Subject: [end-violence] Upcoming country visits by Special Rapporteur
From: Jyothi Kanics (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Tue Jul 20 1999 - 22:58:45 EDT
>From: Lisa Kois <email@example.com>
>Date: Tue, 20 Jul 1999 11:20:04 +4000
>Subject: [end-violence] Upcoming country visits by Special Rapporteur
>Dear Committed Anti-Violence Activists and Advocates,
>Once again, we are writing to you about the work of the Special Rapporteur:
>to update you on our progress this year, to remind you about our previous
>reports, and, for those of you who are unfamiliar with the work of the
>Special Rapporteur, to provide you with some information about the mandate
>and work of the Special Rapporteur, as well as how to submit information to
>We are also hoping, once again, for your assistance. Our reporting depends
>on the information we receive. We very much hope and encourage all of you
>to share your project and research results with us. Even if such work does
>not feed directly into this year's work programme, the Special Rapporteur
>maintains an archive of information on violence against women from which we
>draw materials and information for future reports.
>The Special Rapporteur and her office would like to extend a warm thank you
>to all of you for the important work you are doing to combat violence
>against women and provide support to survivors of such violence. We would
>also like to convey a special thanks to those of you who have contributed to
>our work by making your documentation, publications and research results
>available to us or by bringing urgent allegations to our attention.
>This year we are working on three thematic reports:
> 1. Trafficking in women;
> 2. Economic and social policies of the state that cause,
> contribute to, or constitute violence against women; and
> 3. Honour killings.
>During the course of the year, the Special Rapporteur has or hopes to
>undertake field visits to the following countries:
> 1. Cuba and Haiti (June, 1999);
> 2. Afghanistan (late August - early September, 1999);
> 3. Nepal, Bangladesh, India (end of October - beginning of
> November, 1999);
> 4. The Balkans (to be determined).
>As many of you know from previous years, we need your help to accomplish the
>above. We very much hope that you will again share your information with
>our office. Information for the thematic reports should be received by
>September 30th, 1999. Information to help us prepare for field visits
>should be send prior to the visit. It would greatly assist us if you could
>send printed materials to both the Colombo and Geneva offices (see addresses
>We thank you in advance for your assistance, as well as for your continuing
>Lisa Kois & Christina Saunders
>THE UN SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN,
>INCLUDING ITS CAUSES AND CONSEQUENCES:
>A BRIEF INTRODUCTION
>The post of Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and
>consequences was created by the United Nations in March, 1994 to investigate
>and report on all aspects of violence against women throughout the world.
>Radhika Coomaraswamy, a lawyer and long-time women's rights advocate from
>Sri Lanka, was appointed to the position at that time and continues to serve
>as Special Rapporteur.
>The Special Rapporteur is an independent expert and serves a fact-finder and
>reporter. Her primary reporting function is to the UN Commission on Human
>Rights, which is the principal human rights body of the United Nations and
>is comprised of State representatives. She also liaises with the Commission
>on the Status of Women, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination
>against Women and other relevant UN bodies.
>The Special Rapporteur has an office in Geneva and Colombo to assist her
>work (see addresses below). Administrative and technical support for the
>mandate is provided by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
>in Geneva, Switzerland.
>REPORTS TO THE COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS:
>The Special Rapporteur's mandate is based on the substantive breakdown of
>violence against women contained within the UN Declaration on the
>Elimination of Violence against Women. According to Article 2 of the
>Declaration violence against women encompasses, but is not limited to,
>physical, sexual and psychological violence, which occurs:
> (1) in the family, including battering, sexual abuse of
>female children in the household, dowry-related violence, marital rape,
>female genital mutilation and other traditional practices harmful to women,
>non-spousal violence and violence related to exploitation;
> (2) in the community, including rape, sexual abuse, sexual
>harassment and intimidation at work, in educational institutions and
>elsewhere, trafficking in women and forced prostitution; and
> (3) perpetrated or condoned by the state, including during
>times of armed conflict.
>As of April 1999, the Special Rapporteur has produced six thematic reports:
> (1) preliminary survey of all forms of violence against
>women, E/CN.4/1995/42, issued on 22 November 1994:
> (2) violence in the family, E/CN.4/1996/53, issued on 5
> (3) violence in the community, E/CN.4/1997/47, issued on 12
> (4) violence by the state and during armed conflict,
>E/CN.4/1998/54, issued on 26 January 1998;
> (5) an assessment of state responses to domestic violence,
>E/CN.4/1999/68, issued on 10 March 1999; and
> (6) policies and practices that impact women's reproductive
>rights and contribute to, cause or constitute violence against women,
>E/CN.4/1999/68/Add.4, issued on 21 January 1999.
>Field visits to specific countries form an essential component of the
>Special Rapporteur's functions as a human rights fact-finder and reporter.
>The aim of such visits is to obtain first-hand information on the situation
>of a particular form of violence against women in the given country. During
>her visit, the Special Rapporteur meets with Government officials, members
>of civil society and victims of violence against women in order to report to
>the Commission on Human Rights in an objective and impartial manner with a
>view to making recommendations to remedy the situation. The Special
>Rapporteur selects countries for field visits based on information she
>receives from various sources.
>Reports from her field visits are likewise presented to the Commission on
> (1) Japan, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, and
>the Republic of Korea on the issue of wartime time sexual slavery
>E/CN.4/1996/53/Add.1, issued on 4 January 1996;
> (2) Brazil on the issue of domestic violence,
>E/CN.4/1997/47/Add.2, issued on 21 January 1997;
> (3) Poland on the issue of trafficking,
>E/CN.4/1997/47/Add.1, issued on 10 December 1996;
> (4) South Africa on the issue of rape in the community,
>E/CN.4/1997/Add.3, issued on 24 February 1997;
> (5) Rwanda, on the issue of violence against women during
>armed conflict, E/CN.4/1998/54/Add.1, issued on 4 February 1998;
> (6) the United States of America, on violence against women
>in prisons, E/CN.4/1999/68/Add.2, issued on 4 January 1999; and
> (7) Indonesia, on violence against women perpetrated or
>condoned by the State, E/CN.4/1999/68/Add.3, issued on 21 Jan.1999.
>COMMUNICATIONS, INCLUDING THOSE OF AN URGENT NATURE:
>With a view to finding durable solutions to the problem of violence against
>women, the Special Rapporteur has established procedures to seek from
>Governments, in a humanitarian spirit, clarifications and information on
>allegations of specific cases of violence against women. These
>communications may concern one or more individuals or may convey information
>relating to a general prevailing situation condoning and/or perpetrating
>violence against women. Communications of an urgent nature, which involve
>an imminent threat, or fear of threat, to the right to personal security or
>the life of a woman may be sent to the Special Rapporteur. When
>communications are received, the Special Rapporteur will seek to verify the
>allegations, after which she will transmit the information to the
>Government. The Special Rapporteur now compiles reports of the
>communications, in which summaries of both the allegations and the
>Government's responses are included.
>Copies of the Special Rapporteur's reports, as well as model domestic
>violence legislation (E/CN.4/1996/53/add.2, issued on 2 February 1996) and
>communications to and from governments can be obtained through the Office of
>the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva (see address below) or on
>the Internet at <http://www.unhchr.ch>.
> (1) click on "documents"
> (2) click on "charter-based bodies database"
> (3) click on "by mandate"
> (4) click on "Sp. Rapporteur on violence against
> women" (which is about four screens down )
> (5) click on "reports"
>THE SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN,
>INCLUDING ITS CAUSES AND CONSEQUENCES:
>In order to help facilitate the sharing and exchange of information, the
>Special Rapporteur provides the following guidance in compiling, using and
>submitting information of a general (i.e. non-allegation specific) manner.
>The Special Rapporteur has always actively encouraged submissions in respect
>of all forms of violence against women, its causes and consequences. The
>Special Rapporteur maintains an archive of information at her Colombo
>office, which contains more than 3,000 documents. She relies on this
>archive when drafting her reports, preparing for her field investigations
>and responding to allegations.
>DOCUMENTATION: The kind of documentation that has proved most helpful to
>the reporting function of the Special Rapporteur is that which illustrates
>or documents a particular violation or violations. It is useful if the
>document places such violations within relevant social, cultural, political,
>economic or legal contexts. It is necessary to demonstrate how and why the
>Government and, if relevant, a non-state actor is responsible.
>In order to hold Governments accountable, the Special Rapporteur must be
>able to link the specific violation to the Government, either by documenting
>that a Government actor or agent perpetrated the violation or by showing
>that the Government has not exercised due diligence in preventing,
>investigating or prosecuting violence against women or has created an
>atmosphere within which the violence was a likely or an inevitable outcome.
>The latter might include showing how the Government has failed to provide
>social or legal remedies, support mechanisms, training to relevant state
> Example: Take, for example, a case of domestic violence.
>In and of itself, one isolated case of wife-beating in country 'x' does not
>constitute a human rights violation under international law. In order to
>prove that the Government is responsible, the Special Rapporteur must show
>how that one case is part of an on-going pattern of violence against women
>by their husbands. Further, she must demonstrate that this pattern has
>developed because the Government has failed to properly respond to violence
>against women in the home generally. Not only, then, does the Special
>Rapporteur condemn this one case, but also she is able to show how this case
>fits into the larger problem for which the Government is ultimately
>Since human rights law overwhelmingly deals with Governments and their
>responsibility (as well as individual Government actors), to a large extent
>the Special Rapporteur focuses on the accountability of the State or
>NON-STATE ACTORS: The Special Rapporteur also encourages submissions in
>respect to non-state actors. Under international law, States have a duty to
>act with due diligence to prevent, investigate and punish all violations of
>human rights, whether they occur in public or private. Similarly,
>Governments must provide equal protection to victims of such violations by
>ensuring remedies are available for victims of either State violations or
>violations by non-state actors, irrespective of the sex of the victim.
>Evolving doctrine also seeks to hold non-state individual and group actors,
>such as armed opposition groups, accountable for the violations they commit.
>As such, the Special Rapporteur seeks documentation of violations by
>non-state actors as well.
>OTHER FORMS OF GENERAL SUBMISSIONS: The Special Rapporteur also welcomes
>other forms of submissions such as articles of a theoretical or conceptual
>nature, conference reports, research results, etc. When lengthy research
>reports of a general or specific nature are submitted, an executive summary
>which highlights the most significant aspects of the report (in particular
>that which demonstrates the above) helps facilitate the Special Rapporteur's
>use of the material in her work.
>IDENTIFICATION: All information should be clearly labeled with
>bibliographic information, including author, organisation (if any), title of
>document, article or paper, title of publication in which the document,
>article or paper appeared (with relevant bibliographic information), and
>date. Confidential material should be clearly marked.
>LANGUAGE: For submissions of a general, non-allegation specific nature,
>English-language materials are most easily utilised. However, the United
>Nations does provide translation facilities for Arabic, Chinese, French,
>Russian and Spanish. To ensure the timely use of non-English language
>materials, they should be sent to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for
>Human Rights in Geneva. The earlier in the year such materials are
>received, the more likely that they can be translated before the end of the
>year reporting deadlines.
>WHERE TO SUBMIT: It would be most helpful if copies of all information
>could be sent to both Geneva and Colombo (see addresses below). If this is
>not possible, we would ask submissions of a general (non
>allegation-specific) nature to be sent to the Special Rapporteur in Colombo.
>DEADLINES: Since the Special Rapporteur's work is ongoing, deadlines impact
>when and how the information will be used, rather than whether it will be
>used. Reports issued during the Commission for Human Rights sessions in
>March - April of each year must be submitted by the Special Rapporteur by
>the end of the preceding year. Thus, the Special Rapporteur asks that
>documentation intended for the current year's report be submitted by
>UTILISING THE SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR'S POST AS AN ASPECT OF ACTION STRATEGIES:
>The Special Rapporteur does not wish to raise unrealistic expectations about
>her reporting capacity and the impact of such reporting, both of which have
>many practical limitations. While the Special Rapporteur encourages and
>depends on submissions of documentation or materials that have been drafted
>and submitted specifically for the support of her work, she encourages NGOs,
>advocates and activists to avoid viewing their contributions as ends in and
>of themselves. While the Special Rapporteur would welcome projects that
>have, as one of their goals, the support of her mandate, she would encourage
>such support to be one aspect of larger action-oriented projects to be
>undertaken at the local, national or regional level. The impact of the
>Special Rapporteur's work on national-level policies has proven to be
>greatest when the post is utilised in conjunction with local or national
>Human Rights Officer, OHCHR
>2, Kynsey Terrace
>Colombo 8, Sri Lanka
>Tel: (94 1) 685085 or 679745
>Fax: (94 1) 698048
>Human Rights Officer
>Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
>Palais des Nations
>CH-1211 Geneve 10
>Tel: (4122) 9179150
>Fax: (4122) 9179006
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