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State Responsibility to act with Due Diligence in the Elimination of Violence against Women

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image of International Human Rights Law Review

The mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women has for nearly two decades observed and paid attention to the responsibility of the State in general and to the principle of due diligence in particular. The due diligence standard serves as a tool for rights holders to hold States accountable, by providing an assessment framework for ascertaining what constitutes effective fulfilment of a State’s obligations, and for analysing its actions or omissions. While laws, policies and resources are crucial to address violence against women and girls, efforts must include actions to combat the structural and systemic challenges which are a cause and consequence of such violence. This requires recognising that State responsibility to act with due diligence is both a systemic-level responsibility, i.e. the responsibility of States to create good and effective systems and structures that address the root causes and consequences of violence against women; and also an individual-level responsibility, i.e., the responsibility of States to provide each victim with effective measures of prevention, protection, punishment and reparation.

Affiliations: 1: Professor, Department of Public Law, University of Cape Town UN Special Rapporteur on violence against Women, its Causes and Consequences,


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