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UN expert calls on Bangladesh to address pervasive violence against women

UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women Rashida Manjoo [official profile] on Thursday urged [press release] the government of Bangladesh [official website] to address the prevalent acts of violence against women occurring in the country. Manjoo noted that while the most pervasive form of violence against women in the country is domestic violence, a number of women have also been victims of rape, sexual harassment, forced marriage and acid attacks, among other forms of abuse. Manjoo acknowledged [UN News Centre report] the positive steps that have been taken by the Bangladeshi government to further the protection of women in the country, but she also recognized the need for strong policy enforcement as well as an overall change in attitude regarding women's role in society. Among the conclusions [statement] Manjoo reached over the course of her 10-day visit to Bangladesh were that the Bangladeshi government must remove the impediments faced by women attempting to access the justice system as well as implement legislative measures to prohibit forced and early marriages. Manjoo will present a report to the UN Human Rights Council [official website] in Geneva regarding her visit to Bangladesh in June 2014.

The UN has recently focused on the issue of violence against women in a variety of contexts and countries. In March more than 130 UN member states agreed to adopt new measures [JURIST report] to prevent and eliminate violence against women. This agreement came as a result of the UN urging [JURIST report] governments to take decisive measures to protect women's rights. In December the UN released a report [JURIST report] declaring that women in Afghanistan are still suffering abuse at the hands of men. In November the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly approved a resolution [JURIST report] that called for a global ban on female genital mutilation.

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