Briefing 4.1 - Making the case: human rights, economic development and business arguments for eliminating gender-based violence in global supply chains

2. Gender -based violence is a violation of human rights

Gender-based violence violates fundamental human rights and is a major barrier to achieving gender equality. The UN regards violence against women as one of the most significant violations of women’s rights across the world.

Human rights were enshrined in the 1948 UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and since then a range of international conventions cover gender-based violence. This includes the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), CEDAW General Recommendations 12 and 19, and the 1993 UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women. In 1995 the UN World Conference on Women in Beijing declared that ‘violence against women is an obstacle to the achievement of the objectives of equality, development and peace. Violence against women both violates and impairs or nullifies the enjoyment by women of their human rights and fundamental freedoms’.

Women are entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of their human rights free from discrimination, and all workers, regardless of immigration status, have the right to protection and redress from sexual harassment and other workplace abuses. Crucial to addressing these issues in the workplace are a range of international labour standards that are relevant to preventing and eliminating gender-based violence at work.

Watch the video from UN Women on International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls (2015).

See also the infographic from UN Women on women’s human rights: