Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Intensification of efforts to prevent and eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls: sexual harassment 2/3

1. Strongly condemns all forms of violence against all women and girls, including sexual harassment, recognizing that it is an impediment to the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls and to the full realization of their human rights;  

2. Acknowledges that sexual harassment is a form of violence and a violation and abuse of human rights that is likely to result in physical, psychological, sexual, economic or social harm or suffering;  

3. Stresses that sexual harassment encompasses a continuum of unacceptable and unwelcome behaviours and practices of a sexual nature that may include, but are not limited to, sexual suggestions or demands, requests for sexual favours and sexual, verbal or physical conduct or gestures, that are or might reasonably be perceived as offensive or humiliating;  

4. Urges States to condemn violence against women and girls, including sexual harassment, and reaffirms that they should not invoke any custom, tradition or religious consideration to avoid their obligations with respect to its elimination and should pursue, by all appropriate means and without delay, a policy of eliminating violence against women, as set out in the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women;9 

 5. Calls upon States to address discrimination based on multiple and intersecting factors, which places women and girls at greater risk of exploitation, violence and abuse, and to take appropriate action to empower and protect them as well as achieve their full enjoyment of human rights without discrimination;  
6. Notes that efforts by civil society organizations in eliminating violence against women and girls are complementary to those of Governments, and in this regard urges States to support, where possible, non-State-led initiatives aimed at promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls and at preventing, responding to and protecting women and girls from sexual harassment;  

7. Encourages national legislative authorities and political parties, as appropriate, to adopt codes of conduct and reporting mechanisms, or revise existing ones, stating zero tolerance by these legislative authorities and political parties for sexual harassment, intimidation and any other form of violence against women in politics;  

8. Urges States to take effective action to prevent and eliminate sexual harassment against women and girls and to address structural and underlying causes and risk factors, including by:  
(a) Designing and implementing appropriate domestic policies that are aimed at transforming discriminatory social attitudes and social and cultural patterns of conduct that condone violence against women and girls, including sexual harassment, with a view to preventing and eliminating, in all public and private spheres, discrimination, gender stereotypes, negative social norms, attitudes and behaviours, and unequal power relations by which women and girls are regarded as subordinate to men and boys and that underlie and perpetuate male domination;  
(b) Implementing, in partnership with all relevant stakeholders, effective violence prevention and response activities in schools and communities, educating children from a young age regarding the importance of treating all people with dignity and respect, and designing educational programmes and teaching materials that support gender equality, respectful relationships and non-violent behaviour;  
(c) Engaging men and boys in challenging gender stereotypes and negative social norms, attitudes and behaviours that underlie and perpetuate such violence and in developing and implementing measures that reinforce non-violent actions, attitudes and values, and encouraging men and boys, as agents and beneficiaries of change in the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls, to take an active part and become their strategic partners and allies in efforts to prevent and eliminate all forms of violence and discrimination against women and girls; 
(d) Developing policies and programmes with the support, where appropriate, of international organizations, civil society and non-governmental organizations, giving priority to formal, informal and non-formal education programmes, including scientifically accurate and age-appropriate comprehensive education that is relevant to cultural contexts, that provides adolescent girls and boys and young women and men in and out of school, consistent with their evolving capacities, and with appropriate direction and guidance from parents and legal guardians, with the best interests of the child as their basic concern, information on sexual and reproductive health and HIV prevention, gender equality and women’s empowerment, human rights, physical, psychological and pubertal development and power in relationships between women and men, to enable them to build self-esteem and foster informed decision-making, communication and risk-reduction skills and to develop respectful relationships, in full partnership with young persons, parents, legal guardians, caregivers, educators and health-care providers, in order to, inter alia, enable them to protect themselves from HIV infection and other risks; 

 (e) Developing, adopting, strengthening and implementing legislation and policies that address the issue of sexual harassment in a comprehensive manner by, inter alia, prohibiting and considering, where appropriate, criminalizing sexual harassment, exercising due diligence by taking protective and preventive measures, ensuring appropriate complaints mechanisms and reporting procedures, as well as accountability and access to effective, timely and appropriate remedies, including through adequate enforcement by the police and the judiciary of civil remedies, orders of protection and, where applicable, criminal sanctions in order to eliminate impunity and avoid revictimization;
  (f) Accelerating efforts to develop, review and strengthen inclusive and gender-responsive policies, including by allocating adequate resources, to address the structural and underlying causes of sexual harassment against women and girls, to overcome gender stereotypes and negative social norms, to encourage the media to examine the impact of gender-role stereotypes, including those perpetuated by commercial advertisements, that foster gender-based violence, sexual exploitation and inequalities, to promote zero tolerance for such violence and to remove the stigma of being a victim and survivor of violence, thus creating an enabling and accessible environment where women and girls can easily report incidents of violence and make use of the services available, including protection and assistance programmes;  
(g) Taking measures to ensure that all officials, including those in leadership positions, responsible for implementing policies and programmes aimed at preventing violence against women and girls, including sexual harassment, protecting and assisting the victims and investigating and punishing acts of violence receive ongoing, adequate and gender- and culturally sensitive training to be aware of genderspecific needs, as well as of the underlying causes and short- and long-term impact of sexual harassment; 
 (h) Removing barriers, including political, legal, cultural, social, economic, institutional and religious ones, preventing women’s full, equal and effective participation in leadership and political and other decision-making positions, taking into account that promoting women to leadership positions may significantly reduce the risk of sexual harassment;  
(i) Taking measures to ensure that all workplaces are free from discrimination and exploitation, violence, and sexual harassment and bullying and that they address discrimination and violence against women and girls, as appropriate, through such measures as regulatory and oversight frameworks and reforms, collective agreements, codes of conduct, including appropriate disciplinary measures, protocols and procedures, and referral of cases of violence to health services for treatment and to police for investigation, as well as through awareness-raising and capacity-building, in collaboration with employers, unions and workers, including through workplace services and flexibility for victims and survivors;  
(j) Taking measures to improve the safety of girls at and on the way to and from school, including by creating a safe and violence-free environment by improving infrastructure, such as transportation, providing hygienic, separate and adequate sanitation facilities, improved lighting, playgrounds and safe environments and adopting policies to prevent, address and prohibit sexual harassment through all appropriate measures; 

9. Also urges States to take effective action to protect victims of all forms of violence, including sexual harassment, including by:  

(a) Providing relevant, comprehensive and victim-centred legal protection to support and assist victims of violence, including sexual harassment, in a gendersensitive manner, including victim and witness protection from reprisals for bringing 
Intensification of efforts to prevent and eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls: sexual harassment complaints or giving evidence, within the framework of their national legal systems, including, as appropriate, legislative or other measures throughout the criminal and civil justice system, as appropriate, paying particular attention to women and girls facing multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination;  
(b) Establishing comprehensive, coordinated, interdisciplinary, accessible and sustained multisectoral services, programmes and responses for all victims and survivors of all forms of violence, including sexual harassment, that are adequately resourced, that are, when possible, in a language that they understand and in which they can communicate and that include effective and coordinated action by, as appropriate, relevant stakeholders, such as the police and the justice sector, as well as providers of legal aid services, health services, shelters, medical and psychological assistance, counselling services and protection, and, in cases of girl victims, ensuring that such services, programmes and responses take into account the best interests of the child;  
(c) Establishing and/or strengthening law enforcement, health and social workers’ and counsellors’ response protocols and procedures to ensure that all appropriate actions are taken to protect and respond to the needs of victims of violence, including sexual harassment, to identify acts of violence and to prevent their recurrence or further acts of violence and physical and psychological harm, ensuring that services are responsive to the survivors’ needs, including by providing access to female health-care providers, police officers and counsellors if requested, and ensuring and maintaining the privacy of victims and the confidentiality of their reporting;

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