Gender-based violence against women is the most systematic and widespread human rights violation worldwide and often constitutes a form of torture.
Despite progress made in the advancement of women’s rights in the last three decades, gender-based violence against women remains devastatingly pervasive as one in three women globally experience violence in their lifetime. For this reason, the OMCT together with the Philippine Alliance for Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) established the Working Group on Women and Torture with prominent women’s rights defenders from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Mongolia, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Philippines, and Sri Lanka.
Reported rapes more than doubled in Bangladesh during the pandemic
They went from 732 cases in 2018 to 1627 in 2020. But the actual number of rapes is much higher than that.
In May 2022, the Group launched a report with an online symposium with the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women and girls, its causes and consequences, experts from India and Pakistan as well as a women rights defender and survivor from Afghanistan. The report entitled Women break the silence – Gender-based Torture in Asia highlights gender-based torture such as violence in detention, domestic violence, trafficking, reproductive violence, female-genital mutilation, violence at the workplace, sexual violence and other forms of women rights violations. It promotes the use of the anti-torture framework to bring real change through an effective new tool.
In Cambodia, sexual violence is still a taboo subject
1 woman out of 3 is sexually harassed in the country.
Women in detention
Over the past decade, the number of women in prison has grown rapidly, up 50% in Asia, 19% in Central and South America, and 24% in Africa. Women in detention are particularly vulnerable, especially to sexual violence. In the context of our Covid-19 and Detention project, partners in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan monitored women’s detention centres and provided them with legal aid. As a result, a total of 2,400 women were regularly visited by the Union of Crisis Centre in Kazakhstan and more than 150 women detained in Tajikistan benefitted from better medical care provided by the Human Rights Centre Tajikistan.
What does it mean to be a woman in Afghanistan in 2022?
Restrictive dress code, constant male supervision and corporal punishments, Afghan women’s world has shrunk since the Taliban took power.
"My daughter was very happy, very committed and very angry at the lack of justice."
On average, 11 women are murdered every day in Mexico, where impunity for femicides remains above 90%. This means that most perpetrators go unpunished, like in the case of Maria Del Sol Cruz Jarquin who was killed in 2018. The OMCT supported Maria’s mother, Soledad Jarquín Edgar, a journalist and and human rights activist, to submit an individual case to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, demanding for Mexico to be held accountable for its failure to respond to her daughter’s femicide and to obtain justice and redress. A strong decision in favor of Soledad could impact thousands of women.