A UN expert on violence against women urged [press release; official statement] Italy on Friday that it must do more to end violence against women, primarily by focusing at underlying causes of gender discrimination in Italian society. UN Special Rapporteur Rashida Manjoo [official profile] made her recommendation after a 12-day visit to Italy [UN News Centre report] during which she met with multiple survivors of domestic violence. Manjoo emphasized that the current poor economic climate in Italy is no justification for violence against women and that the country has many resources available to women, such as psychological and economic assistance, that should not be disposed of. Manjoo said:
Most manifestations of violence are underreported in the context of a family-oriented and patriarchal society where, domestic violence is not always perceived as a crime, there is economic dependency, and there are perceptions that the state response to such complaints will not be appropriate or helpful...[a] fragmented legal framework and inadequate investigation, punishment for perpetrators, and compensation for women victims of violence, also contributes to the silencing and invisibility surrounding this issue.Manjoon is expected to present the findings from her mission to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) [official website] in June.
Violence against women and gender equality also proves to be an issue for the rest of the world. In October, Manjoon appeared in front of the UN General Assembly to urge states to fulfill their obligations to prevent violence against women. 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 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. Last January, a US Military panel recommended [JURIST report] that women should be allowed to serve on the front lines of combat. Also last year, Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on the Afghan government to protect the rights of women [JURIST report] during integration and reconciliation efforts conducted with the Taliban and other militants. Earlier in 2010, India's upper house of parliament, the Rajya Sabha, approved a bill [JURIST report] to ensure that one-third of seats in parliament are reserved for women.