UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women [official website] Rashida Manjoo [official profile] appeared in front of the UN General Assembly [official website] Monday to urge states to fulfill their obligations to prevent violence against women. Presenting her report [text, PDF] on the pervasive, widespread violence against women throughout the world and its causes and consequences, Manjoo reminded states [APP report] of their international human rights obligation to protect women from all manifestations of discrimination, whether it be from violence, inequality or oppression. Though there has been an increase in women's educational enrollment and employment opportunities and progress made in repealing some discriminatory legislation, there is a lot left to be accomplished [UN News Centre report] in order "to ensure their full enjoyment by all women and girls worldwide." Also discussed during the session was a wide range of other forms of discrimination, from sexual violence such as genital mutilation to under-representation of women in corporate executive positions:
Throughout the world, violence against women is pervasive, widespread and unacceptable. Rooted in multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination and inequalities, and strongly linked to the social and economic situation of women, violence against women constitutes a continuum of exploitation and abuse. Whether it occurs in times of conflict, post conflict or so called peace, the various forms and manifestations of violence against women are simultaneously causes and consequences of discrimination, inequality and oppression.Manjoo's presentation follows her earlier request for the US government to reevaluate its domestic violence policies [JURIST report].
Equality and women's rights continue to be an issue for much of the world. Manjoo also released a report in June that said there is a continued prevalence of violence and discriminatory treatment of women in the US [JURIST report], with a heightened impact on poor, minority and immigrant women. In March, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] pressed [JURIST report] Tunisia and Egypt to ensure that women's rights receive constitutional protection and to include women in the dialogue to shape the future of their countries. In January, a US Military panel recommended [JURIST report] that women should be allowed to serve on the front lines of combat. Last year, Human Rights Watch (HRW) [official website] called on the Afghan government to protect the rights of women [JURIST report] during integration and reconciliation efforts conducted with the Taliban [GlobalSecurity backgrounder] and other militants. Earlier in 2010, India's upper house of parliament, the Rajya Sabha [official website], approved a bill [JURIST report] to ensure that one-third of seats in parliament are reserved for women.