The 57th Session of the United Nations Organization’s Commission on the Status of Women will provide a follow-up to the Fourth World Conference on Women and to the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly entitled “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century”. How far have we come?

The 57th Session runs from March 4 to 15 and will study not only the implementation of strategic objectives and action suggested already but also, will detail further courses of action for the future and shall provide a platform for the discussion on gender violence and how to eliminate and prevent it.

The title for this year’s event is “Elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls” (Economic and Social Council resolution 2009/15, para. 2 (d)). The session will include women’s affairs ministers, heads of national mechanisms for gender equality, along with senior officials for family and children’s affairs, health, education and so on. The results of the meeting will be presented in a summary delivered by the Chair.

As the UNO points out in its document United Nations E/CN.6/2013/5, “In the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, adopted at the Fourth World Conference on Women, Governments were called upon to take integrated measures to prevent and eliminate violence against women”.

They were specifically requested at the above-mentioned Conference, Declaration and Platform in 1995 to implement and/or ratify instruments which approved legislation toi eliminate violence against women and girls, prosecute offenders and provide access to systems of justice.

Despite this, and today we are fifteen and a half years away from the Beijing Conference, this scourge continues, up to a third of all women continue to be victims of violence at some stage in their lives.

Today’s One Billion Rising Campaign uses Saint Valentine’s Day, February 14, to raise awareness and make a statement against gender violence in cities across the world. Male and female activists in over 200 countries have made their voices heard as they express their outrage against the shocking statistics released by the UNO.

Women continue to be beaten, raped, stoned to death, mutilated and set on fire. Let us therefore hope that there are some tangible results from the upcoming Conference and that fifteen years hence we are not hearing protests against the same sort of statistics, or worse ones.

The onus is on the world’s media to spread the word and to keep activists informed on the results of the meeting this March which will analyse good and bad practices, lessons learned and the following five points:

(a) Addressing the root causes of violence against women and girls and

attitudes, beliefs and behaviours that legitimize, exacerbate or condone such


(b) Developing and expanding partnerships with civil society organizations

and the private sector and engaging different segments of society in preventing

violence against women and girls;

(c) Developing and expanding the full range of coordinated multisectoral

services and responses to address the multidimensional impacts of violence against

women and girls;

(d) Increasing access to multisectoral services and responses for all women

and girls, including women and girls who face multiple and intersecting forms of


(e) Establishing mechanisms to ensure the implementation of commitments

and agreements at the national level, including the provision of adequate resources,

and developing effective monitoring and evaluation processes…


Source: UNO


Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey