Monitors should include a brief conclusion which is supported by a summary of the findings. The conclusion should address positive and negative actions of the government and various stakeholders to implement the law. The conclusion should also provide a summary of the recommendations. For example, see: Domestic Violence Legislation and its Implementation: An Analysis for ASEAN Countries Based on International Standards and Good Practices (2009), p. 31-34.
Monitors should utilize the findings of a monitoring report to develop recommendations which are specifically addressed to key stakeholders. These recommendations provide a solid basis for advocacy campaigns. See: section of this Knowledge Module on Advocating for New Laws or the Reform of Existing Laws on Violence against Women and Girls. For example, in Implementation of the Bulgarian Law on Protection against Domestic Violence (2008), the authors addressed Priority Recommendations to, among others, the Bulgarian government, including specific government ministries such as the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Justice. The monitors also addressed specific recommendations to Parliament, the police, prosecutors, civil society, and the media. p. 51-53
In Domestic Violence in Brazil: Examining Obstacles and Approaches to Promote Legislative Reform (2010), the author recommended adequate funding and educational reform in order to implement the Brazilian law on domestic violence. p. 97
The authors of the Assessment of the Republic of Armenia Legislation from Gender Based Violence Perspective (2010) addressed numerous civil and criminal RoA laws, discerned gaps in the legislation, and made specific recommendations for each one. They concluded that an adequate response to gender-based violence requires comprehensive legislation in housing, child care, health care, employment, immigration, child custody and visitation, marriage, public benefits, firearms possession, and shelters. The authors also noted that an adequate response to gender-based violence must include drafting and amending a number of laws which were not included in the assessment.
Monitors should also propose amendments to laws or new laws to address evolving or unaddressed practices. See: UN Handbook, 3.1.6.
For example, after the Assessment of the Republic of Armenia Legislation from Gender Based Violence Perspective (2010) was published, a series of focus groups which included representatives of the Armenian government, National Assembly, civil society, and international NGOs were convened to review the recommendations presented in the assessment from a practitioner’s standpoint and to discuss possible strategies for implementation of the recommendations. A final package of recommendations, including amendments to national laws, will be submitted to the RoA government and National Assembly.
Promising Practice: Honduras Monitoring Commission Proposes Amendment and Expands Protection to Victims of Domestic Violence
In Honduras, a Special Inter-institutional Commission for Monitoring the Implementation of the Law against Domestic Violence was formed after the enactment of the Honduran Law on Domestic Violence in 1997. The Commission consisted of government members and members from civil society. In 2004, the Commission proposed that protection orders provisions be expanded and that cases of repeat domestic violence should have criminal penalties. Both of these amendments were approved by Congress and have been in effect since 2006.
(See: UN Handbook, 3.3.1)
Ensuring a quality monitoring project
The following factors improve credibility of a monitoring study:
See: Researching Violence Against Women: A Practical Guide for Researchers and Activists, 2005, Chapter Thirteen
In 2008, ANNA, Russia’s National Center for the Prevention of Violence, formed the National Independent Commission on Women’s Human Rights and Violence against Women (“the Commission”), comprising advocates and experts on gender-based violence from various regions of Russia. The Commission monitored violations of women’s human rights in Russia, and, in 2009, issued a report entitled Territory of Silence: Women’s Human Rights and Violence against Women in Russia.
As part of its monitoring study, the Commission reviewed Russia’s performance in light of the country’s obligations under international law. It found that the systemic failures identified in the study constituted violations of Russia’s obligations under various treaties it had ratified, including the Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Violence against Women (CEDAW) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The Commission gathered data by conducting interviews, analyzing news media coverage, obtaining statistics maintained by government agencies and NGOs, and by compiling its own statistics.
The Commission’s report identified four kinds of violations of women’s human rights: domestic violence; sexual violence and sexual harassment; trafficking in women; and violent crimes against women as part of traditional practices such as honor killings and bride abduction for the purpose of forced marriage.
The Commission found that each of these human rights violations was widespread in Russia. Domestic violence, for example, was found to affect one out of four families. The Commission also analyzed trends over time and found that the number of registered “household” offenses increased by 47% between 2007 and 2008. Despite the increase in reported domestic violence incidents, between 2006 and 2008, 20 NGOs working to prevent gender-based violence ceased to exist due to inadequate funds and government support. In 2008, only 23 shelters offered services specifically to women victims of domestic violence. The total number of beds for women and children is only 200 for a country with a population of 142 million.
With regard to sexual violence and harassment, the Commission found that the number of sexual harassment cases registered by human rights advocates had increased by 38% over the preceding decade. One in three Russian women had had sex with their superiors at work at least once. 7% of Russian women had been raped by their superiors. 80% of women had received sexual offers in connection with job promotions. These statistics offer a glimpse into the Commission’s data gathering methodology: by using several different indicators and questions to measure sexual harassment, the monitors were able to ensure a higher degree of accuracy than a single indicator would have yielded.
The Commission compared official statistics on rape to data from crisis centers and found that the number of cases registered with law enforcement agencies was much lower than the incidence of rapes suggested by the number of calls received by crisis centers. Only 8% of rape victims filed police complaints.
The Commission also examined the issue of trafficking. According to the Commission’s findings, tens of thousands of women are trafficked into Russia every year, most of them subjected to sex trafficking. The Commission noted that the number of offenses uncovered by police had increased in recent years. A rehabilitation center for trafficking victims run by the International Organization for Migration has been in operation since 2007.
In addition to these human rights violations, traditional practices such as bride abduction and “honour” killings also pose a threat to Russian women. According to one estimate, 180 bride abduction cases were registered in Dagestan alone in 2008. The Commission noted that although data on “honour” killings is not available, leaders of women’s NGOs continue to report that local law enforcement officials do not investigate cases which are reported as suicides, and that these officials do not prioritize women’s safety.
The Commission noted that the state response to all of these human rights violations has been inadequate, as evidenced by law enforcement agencies’ refusals to register victims’ complaints and their failure to investigate complaints. Police were biased against rape victims and received bribes from perpetrators of “traditional practice” crimes. Other state actors, such as prosecutors and judges, were unresponsive to the needs of victims of gender-based violence. The Commission attributed these shortcomings to a lack of training on the special nature of violence against women.
The Commission also identified several other barriers to effective protection for women victims of violence. For example, most domestic violence victims are forced to prosecute their cases without access to free legal counsel. Protection orders are not available for victims of domestic violence. No comprehensive strategy or national action plan has been adopted by the government to combat violence against women, nor does the government have a system that would allow it to gather data on domestic violence. A review of media coverage of violence against women revealed a pervasive victim-blaming attitude, absence of a human rights perspective, and negative depictions of women.
The Commission’s study illustrates the use of several monitoring tools: review of international treaties; review of domestic law and policy; review and comparison of statistics on the prevalence and prosecution of violence against women, compiled from various sources; and use of qualitative methods—in this case, interviews and content analysis of news media—to gather information not readily obtainable in other ways.
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