UN Division for the Advancement of Women - Good practices in legislation on 'harmful practices' against women (2009)

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This report on Good practices in legislation on 'harmful practices' against women was written by a result of the expert group meeting organised by the United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.

Although there are variations, most national legislative responses to “harmful cultural or traditional practices” have centred on the criminalization of these forms of violence against women. This paper illustrates progress made, and highlights the fact that global legal responses remain inadequate.

In recent years, states have adopted laws which go beyond criminalization to incorporate prevention as well as support and assistance for victims/survivors. However, more still needs to be done to ensure responses are consistent, comprehensive and effective.

The recommendations contained in this report address either all forms of “harmful practices” or, where specifically stated, one particular “harmful practice”. Each recommendation is followed by a commentary explaining the recommendation and providing examples of promising practices.