December 20, 1993

UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women

The Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women was adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 20, 1993 and serves as a complement to CEDAW and the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action. The document recognized the “urgent need for the universal application to women of the rights and principles with regard to equality, security, liberty, integrity and dignity of all human beings” as well as that “violence against women is one of the crucial social mechanisms by which women are forced into a subordinate position compared with men.”  The Declaration defines “violence against women” in Articles 1 and 2 as any act of gender-based violence that is likely to result in “physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women.”  It also requires that States “should condemn violence against women and should not invoke any custom, tradition or religious consideration” that may conflict with the elimination of violence against women. The Declaration initially served as a guideline for the work of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women and for the CEDAW Committee to monitor government compliance with the Women’s Convention.