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Gender Based Violence And Convention On Elimination Of All Forms Of Discrimination Against Women

Gender Based Violence and Convention on Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women

Session Report
Christeena Sabu

The Gender Impact Studies Center, located at the IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute in New Delhi, organized a four-week online immersive certificate training course called ‘Ending Gender-based Violence – Cohort 2: Awareness of Policies & Governance’ from March 5 to March 27, 2024.

The course’s main objective was to impart knowledge and tools to understand, address, and eradicate gender-based violence. The program was led by experts and provided a well-rounded understanding of the challenges surrounding gender-based violence.

On the second day of the training, Dr. Vahida Nainarji, an independent researcher, gender, and human rights consultant, and senior fellow at IMPRI, presented a compelling talk on different aspects of gender-based violence. The presentation was informative, insightful, and provided a unique perspective on the issue.

Overall, the session was a great learning experience for all the participants, and it helped increase awareness about gender-based violence policies and governance.

Gender based violence and convention on elimination of all forms of discrimination

Dr. Vahida Nainarji, an independent researcher and gender and human rights consultant, delved into the implementation of the CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women) Convention in India during a session. She highlighted the significance of the CEDAW Convention, an anti-gender discrimination treaty adopted in 1979. Initially, the convention didn’t explicitly address violence against women, but in 1992, it was rectified through a General Recommendation (GR) 19, which included gender-based violence within the definition of discrimination against women.

GR19 marked a crucial milestone by acknowledging that gender-based violence disproportionately affects women and recognizing its various forms, including physical, sexual, psychological, and economic harm. It emphasized the intersectional nature of gender-based violence, acknowledging that women may face multiple forms of discrimination. Moreover, it reaffirmed the obligation of State parties to prevent, investigate, prosecute, and punish gender-based violence and emphasized the importance of prevention strategies, education programs, and challenging stereotypes.

Dr. Nainarji highlighted India’s ratification of the CEDAW Convention in 1993, with reservations to Articles 5(a) and 16(1). Article 5(a) aims to modify social and cultural patterns to eliminate gender-based prejudices and customary practices. India expressed reservation to this article, citing its inability to modify such patterns. Article 16(1) addresses equality in marriage and family relations, but India mentioned that personal laws govern these matters, hence cannot guarantee compliance.

She further highlighted that India has introduced legislative reforms to combat violence against women, including the enactment of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, which provides legal protection to survivors of domestic violence. The Criminal Law Amendment Act of 2013 expanded definitions of sexual offenses and introduced stricter penalties. However, the effectiveness of these penalties as deterrents remains debatable.

Specialized courts have been established to handle gender-based violence cases, aiming for a victim-centred approach. These courts provide victim support services and training for personnel to handle such cases sensitively. Despite these efforts, the effectiveness of specialized courts depends on resource allocation and addressing systemic challenges within the legal system.

Awareness campaigns, both by the government and NGOs, play a crucial role in disseminating information about laws and support services and promoting a culture of respect and equality. Support services include helplines, shelters, legal aid centres, and counselling services, aiming to provide assistance to survivors of gender-based violence.

Capacity-building programs involve training for police, judicial officers, and healthcare providers to enhance their understanding of gender-based violence and improve response protocols. Data collection methods, such as the National Family Health Survey and the National Crime Records Bureau, provide insights into the prevalence and determinants of gender-based violence.

Despite these policy responses, challenges persist in effectively addressing gender-based violence in India. Dr. Nainarji emphasized the need for ongoing efforts to enhance the effectiveness of measures and allocate adequate resources to address systemic challenges within the legal system.

Acknowledgment: This article was posted by Christeena Sabu, a research intern at IMPRI.

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