Control over sexuality a major cause of gender related killings

Published on June 26, 2012

Joint statement of the SRI and the International Lesbian and Gay Association during the interactive dialogue with Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences

Delivered by Karolina Więckiecz, Federation for Women and Family Planning (Poland)


Madam President,

We welcome the report of the Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women and appreciates Ms Rashida Manjoo’s attention to gender motivated killings as the ultimate act of violence which is experienced in a continuum of violence. We share the Special Rapporteur’s analysis that gender-motivated killings are manifestations of patriarchy, multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination against women and gender-based violence that are accepted, tolerated and justified by states.

The Special Rapporteur highlights that the killings can be direct with defined perpetrators in the home, community or by the State and, critically, gender-motivated killings can also be indirect where the perpetrator is not so easily defined such as in the case of deaths from clandestine abortions, maternal mortality, deaths from harmful traditional practices and deaths from neglect through starvation or ill-treatment. Restrictive abortion laws and criminalization of abortion that lead women to seek illegal abortions coupled with poor access to reproductive health services have been recognized as causes of preventable maternal mortality. In addition, harmful practices that seek to control women’s and girls’ sexuality through violence and stigma are reinforced by the State’s failure to protect women’s and girls’ rights from a holistic perspective which takes into account the political, economic and social context in which this violence occurs.

We also share the consideration of a problem of killings of women based on sexual orientation and gender identity. This constitutes multiple discrimination and is fueled by homophobic statements and positions by states and non-state actors, including their analysis on tradition, culture and religion.

We therefore urge States to take all possible measures to recognize and address the multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination and violence experienced by women and girls; recognize that control over women’s and girls’ sexuality is often a motivating factor in these killings; adopt relevant effective remedies for women subject to gender-based violence and end impunity for these gross violations of human rights.

Thank you Madam President.