Violence Against Women: New Global Treaty Essential to Address Rising Incidents in Cameroon and Worldwide.

New Global Treaty Essential to Address Rising Incidents of Violence Against Women in Cameroon and Worldwide, New Report Says

Coalition of 2,000 Women's Rights Activists from 128 Countries Say the Current
Framework Alone Cannot Address this Growing Human Rights Crisis
(February1, 2023) - A new report released today documents a rapid rise in violence against women and girls worldwide and current gaps in international law to address this crisis. The "Safer Now" report was released by the Every Woman Treaty, a coalition of over 2,000 women's rights activists from 128 countries, including CAMEROON, advocating for a new global
treaty to address this issue.

Causes of the rising tide of violence include conflict, climate change, cyber-violence, and the lockdowns associated with COvID-19 says the report. Although there are regional treaties to protect women from violence and an international law against discrimination against women, there is no specific, overarching framework to protect women and girls from violence worldwide. Every Woman Treaty is urging the UN and nations to adopt a global treaty to fill this legal gap and begin to systematically address this growing crisis.

"Women and girls are dying. The activists defending them are hunted. The violence is rising. This begs a single question: Are the needs of women and girls being met under the current system? The indisputable answer is no," says Najla Ayoubi, co-founder of Every Woman Treaty in the report. Najla was the first female judge in her province of Afghanistan who paid the price defending women's rights with the assassination of her father and brother before she was forced to flee.
According to the World Health Organization, violence against women is "devastatingly pervasive," impacting 1 in 3 women worldwide, with younger women most at risk. "Safer Now" highlights some of the reasons for the current worldwide escalation, including:

Conflict: During conflicts, such as the war in the NW/SW Regions, the Boko Haram
insurgency in the North and the refugee crisis in the East, violence, particularly sexual
violence, is used as an, intentional tactic of war with women and girls as the primary
targets of widespread rape, sexual slavery, forced marriage, and torture.

Climate Change: The impacts of climate change exacerbate drivers of violence against women and children, including economic instability, food insecurity, mental stress, disrupted infrastructure, displacement, human trafficking, and forced marriage as an exchange for goods.

Cyberviolence: As many as 73 percent of the world's women have experienced some
form of online violence, such as sexual harassment, threats of rape, death, or stalking, and the distribution of sexually explicit images and videos of unsuspecting women without their consent, making cyberviolence one of the most prevalent forms of violence against women.

Covid-19: One in two women report that they or a woman they know have experienced
violence since the Covid-19 pandemic. Since Covid-19, women report feeling less safe
because of increased physical violence, threats of violence at home, or because other
women in the household have been hurt.

The report also details that while current international law has made extraordinary progress on women's safety, it does not go nearly far enough to protect women's right to live free from violence. For example:

Regional Treaties: The Belém do Pará Convention in Latin America, the Maputo Protocol in Africa, and the Istanbul Convention in Europe are effective locally, but leave nearly 75 percent of the world's women without protection from a legally binding instrument specific to violence against women.

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women
(CEDAW): CEDAW is an anti-discrirnination hurman rights treaty designed to improve
gender equality, such as education and employment opportunities for girls, but it falls short in addressing violence against women and girls. For example, there is no mention of "rape," "assault," or "violence" in its texts, leaving its interpretation vague and
without legal obligation.
A new treaty would make State obligations clear, specific, legally binding, and provide adequate attention to the problem's scope and complexity.

A new global treaty to end violence against women and girls would:

Work in concert with CEDAW and build on existing regional treaties;

Bring awareness to the rising violence against women and girls;

Provide an actionable advocacy tool that protects activists from threats and retaliation;

Provide a specific, metrics-based reporting framework;

Establish an international monitoring body specific to violence against women and girls;

Require training and accountability for police officers, judges, and health professionals;

Increase funding for survivor services such as shelters, hotlines, and legal aid; and

Prioritize violence prevention education.

For 30 years, experts -from the Commission on the Status of Women to Special Rapporteurs on violence against women to frontline advocates - have repeatedly called for a global treaty to eliminate violence against women and girls. Now, the treaty is closer than ever to becoming a reality. The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Costa Rica, and Sierra Leone have formed a
State-led group to advance the treaty among UN Member States.

"Women and girls cannot wait any longer. The rise in violence against women and gils
demands that we protect them with the highest level of global commitment: a treaty," says
Every Woman Treaty CEO and co-founder Lisa Shannon.


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