Landmark Documents
In this reading list, you can find landmark documents such as UNGA resolutions or ground-breaking guidelines such as the Latin American Model Protocol.


1. 2019 Study on Global Homicide: Gender-related killings of women and girls | UNODC

Monday, July 8, 2019 — Official Data, Facts, Statistics

This landmark study, first released for the 2018 International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, examines available homicide data to analyse the gender-related killing of women and girls, with a specific focus on intimate partner and family-related homicide and how this relates to the status and roles of women in society and the domestic sphere.

The study was re-published in Summer 2019 as booklet #5 of a series of 6 booklets constituting the 2019 Global Study on Homicide.

Andrada Filip, Angela Me

Data basis (page 7)

The data presented in this booklet are based on homicide statistics produced by national statistical systems in which the relationship between the victim and perpetrator and/or the motive are reported. While the disaggregation of homicide data at the country level has improved over the years, regional and global estimates are based on a limited number of countries, with Africa and Asia accounting for most of the gaps.

Key findings and figures (pages 10 and 11)

  1. Killings by intimate partners or family members 2017: A total of 87,000 women were intentionally killed in 2017. More than half of them (58 per cent)  ̶  50,000  ̶  were killed by intimate partners or family members. This means that 137 women across the world are killed by a member of their own family every day. This amounts to some six women being killed every hour by people they know.
  2. Killings by intimate partners 2017: by More than a third (30,000) of the women intentionally killed in 2017 were killed by their current or former intimate partner  ̶  someone they would normally expect to trust.
  3. Comparison with 2012: Based on revised data, the estimated number of women killed by intimate partners or family members in 2012 was 48,000 (47 per cent of all female homicide victims). The annual number of female deaths worldwide resulting from intimate partner/family-related homicide therefore seems be on the increase.
  4. Killings by region: The largest number (20,000) of all women killed worldwide by intimate partners or family members in 2017 was in Asia, followed by Africa (19,000), the Americas (8,000) Europe (3,000) and Oceania (300). However, with an intimate partner/family-related homicide rate of 3.1 per 100,000 female population, Africa is the region where women run the greatest risk of being killed by their intimate partner or family members, while Europe (0.7 per 100,000 population) is the region where the risk is lowest. The intimate partner/family-related homicide rate was also high in the Americas in 2017, at 1.6 per 100,000 female population, as well as Oceania, at 1.3, and Asia, at 0.9.
  5. Shares of female vs. male victimes: The disparity between the shares of male and female victims of homicide perpetrated exclusively by an intimate partner is substantially larger than of victims of homicide perpetrated by intimate partners or family members: roughly 82 per cent female victims versus 18 percent male victims.

2. UNGA Resolution 68/191 (2014) on Taking Action against Gender-related Killing of Women and Girls

Tuesday, February 11, 2014 — Policies, Guidelines, Jurisprudence

In this landmark resolution member states were invited to provide UNODC with information related to best practices and other relevant information related to the investigation and prosecution of gender-related killing of women and girls.


3. Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action

Friday, September 15, 1995 — Policies, Guidelines, Jurisprudence

The Platform for Action imagines a world where each woman and girl can exercise her freedoms and choices, and realize all her rights, such as to live free from violence, to go to school, to participate in decisions and to earn equal pay for equal work.


4. Follow-up Mechanism to the Belém do Pará Convention (MESECVI) (2004)

Thursday, January 1, 2004 — Policies, Guidelines, Jurisprudence

The Belém do Pará Convention established for the first time the development of mechanisms for the protection and defense of women's rights in the struggle to eliminate violence against their physical, sexual and psychological integrity, in both the public and private spheres. The effective implementation of the Convention requires a continuous and independent evaluation process, which in 2004 led to the creation of the Follow-up Mechanism to the Belém do Pará Convention (MESECVI).


MESECVI is a systematic and permanent multilateral evaluation methodology that is based on exchange and technical cooperation between the States Party to the Convention and a Committee of Experts. MESECVI analyzes progress in the implementation of the Convention by the States Party, as well as persistent challenges to an effective State response to violence against women.


5. UNGA Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women 48/104 (1993)

Monday, December 20, 1993 — Policies, Guidelines, Jurisprudence

This landmark declaration directly addresses, in its Article 4, that States should condemn violence against women and should pursue by all appropriate means and without delay a policy of eliminating such violence.


6. Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women "Convention of Bélem do Pará" (1994)

Saturday, January 1, 1994 — Policies, Guidelines, Jurisprudence

The landmark Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment, and Eradication of Violence against Women (known as the Convention of Belém do Pará) calls for the first time for the establishment of mechanisms for protecting and defending women's rights as essential to combating the phenomenon of violence against women's physical, sexual, and psychological integrity, whether in the public or the private sphere, and for asserting those rights within society.


7. Latin American Model Protocol for the Investigation of Gender-related Killings of Women (femicide/feminicide) (2015)

Thursday, January 1, 2015 — Policies, Guidelines, Jurisprudence

This landmark protocol is a practical tool, designed to be applied by the people responsible for carrying out the investigation and prosecution of these acts. It was developed by the Regional Office for Central America of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) with the support of the Americas and the Caribbean Regional Office of UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), in the framework of the UN Secretary General’s Campaign UNiTE to End Violence against Women.



8. Istanbul Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (2011) | Council of Europe

Saturday, January 1, 2011 — Policies, Guidelines, Jurisprudence

The Istanbul Convention is the major European convention that includes a framework to prevent femicide.


"The Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence is based on the understanding that violence against women is a form of gender-based violence that is committed against women because they are women. It is the obligation of the state to address it fully in all its forms and to take measures to prevent violence against women, protect its victims and prosecute the perpetrators. Failure to do so would make it the responsibility of the state. The convention leaves no doubt: there can be no real equality between women and men if women experience gender-based violence on a large-scale and state agencies and institutions turn a blind eye. Because it is not only women and girls who suffer domestic violence, parties to the convention are encouraged to apply the protective framework it creates to men who are exposed to violence within the family or domestic unit. Nevertheless, it should not be overlooked that the majority of victims of domestic violence are women and that domestic violence against them is part of a wider pattern of discrimination and inequality. Treaty open for signature by the member States, the non-member States which have participated in its elaboration and by the European Union, and for accession by other non-member States..."


9. Vienna Declaration on Femicide 2012 | ACUNS Vienna

Sunday, January 1, 2012 — Policies, Guidelines, Jurisprudence

Groundbreaking declaration by the participants of the 2012 Vienna Symposium on Femicide, as published in the ACUNS Femicide Vol. 1.


"We, the participants of the Vienna Symposium on Femicide, held on 26 November 2012 at the United Nations Office at Vienna,

Alarmed by the fact that femicide is increasing all over the world and often remains unpunished, which not only intensifies the subordination and powerlessness of women and girls, but also sends the negative message to society that violence against females may be both acceptable and inevitable,

Recognizing that femicide is the killing of women and girls because of their gender, which can take the form of, inter alia: 1) the murder of women as a result of domestic violence/intimate partner violence; 2) the torture and misogynist slaying of women 3) killing of women and girls in the name of “ honour”; 4) targeted killing of women and girls in the context of armed conflict; 5) dowry-related killings of women and girls; 6) killing of women and girls because of their sexual orientation and gender identity; 7) the killing of aboriginal and indigenous women and girls because of their gender; 8) female infanticide and gender-based sex selection foeticide; 9) genital mutilation related femicide; 10) accusations of witchcraft and 11) other femicides connected with gangs, organized crime, drug dealers, human trafficking, and the proliferation of small arms,

Emphasizing that traditions and culture cannot be used as justifications for the violation of women’s human rights, in particular the right to life and the right to be free from violence,

Recognizing that femicide requires efforts on all levels of society to achieve its eradication,

Reaffirming the commitment to work together towards putting an end to femicide, in full compliance with national and international legal instruments, Recalling the Human Rights Council’s Resolution on Accelerating Efforts to Eliminate all Forms of Violence against Women: Remedies for Women Who Have Been Subjected to Violence (A/HRC/20/L.10), which welcomed the recent report of the Special Rapporteur on gender-related killings, and invited Member States to submit relevant information and remedies, Taking note of the General Assembly’s Model Strategies and Practical Measures on the Elimination of Violence Against Women in the Field of Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (A/RES/65/228, Annex), and the research presented on the killing of women by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (Global Study on Homicide 2011),

1. Urge Member States, in respect of their due diligence obligation to protect women as well as to prevent and prosecute femicide, to undertake institutional initiatives to improve the prevention of femicide and the provision of legal protection, remedies and reparation to women survivors of violence against women, in accordance with international treaties and to consider adopting and implementing legislation to investigate, prosecute, punish and redress femicide in line with the effective experience of some countries;

2. Call upon Member States to design, implement and evaluate comprehensive strategies and programmes aimed at removing obstacles that prevent women and girls from enjoying their full rights, including public education programmes and interventions aimed at empowering women and girls as well as sensitizing men and boys, in order to change the mindset of societies, as well as to conduct research on the role of gender-related causes (or motives) of femicide, including misogyny, to inform the above-mentioned strategies and programmes;

3. Urge Member States to support the introduction of a goal on ending violence against women in the post-2015 development agenda with a specific target of reducing by half the number of femicides by 2025;

4. Invite the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women (UN Women), the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, UNICEF, the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Population Fund and other relevant United Nations agencies and programmes to assist and support Member States in developing and adapting measures and strategies to prevent and respond to femicide as a grave and unacceptable violation of women’s and girls' most basic human right to life;

5. Encourage the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, UN Women, UNICEF, and other relevant United Nations entities, the institutes of the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme Network, and research institutions to conduct relevant research on femicide, including in particular data collection, analysis, evaluation of programs set up to combat femicide, and the role of policies to facilitate efforts to eradicate femicide;

6. Recognize the indispensable work of civil society organizations in fighting femicide worldwide and encourage Member States and donors to support and finance their efforts;

7. Invite the UNODC to identify relevant civil society organizations and facilitate Member States’ cooperation with civil society organizations in order to create synergies and make use of all available resources to design implement, and evaluate programs to end femicide;

8. Encourage collaboration between the Human Rights Council, UNICEF, the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, the Commission on the Status of Women and the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women as well as regional human rights mechanisms;

9. Call for the creation of a platform where lawyers, prosecutors, judges, law enforcement officials, academics, feminists, non-governmental organizations, United Nations agencies, governmental and inter-governmental institutions, and other relevant actors could share their expertise and good practices, in order to transfer knowledge across regions."


The Vienna Declaration on Femicide can also be signed online: