The role of local governments in addressing femicides: Contribution to a UN Report on the Femicide Watch initiative

The UCLG Committee on Social Inclusion, Participatory Democracy and Human Rights took part in the call for contributions issued by UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, Dubravka Šimonović, on the prevention of femicides across the world. The UCLG-CSIPDHR contribution, which is fully accessible here, showcases the increasing role of local governments in addressing violence against women and preventing femicide through awareness-raising practices, as well as care, protection and monitoring mechanisms.

Several practices included in the contribution show how local governments are decidedly implementing femicide observatories in their own territories, mostly tasked with monitoring the situation while coordinating the work of national and local stakeholders on the ground. Developing proximity-based care and protection mechanisms for women victims of violence represents a key effort led by an increasing number of local governments these last years.

The implementation of these measures, adopted in parallel to the promotion of awareness-raising campaigns and empowerment programs, has played a crucial role in preventing femicides and other forms of violence against women. Most of these measures have expanded or adapted in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has exposed women at risk to major vulnerability. The role of digital technologies and solidarity networks at a territorial level has been key in this context, strengthening the effectiveness of coordination initiatives and protocols implemented by local authorities.

[ Read the UCLG-CSIPDHR contribution here ]

As the wealth of experiences in the UCLG-CSIPDHR contribution showcases, preventing and addressing violence against women is a key priority for many members. Indeed, this is a key issue for effectively protecting and promoting the human rights of all city residents and their full right to the city, understood as a space free of any violence or barriers to personal and collective opportunity for emancipation. The UCLG-CSIPDHR will continue to provide a platform for local governments’ exchange on these issues from a human rights perspective.

On the Call for Contributions and the Femicide Watch initiative

This call for contributions by UN Special Rapporteur Šimonović aims at taking stock of the Femicide Watch initiative. Launched in 2015, this initiative focuses on femicide prevention through the collection of comparable data on femicide rates at national, regional and global levels.

More specifically, this initiative seeks to stress the key role of data on femicide cases, including the need to analyze this data by national multidisciplinary bodies as well as from a human rights perspective. This can help identify shortcomings within national laws and policies, including their lack of implementation, and to undertake preventive measures.

More information about this initiative can be found here.