Domestic violence is one of the many forms of violence against women including rape, sexual violence, female genital mutilation, trafficking, forced marriage etc that constitute a violation of the most fundamental human rights.
Violence against women is perhaps the most shameful human rights violation, and it is perhaps the most pervasive. It knows no boundaries of geography, culture or wealth. As long as it continues, we cannot claim to be making real progress towards equality, development, and peace.
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan
Domestic violence is a violation of Article 5 of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights ie that “no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”.
Over the years, we have witnessed progress regarding women’s human rights. In particular, we have witnessed key actions and milestones, which have sought to address the violation of human rights which is domestic violence. Such progress has largely been due to campaigning efforts of women’s organisations like ourselves, the introduction of legal reforms and the adoption of proactive policies and strategies at government level.
However, despite such progress, the reality remains that women in Northern Ireland and globally, are still not safe from violence in the home. Additionally, women who experience domestic violence still struggle to overcome barriers of discrimination in the areas of legal rights, housing and finance.
We have been active in promoting women’s human rights through lobbying government, raising awareness and working in partnership. We have been instrumental in working groups such as the End Violence Against Women (EVAW) Northern Ireland working group.
We hold strong to our belief that women and children have a right to live their lives free from all forms of violence and abuse. We call on society as a whole to recognise and defend this right. We firmly believe that it is in everyone’s interest to work to create a world, both public and private, that is a safe place for women and children. A world where women can achieve full equality and where the rights of women are no longer marginal but take centre.