“Combating violence against women: Risks and Challenges of Effectiveness”

Concept Note on the participation of the Spring of Dignity Coalition[1]

2nd Global Forum on Human Rights

Marrakech, 27-30 November, 2014

“Combating violence against women: Risks and Challenges of Effectiveness”



I-                    Background and justification:


Unanimously adopted by 189 countries, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action marked an important turning point in the global agenda for gender equality, as they form the main document of world politics in terms of gender equality. Today, 20 years after its adoption, the issue of women's rights is at a crossroads between the protection of what has been achieved as a result of decades of struggles, and the rise across the planet of conservatism and fundamentalism, whichchallenge the universality of women's rights under the cover of cultural specificity and relativism.

 While it is true that the condition of women has significantly improved in some important areas over the past two decades, progress has been uneven; inequalities between men and women persist and major obstacles remain, including the extent of violence against women.


According tothe comprehensive study of all forms of violence against women[2], violence against women is "one of the most serious issues of our time."[3] In fact, worldwide, the data on this phenomenon are alarming: one in two women is a victim of abuse by her partner, and one in five is subject to aggression or threat of sexual assault[4]. This violence, which takes several forms and occurs in all areas of private and public life, constitutes discrimination against women and infringement  of their physical and moral integrity, as well as barriers to the access and the enjoyment of their fundamental human rights.

As no countrycan avoid this reality, combating all forms of violence against women should be at the heart of the concerns and priorities of governments. It is a worldwide political and social issue that requires a global response and a priority area for action at the national level.

In Morocco,the National Survey on the Prevalence of Violence against Women of “the Haut Commissariat au Plan”[5] reveals that 62.8% of women experienced an act of violence in one form or another, during the twelve months preceding the survey. This high prevalence in both private and public spaces is often overlooked because of social acceptance, weak protection of victims, the limits of legal and political provisions and the lack of protection and prevention mechanisms against violence, which helps nourish and strengthen the impunity of the perpetrators.


 Given themagnitude of this phenomenon, its challenges, causes and consequences, the elimination of violence requires from states, international bodies and all stakeholders a comprehensive and systematic response. This includes, among others, policiesand clearly defined laws, strong institutional mechanisms to ensure action, coordination, monitoring, accountability, and collaboration with the civil society actors, including NGOs that defend and fight for the promotion of women's rights.



In thisperspective, especially on the eve of the closing major international meetings on women's rights, the Spring of Dignity Coalition (SDC) volunteers to organize a thematic forum, involving various institutional and non-governmental actors. Through this forum, the SDC aims to highlight the achievements as concerns the fight against gender-based violence, analyze the challenges and eventual opportunities and reflect jointly on the means and mechanisms at the international and national levels aiming at stopping violence against women and ensuring the effectiveness of their rights and their enjoyment of those rights.



Title of the event:“Combating violence against women: Risks and Challenges of Effectiveness”

Overall objective:To deepen the analysis and the joint reflection among the different partners in favor of the eradication of violence against women and the promotion of their rights, and in order to influence future orientations.

Organizational procedure:

This thematicforum is based on debate and discussion and will be carried out in two stages around 2 panels that will address the following issues:


• Panel 1:International Conventions and States’ commitments related to the prevention and the fight against gender-based violence: Conventions and Implementation.

• Panel 2:The Role of NGOs in advocacy actions for combating violence against women.










Opening session

14 :00-14 :15

-       Keynote speech by the Spring of Dignity Coalition representative

-       Keynote speech by UN Women Deputy Executive Director, MsLakshmi Puri

-       Speech by Director General of UNESCO, Ms Irina Bokova


Plenary 1:  International Conventions and States’ commitments related to the prevention and the fight against gender-based violence: Conventions and Implementation.


14 :15 – 15 :15

-       Ms Kalliopi Mingeirouthe EVAW Section Policy Specialist working on VAW legislation and prevention


-       Ms  Hilary Fisher,  Expert consultant,  former board member and editor of the CAHVIO Convention and Ex President of the "Task Force Experts" of the Council of Europe on Violence Against Women


-       Mr Emmanuel Baron,  Cooperation Projects Officer at Council of Europe


-       Ms Yakin Erturk,  former UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women

15 :15-15 :45


15 :45-16 :00

Coffee Break

Plenary 2 : TheRole of NGOs in advocacy actions for combating violence against women



16 :00 – 17 :15

International netwokrs


-       Ms  Soon Yoon Young,  Chairperson of the NGO CSW/NY  (ECOSOC)

-       Ms  Sophie Bessis,  International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)

-       Ms  Alya Cherfi Chammari,  Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (REMDH)


MENA region CSOs and networks


-       Ms  Hafidha Chkeki, Association Tunisienne des Femmes Démocrates (ATFD) – Tunisia

-       Ms  Amal Abdelhadi, New Woman Foundation (NWF) – Egypt

-       Ms  Mokarram Odeh, Jordanian Women Union (JWU) – Jordan

-       Spring of Dignity Coalition representative (CPD) – Morocco


17 :15-17 :45


17 :45-18 :00

Recommendations & Final Declaration


The Spring of Dignity Coalition comprises 25 organizations that fight for the defense and promotion of women’s rights and human rights nationally and regionally, which have accumulated field work, intellectual productions and advocacy since February 2010 for the reform of the Moroccan legal framework; and which considers combating violence against women a high priority.

[2]Report of the Secretary General of the UN (2006)

[5]High Commissioner for Planning, National Survey on the Prevalence of Violence Against women in Morocco( 2009)