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There is no provision in either the Declaration {DEDAW) or Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (the Convention) that explicitly addresses violence against women. This contrasts with the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) Article 4(a) which requires States parties to declare as 'an offence punishable by law [ ... ] all acts of violence [ ... ] against any race or group of persons of another colour or ethnic origin'. Instead, States parties' obligations with respect to the elimination of violence against: women have been developed by a number of international institutional initiatives in which the Committee has played a key role. By requiring a holistic approach to the dif- ferent manifestations of violence against women, identifying violence as discrimination against women, and thereby adopting a rights-based approach, General Recommendation No 19 on Violence against Women in 1992 was the instrument that brought violence against women unequivocally into the domain of international human rights law. In 2017, drawing upon its twenty-five years of experience of understanding violence against: women as a form of discrimination, as expressed through several rounds of States' initial and subsequent periodic reporting and more than fifteen years of individual petitions and inquiry procedures under the Optional Protocol to the Convention, the Committee updated General Recommendation No 19 in its General Recommendation No 35. This rook account of both subsequent normative developments and social changes and pro- vides States with 'further guidance aimed at accelerating the elimination of gender-based violence against women'.


This material was originally published in The UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and Its Optional Protocol: A Commentary edited by Patricia Schulz, Ruth Halperin-Kaddari, Beate Rudolf, and Marsha A. Freeman and has been reproduced by permission of Oxford University Press. For permission to reuse this material, please visit