UNITED NATIONS: Governments must do more to tackle the hugely disproportionate rates of violence suffered by women, including recognizing attacks on them as human rights violations and domestic murders as a form of arbitrary execution, a United Nations expert has said.
“Violations of the right to life have usually been understood to be killings involving State officials,” Agnes Callamard, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, said in her first report to the Geneva-based Human Rights Council.
“It is time to recognize that gender-related killings, such as domestic and intimate partner violence, ‘honour killings,’can also amount to arbitrary executions.”
She urged Governments to pay greater attention to the significant role that gender plays in how likely people are to be arbitrarily deprived of their right to life.
“The fact is that gender plays an absolutely central role in predicting people’s ability to enjoy their human rights in general, and their right to life in particular. It is an extraordinarily accurate predictor of people’s enjoyment of the right to life. Misogyny persists at all levels of society,” she said.
Citing global statistics showing that almost half of female homicide victims are killed by family members or intimate partners, compared with just over five per cent of male victims, Ms. Callamard stated that there is unmistakable evidence of women’s disproportionate risk of suffering harm and violence.
Her report details extreme rates of violations of the right to life perpetrated against women and girls with disabilities, indigenous women and transgender people amongst others.
Noting that it was clear that gender-based killings fell within her mandate to challenge arbitrary executions, she said: “A gender-sensitive perspective seeks to bring gender-based executions squarely within the mandate, [this includes] the importance of revealing the kinds of systemic discrimination which are currently being perpetrated, in order to remedy them and enable all people to enjoy equal rights.”
As such the report highlights that gender-based violations of the right to life stem not only from intentional acts, but also from a lack of basic conditions and services that guarantee life, such as access to food, water, health services and housing.
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