Bringing Rights to Bear – Freedom from Violence is a Human Right


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This briefing paper examines the standards developed by six UN bodies, or Committees, in the area of violence, ill treatment, and torture. Following a brief overview of the origin and work of the TMBs, the paper reviews standards each body has adopted as it has monitored governments’compliance with their duties under international human rights law.

International law condemns violence against women in all its forms, whether it occurs in the home, schools, the workplace, or in health care facilities. Human rights standards guarantee the right to be free from violence, ill treatment, and torture, as well as the rights to life, health, and non-discrimination. These guarantees create a government duty to protect women from violence, regardless of who perpetrates it. United Nations human rights bodies have been key players in building governments’ understanding of their affirmative duties to stop violence against women.

Again and again, these commit-tees have stressed that international treaty commitments require government action against violence against women.

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