Saturday, June 2, 2018

The Bellagio Declaration. Conclusions and recommendations 2/3

1. The participants call on all judicial officers and those involved with the judicial system to implement internationally, regionally and nationally guaranteed human rights norms for the elimination of gender-based violence against women and girls within their jurisdictions without discrimination, gender stereotyping or other prejudicial attitudes. Impartiality of the judiciary and the right to a fair trial cannot be guaranteed to women otherwise. 

2. The participants noted that significant advances have been made in the development of international and regional standards on the elimination of gender-based violence against women and girls including sexual violence, as well as in the development of national laws and policies to eliminate gender-based violence against women and girls. They also noted that despite the normative progress, impunity continues unchanged.

3. The participants acknowledged the important work done by the United Nations human rights treaty bodies and the United Nations Special Procedures to address sexual violence against women. In particular, they noted the importance of the work of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW Committee) under the reporting and Optional Protocol procedures and in its General Recommendations and other statements. The participants welcomed the adoption of General Recommendation No. 35 on gender-based violence against women and noted that the issue of sexual violence had also been addressed in a number of other General Recommendations.

4. The participants also noted in particular the importance of the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment, and Eradication of Violence against Women (Convention of Belém do Pará), the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (the Maputo Protocol), and the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (the Istanbul Convention), and also the practice and jurisprudence of international and regional courts under other human rights treaties.  

5. The participants underlined that States are under binding international legal obligations to take all necessary measures to prevent the occurrence of sexual violence and to investigate and prosecute sexual violence against women perpetrated both by state actors and non-state actors, and to provide effective and transformative remedies and reparations. 

6. The participants reaffirmed the Victoria Falls Declaration of Principles for the Promotion of Human Rights of Women, 1994 as well as those stated in the Bangalore Principles on the Domestic Application of International Human Rights Law Norms, 1988 and in other judicial colloquia. These principles reflect the universality, indivisibility and inter-relatedness of human rights - inherent in men and women. These general principles are applicable in all countries, but the means by which they become applicable may differ. The participants underlined the vital role that an independent judiciary plays in the elimination of sexual violence against women and girls in interpreting and applying national constitutions and laws in the light of those principles.  

7. The participants agreed that, where they have not done so, all States should be encouraged to ratify the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), to remove any reservations they have made, to ratify the Optional Protocol, and to take into account the CEDAW Committee’s jurisprudence under the Optional Protocol and its General Recommendations. States should also be encouraged to ratify the relevant regional treaties on violence against women.

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