Saturday, January 22, 2011

Violence Against Women: UN Fact-finding Visit to U.S.

As reported by IntLawGrrls Johanna Bond, Beth Van Schaack, and yours truly, Hope Lewis in posts here, Rashida Manjoo (pictured), a former South Africa Gender Commissioner, is the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, its Causes and Consequences.
Now, there's welcome news that Manjoo will be conducting a fact-finding visit to the United States of America beginning on Monday, 24 January and running through 7 February 2011. (See UN Press Release here.)
The visit is an important opportunity for organizations working to end gender-based and family violence as well as the individual women and girls who are at risk of such violence to be heard in an international context. At informal meetings sponsored by NGOs, women and girls will be able to talk with the rapporteur directly in order to identify failures or successes in state compliance, spread the word about best practices, and, most importantly, discuss specific effective strategies to prevent and remedy violence against women at local, national, and international levels.
Intersectionality and Interdependence
As Johanna Bond discusses in her post, Manjoo and some other special rapporteurs take an “intersectional” approach. Intersectionality recognizes the multiple aspects of identity (including dimensions like gender, race, culture, class, sexual orientation, and disability) that influence human experience. Manjoo has also reaffirmed the importance of the interdependence of civil, political, economic, social, and cultural human rights in preventing and remedying violence against women.
Plans for the Visit
An excerpt from the press release appears below:

GENEVA – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, Rashida Manjoo, will conduct an official fact-finding mission to the United States from the 24th of January to the 7th of February 2011. “During my visit, I intend to meet with national stakeholders involved in fighting all aspects related to violence against women, with a view to appreciate the phenomenon in the United States,” said the human rights expert, who will visit the country at the invitation of the Government. The Special Rapporteur will travel to Washington D.C., North Carolina, Florida, California, Minnesota and New York City, where she will discuss the issue with government authorities at both the federal and the state levels, and with representatives of civil society. The Special Rapporteur will also visit shelters and detention centers and she will meet with individual victims of gender-based violence. A press conference on the initial findings of the visit will be held at the United Nations Information Center in Washington (1775 K ST NW, Suite 400, Washington DC) on Monday February 7 at 1 p.m. Based on the information obtained during the visit, Ms. Manjoo will present a report with her final findings and recommendations to a forthcoming session of the Human Rights Council.
Ms. Rashida Manjoo (South Africa) was appointed Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences in June 2009 by the UN Human Rights Council, for an initial period of three years. As Special Rapporteur, she is independent from any government or organization and serves in her individual capacity. Ms. Manjoo is also a Professor at the Department of Public Law at the University of Cape Town.
Additional information on the mandate of the Special Rapporteur, is available here and the OHCHR Country Page for the United States is available here.

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