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Bahamas set for first visit by UN expert on violence against women

GENEVA (6 December 2017) - The United Nations Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, Dubravka Šimonović, will undertake the first official visit of her mandate to the Bahamas from 11 to 15 December 2017 to assess how the country is working towards eliminating violence against women.

“This visit will provide a useful opportunity to assess the country’s commitment to combating violence against women, its causes and consequences,
and to evaluating its legal framework and policies on gender-based violence and its implementation,” Ms. Šimonović said.

“I will assess, in particular, the measures that the Government must take to bring its legislation and practices into line with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the CEDAW Committee’s new general recommendation No. 35 on gender-based violence against women as well as the Belém do Pará Convention which includes the State’s obligation to protect migrant women,” the expert said.

“Like many other places, the Bahamas is contending with strong patriarchal attitudes that may contribute to gender-based violence but it also faces specific challenges such as devastating hurricanes and a high crime rate. I will examine the steps being taken by the authorities to address these challenges and will aim to provide recommendations to ensure women’s rights and safety are in line with accepted international standards and are prioritized in policy initiatives.”

During her five-day visit, which is at the invitation of the Government, Ms. Šimonović will meet Government officials, representatives of State institutions and civil society organizations, as well as individual women, in New Providence and Grand Bahama.

The Special Rapporteur will present her preliminary observations at a press conference on 15 December at 11:00 local time at the Pan American Health Organization, 2nd Floor, Grosvenor Medical Centre, Grosvenor Close, Shirley St., Nassau, Bahamas. Access will be strictly limited to journalists.

A comprehensive report containing her final findings and recommendations will be presented to the UN Human Rights Council in June 2018.


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 make recommendations at the national, regional and international levels on how to eliminate violence against women and its causes, and to remedy its consequences. Ms. Šimonoviæ 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.

For inquiries and media requests, please contact: Thibaut Guillet (+41 22 917 9674 / +41 79 444 4355 / tguillet@ohchr.org ) or Sara Cavallo (+41 22 917 99 42 / scavallo@ohchr.org) or vaw@ohchr.org

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts please contact:
Bryan Wilson – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9826 / mediaconsultant2@ohchr.org

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