UN expert heads to UK to investigate violence against women

Rashida Manjoo, Special Rapporteur on violence against women. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

31 March 2014 – Domestic and sexual violence, sexual bullying and harassment, forced and early marriages, and female genital mutilation – all these issues and more will be on the docket as the United Nations expert tasked with monitoring violence against women launched her first mission in the United Kingdom.

United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, Rashida Manjoo, today began a two week investigative mission to the United Kingdom to study the manifestations of violence perpetrated in the family and in the community.

“Violence against women continues to be one of the most pervasive human rights violations globally, affecting every country in the world,” Ms. Manjoo said.

At the invitation of the UK Government, the independent expert aims to examine causes and consequences – with a view to assessing the phenomenon in the country. “During my mission I will meet with individuals and organizations involved in fighting all aspects related to violence against women,” the Special Rapporteur said.

She intends to also look at violence perpetrated or condoned by State authorities, as well as violence encountered by immigrant women, asylum seekers and refugees.

In a report prepared by UN Women last year looking at the experience of young women there were indications that in the UK one in three young women aged between 13 and 17 has experienced sexual abuse from a partner; while one in four has experienced physical abuse from a partner.

Her itinerary includes conversations with Government officials, human rights commissions and representatives of civil society – including service providers – in London, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Belfast, Cardiff and Bristol. The human rights expert also plans to visit safe-houses to “obtain first-hand information from individual survivors of gender-based violence,” she said.

The Special Rapporteur will share her preliminary findings on 15 April with the press in London. Her final findings and recommendations will be presented to the Human Rights Council.

Ms. Manjoo, a part-time law professor in Cape Town, was appointed by the UN Human Rights Council in 2009 and acts as an expert in her independent capacity.


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