7 December 2021 - During the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence, judges from across the world came together at an International Forum on “Gender Perspectives in the Judiciary in the Era of COVID-19 and Measures to Prevent Violence”, organized by UNODC together with the Association of Women Judges and the Council of the Magistracy of Argentina.
In his opening remarks, the Permanent Representative of Argentina to the United Nations (Vienna), Gustavo Eduardo Ainchil underlined his country’s commitment to promoting gender-responsive judicial approaches and ending gender-based violence against women, despite the continuing impact of COVID-19.
“For too many women, staying home does not mean staying safe” said Valérie Lebaux, Chief of the Justice Section of UNODC, stressing the serious impact on survivors deriving from the disruption of criminal justice systems due to the pandemic. “Judges and broader judicial systems have a key role to play in ending gender-based violence, encouraging women to come forward and seek justice, and demonstrating that violence is unacceptable and that perpetrators will be held accountable.”
A panel of judges and representatives from the judiciary provided insights into the experiences in adopting a gender perspective in judicial practice and reflected on challenges and promising practices. Speakers included Inés Weinberg de Roca, President of the High Court of Justice of Argentina; Francisco Quintana, Vice-President of the Council of the Magistracy of Argentina; Jakkie Wessels, Regional Court President, South Africa; Maria Domitila Manssur, Judge at the Court of Justice of São Paulo, Brazil; Verónica Guagnino, Gender Chamber Prosecutor, Argentina; and Aditi Choudhary, Additional District and Sessions Judge, Delhi, India.
Data collected by UNODC shows that most female homicide victims are killed by an intimate partner or a family member (58% in 2020) and that the situation has not improved over the past decade, even in places where lethal violence has decreased overall. In 2021, UNODC also published a report with practical recommendations to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on criminal justice responses to gender-based violence against women.
UNODC is supporting the judiciary and broader criminal justice systems in analyzing, preventing and responding to gender-based violence against women. Its global and field-based programmes have supported 44 countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America in the last 10 years.