resolutions to advance the women, peace and security agenda. Available in English.

DOVA, The Human Rights Assessment Instrument on Domestic Violence (2010), by Loeky Droesen, is a Human Rights Assessment Instrument on Domestic Violence. It provides step by step guidance to assess whether a country is complying with its international human rights obligations to provide safety for victims and accountability for offenders in domestic violence cases. The DOVA assessment is divided into seven steps which contain checklists and questions to inform a monitor’s data collection and analysis. It offers guidance to form a set of recommendations for legal or policy reform and plans for advocacy efforts, including awareness-raising. Available in English. To watch a video on the background of the project, click here.