customary international law. General recommendation No. 19 has been a key
catalyst for that process. 2
Acknowledging those developments, and the work of the Special Rapporteur
on violence against women, its causes and consequences, and of the human rights
treaty bodies 3 and the special procedures mandate holders of the Human Rights
Council, 4 the Committee has decided to mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of the
adoption of general recommendation No. 19 by providing States parties with further
guidance aimed at accelerating the elimination of gender -based violence against
The Committee acknowledges that civil society groups, especially women’s
non-governmental organizations, have prioritized the elimination of gender -based




In the decades since the adoption of general recommendation No. 19, most States parties have
improved their legal and policy measures to address diverse forms of gender -based violence
against women. See the report of the Secretary-General on the review and appraisal of the
implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the outcome of the
twenty-third special session of the General Assembly (E/CN.6/2015/3), paras. 120-139. In
addition, evidence in the practice of non-parties, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Palau, Somalia, the
Sudan, Tonga and the United States of America, includes the following: adoption of national
legislation on violence against women (United States, in 1994; Somalia, in 2012), invitations
extended to and accepted by the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and
consequences (visits to the United States, in 1998 and 2011; Somalia, in 2011; and the Sudan, in
2015); acceptance of the diverse recommendations on strengthening the protection of women
from violence made in the context of the universal periodic review mechanism of the Human
Rights Council; and endorsement of key resolutions of the Human Rights Council on eliminati ng
violence against women, including resolution 32/19 of 1 July 2016. State practice to address
gender-based violence against women is also reflected in landmark political documents and
regional treaties adopted in multilateral forums, such as the Vienna Declaration and Programme
of Action, in 1993; the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, in 1993; and
the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, in 1995, and its five -year reviews; and regional
conventions and action plans, such as the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention,
Punishment, and Eradication of Violence against Women, in 1994; the Protocol to the African
Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, in 2003; and the
Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, in
2011. Other relevant international instruments are the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence
against Women and Elimination of Violence against Children in the Association of Southeast
Asian Nations; the Arab Strategy for Combating Violence against Women, 2011 -2030; and the
agreed conclusions of the fifty-seventh session of the Commission on the Status of Women on
the elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls (E/2013/27,
chap. I, sect. A). The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, Security Council
resolution 1325 (2000) and subsequent resolutions on women and peace and security, as well as
many resolutions of the Human Rights Council, including resolution 32/19 of 1 July 2016,
contain specific provisions on gender-based violence against women. Judicial decisions of
international courts, which are a subsidiary means for the determination of customary
international law, also demonstrate such development (see A/71/10, chap. V, sect. C,
conclusion 13). Examples include European Court of Human Rights, Opuz v. Turkey (application
No 33401/02), judgment of 9 June 2009, in which the Court was influenced by what it referred to
as “the evolution of norms and principles in international law” (para. 164) through a range of
international and comparative materials on violence against women; and Inter -American Court of
Human Rights, González et al. (“Cotton Field”) v. Mexico, judgment of 16 November 2009.
See, for example, Human Rights Committee, general comment No. 28 (2000) on the equality of
rights between men and women; Committee against Torture, general comment No. 2 (2007) on
the implementation of article 2 of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or
Degrading Treatment or Punishment; Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,
general comment No. 22 (2016) on the right to sexual and reproductive health; and Committee on
the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, general comment No. 3 (2016) on women and girl s with
In particular, the Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and
practice and the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment
or punishment.

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