TIMELINE: PROGRESS AGAINST GENDER VIOLENCE
& REGIONAL DEVELOPMENTS
||Signature of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The foundation for the universality of human
rights that legally bind Member States to respect and uphold the inalienable rights of all
peoples and all nations.
||International Covenant on
Civil and Political Rights. Entered into force on 23 March 1976.
||International Covenant on
Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights. Entered into force on 3 January 1976.
||The First UN World
Conference on Women in Mexico City
||The Second UN World
Conference on Women in Copenhagen
||Convention on the
Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) entered
into force. The Convention reaffirms the principles of the UDHR and emphasizes the
eradication of all forms of discrimination against women.
||The Third UN World
Conference on Women in Nairobi
||The Commission of Women
(CIM) publishes the "Conclusion and Recommendations of the Inter-American
Consultation on Women and Violence".
||The UN Committee to End
Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) adopts "Recommendation No.
19 on Violence Against Women." This Recommendation declares that violence against
women is a form of discrimination against women, reflecting and perpetuating their
subordination, and requires that States eliminate violence in every sphere. All Countries
that have ratified the CEDAW are required to prepare reports to the UN Committee every
four years and to include information about the law and incidence of gender violence as
well as the measures undertaken to redress and eliminate it.
Latin America and the
Caribbean is the first and only region in the world in which all countries have ratified (CEDAW).
However, many countries have not yet translated CEDAW and the General Recommendations into
legislation nor have they implemented policies, adopted positive actions to eliminate de
facto discrimination or met their obligation.
Conference on Human Rights (Vienna) historically recognizes that violence against women
and girls constitutes a severe violation of rights; that womens rights are
human rights, whether perpetrated in the public or private sphere, calls for gender
integration as well as the development of gender-focused mechanisms on international,
regional and national levels to eliminate violence and discrimination against women.
||The UN General Assembly
approves the "Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women".
||The UN Commission on Human
Rights adopts a resolution calling for gender integration at all levels of human rights
and programmatic activity on the international, regional and national levels.
||The UN Commission on Human
Rights appoints the first UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women to a three-year
term with a mandate that permits her to receive complaints and initiate investigations on
violence against women in all countries, which are members of the UN. Her first report
provides an overview of gender violence, while her second focuses on domestic violence and
regional level, on 9 June 1994, the Organization of American States (OAS) adopted the Inter-American
Convention to Prevent, Punish and Eradicate Violence against Women (also called Convention
of Belem do Para), a new international instrument that recognizes all gender-based
violence as an abuse of human rights. This constitutes the central piece of
legislation on gender violence in Latin America and the Caribbean. This Convention
provides an individual right of petition and a right for non-governmental organizations to
lodge complaints with the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights. The Convention has
been ratified by 29 countries (ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA,
ARGENTINA, BAHAMAS, BARBADOS, BELIZE, BOLIVIA, BRASIL, COLOMBIA, COSTA RICA, CHILE,
DOMINICA, ECUADOR, EL SALVADOR, GUATEMALA, GUYANA, HAITI, HONDURAS, MEXICO,
NICARAGUA, PANAMA, PARAGUAY, PERU, REPUBLICA DOMINICANA, ST. KITTS AND NEVIS, ST LUCIA,
ST.VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES, TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO, URUGUAY,VENEZUELA). Furthermore, the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women
adopted by all States represented in the UN General Assembly stipulates in Article 4 that
"States should exercise due diligence to prevent, investigate and, in accordance with
national legislation, punish acts of violence against women, whether those acts are
perpetrated by the State or by private persons." Under the Convention, CIM has the
responsibility to take positive measures to advance implementation of Belem do Para while
the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR) has the power to hear complaints
against States who ratify it.
International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo recognized that
reproductive rights are human rights and that gender violence is an obstacle to
womens reproductive and sexual health and rights, education and participation in
development and calls upon States to implement the Declaration on the Elimination of
Violence Against Women.
||Approval of the Regional
Programme of Action for Latin America and Caribbean Women, 1995-2001 during the Prepatory
Conference (Mar del Plata, September 25-29, 1994). In Area V, Human Rights, Peace and
Violence, three objectives are determined: 1) To consolidate the full respect of human
rights for all women of the region, giving priority to the elimination of violence and
discrimination based on sex, and to the rights of women who are the poorest and to women
refugees, taking racial and ethnic considerations into account; 2) To promote actions that
reveal all types and forms of violence against women, as well as actions that lead to the
elimination of violence; 3) To educate the media about the impact of broadcasting a
culture of violence, in order to change prevalent negative images of women
World Conference on Women in Beijing devotes an entire section in the Beijing Platform for
Action. Chapter IV. Strategic Objectives and Actions, D. Para 112 states that
"violence against women is an obstacle to the achievement of the objectives of
equality, development and peace. Violence against women both violates and nullifies the
enjoyment by women of their human rights and fundamental freedoms. The long-standing
failure to protect and promote those rights and freedoms in the case of violence against
women is a matter of concern to all States and should be addressed." The
emergence of State responsibility for violence in society delineated in the Beijing
Platform for Action obligates States to condemn and adopt policies that eliminate violence
However, the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action has not
been adequately addressed in terms of violence against women in many countries in the
Latin American and the Caribbean region.
||The Commission on the Status
of Women (CSW) considers the proposal to create an optional protocol (OP) to the
Womens Convention. The OP an amendment to the Convention requiring
ratification by States is needed to create an individual complaints procedure
allowing women to challenge discriminatory state policies and practices.
Commission on the Status of Women (March) will review four key human rights sections of
the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action: Human Rights of Women; Violence against
Women; Women and Armed Conflict; and the Girl Child.
Commission on Human Rights (June) will review the implementation of the Vienna Declaration
and Programme of Action. Also, marking the five-year anniversary of the World
Conference on Human Rights.
||Commemoration of the 50th
Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.(10 December 1998)