GENEVA – On 17 September 2013, WFUNA, in collaboration with the Small Arms Survey and the United Nations Association of Spain, organized a Side Event to the 24th Session of the Human Rights Council on the topic of “Femicide and Human Rights.” The event consisted of a panel discussion among four distinguished speakers and was moderated by WFUNA’s Director of Programs, Irene Martinetti.
After a short introduction by Ms. Martinetti, Anna Alvazzi del Frate, Research Director at the Small Arms Survey, opened the debate by giving a brief outline of her organization’s work and presenting figures on the demographics of femicide around the world. Mrs. Del Frate sensitized the audience on the problem that her organization faces when trying to gather correct and full statistics on the numbers of victims. In many countries, traditional law systems do not report on “lawful killings,” such as honor killings, which are not reflected in national crime statistics. This is why one can assume that the actual number of femicides is much higher than measurements show.
She was followed by Veronica Birga, who spoke to the audience from an international perspective as the Human Rights Officer at the Women’s Rights Development Division of the OHCHR. Her division focuses its work on femicide, especially on promoting accountability and addressing impunity of perpetrators by offering technical assistance to national legal authorities. These efforts also include the training of local judges on international standards of women’s rights.
Marta Vilardell Coma, Special Ambassador for Humanitarian and Social Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Spain, addressed the issue of femicide from a Spanish perspective and outlined the approach of the Spanish government to prevent and tackle the increasing number of femicides in Spain and abroad.
The panel concluded with Emilo Gines, President of the Spanish Federation of Human Rights. In line with the previous speakers, Mr. Gines again stressed the problem of impunity of perpetrators due to justice systems ill-equipped to deal with femicide. The floor was then given to the audience for questions.
The Side Event was organized in the framework of WFUNA’s Civil Society in Action Program. Participants to the program got a first-hand experience of how to effectively engage with the Human Rights Council through the facilitation of a Side Event.
Find more pictures of the event here.