UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women Rashida Manjoo [official profile] on Friday commended recent steps taken by Azerbaijan [JURIST news archive] officials to adopt legal measures in protection of women's rights, but urged [press release] authorities to better implement these policies. Though many acknowledged that violence against women is a widespread occurrence, there is very little reliable data on the matter. The expert cited under-reporting of cases and lack of accountability for acts against women, which include sexual trafficking, forced marriages of young girls, and gender-selective abortions. Manjoo stated that "The killing of a woman is the ultimate act of violence and is a reflection of the lack of protection and prevention measures when other acts of violence are not addressed by state authorities." To provide better protection, Manjoo called for empowerment of women, encouraging social initiatives to address inequality.
Violence against women is currently one of the most prevalent international human rights issues. In many nations, legal systems actively discriminate and promote violence against women. Manjoo and the chairperson of the Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice [official website] Frances Raday in November urged [JURIST report] the Sudanese government to stop the practice of threatening women with flogging for "honour-related offences." In October the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) [official website] recommended a rule [JURIST report] surrounding the obligations states owe to women during and after conflict. The UN Working Group on violence against women issued [JURIST report] a report in October 2012 calling on governments around the world to repeal discriminatory laws criminalizing adultery. In July 2012 Human Rights Watch urged [JURIST report] the Sudanese government to reform its discriminatory laws and abolish both the death penalty and all corporal punishment after a young Sudanese woman was sentenced to death by stoning for adultery. The problem of violence against women is not limited to Muslim nations or third-world countries, and the UN rights council declared [JURIST report] in June 2011 that the US faces continued violence against women. In May 2011 the Council of Europe launched [JURIST report] the first international convention to combat violence against women, in response to a statistic that 15 percent of women worldwide have been victims of sex-related violence.