Submission to SRVAW for consideration in the upcoming thematic report on “rape as a grave and systematic human rights violation and gender-based violence against women”


GHJP, working with CREA, IWRAW-AP, RESURJ, and Amnesty International group has made a submission to the UN Special Rapporteur in Violence Against Women: We submitted our memorandum for consideration in the upcoming thematic report on “rape as a grave and systematic human rights violation and gender-based violence against women,” to be presented to the UN General Assembly in September 2020.

The submission is one of the outcomes of a global working group on “Feminist Fault lines in the context of human rights and criminal law”: Our work seeks to open up  discussion on the most rights-promoting relationship between criminal law and human rights, with a focus on issues arising around gender, using the principles and practices of feminist and inter-sectional analysis.

Our submission reaffirms states’ responsibility to address sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) as a grave and systematic human rights violation, but recommends that the report use a broader analytical frame that situates penal reform within more comprehensive approaches to combat SGBV, beyond prosecution and punishment. While the SRVAW rightly seeks to further elucidate states’ obligations to “prosecute and punish.” in the submission we delineate how this focus could be more effective if criminal law responses were critically monitored for cynical over-use; racist impacts; and explicitly linked  to protecting the rights of everyone affected by the criminal law, with a strong focus on  state due diligence obligations to prevent, remedy and redress SGBV.

The submission will be made public in the Special Rapporteur’s webpage and can also be found here.