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Incorporate international standards

Last edited: December 20, 2011

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There are also many non-treaty sources of standards on violence against women and justice sector reform. First and foremost, laws should be based on definitions and understandings established in the1979 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). CEDAW specifies that governments should take “all appropriate measures, including legislation, to ensure the full development and advancement of women…” (Art.3) CEDAW requires States Parties to ensure the equality of men and women through laws, establish legal protection of the rights of women, and take all appropriate measures to modify or abolish existing laws, regulations, customs and practices which constitute discrimination against women. (Art.2)

Related to justice sector reform more generally, advocates should advocate for adoption of laws and regulations that are based on the following United Nations guidelines:


CEDAW Interactive Benchbook (Ateneo Human Rights Center, 2008). Available in English. For judicial practitioners, this benchbook focuses on how courts, through the development of case law, can uphold the rights of women using the CEDAW framework. The benchbook includes examples of cases, particularly cases of violence against women, and temporary special measures which can be utilized to achieve women’s equality.

Checklist for Domestic Application of International Law (Avon Global Center for Women and Justice). Available in English. This tool highlights the main issues to consider when using international law at the domestic level.