Reparations and remedies for violence must be transformative

Published on June 25, 2012

Joint Statement of SRI and COC Netherlands during the panel discussion on women’s human rights

Delivered by Meghan Doherty, ACPD (Canada)

Thank you Madam President

We welcome this panel’s focus on reparations for women subjected to violence and the recognition that, given the disparate and differentiated impact that violence has on women, especially marginalized women, including sexually marginalized women, there is a need for specific measures of redress in order to meet their specific needs and priorities.

Such measures should strive to be transformative and link individual reparation with changes to the legal, social, economic, political and structural context in which women are targeted for violence. This requires broadening the often narrow understanding of harm suffered to include, for example, forced pregnancy, forced sterilization, abduction, forced unions, forced displacement and domestic enslavement. Gross violations of social, economic and cultural rights have also been excluded from understandings of harm, even when they result in the loss of health and life, or when such violations are specifically related to systematic forms of discrimination, including based on sex, sexual orientation or gender expression. Explicit recognition and visibility of various forms of violence and the ensuing harm is required for responsive reparation programmes.

Transformative reparations must also take into account that marginalized women have the least access to judicial or administrative remedies. Multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination serve to disempower, exclude, and stigmatize women, which if not considered in reparation schemes, will only reinforce existing inequalities.

We urge States to approach their obligations related to reparations as an opportunity to change the structures that enable violence against women, especially marginalized women in every country of the world.

Thank you