How bad is violence against women and children in South Africa? UN sends rapporteur to find out

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that over 60,000 women and children are exposed to domestic violence in South Africa and the South African Medical Research Council adds that,
every 8 hours a woman is killed by her partner. Violence against women is a serious problem in South Africa.

As efforts are being taken to stem the ugly tide, the United Nations Special Rapporteur Dubravka Šimonović will visit South Africa from December 4 to 11 to gather first-hand information from victims and survivors of violence in the country, as she also examines the overall situation.

“Violence against women continues to be one of the most pervasive human rights violations globally, affecting every country in the world,” Ms. Šimonović said while announcing her first visit to South Africa as the new expert charged by the UN Human Rights Council with monitoring, reporting and advising on the situation of women and violence across the world.

“When women and girls experience violence, they are denied access to fundamental human rights,” she stressed.

She, therefore, called the attention of States to their primary responsibility of taking effective action to eliminate violence against women.

Šimonović will be in South Africa for eight days during which she will meet with Government authorities, civil society representatives and other stakeholders in Pretoria, Johannesburg, Diepsloot, Cape Town and East London. She will also visit shelters and a detention center, and will meet with individual victims of gender-based violence.

The Special Rapporteur expressed appreciation to the South African Government for the invitation to conduct an official visit to the country. “I look forward to engaging in a constructive dialogue with all relevant authorities to address this scourge that continues to affect women and girls,” she added.

Šimonović will make her initial findings known on Friday, December 11, in a press conference exclusive to journalists. She will later present a report with final findings and recommendations to the Human Rights Council in June 2016.