Gender-based violence refers to any act that is perpetrated against a person’s will and is derived from gender norms and unequal power relationships. It inflicts harm on girls, women, boys and men. However, research shows that it is mainly committed towards girls and women of all ages and backgrounds. According to the United Nations, although anyone can be a victim of acts of violence, gender is one of the factors that significantly increases vulnerability.
Some of the factors that back up the assertion that gender-specific violence exists are:
Gender-based violence includes, but is not limited to physical, sexual and psychological harm including:
In 1995, the U.N. expanded the definition to include: violations of the rights of girls and women in situations of armed conflict, including systematic rape, sexual slavery, and forced pregnancy; forced sterilization, forced abortion, and coerced or forced use of contraceptives; and prenatal sex selection and female infanticide. It further recognised the particular vulnerabilities of girls and women belonging to minorities: the elderly and the displaced; indigenous, refugee, and migrant communities; as well as girls and women living in impoverished rural or remote areas, or in detention. Gender-based violence and human rights: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights sets out fundamental human rights to be universally protected. It consists of 30 articles affirming an individual's rights which, although not legally binding in themselves, have been elaborated in subsequent international treaties, regional human rights instruments, national constitutions, and other laws including the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966), International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966), Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (1979), Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (1984) and Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989), as well as the European Convention on Human Rights, and the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights.
The most basic and fundamental right outlined in the Declaration is Article 3: Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person. And yet victims of gender-based violence throughout the world are denied this right on a daily basis. Although human rights violations affect males as well as females, their impact and nature clearly change based on the sex of the victim. Studies show that all acts of abuse and discrimination against girls and women indicate some characteristics that provide a basis for their classification as gender-based violence, further indicating an unequal distribution of power between boys and girls as well as men and women in our society. As such, gender-based violence is a violation of the rights of girls and women.
A rights-based approach to addressing gender-based violence is beneficial in a number of ways:
The anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration is commemorated every year on December 10, and is known as International Human Rights Day. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Declaration and the European Union is partnering with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. This year's campaign theme is #StandUp4HumanRights. Please visit www.standup4humanrights.org and eeas.europa.eu/headquarters/headquarters-homepage/8664/eu4humanrights_en to learn about ways to promote, engage and reflect on human rights – and take the human rights pledge against all forms of human rights violations, including gender-based violence.
The key messages of the campaign are:
Nigeria ranks 118 out of 134 countries on the Gender Inequality Index which quantifies the loss of achievement within a country due to gender inequality, using three dimensions: reproductive health, empowerment, and labour market participation. In Nigeria, the inadequate inclusion of women and girls' perspectives in policy making decisions, resource allocation and implementation in economic and social sectors continues to challenge the advancement of gender equality.
© HerStoryOurStory2018. All Rights Reserved.