EHRAC case nominated for Gender Justice Uncovered Award
The decision in our first domestic violence case before the UN Committee charged with monitoring women’s rights has been nominated for a Gender Justice Uncovered Award by Women’s Link Worldwide, in light of its potential impact on addressing gender inequality. The decision breaks new ground by calling on Georgia not only to compensate the victims, but also to instigate widespread reforms aimed at ensuring a zero-tolerance policy towards violence against women. The case was litigated jointly by the European Human Rights Advocacy Centre (EHRAC), based at Middlesex University, and Article 42 (an NGO in Tbilisi).
Domestic violence is a deeply entrenched societal issue in Georgia, and more widely in the South Caucasus region. The case, X and Y v Georgia, was the first ever complaint against Georgia to be decided by an international human rights body, and concerned prolonged physical and sexual violence against a mother and her daughter. Georgia was found responsible for violating their rights because the police and prosecutors had repeatedly refused over a number of years to follow up on the victims’ reports that their husband and father was subjecting them to physical and sexual violence. This situation is not uncommon: when women report domestic violence to the police, often little or no action is taken until it is too late. Following protests by women’s rights activists and NGOs in response to several high profile murders of women by their partners in recent years, the Georgian Government has promised to prioritise tackling domestic violence and has, for example, introduced a law specifically designed to counter domestic violence. As well as calling on Georgia to strengthen the existing legal framework and its application, the CEDAW Committee also exhorts the State to ensure the provision of adequate services for victims and to intensity awareness raising campaigns on violence against women.
The Gender Justice Uncovered Awards highlight decisions or statements made in the context of a legal process by judges, members of human rights committees, asylum offices, prosecutors, or ombudspersons which have a positive or negative impact on gender equality, including those related to sexual and reproductive rights, gender-based violence, and gender discrimination. A special award is also given to the decisions that gain the most votes from the public. The voting period begins on 2 May and continues until 31 May. To vote: visit the Women’s Link Worldwide website. On the right, you will find a code. Submit this code and click on the “Vote” button.
 The UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW Committee)