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UN rights expert urges UK to improve responses to violence against women

[JURIST] UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women Rashida Manjoo [official profile] on Wednesday reported [press release] that despite many positive developments implemented by the UK government to combat and appropriately respond to violence against women, it still remains a prevalent issue that requires improved measures by the government. Manjoo stated that approximately 7 percent of women in both England and Wales reported having experienced domestic abuse within the past year, while an estimated 2.5 percent of women reported having experienced a sexual assault during that time period. Other types of violence against women that were reported to Manjoo during her visit included sexual harassment, female genital mutilation and trafficking. Various UK women's organizations also informed Manjoo that black and other minority females, as well as migrant women, experience a disproportionate rate of domestic homicide within the region. Manjoo noted, however, that British authorities have created a series of initiatives aimed at addressing noted shortcomings in official responses to violence against women, including implementing a system of protection orders that can be issued to perpetrators of domestic violence. The complete findings of Manjoo's mission to London, Glasgow, Belfast, Bristol and other areas will be issued to the Human Rights Council in June 2015.

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. In January Human Rights Watch urged [JURIST report] the Canadian government to institute an independent national inquiry into violence against women in the country. In December Rashida Manjoo commended recent steps taken by Azerbaijan officials to adopt legal measures in protection of women's rights, but urged [JURIST report] authorities to better implement these policies. Manjoo and the chairperson of the Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice 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) recommended a rule [JURIST report] surrounding the obligations states owe to women during and after conflict.

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