U.N.: Bangladesh must improve protection for women from violence

May 30, 2013 at 3:42 PM
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DHAKA, Bangladesh, May 30 (UPI) -- A U.N. independent expert called on Bangladesh Thursday to address the lack of protection for women from violence.

"The absence of effective implementation of existing laws, the lack of responsive justice systems, and impunity for acts of violence, was the rule rather than the exception in cases of violence against women," Rashida Manjoo, the special rapporteur on violence against women, said in a release.

Manjoo said the Bangladeshi government must ensure laws and other measures protecting women from violence are implemented, stressing that attitudes must change regarding women's role in society.

"[Attitudes] and behavior have the effect of perpetuating discrimination against women and girls," Manjoo said, "and contribute to the continuation of violence against them."

The most pervasive form of violence against women in Bangladesh is domestic violence, she said. Other manifestations include rape; discrimination based on ethnicity, religion and caste status; sexual harassment; forced marriages and trafficking.

Manjoo praised steps taken by the government concerning legislative, policy and programmatic measures to address the needs of women, and violence against women specifically. However, she said more could be done.

Independent experts, or special rapporteurs, are appointed by the Human Rights Council, based in Geneva, Switzerland, to examine and report back on a country's situation or a specific human rights theme, the United Nations said. The positions are honorary and the experts are not U.N. staff, nor are they paid for their work.

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