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UN OFFICIAL CALLS FOR GREATER ATTENTION TO JUSTICE FOR WOMEN

By UN
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7 December - Access to justice for women is often not given enough attention in both national and international judicial systems, a United Nations official said today, adding that the newly-created UN entity for women will play an important role in promoting justice for women especially in post-conflict situations.

“Justice for women is still an afterthought,” said Anne Marie Goetz, the Chief Advisor on Governance, Peace and Security of the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) at a news conference at UN headquarters to highlight a report by the Women's Initiatives for Gender Justice, an international non-governmental organisation, on gender issues at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

“UN Women [UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women] looking forward will be an important actor within the UN system on women access to justice. It is critical for accountability and for the implementation of national and international commitments on women rights,” she said.

Ms. Goetz said that UN Women will be looking into transitional justice mechanisms such as truth and reconciliation commissions (TRCs) in countries where they are set up. She said a recent analysis of 20 TRCs across the world had found that only in two of them did women make up a third of the commissioners. Women witnesses also remained a minority, she said.

The report card by the Women's Initiatives for Gender Justice on ICC also shows that issues before the Court that affect women have often not been successful, with a significant number of cases on gender-based violence dismissed for lack of sufficient evidence, often because investigations were not thorough enough, according to Brigid Inder, the executive director of the organisation.