• Fighting domestic violence is fighting for our human rights!

    ANUE March 2018

    Margarida Teixeira. Human Rights and Humanitarian Action student. 

    International Women’s Day is a cause for celebration, a symbol of how far women have come, but also how much work remains to be done. Among the most urgent matters related to female empowerment and gender equality, perhaps none is as widespread and as fatal as domestic violence.

    Despite the millions of deaths it generates each year, for many domestic violence is not so much a human rights issue as one of the private sphere, to be persecuted and judged by government authorities. Since the perpetrators are often civilians, with no connections to law enforcement or policy makers, it remains a crime of anonymous criminals against anonymous victims.

    But how can we dissociate the plague of domestic violence from the legal and cultural contexts, that often contributes to it? In many countries, domestic violence considered to be normal, sometimes it is even codified in law, so it won’t be counted as a crime at all. In places where it is illegal, the conviction rates are vastly below those of victimization. And yet, we do not consider this to be a tragedy, but rather a normal occurrence.

    Domestic violence is the most common expression of violence against women. Although it affects women and girls in all countries, fighting it is rarely the goal of global advocacy efforts. For most, domestic violence remains a private, at most regional or community matter.

    The inclusion of domestic violence under the large umbrella of “Violence against Women” also tends to ignore the circumstances that make it such a unique and yet widespread crime, causing pain not only to the victims, but also to their families and children, often contributing to a generational cycle of violence.

    Other crimes of violence against women, such as female genital mutilation or rape as a war weapon have received some attention in the past few years. And although there are many women who indeed suffer from those crimes, domestic violence is unique in the sense that it exists in every single culture, that crosses every kind of barrier such as age, ethnicity, sexual orientation and even gender, for men can be victims too.

    And yet, in the age of information where everyone can be alerted to human rights violations happening across the globe, we often forget to look in our own backyard. In every city, in every village, in every community there are dozens, hundreds, thousands of domestic violence victims suffering in silence, their inalienable human rights being violated every single day.

    Perhaps because it is such a common occurrence we forget that we need to fight it with the same passion and determination we fight torture and other types of human rights violations and abuses.

    Fighting domestic violence does not mean simply putting the perpetrators in jail, although most countries struggle to even do that. It means addressing larger cultural contexts in which the sanctity of marriage forbids others to interfere even in the face of violence, providing more information and support to the victims, breaking the taboo of silence.

    You might think the situation is improving. And although many countries report it might be, the truth is that domestic violence in the context of a marriage has only shifted in form. Today, violence in dating is growing concern in many countries, where the internet has provided additional tools for perpetrators to control and threaten their victims.

    At the same time, growing awareness of domestic violence through campaigns sometimes contribute to erroneous stereotypes about the victims. The continuous images of frail, dependant women do not always ring true. Successful, powerful women and men can also fall prey to domestic violence, but they struggle, being questioned by authorities and societies at large.

    Even though many rights enshrined in international treaties could be applicable in the case of domestic violence, such as the Right to Life, Security and Liberty, or the Right to Equality and Freedom from Discrimination, or even the Right to be Free from Torture, in recent years it has been acknowledged that fighting domestic violence requires its own set of rules. The Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women, which entered into force in 1981, was a start. In 1985, the UN General Assembly passed in first resolution even on the topic of domestic violence. It advised States to take specific actions to prevent it, to increase support to the victims and to consider it a separate problem. In 1993, the General Assembly passed the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women, which finally acknowledged the specific case of marital rape as a crime.

    From then on, there have been regional, international and local initiatives to stop this heinous crime. But until we change our mindsets and refuse to perpetuate stereotypes related to women, men, marriage and violence, the impact will be minimal.

    The real change happens when we collectively decide to say no and to listen to the victims. For their sake, for the sake of their children and for the sake of our society, which continues to struggle with the psychological repercussions that often result in other types of violence and crimes for years to come.

    Domestic violence can no longer be viewed as private matter when governments and states, after years of being admonished by the UN and other organizations, continue to turn a blind eye to marital rape, wife-beating and stalking, all things the average domestic victims suffers. We need to engage our communities to fight against it and demand that domestic violence be always considered a public crime, that the perpetrators should always be prosecuted and that the victims should always be protected.



    "TU" of Romà Panadés 

    ANUE Collection

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    The C'MUN is the first MUN conference of Spain. Organised by ANUE every year since 2005, getting together hundreds of students from all over the world in a simulation of the UN main bodies and agencies. More informationn on C'MUN section.

     

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  • X Course “The Human Rights protection in the sistema de las Naciones Unidas”

     

    November 17 - 21. From 18:00 to 21:00.  Palau Macaya (Passeig de Sant Joan, 108, Barcelona), Room 3. Knowing the human rights is the first step to ensure that they are respected. But in order their protection to be effective it is also necessary to be familiar with the established mechanisms to claim them. The complex United Nations framework provides multiple tools to promote human rights, although not always known. For this reason, each year, since 2005, UNA-Spain organizes this course with the participation of experts from both the academic world and United Nations, the course aims to bring these protection channels to all those interested both from a practical and a theoretical point of view.

    PROGRAMME: (Spanish)

    1ª sesión. Lunes 17 de noviembre, de 18 a 21h.
    • Evolución del sistema de protección de los Derechos Humanos, Manel Manonelles Tarragó, director general de Asuntos Multilaterales y Europeos, Generalitat de Catalunya.
    • Visión general del Sistema de las Naciones Unidas Xavier Pons Rafols, catedrático de derecho internacional público, Universitat de Barcelona. 
     
     
    2ª sesión. Martes 18 de noviembre, de 18h a 21h.
    • Alto Comisionado de las Naciones Unidas para los Derechos Humanos. Examen periódico universal. Norberto Frydman, Oficina del Alto Comisionado de las Naciones Unidas para los Derechos Humanos.
    • Consejo de Derechos Humanos. Pablo Pareja Alcaraz, profesor de derecho internacional público, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
     
    3ª sesión. Miércoles 19 de noviembre, de 18h a 21h.
    • Procedimientos Especiales. Manuela Carmena, expresidenta del Grupo de Trabajo de Nacions Unidas sobre Detenciones Arbitrarias.
    • Órganos de vigilancia. Elisenda Calvet Martínez, profesora de derecho internacional público, Universitat de Barcelona.
       
    4ª Sesión. Jueves 20 de noviembre, de 18h a 21h.
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    5ª Sesión. Viernes 21 de novembre, de 18h a 21h.
    • Taller práctico. Presentación de denuncias ante la Oficina del alto Comisionado  de Derechos Humanos. Marta Abegón Novella, profesora de derecho internacional público, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
    *a confirmar
     
    Fechas del Curso: 17 a 21 de noviembre
    Horario: de 18 a 21horas.
    Lugar: Aula 3 del Palau Macaya (Passeig de Sant Joan, 108, Barcelona)
    Matrícula: 50€ general, 30€ parados, estudiantes, jubilados i socios
    Ingreso en La Caixa no. 2100 3000 10 2201210499
    Inscripciones: ANUE, Via Laietana 51 entl. 3a Barcelona tel. 933013990 info@anue.org
     
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