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Violence against women: UN human rights expert launches official visit to Australia

GENEVA / CANBERRA  (9 February 2017) – United Nations Special Rapporteur Dubravka Šimonović will visit Australia from 13 to 27 February to assess the overall situation of violence against women, and gather first-hand information from a wide range of stakeholders, including women survivors of violence.

“Violence against women continues to be one of the most pervasive human rights violations globally, affecting every woman worldwide and Australia is no exception,” said the independent expert mandated by the UN Human Rights Council to monitor and report on the situation of violence against women, its causes and consequences in every country.

“During my visit, I will pay special attention to systemic causes of gender based violence against women and the situation of women who encounter multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination and violence, like  indigenous women, women with disabilities, migrant and refugee women and women from remote or rural communities,” Ms. Šimonović said.

Ms. Šimonović’s 15-day visit will take her to Canberra, Sydney, Hobart, Brisbane, Cherbourg, Alice Springs, Adelaide and Melbourne, where she will meet with Government representatives both at federal, state and territorial level, the legislative and judicial branches, the Australian National Human Rights Commission and various rights commissioners as well as with a broad range of civil society representatives from various parts of the country.

“I will travel to different parts of the country to assess laws, policies and services to prevent and combat gender based violence and will meet with women and girls survivors of violence,” she added.

At the end of the visit, the UN Special Rapporteur will share her preliminary conclusions at a press conference on 27 February at 12:30pm, at the UN Information Centre, Level 1, 7 National Circuit Barton, Canberra. Access to the press conference is strictly limited to journalists.

Based on the information obtained during the visit, Ms. Šimonović will present a report with final findings and recommendations to the Human Rights Council in June 2017.

Ms. Dubravka Šimonović (Croatia) was appointed as Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences by the UN Human Rights Council in June 2015, to recommend measures, ways and means, at the national, regional and international levels, to eliminate violence against women and its causes, and to remedy its consequences. Ms. Šimonović has been member of the CEDAW Committee from 2002 to 2014. She headed the Human Rights Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Croatia and was the Minister Plenipotentiary at the Permanent Mission of Croatia to the UN in New York. She was also Ambassador to the OSCE and UN in Vienna. She co-chaired the Ad hoc Committee (CAHVIO) of the Council of Europe that elaborated the Convention on Preventing and Combatting Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention).She has a PhD in Family Law and published books and articles on human rights and women’s rights.

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

UN Human Rights, Country Page: Australia

For more information and media requests, please contact Julia Dean (+61 02 6270 9205 (m), +61 433 944 427 / dean@un.org), or Nathalie Stadelmann (+41 79 201 01 19 / nstadelmann@ohchr.org)

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya, OHCHR Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)

You can access this media advisory online

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