Domestic violence a form of “arbitrary execution”, says UN rights expert

Governments must do more to tackle the hugely disproportionate rates of violence suffered by women, including recognising attacks on them as human rights violations and domestic murders as a form of arbitrary execution, a United Nations expert has said.

“Violations of the right to life have usually been understood to be killings involving State officials,” said Agnes Callamard, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, in her first report to the Human Rights Council.

“It is time to recognise that gender-related killings, such as domestic and intimate partner violence, ‘honour killings’, or killings of LGBTQI persons, can also amount to arbitrary executions.”

Ms. Callamard said there was unmistakable evidence of women’s disproportionate risk of suffering harm and violence. Global statistics show that almost half of female homicide victims are killed by family members or intimate partners, compared with just over five per cent of male victims.

“When added to other factors such as race, ethnicity, religion, class, disability or sexual orientation, gender is central to determining the risk and predictability of harm, including killings,” the Special Rapporteur said.

Her report details extreme rates of violations of the right to life perpetrated against women and girls with disabilities, indigenous women and transgender people amongst others. Read more via OHCHR