Freedom from Violence and the Law: A Global Perspective


de Silva de Alwis, Rangita, and Jeni Klugman. “Freedom from Violence and the Law: A Global Perspective”. (2015). Web. Copy at


As UN Women has powerfully argued, concrete actions to eliminate the debilitating fear of violence must be a centerpiece of any future global development framework. The main objective of this paper is to review constitutional and legislative developments around gender-based violence, and how a human rights framework can support this critical element of the post 2015 global development agenda. We find that there has been major progress in establishing the right of women to live free of violence in both international and national law, and progress on both fronts has been especially rapid over the past decade or so. Today, national legislation in much of the world is consistent in not only prohibiting and criminalizing violence but also providing mechanisms to support victims and their families in a range of ways. The evolving jurisprudence on due diligence is a promising basis for holding governments accountable for gender-based violence in the context of the post-2015 framework. At the same time we recognize that the implementation of the laws on paper is often weak, and violence too often goes unreported. Moreover, information about the effectiveness of legislation and their implementation is scarce, and better efforts are needed in terms of both regular monitoring and evaluation. The important role of women’s groups and civil society is highlighted, both in terms of bringing about reform and monitoring implementation.

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Last updated on 02/12/2015