United Nations System Efforts to Address Violence Against Women
United Nations System Efforts to Address
Violence Against Women
Updated August 12, 2008
Analyst in International Relations
Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division
United Nations System Efforts to Address Violence
The United Nations (U.N.) system supports a number of programs that address
international violence against women (VAW). These activities, which are
implemented by 32 U.N. entities, range from large-scale interagency initiatives to
smaller grants and programs that are implemented by a range of partners, including
non-governmental organizations (NGOs), national governments, and individual U.N.
agencies. U.N. member states, including the United States, address VAW by
ratifying multilateral treaties, adopting resolutions and decisions, and supporting
U.N. mechanisms and bodies that focus on the issue.
Many U.N. activities and mechanisms address VAW directly, while others focus
on it in the context of broader issues such as humanitarian assistance, U.N.
peacekeeping, and global health. U.N. entities do not specifically track the cost of
programs or activities with anti-VAW components. As a result, it is unclear how
much the U.N. system, including individual U.N. agencies, funds, and programs,
spends annually on programs to combat violence against women.
The U.S. government supports many activities that, either in whole or in part,
work to combat international violence against women. Some experts argue that when
considering the most effective ways to address VAW on an international scale, the
United States should take into account the efforts of international organizations such
as the United Nations. Were Congress to decide to use U.N. mechanisms to combat
VAW, a number of programs and options might be considered. Congress has
appropriated funds to the U.N. Trust Fund in Support of Actions to Eliminate
Violence Against Women, for example, as well as to U.N. agencies, funds, and
programs that address types or circumstances of violence against women and girls.
These include the World Health Organization (WHO), U.N. Development Program
(UNDP), the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR),
and the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The Senate has also
given its advice and consent for U.S. ratification of treaties that address international
violence against women and girls — including the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and
Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children.
This report supplements CRS Report RL34438, International Violence Against
Women: U.S. Response and Policy Issues. It provides an overview of recent U.N.
efforts to address VAW by the Secretary-General and highlights key U.N.
interagency efforts. The report also discusses selected U.N. funds, programs, and
agencies that address international violence against women. It does not measure the
extent to which VAW is directly addressed or is part of a larger initiative or program.
This report will be updated as events warrant.
Issues for Congress................................................2
Priorities and Resource Allocation................................2
Funding U.N. Anti-VAW Efforts.................................3
United States Anti-VAW Activities in U.N. Fora.....................3
U.N. Definition of Violence Against Women............................4
Key U.N. System Efforts............................................5
U.N. Study on Violence Against Women.......................5
Campaign to End Violence Against Women.....................6
The U.N. Trust Fund in Support of Actions to Eliminate Violence
Selected Interagency Activities...................................8
Inter-Agency Network on Women and Gender Equality (IANWGE)..8
Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC)......................9
U.N. Action Against Sexual Violence in Conflict (U.N. Action).....9
Selected U.N. Conferences, Agreements, and Resolutions..................9
U.N. World Conferences on Women..............................10
U.N. Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against
U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)..................11
Trafficking in Persons Protocol..................................11
U.N. Security Council Resolutions 1325 and 1820...................12
Selected U.N. Commissions, Departments, and Specialized Agencies........13
Commission on the Status of Women (CSW).......................13
Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO)...................13
Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA).................14
U.N. Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM)....................14
U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)....15
World Health Organization (WHO)...............................16
U.N. Development Program (UNDP) .............................16
U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF).................................17
U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)...................17
U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA)...18
U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA).................................18
U.N. Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC)........................18
International Labor Organization (ILO)............................19
Joint U.N. Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS)......................19
United Nations System Efforts to Address
Violence Against Women
Since the late 1990s, the United Nations (U.N.) organization has increasingly
recognized violence against women (hereafter VAW) as a global health concern and
violation of human rights. Ongoing U.N. system efforts to address VAW range from
large-scale interagency initiatives to smaller grants and programs implemented by
non-governmental organizations (NGOs), national governments, and individual U.N.
agencies. A number of U.N. system activities address VAW directly; however, many
are also implemented in the context of broader issues such as humanitarian aid,
peacekeeping, global health, and human rights. Most U.N. entities do not specifically
track the cost of programs or activities with anti-VAW components. Therefore, it is
unclear how much the U.N. system, including individual U.N. agencies and
programs, spends annually on programs to combat violence against women.
U.N. member states collectively address VAW through the work of U.N. bodies
such as the General Assembly, Security Council, and Economic and Social Council.
Members of these bodies have adopted resolutions and decisions addressing VAW
in general, and more specifically violence against women migrant workers, honor
crimes against women and girls, trafficking in women and girls, sexual violence in
conflict, VAW prevention, and women, peace, and security.1 Many U.N. member
states have also ratified international treaties that address violence against women,
including the U.N. Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons,
Especially Women and Children; the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms
of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW); and the Convention on the Rights of
the Child (CRC). In addition, members of the U.N. Human Rights Council support
the work of the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, its Causes and
Consequences. U.N. member states also make voluntary contributions to U.N. funds
and other mechanisms that address violence against women.
1 See, for example, (1) U.N. General Assembly resolution 61/143, Intensification of Efforts
to Eliminate all Forms of Violence Against Women, December 19, 2006; (2) U.N. General
Assembly resolution 60/139, Violence Against Women Migrant Workers, December 16,
2005; (3) U.N. General Assembly resolution 60/139,Working Towards the Elimination of
Crimes Against Women and Girls Committed in the Name of Honour, December 20, 2004;
(4) U.N. General Assembly resolution 59/166, Trafficking in Women and Girls, December
20, 2004; (5) U.N. General Assembly resolution 62/134, Eliminating Rape and Other Forms
of Sexual Violence, December 18, 2007; and (6) U.N. ECOSOC Resolution 2006/29, Crime
Prevention and Criminal Justice Responses to Violence Against Women and Girls, July 22,
2006; and (7) U.N. Security Council Resolution 1325(2000) on Women, Peace, and
Security, October 31, 2000.
Since 2005, at the direction of U.N. member states, former U.N. Secretary-
General Kofi Annan and current Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon have worked to
coordinate and enhance anti-VAW activities among various U.N. entities. In late
2005, for example, as part of then-Secretary-General Annan’s In-Depth Study on All
Forms of Violence Against Women, the U.N. Secretariat’s Division for the
Advancement of Women (DAW) compiled an inventory of U.N. system activities
that address violence against women. The Secretariat identified 32 U.N. entities that
work to combat VAW on a global, national, or local level.2 In February 2008,
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched a U.N. systemwide public awareness
campaign to end violence against women.
This report provides examples of recent U.N. system efforts to address VAW,
including the Trust Fund to Eliminate Violence Against Women, anti-VAW
initiatives of past and current U.N. Secretaries-General, and interagency activities.
It also discusses selected U.N. agreements, mechanisms, agencies, funds, and
programs that — either in whole or in part — work to eliminate violence against
women. It does not assess the scope of U.N. anti-VAW activities or evaluate a U.N.
entity’s progress in achieving its goal. This report supplements CRS Report
RL34438, International Violence Against Women: U.S. Response and Policy Issues.
Issues for Congress
When considering U.S. efforts to address violence against women
internationally, Members of Congress may wish to take into account ongoing U.N.
efforts to address the issue. Were Congress to decide to use U.N. mechanisms to
combat VAW, a number of policy issues and U.N. programs might be considered.
Priorities and Resource Allocation
Some experts argue that providing financial or technical support to international
organizations that address VAW is an effective use of U.S. resources. They maintain
that such assistance benefits the United States because it allows the U.S. government
to share anti-VAW costs and resources with other governments and organizations.
Moreover, some maintain that U.S. support of U.N. anti-VAW activities may prevent
duplication of anti-VAW programs. Others argue that the U.S. government should
focus on its own anti-VAW activities, and emphasize that U.N. anti-VAW activities
may not always align with U.S. foreign assistance priorities.
2 The largest of these include the U.N. Development Program (UNDP), the U.N. Children’s
Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Labor
Organization (ILO), the U.N. Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the U.N. Population
Fund (UNFPA), the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), The U.N.
Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations
(DPKO). See Preventing and Eliminating Violence Against Women: An Inventory of United
Nations System Activities On Violence Against Women, July 2007, and updated for July
Funding U.N. Anti-VAW Efforts
Some experts maintain that the U.S. government should increase its
contributions to U.N. programs and mechanisms that combat violence against women
— particularly the U.N. Trust Fund in Support of Actions to Eliminate Violence
Against Women.3 The Trust Fund is a multilateral U.N. mechanism that provides
governments and NGOs with money specifically to address violence against women.
It relies on voluntary contributions from U.N. member states, including the United
States, which first contributed in FY2005.4 Policymakers, including some Members
of Congress, have recognized the Fund as a possible tool for addressing international
violence against women. Proposed legislation in the 110th Congress, for example,
would increase U.S. contributions to the Fund.5
A number of other U.N. agencies, funds, and programs work to eliminate
violence against women. These include offices and departments funded through the
U.N. Regular Budget, such as the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the
Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW). U.N.-specialized agencies such
as the World Health Organization (WHO) and International Labor Organization
(ILO) also support anti-VAW activities through their regular budgets. An additional
number of U.N. programs and funds rely on voluntary contributions from member
states to support anti-VAW activities. These include the U.N. Development Program
(UNDP), U.N. Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), and U.N. High
Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).6
United States Anti-VAW Activities in U.N. Fora
The United States may address VAW through several U.N. mechanisms,
including multilateral treaties that focus on types or circumstances of violence against
women. The U.S. Senate, for example, has provided its advice and consent for
ratification of the U.N. Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in
Persons, Especially Women and Children (Trafficking Protocol). Other multilateral
treaties that address VAW include the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms
of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the U.N. Convention on the Rights
3 See, for example,”Violence Against Women Expert Lauds Foreign Appropriations
Subcommittee for Increasing Funds for UNIFEM and Its Trust Fund,” Family Violence
Prevention Fund press release, June 24, 2004.
4 For further discussion of the Trust Fund, including U.S. contributions, see the “Key U.N.
System Efforts” section.
5 See S. 2279, the International Violence Against Women Act, 2008, which authorizes
appropriations of $5 million for the Trust Fund from FY2008 to FY2012 through the
International Organizations and Programs Account. Also see H.R. 5927, the International
Violence Against Women Act of 2008, which authorizes appropriations of $5 million from
FY2009 to FY2013.
6 For more information on the anti-VAW activities of these U.N. entities, see the “Selected
U.N. Commissions, Departments, and Specialized Agencies” section.
of the Child (CRC). The United States has not ratified CEDAW or CRC, however,
because of concerns over U.S. sovereignty.7
The United States may also address VAW by promoting or advocating
resolutions and decisions in U.N. fora such as the General Assembly, Security
Council, and Economic and Social Council. In March 2007, for example, the U.S.
government drafted a resolution on forced and early marriage during the 51st Session
on the Commission on the Status of Women.8 In October 2007, U.S. representatives
to the United Nations also advocated the adoption of a General Assembly resolution
condemning the use of rape as an instrument of state policy.9 In 2000, the United
States also supported the adoption of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1325 on
Women, Peace, and Security.10
U.N. Definition of Violence Against Women
The U.N. General Assembly was the first international body to agree on a
definition of violence against women. On December 20, 1993, the General Assembly
adopted the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women11
(DEVAW). The Declaration, which was supported by the U.S. government,
describes VAW as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to
result in, physical, sexual, or psychological harm or suffering to women, including
threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring12
in public or private life.” Though non-binding, DEVAW provides a standard for
U.N. agencies and NGOs urging national governments to strengthen their efforts to
combat VAW, as well as for governments encouraging other nations to combat
7 For the Administration position on CEDAW, see Letter from Secretary of State Colin
Powell to Senator Joseph Biden, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, July
8, 2002 in Digest of United States Practice in International Law, 2002, Office of the Legal
Adviser, U.S. Department of State, International Law Institute, Washington, DC, 2003, p.
277. For the Administration position on CRC, see United States Participation in the United
Nations: Report by the Secretary of State to the Congress for Year 2002, Department of
State Publication 11086, October 2003, p. 70. For further details on the Trafficking
Protocol, CEDAW and CRC, see the “Selected U.N. Conferences, Agreements, and
8 U.N. document E/CN.6/2007/L.4, March 2, 2007.
9 The resolution was adopted on December 18, 2007. (See U.N. document, A/RES/62/134,
Eliminating Rape and Other Forms of Sexual Violence in All Their Manifestations,
Including in Conflict and Related Situations.) For more information on U.S. efforts to
support the resolution, see [http://www.state.gov/p/io/rls/93618.htm].
10 For further information on U.N. Security Council Resolution 1325, see the “Selected U.N.
Conferences, Agreements, and Resolutions” section.
11 U.N. document, A/RES/48/104, December 20, 1993. DEVAW was adopted without a
vote by the 48th Session of the U.N. General Assembly.
12 The term “gender-based violence” is broader than VAW because it can include violence
perpetrated against men and boys in addition to women and girls. In many instances,
however, the two terms are used interchangeably.
violence against women.13 Specifically, the Declaration calls on countries to take
responsibility for combating VAW, emphasizing that “states should condemn
violence against women and should not invoke any custom, tradition or religious
consideration to avoid their obligations with respect to its elimination. States should
pursue by all appropriate means and without delay a policy of eliminating violence
Despite the international adoption of DEVAW, governments, organizations, and
cultures continue to define VAW in a number of ways, taking into account unique
factors and circumstances. How VAW is defined has implications for policymakers
because the definition affects the types of violence that are measured and addressed.
Key U.N. System Efforts
U.N. Study on Violence Against Women. On July 6, 2006, then-U.N.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan published an In-depth Study on All Forms of Violence
Against Women.15 The study provides a statistical overview of types of VAW,16
including information on its causes and consequences. It also examines U.N.
system efforts to address VAW, identifying 32 U.N. entities that work to combat17
types and circumstances of VAW on a global, national, or local level. The study
discusses gaps and challenges in U.N. system anti-VAW activities, including (1)
implementation of legal and policy frameworks that guide U.N. system efforts to
eliminate VAW, (2) data collection and research, (3) awareness raising and
dissemination of best practices, (4) resource mobilization, and (5) coordination
mechanisms at the international level.18
To address these issues, the study recommends that U.N. resources addressing
VAW should be “increased significantly,” and highlights the need to provide
countries with technical support that promotes best practices for VAW data
collection and research. The study also urges national governments to establish
13 A Concise Encyclopedia of the United Nations, edited by Helmut Volger, Kluwer Law
International, The Hague, Netherlands, 2002, p. 671.
14 U.N. document, A/RES/48/104, December 20, 1993, article 4.
15 U.N. document, A/61/122/Add.1, July 6, 2006. The study was mandated by U.N. General
Assembly resolution 58/185 on December 22, 2003. It was prepared by the Division for the
Advancement of Women in the U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs and
conducted within existing financial resources.
16 For a discussion of global statistics and research on the causes and consequences of
VAW, see CRS Report RL34438, International Violence Against Women: U.S. Response
and Policy Issues, by Luisa Blanchfield, Rhoda Margesson, Clare Ribando Seelke, Tiaji
Salaam-Blyther, and Nina M. Serafino.
17 U.N. document, A/61/122/Add.1, July 6, 2006, p. 20.
national action plans on combating violence against women. To improve
coordination among U.N. agencies on VAW-related issues, it recommends that the
Special Advisor to the Secretary-General on Gender Issues and the Advancement of
Women leads a systemwide coordination effort through a newly established Task
Force on Violence Against Women in the Inter-Agency Network on Women and
Gender Equality (IANWGE).19
On December 19, 2006, in response to the Secretary-General’s study, the U.N.
General Assembly adopted resolution 61/143, which calls on U.N. member states and
the Secretary-General to intensify efforts to eliminate all forms of violence against
women.20 The study and the subsequent resolution have contributed to recent U.N.
efforts to enhance current U.N. anti-VAW efforts and develop new strategies to
address the issue.
Campaign to End Violence Against Women. On February 25, 2008,
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced the launch of the U.N. Campaign to End
Violence Against Women to “mobilize public opinion to ensure that policy makers
at the highest level work to prevent and eradicate violence against women.”21 The
campaign, which runs from 2008 to 2015, focuses on three key areas: (1) global
advocacy, (2) U.N. leadership by example, and (3) regional, national, and
international partnerships. According to the Secretary-General, the campaign builds
on the momentum created by recent General Assembly and Security Council actions22
on all forms of violence against women, as well as the work of women activists,
NGOs, and other civil society organizations. The Secretary-General stated that he
will urge states to review all applicable to laws to ensure VAW is always
criminalized; personally approach world leaders to spur action through national
campaigns; form a global network of male leaders to assist the U.N. Secretariat in
creating VAW awareness among men and boys; and promote a high-level event in
19 The current Special Advisor is Ms. Rachel Mayanja of Uganda. IANWGE is a network
of gender focal points from U.N. specialized agencies, offices, funds and programs. It works
to promote gender equality throughout the U.N. system. For more information, see the
“Selected Interagency Activities” section.
20 U.N. document, A/RES/61/143, December 19, 2006. Specifically, the resolution urges
U.N. member states to (1) take action to eliminate all forms of VAW through a more
systematic, comprehensive, multi-sectoral, and sustained approach through national action
plans; (2) end impunity for VAW by prosecuting and punishing all perpetrators; (3) review,
revise, amend, or abolish laws and policies that discriminate against women; and (4)
strengthen national health and social infrastructures to address the health consequences of
VAW. The resolution also encourages states to increase voluntary contributions for U.N.
activities that work toward eliminating VAW, and requests the Secretary-General to
establish a coordinated database on the extent, nature, and consequences of all forms of
VAW (comprised primarily of data submitted by U.N. member states).
21 More information on the campaign is available at [http://endviolence.un.org/].
22 This includes U.N. General Assembly resolution 62/134, Eliminating Rape and Other
Forms of Sexual Violence, December 18, 2007, and U.N. Security Council Resolution
2010 to review accomplishments of the campaign, share best practices, and plan
The U.N. Trust Fund in Support of Actions to Eliminate
Violence Against Women
The U.N. Trust Fund in Support of Actions to Eliminate Violence Against
Women (the Trust Fund) is the only multilateral mechanism that specifically focuses
on government and NGO efforts to combat VAW on regional, national, and local24
levels. The Trust Fund is administered by the U.N. Development Fund for Women
(UNIFEM) and relies on voluntary contributions from national governments, the non-
profit and private sectors, and individuals. Top government donors include Spain,
the Netherlands, Norway, the United States, Finland, Japan, Italy, Australia, the
United Kingdom, Ireland, Austria, Denmark, and Iceland.
Since it became operational in 1997, the Fund has distributed approximately $24
million in small grants to over 263 anti-VAW initiatives in approximately 115
countries. Money from the Trust Fund is distributed primarily to non-profit
organizations. U.N. agencies and funds are not eligible to receive financial assistance
from the Trust Fund. In 2007, the Fund distributed 29 grants to groups in 35
developing countries (a total of $5.1 million). The grants, which generally range
from $300,000 to $1 million, focus on strengthening national policies and laws
addressing violence against women. They also support programs that work with men
and boys, address the link between VAW and HIV/AIDS, and support public
education and awareness campaigns. Trust Fund grantees in 2007 include the
Women’s Legal Aid Center in Tanzania, Africa; the International Rescue Committee
(IRC); the International Center for the Education of Women (ICEW); and the25
Ethiopian Women Lawyer’s Association.
Recognizing the relatively small amount of money administered by the Trust
Fund, the Secretary-General’s 2006 study on violence against women recommended
that U.N. member states and other international donors “increase significantly the
financial support for work on violence against women in the United Nations ...26
including the United Nations Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women.” The
IANWGE Task Force on Violence Against Women is currently working with the
U.N. Division on the Advancement of Women (DAW) to develop a new framework
for the Trust Fund.
23 U.N. press release, “The Secretary-General Remarks to the Commission on the Status of
Women,” New York, February 25, 2008, at [http://endviolence.un.org/statements.shtml].
24 The Trust Fund was established by U.N. General Assembly resolution 50/166 adopted on
December 22, 1995. For more information, see [http://www.unifem.org/gender_issues/
vi olence_against_wome n/trust_fund.php].
25 A full list of 2007 Trust Fund grantees is available at [http://www.unifem.org/gender_
26 U.N. document, A/61/122/Add.1, July 6, 2006, p. 113.
Table 1. U.S. Contributions to the UNIFEM Trust Fund to
Eliminate Violence Against Women, FY2005-FY2009
($ in millions)
2005 — .992
2006 — 1.485
2007 — 1.485
2009 — TBD
Source: Congressional Budget Justifications, FY2006-FY2009, U.S. Department of State.
The U.S. government has contributed to the Trust Fund since 2005, with
funding levels ranging from $990,000 in FY2005 to $1.78 million in FY2008 (see
Table 1). The George W. Bush Administration has never requested funding for the
Trust Fund. Congress typically allocates money during the appropriations process.
Funding for the Trust Fund is drawn from the International Organizations and
Programs account and generally supplements U.S. voluntary contributions to
Selected Interagency Activities
U.N. funds and programs are engaged in several interagency activities that
address specific types and circumstances of VAW directly, or deal with VAW as part
of a broader agenda.
Inter-Agency Network on Women and Gender Equality (IANWGE).
IANWGE is a network of designated gender focal points from U.N. agencies, offices,
funds, and programs. It comprises 60 members representing 25 entities of the U.N.
system, and supports a Task Force on Violence Against Women that aims to28
strengthen U.N. system-wide anti-VAW efforts. The Task Force is currently
leading pilot projects in 10 countries to implement joint programming on violence29
against women. Under the projects, U.N. country teams work with national
27 In FY2007, the United States contributed $3.218 million to UNIFEM. In FY2008, the
United States estimates it will contribute $3.571 million. The President’s FY2009 request
for UNIFEM funding is $950,000. (See Congressional Budget Justification, Foreign
Operations, Fiscal Year 2009, p. 123).
28 Co-conveners of the Task Force are the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) and the U.N.
Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW).
29 The 10 countries participating in the pilot project are Burkina Faso, Chile, Fiji, Jamaica,
Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Paraguay, Philippines, Rwanda, and Yemen. A coordinator for the
governments to develop individual work plans that will increase national capacity to
prepare, implement, monitor, and evaluate national efforts to end violence against
women. It is anticipated that the U.N. Trust Fund to Eliminate Violence Against
Women will serve as the funding mechanism for the Task Force.
Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC). IASC is the primary U.N.
mechanism for interagency coordination of humanitarian assistance. Participants
include U.N. entities, international organizations, and NGOs. IASC supports a Task
Force on Gender and Humanitarian Assistance that, among other things, works to
carry out programs that prevent and respond to gender-based violence. In 2005, the
Task Force published a manual, Guidelines on Gender-Based Violence in
Humanitarian Settings, to assist communities, governments, and humanitarian
organizations (including U.N. agencies) in establishing and coordinating
interventions to prevent and respond to sexual violence during the early phases of30
emergencies. The Task Force meets every four to six weeks and includes
representatives from over 20 U.N. entities and related NGOs.
U.N. Action Against Sexual Violence in Conflict (U.N. Action). U.N.
Action draws 12 U.N. entities together to improve and better coordinate the U.N.
system response to sexual violence before and after conflict.31 It operates through
existing coordination mechanisms, including the Inter-Agency Standing Committee,
and focuses on building capacity and training advisers in anti-VAW programing at
the country level. It aims to strengthen medical and legal services to survivors and,
in the long term, address gender imbalances. It also works to raise public awareness
of sexual violence and urges governments to address the issues.
Selected U.N. Conferences, Agreements,
This section discusses selected U.N. conferences, agreements, resolutions, and
multilateral treaties that address VAW, either in whole or in part. It does not assess
U.N. member state compliance with or implementation of these mechanisms.
projects was hired in November 2007, and initial work has started in 9 of the 10 countries.
Two countries, the Philippines and Rwanda, have held national planning workshops.
30 The Guidelines are available at [http://www.humanitarianinfo.org/iasc/content/products/
docs/tfge nder_GBV Guidelines2005.pdf].
31 The 12 agencies, offices, or programs include U.N. Department of Political Affairs; U.N.
Department of Peacekeeping Operations (Best Practices); U.N. Office for the Coordination
of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA); U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
(OHCHR); Joint U.N. Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS); U.N. Development Program
(UNDP); U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA); U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for
Refugees (UNHCR); U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF); U.N. Development Fund for Women
(UNIFEM); World Food Program (WFP); and the World Health Organization (WHO).
U.N. World Conferences on Women
Since 1974, the United Nations has held four World Conferences on Women.32
Recognition of VAW as an international human rights issue, however, was first
achieved at the Third World Conference on Women in Nairobi, Kenya in 1985, and
reaffirmed at the Fourth World Conference in Beijing in 1995. The Nairobi
Conference’s main outcome document, negotiated and adopted by 152 U.N. member
states — including the United States — laid the groundwork for future international
anti-VAW initiatives. It noted that VAW was a “major obstacle to the achievement
of peace and the other objectives of the [U.N. Women’s] Decade and should be given
special attention,” and stated that member states should formulate legal measures to
assist victims and establish national mechanisms to address VAW within families
and society.33 At the Fourth World Conference in Beijing, U.N. member states
(including the United States) identified violence against women as one of the “12
critical areas of concern” for women, and also agreed that VAW “constitutes a
violation of basic human rights and is an obstacle to the achievement of the
objectives of [Women’s] equality, development, and peace.”34
U.N. Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against
CEDAW is the only multilateral treaty that specifically focuses on the
comprehensive rights of women. It calls for parties to eliminate discrimination
against women in all areas of life, including healthcare, education, employment,
domestic relations, law, and political participation. The Convention entered into
force in 1981, and 185 U.N. member states are currently party to the treaty. The
United States led the drafting of CEDAW but is one of seven U.N. member states
that has not ratified the Convention. The United States signed CEDAW in 1980, but
the full Senate has not considered the treaty for advice and consent to ratification
32 In 1974, the United Nations coordinated and led the first World Conference on Women
in Mexico City. The second conference was held in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1980, and
the third conference was held in Nairobi, Kenya, in 1985. The first conference inaugurated
the U.N. “Decade on Women,” which spanned from 1976 to 1985, and included two
additional World Conferences on Women. (The United Nations periodically designates
years to raise awareness of and highlight disadvantaged groups. Examples include the Year
of Refugees, of Youth, and of the Disabled.) Additional information on the four U.N. World
Conferences on Women is available at [http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/beijing/index.
html] and [http://www.un.org/esa/devagenda/gender.html].
33 U.N. document, A/CONF.116/28/Rev:1, 1986, Report of the World Conference to Review
and Appraise Achievements of the UN Decade for Women: Equality, Development and
Peace, Chapter 1, Section A: The Nairobi Forward-Looking Strategies for the Advancement
of Women, paragraph 258.
34 Platform for Action, The U.N. Fourth World Conference on Women, Action for Equality,
Development and Peace, Beijing, China, September 1995, available at [http://www.un.org/
womenwatch/daw/beij i ng/platform/ vi olence.htm] .
35 For further information on CEDAW, see CRS Report RL33652, The Convention on the
Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW): Congressional
Issues, by Luisa Blanchfield.
because of concerns that it may undermine U.S. sovereignty. Though the Convention
text does not directly address VAW, its implementing body, the CEDAW committee,
adopted a general recommendation affirming that gender-based violence is a form of
gender discrimination. The committee defined gender-based violence as “violence
that is directed against a woman because she is a woman or that affects women
U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)
CRC is an international treaty that requires parties to ensure that all children
have certain rights, regardless of sex.37 Article 19 of CRC specifically addresses
violence against children, stating that parties shall “protect the child from all forms
of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment,
maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s),
legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child.” CRC was
unanimously adopted by the U.N. General Assembly on November 20, 1989, and
entered into force on September 2, 1990. The United States was an active participant
in the Convention’s drafting. It joined in the General Assembly consensus adopting
the Convention, and signed the treaty on February 16, 1995. Successive
Administrations have chosen not to transmit CRC to the Senate for its advice and
consent. As of February 12, 2008, 193 parties have ratified the Convention — only
the United States and Somalia have not ratified the treaty.38
Trafficking in Persons Protocol39
In 1999, U.N. member states drafted the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and
Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children. On November 15,
which includes the Protocol on Trafficking. The Convention and its three Protocols
were designed to enable countries to work together more closely against criminals
engaged in cross-border crimes, including trafficking in women and girls. The
Protocol on Trafficking commits countries to enforce relevant laws against
traffickers, provide some assistance and protect trafficking victims, and share
36 General Recommendation No. 19 (11th session) on Violence Against Women, 1992,
available at [http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/cedaw/recommendations/recomm.htm#
37 In addition to sex, the Convention also states that children have certain rights regardless
of “color ... language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin,
property, disability, birth or other status.” (Preamble.) The Convention defines a child as
“every human being below the age of eighteen years.” (Article 1.) The text of the
Convention is available at [http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/k2crc.htm].
38 A list of countries that have signed or ratified the Convention is available at
[http://www.ohchr.org/ english/ bodies/ratification/11.htm] .
39 This section was drawn from CRS Report RL34317, Trafficking in Persons: U.S. Policy
and Issues for Congress, by Clare Ribando Seelke and Alison Siskin. Text of the Protocol
is available at [http://www.uncjin.org/Documents/Conventions/dcatoc/final_documents_
intelligence and increase border security cooperation with other countries. The
Protocol entered into force on December 25, 2003. The United States signed the
treaty in December 2000, and the Senate gave its advice and consent to ratification
on October 7, 2005. The United States became party to the Protocol on December 3,
U.N. Security Council Resolutions 1325 and 1820
On October 31, 2000, the U.N. Security Council adopted resolution 1325
relating to women, peace, and security. The resolution, which is strongly supported
by the United States, addresses the impact of war and conflict on women and
highlights the need for protection of women and girls from human rights abuses.
Specifically, the resolution calls on all parties to armed conflict to “take special
measures to protect women and girls from gender-based violence, particularly rape
and other forms of sexual abuse, and all other forms of violence in situations of
armed conflict.”41 It also urges U.N. member states and the U.N. Secretary-General
to work toward increased representation and participation of women in all decision-
making levels in national, regional, and international institutions that address conflict
resolution, management, and prevention.42 U.N. efforts in this area have intensified
since 2003 and 2004, following media reports on sexual abuse and exploitation of
vulnerable civilians by U.N. peacekeeping personnel.
In June 2008, when the United States served as president of the Security
Council, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice participated in an open thematic debate
on “women, peace, and security: sexual violence in situations of armed conflict.”43
After the debate, Security Council members unanimously adopted Resolution 1820,
marking the first time the Security Council adopted a resolution on women and
violence since Resolution 1325. Resolution 1820 “demands the immediate and
complete cessation by all parties to armed conflict in all acts of sexual violence
against civilians with immediate effect.”44 It reaffirms commitment to Resolution
1325, and notes that rape and other forms of sexual violence can constitute a war
crime, a crime against humanity, or a constitutive act with respect to genocide. It
further requests that the U.N. Secretary-General establish training programs for all
peacekeeping and humanitarian personnel deployed by the United Nations, and
encourages troop and police contributing countries to take steps to heighten
awareness of and prevent sexual violence in conflict and post-conflict situations.
40 The instrument of U.S. ratification was deposited on November 2, 2005.
41 U.N. document, S/RES/1325 (2000), October 31, 2000, available at
42 In addition, the resolution “urges member states to increase their voluntary, technical and
logistical support for gender-sensitive training efforts.” (See paragraph 7.) Additional
information on the resolution is available at [http://www.un.org/womenwatch/ianwge/
43 In a Security Council Open Debate, non-Council members may address the Council
without being invited.
44 U.N. document, S/RES/1820 (2008), June 19, 2008.
Selected U.N. Commissions, Departments, and
This section highlights selected U.N. bodies that — either in whole or in part
— address international violence against women, and provides examples of VAW-
related activities. It does not measure the extent to which VAW is directly addressed
or is part of a larger initiative or program.45
Commission on the Status of Women (CSW)
CSW, a functional Commission under the U.N. Economic and Social Council
(ECOSOC), is the principal intergovernmental policymaking body on women’s
issues in the United Nations.46 It meets annually at U.N. Headquarters and is
composed of 45 member state representatives elected by ECOSOC members (other
states serve as observers).47 CSW observes, monitors, and implements measures for
the advancement of women, including those that address violence against women.
It also reviews and supports the mainstreaming of gender perspectives into the U.N.st
system. At its 51 session in 2007, CSW member states focused on violence against
women and girls as a priority issue area. At its 52nd session in 2008, CSW members
adopted a resolution on ending female genital mutilation, which urges states to
condemn all harmful traditional practices, and take necessary measures, including48
enacting and enforcing legislation, to prohibit the practice.
Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO)49
DPKO prepares and manages U.N. peacekeeping operations. It focuses on all
types and circumstances of VAW, particularly sexual exploitation and abuse of
vulnerable women and girls by peacekeeping personnel. In order to prevent and
address such abuses, each peacekeeping mission has a gender unit that supports
regional and international initiatives addressing violence against women. The gender
45 For information on United Nations and U.S. funding of U.N. system agencies, funds, and
programs, see CRS Report RL33611, United Nations System Funding: Congressional
Issues, by Marjorie Anne Browne and Kennon H. Nakamura.
46 CSW was established in February 1946.
47 The United States is a current member of CSW. Its term will expire in 2012. For more
information, see [http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/].
48 See (1) CSW 51st Session,”The elimination of all forms of discrimination and violence
against the girl child,” at [http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/csw/51sess.htm], and (2)
U.N. document, E/CN.6/2008/L.2/Rev.1, Ending Female Genital Mutilation, March 2008.
49 For further information on U.N. efforts to address sexual abuse and exploitation and
prevent trafficking in persons, see Report to the Congress on United Nations Efforts to
Prevent Trafficking in Persons and Sexual Exploitation and Abuse in U.N. Peacekeeping
Missions, submission to the Committee on Foreign Relations of the U.S. Senate and to the
Committee on Foreign Affairs, of the U.S. House of Representatives by the State
Department, February-August 2007. (As requested in Section 104(e) of P.L. 109-164, the
Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, FY2006.)
units support legal reform processes in particular countries and serve as resources for
national authorities and law reform organizations. Gender units also encourage
collaboration among law enforcement, victim support organizations, and the
judiciary, and work to ensure that women’s NGOs are included in national efforts to
end violence against women. Moreover, several peacekeeping units — including
those in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sierra Leone, and Timor-Leste —
have conducted training activities for peacekeeping personnel on preventing and
responding to violence against women.50
Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA)
DESA supports two key offices that coordinate or analyze violence against
women activities at the United Nations.51 First, the Division for the Advancement
of Women (DAW) supports and services agenda items and discussions for U.N.
intergovernmental bodies that promote gender equality, including the General
Assembly, ECOSOC, and the Commission on the Status of Women. DAW also
conducts research and compiles reports for the Secretary-General on violence against
women. In 2006, for example, DAW prepared the Secretary-General’s In-Depth
Study on All Forms of Violence Against Women.52 It also conducts follow-up
workshops and activities related to the study.
The Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and the Advancement of
Women (OSAGI), which was established in March 1997, supports the U.N. Special
Adviser on Gender Issues.53 The Office promotes interagency collaboration to
eliminate VAW and develops new strategies, programs, and policies to address
gender equality in the U.N. system. It also coordinates and implements the outcomes
and the follow-up to the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action, and U.N.
Security Council 1325 Resolution on Women, Peace, and Security, both of which
address violence against women.
U.N. Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM)
UNIFEM is one of the leading U.N. entities that addresses violence against
women. It administers the U.N. Trust Fund in Support of Actions to Eliminate
Violence Against Women, and works to raise awareness of VAW in local and
50 For more information on DPKO efforts to address sexual exploitation and abuse, see
[http://www.un.org/depts/dpko/CDT/about.html]. For further discussion of U.N.
peacekeeping and allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation and the U.N. response, see
CRS Report RL33700, United Nations Peacekeeping: Issues for Congress, by Marjorie Ann
51 In addition, the DESA U.N. Statistics Division collects, processes, and disseminates
statistical information on women’s issues, including violence against women. It works to
standardize statistical methods, definitions, and classifications, publishing The World’s
Women: Progress in Statistics every five years.
52 U.N. document, A/61/122/Add.1, July 6, 2006.
53 Ms. Rachel Mayanja, appointed in 1994, is the current Special Advisor to the Secretary-
General on Gender Issues. See [http://www.un.org/womenwatch/osagi/homethepost.htm].
national governments — particularly among law enforcement, parliamentarians,
government ministries, and the judiciary. UNIFEM also aims to strengthen anti-
VAW legislation and policies related to domestic violence, trafficking, and forced
marriage, and assists governments and organizations in implementing such efforts.
Other recent areas of focus include sexual and gender-based violence in conflict and
post-conflict settings in sub-Saharan Africa — including the Democratic Republic
of the Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda — and trafficking in women in Southeast Asia.54
UNIFEM also supports the data collection and research on international violence
U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for
Human Rights (OHCHR)
OHCHR, which works to promote and protect human rights established under
the U.N. Charter and international human rights instruments, supports research and55
operational activities that address violence against women. OHCHR commissions
research and analyze access to justice for victims of sexual violence, with a focus on
the prosecution of rape under international humanitarian and human rights law.
OHCHR field operations work to reduce or eliminate VAW at the national and
regional level, providing technical assistance in law reform and government
monitoring, and organizing training activities for governments and members of civil
OHCHR also supports U.N. Human Rights Council country and thematic
rapporteurs who address types and circumstances of violence against women and
girls. This includes the position of Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women,
its Causes and Consequences, which was established in 1994 by a U.N. Economic56
and Social Council (ECOSOC) resolution. According to the resolution, the Special
Rapporteur shall “seek and receive information on violence against women, its
causes and consequences from Governments, treaty bodies, specialized agencies,
other special rapporteurs responsible for various human rights questions and
intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations and to respond effectively
to such information.”57 The Rapporteur shall also “recommend measures, ways and
means ... to eliminate violence against women and its causes, and to remedy its
consequences.” Other rapporteurs who address VAW include the Special
54 For more information on UNIFEM activities to address violence against women, see
[http://www.unifem.org/ ge nder_issues/violence_against_women/].
55 For further information on OHCHR efforts to address VAW, see [http://www.ohchr.org/
EN/NewsEvents/Pages/Viol enceAga instWomen.aspx].
56 The current Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women is Dr. Yakin Ertürk of
Turkey. Her most recent report, Indicators on Violence against Women and State Response,
was issued on January 29, 2008 (U.N. document A/HRC/7/6) and is available at
[http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/7session/A-HRC-7-6.doc]. For more
information on the work of the Special Rapporteur, see [http://www2.ohchr.org/english/
57 U.N. ECOSOC decision 1994/254, July 22, 1994.
Rapporteurs on Trafficking in Persons; the Sale of Children; and Extrajudicial,
Summary or Arbitrary Executions.58
World Health Organization (WHO)
The WHO addresses VAW through various activities, including policy
formulation, program guidance, advocacy, and research. Specifically, it has
developed a series of VAW norms and guidelines and conducted studies on VAW
prevalence.59 It also leads a research initiative to develop a network of researchers,
policymakers, and activists to ensure VAW is addressed from a variety of
disciplines.60 Moreover, WHO develops training programs and provides technical
support on sexual violence for healthcare providers in conflict areas, and works with
partners to develop a framework for integrating HIV prevention activities into
intimate partner and sexual violence programs. WHO also works to raise public
awareness of VAW, particularly in the context of HIV/AIDS. Such activities include
VAW sensitization programs for civil servants, journalists, healthcare providers, and
U.N. Development Program (UNDP)
UNDP addresses VAW through programs and activities that involve trafficking,
HIV/AIDS, and disaster, conflict, and post-conflict situations. It works with
governments to develop national strategies to protect victims of intimate partner
violence, and aims to incorporate gender perspectives into crises prevention and
recovery in conflict situations. UNDP also promotes VAW awareness through
national and local campaigns, including the “16 Days of Activism Against Gender-
Based Violence” campaign and the International Day for the Elimination of Violence
Against Women. In addition, UNDP works on a national level to disseminate
knowledge and awareness of VAW through radio, television, and posters. In
addition, it supports a website, GenderNet, which facilitates discussions on gender
and violence against women.61
58 The Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Execution addresses
honor killings, when women are killed to preserve the family honor; and femicide, when
infants are killed because of their gender.
59 Norms and guidelines include Ethical and Safety Recommendations for Interviewing
Trafficked Women; Preventing Child Maltreatment: A Guide to Taking Action and
Generating Evidence; and Preventing Injuries and Violence: A Guide for Ministries of
60 The Sexual Violence Research Initiative is a WHO/Global Forum for Health Service
program. It has developed a research agenda and studied women’s responses to sexual
violence. For more information, see [http://www.svri.org/].
61 Further information on UNDP women’s programs is available at [http://www.undp.org/
women/]. For more information on GenderNet, see [http://www.gendernet.at/opencms/
U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
UNICEF works to protect children’s rights, provide for their basic needs, and
expand their opportunities.62 The majority of UNICEF’s violence against girls
programs focus on capacity building, with an emphasis on awareness-raising and
research. On a global level, for example, UNICEF has developed policies to protect
women and girls from sexual abuse by U.N. staff and other aid workers. On a
country level, it addresses different manifestations of VAW, which vary depending
by country or region. National UNICEF programs address female genital cutting,
early marriage, trafficking, domestic violence, school-related violence, and violence
in armed conflict. UNICEF also assists governments in drafting anti-VAW
legislation, and works to raise VAW awareness among teachers, police, and the
U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)63
UNHCR’s mandate is to provide protection to refugees and other populations
of concern. Since 2003, it has promoted and encouraged prevention and treatment
guidelines in field operations to address the prevalence of sexual and gender-based64
violence. In March 2008, UNHCR published the UNHCR Handbook on the
Protection of Displaced Women and Girls, to distribute to UNHCR staff and
partners. In addition, UNHCR (along with nine other U.N. agencies) recently signed
an interagency statement to address female genital mutilation.65
UNHCR has also sponsored regional and country-level training programs on
VAW prevention and response for its staff and implementing partners. Standard
operating procedures on the prevention and response to VAW were expected to be
in place in all field operations by December 2007. In addition, to further establish
an organizational strategy on this issue, UNHCR has set up an independent
evaluation of its efforts towards prevention of and response to gender-based violence,
which began at the end of 2007.
62 For more information on UNICEF and its anti-VAW programs, see
63 This section was written by Rhoda Margesson, CRS Specialist in International
64 The UNHCR guidelines are complemented by the 2005 IASC guidelines on responding
to sexual and gender-based violence. IASC guidelines focus on the emergency phase and
while UNHCR guidelines focus more broadly on the displacement cycle.
65 Other U.N. agencies that signed the interagency statement include OHCHR, UNAIDS,
UNDP, U.N. Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), U.N. Educational, Scientific, and
Cultural Organization (UNESCO), UNFPA, UNICEF, UNIFEM and WHO. More
information is available at [http://www.unifem.org/resources/item_detail.php?ProductID
U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian
UNOCHA coordinates humanitarian response, policy development, and
humanitarian advocacy among U.N. agencies and national and international actors.
It serves as the co-chair of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee’s Task Force on
Gender and Humanitarian Assistance, providing support for the development and
implementation of Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) guidelines for gender-
based violence interventions in humanitarian settings. UNOCHA also implements
a confidential complaints mechanism on gender-based violence, and works to raise
public awareness of the issue. The organization’s Integrated Regional Information
Network (IRIN), for example, has produced several publications and videos on VAW
in conflict and female genital cutting.67
U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA)
UNFPA aims to help countries improve reproductive health and expand access
to family planning services.68 It addresses VAW through a combination of research-
based and operational activities. On a global level, for example, UNFPA has
undertaken studies on the socio-cultural context of VAW, and hosts workshops and
meetings on sexual violence. It develops guidelines and tools to combat VAW, and
supports sensitivity training for medical professionals.69 On a national level, UNFPA
works with governments to develop national strategies to address VAW prevention
and protection, and provides counseling to girls who experience FGC or forced
marriage. UNFPA also supports basic services to VAW victims, including legal and
counseling services and access to shelter.70
U.N. Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC)
UNODC is the guardian of the U.N. Trafficking Protocol. Its Global Program
Against Trafficking in Human Beings, for example, assists member states to
implement the Trafficking Protocol and prevent human trafficking. There are more
than 30 UNODC technical cooperation trafficking projects underway. In February
2006, UNODC, the United States, and India launched a U.S. government-funded
anti-trafficking initiative. The project provides training and awareness for law
enforcement officers and strengthens their capacity to investigate and prosecute
66 This section was written by Rhoda Margesson, Specialist in International Humanitarian
67 For more information on OCHA activities related to VAW, see [http://ochaonline.un.org/
68 More information on UNFPA anti-VAW activities is available at [http://www.unfpa.org/
gender/vi olence/htm] .
69 These programs have been tested in several countries, including Cape Verde, Ecuador,
Lebanon, Lithuania, Russia, and Sri Lanka.
70 For more information on UNFPA, see CRS Report RL32703, The U.N. Population Fund:
Background and the U.S. Funding Debate, by Luisa Blanchfield.
traffickers. UNODC also develops tools, handbooks, and manuals addressing the
needs of women and children to support national legal and criminal justice reform
efforts. It is currently working with law enforcement officials to create a guide on
effective responses to violence against women.71
International Labor Organization (ILO)
The ILO promotes internationally recognized human and labor rights. It
supports a number of programs that combat trafficking and forced and bonded labor,
many of which include gender-specific components. Through the International
Program to Eliminate Child Labor (IPEC) for instance, ILO works with participating
governments to (1) prevent children from becoming child laborers; (2) remove
children from hazardous work, including exploitative work like forced prostitution;
and (3) offer children and their families education, income and employment
opportunities.72 The ILO Conditions of Work and Employment Program researches
violence in the workplace, including violence against women. The ILO Labor
Standards Department also conducts research on violence against migrant workers,
particularly women, as well as violence against indigenous and tribal women
Joint U.N. Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS)
UNAIDS works with international partners to identify and address the possible
links between HIV/AIDS and violence against women. It promotes education and
awareness of HIV within international peacekeeping operations, and national
uniformed services through training and distribution of peer education kits, which
include sections on gender issues and sexual violence. UNAIDS has also worked in
Southern and Eastern Africa to determine how to improve health services for women
who have experienced violence. Furthermore, it supports regional task forces on
VAW in emergency settings, collaborates with WHO to improve clinic services on
sexual violence, and works with experts to develop cost estimates for integrating
VAW awareness, prevention, and treatment into AIDS programs. In addition, the
UNAIDS Global Coalition on Women and AIDS raises public awareness of73
HIV/AIDS and VAW linkages.
71 For more information on UNODC activities related to human trafficking, see
[http://www.unodc.org/ unodc/en/human-t rafficking/index.html ].
72 The United States provided $13.9 million to IPEC in FY2007, and an estimated $35.5
million in FY2008.
73 For more information on this initiative, see [http://womenandaids.unaids.org/about.html].