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General Recommendation

Between the adoption of the first general recommendation on violence against women in 1989 and the second general recommendation on this issue in 1992 the Committee adopted six recommendations, none of which mentioned the issue of violence against women. Interestingly, in 1990, the Committee adopted General Recommendation 14 on female circumcisionTh which does not mention violence against women. This is particularly significant in light of the fact that female circumcision is mentioned as one of the forms of violence against women in General Recommendation 19 adopted just two years later.53 However, in General Recommendation 14, female circumcision is framed exclusively as a health and educational issue. The Committee required states to report on measures to combat female circumcision under Article 10 of the CEDAW devoted to education and Article 12 dealing with health issues.54

The general recommendation of the CEDAW on violence against women adopted in 1992 is more detailed and to the point. It is the first in a series of general recommendations addressing specific issues related to the CEDAW’s implementation that are precise, detailed, and quite long compared to all previous general recommendations. In this general recommendation the Committee clarifies its reasoning with regard to the relationship between violence against women and various provisions of the CEDAW. Rather clearly, the Committee affirms that ‘the full implementation of the Convention required States to take positive measures to eliminate all forms of violence against women’.55 The Committee also affirmed for the first time that the definition of discrimination against women in Article 1 of the CEDAW includes gender-based violence, that is, ‘violence that is directed against a woman because she is a woman or that affects women disproportionately’^[1] [2] Other articles of the CEDAW discussed in this general recommendation are: Articles 2, 3, 5, 6, 10(c), 11, 12, 14, and 16. Thus, the extent and amount of links established between various provisions of the CEDAW and the obligation to eradicate violence against women grew from one general recommendation to another. An additional important step needs to be highlighted. In this general recommendation, the CEDAW Committee established a link between violence against women and the principle of non-discrimination for the first time. This became one of the main strategies for addressing violence against women as an international human rights hard law obligation not only within the context of the CEDAW, but also beyondTh

  • [1] 4 General Recommendation 14, section d. 55 General Recommendation 19, para. 4.
  • [2] 52 General Recommendation 19, para. 6. General Recommendation 12 did not mention Art. 1(definition of discrimination) among articles that require states to combat violence against women. Seealso: General Recommendation 12.
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