Statement jointly delivered by the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the Asia Japan Women’s Resource Centre (AJWRC)
Human Rights Council
8th session (2-18 June 2008)
Item 3: Discussion on human rights of women
Mr President, Dear Panellists,
The undersigned organisations warmly welcome the holding of this second discussion on the human rights of women within the Human Rights Council. In particular, we commend the inclusion of a segment on violence against women and the 2006 in-depth study of the UN Secretary General on this subject, as mandated by the General Assembly (Resolution 61/143).
Setting priorities in addressing violence against women is a difficult exercise that we are trying to do today. Indeed, as all areas identified by the Secretary-General in his study are interconnected, it seems to us that they must be addressed simultaneously. We consider that priority should be placed on follow-up, especially in the framework of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women. We call on States to allocate sufficient means to ensure the follow up of her recommendations adopted following official country visits and in thematic reports, to inform the Rapporteur of progress made in implementing them, and to respond promptly and systematically to her individual communications. States should also reply positively to the requests for invitation by the Special Rapporteur (or extend standing invitations). Focusing on follow-up is a way to reinforce step by step the idea that violence against women is unacceptable and to set precedents that can serve as exemplary cases as a response to the “banalisation” of such violence.
Following this logic, the UPR should be seen as an indicator of priority issues that arise from country reviews, including violence against women. It should be a forum in which best practices, as well as the most recurrent lacunae at the national level, can be identified in this area. Based on these conclusions, we encourage the Human Rights Council to hold yearly meetings on one specific aspects or challenges identified during the UPR sessions.
Finally, it must be remembered that violence against women is often the result of multiple discriminations and that its prevalence and consequences are accentuated by deprivation of the enjoyment of civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights by women. In this regard, we reiterate our suggestion that Special Procedures mandate holders undertake joint missions, such as the Special Rapporteurs on Torture and Violence against Women.
 As suggested by OMCT during the Interactive dialogue: Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Manfred Nowak, HRC 7, March 2008.