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*** ENDING VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

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Bahá'í International Community statement presented to the 51st session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights

Geneva, Switzerland 30 January -- 10 March 1995

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"The friends of God must be adorned with the ornament of justice, equity, kindness and love. As they do not allow themselves to be the object of cruelty and transgression, in like manner they should not allow such tyranny to visit the Handmaidens of God."

Bahá'u'lláh

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The Bahá'í International Community welcomes the appointment last year of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women. By urging the inclusion of this pivotal issue within the UN human rights framework, women's organizations have made a critical contribution to the promotion of human rights generally. For seeking to understand violence against women as an issue of basic human rights will no doubt shed light on the causes of other forms of violence and will facilitate the discovery of strategies for curbing the disturbing rise of violence across all levels of our societies.

Violence against women is a yardstick by which one can measure the violation of all human rights. It can be used to gauge the degree to which a society is governed by aggressivity, dominated by competition and ruled by force.

When unbridled competition. "the harvest of force is turmoil and the ruin of the social order" and violence against women is a grave symptom of this larger disorder. material and practical -is therefore not only a fundamental right but a practical necessity in today's world. Ironically enough. aggression. Education -. In the Bahá'í view. the place where women and girls are most subject to violence and neglect is within their own homes. Our challenge is to search out new strategies and adopt fresh models that will encourage a healthier.Abusive practices against women have frequently been and are still being justified in the context of cultural norms. Those who inflict violence on women are themselves among the casualties of power-based systems.moral. At a time when illiteracy is increasing among women in the developing world and levels of learning are falling for both sexes in industrial societies. everyone suffers. It is becoming increasingly evident. While economic disparity and legal inequality are known to contribute to incidents of violence against women. more and more individuals.the failure to understand such fundamental realities as the oneness of the human race and the mistaken notion that force is the only honorable way to resolve conflicts. that all forms of violence against women degrade not only the victim but the perpetrator as well. it is obvious that violence arises from ignorance -. organizations and governments are seeking alternatives to violence in managing conflict. more cooperative society at all levels. it is vitally important to reemphasize the role of education everywhere if violence against women is to be controlled. however. a society patterned on dominance inevitably gives rise to such distortions of power as violence against women. religious beliefs and unfounded "scientific theories" and assumptions. at the nerve center of the . Any attempt to curb societal violence that does not educate individuals to overcome gender prejudice will certainly fall short. We need to move consciously away from patterns of force and aggressivity and towards methods of consultation and peace-making. One of the essential ways to encourage more cooperation is through education. Because of the rise in crime and pornography. and tyranny destroy the fabric of society. But whatever its political or religious system. the increase in ethnic violence and the collapse of the family.

" Since the Bahá'í International Community has invested considerable effort at the grass roots in the education and training of both men and women in partnership. China.* In this respect. Likewise. all attempts to understand the causes and consequences of violence against women which do not involve men are bound to fail.] ***** . Bahá'u'lláh. published for distribution at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing and the parallel NGO Forum in Huairou. the Prophet-Founder of the Bahá'í Faith. we would gladly offer to share our experience. Any effort to protect women against male aggression which does not involve the early training of boys will necessarily be short-lived. in the broadest interpretation of those terms. a compilation of reflections on the Agenda and Platform for Action for the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women: Equality. The Bahá'í International Community. But the problem of violence cannot truly be resolved unless men are also educated to value women as equal partners. be given to education of girl children. has emphasized that mothers are the first educators of the next generation. warmly welcomes the inclusion of a full analysis of violence against women in the mandate of the Special Rapporteur. August/September 1995. and to remedy its consequences. therefore. therefore. If families educate their daughters. It also welcomes the invitation by the Commission on Human Rights to "recommend measures to eliminate violence against women and its causes. both the family and the community benefit.family. Development and Peace. our recent collaboration with UNIFEM in three projects using traditional media as a change agent in society has drawn the attention of UNICEF because one result of the project was a decline in family violence. For example. and if the community systematically encourages the education of girl children. [This essay was published in The Greatness Which Might Be Theirs. we look forward to further collaboration with the Special Rapporteur. and that where resources are limited priority must.

women's organizations have made a critical contribution to the promotion of human rights generally.-. Abusive practices against women have frequently been and are still being justified in the context of cultural norms.-. Violence against women is a yardstick by which one can measure the violation of all human rights. When unbridled competition.-.-. however.-. everyone suffers.-. aggression.- Statement to the 51st session of the UN Commission on Human Rights Geneva. By urging the inclusion of this pivotal issue within the UN human rights framework. For seeking to understand violence against women as an issue of basic human rights will no doubt shed light on the causes of other forms of violence and will facilitate the discovery of strategies for curbing the disturbing rise of violence across all levels of our societies. dominated by competition and ruled by force.-. "the harvest of force is . Switzerland 30 January .-. It is becoming increasingly evident.-.*** ENDING VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN -.-.-. Those who inflict violence on women are themselves among the casualties of power-based systems. It can be used to gauge the degree to which a society is governed by aggressivity. a society patterned on dominance inevitably gives rise to such distortions of power as violence against women.10 March 1995 ***** The Bahá'í International Community welcomes the appointment last year of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women.-.-.-. and tyranny destroy the fabric of society.-. In the Bahá'í view.-. religious beliefs and unfounded "scientific theories" and assumptions. that all forms of violence against women degrade not only the victim but the perpetrator as well. But whatever its political or religious system.

Any effort to protect women against male aggression which does not involve the early training of boys will necessarily be short-lived. more cooperative society at all levels. Bahá'u'lláh. and that where resources are limited priority must. material and practical -is therefore not only a fundamental right but a practical necessity in today's world. But the problem of violence cannot truly be resolved unless men are also educated to value women as equal partners. Ironically enough. both the family and the community benefit. Because of the rise in crime and pornography. the place where women and girls are most subject to violence and neglect is within their own homes. At a time when illiteracy is increasing among women in the developing world and levels of learning are falling for both sexes in industrial societies. in the broadest interpretation of those terms. more and more individuals. at the nerve center of the family.moral. organizations and governments are seeking alternatives to violence in managing conflict. the Prophet-Founder of the Bahá'í Faith. therefore. Any attempt to curb societal violence that does not educate individuals to overcome gender prejudice will certainly fall short. While economic disparity and legal inequality are known to contribute to incidents of violence against women. be given to education of girl children. and the community systematically encourages the education of girl children.turmoil and the ruin of the social order" and violence against women is a grave symptom of this larger disorder. it is vitally important to reemphasize the role of education everywhere if violence against women is to be controlled. Our challenge is to search out new strategies and adopt fresh models that will encourage a healthier. One of the essential ways to encourage more cooperation is through education. the increase in ethnic violence and the collapse of the family. If families educate their daughters. Education -. has emphasized that mothers are the first educators of the next generation.the failure to understand such fundamental realities as the oneness of the human race and the mistaken notion that force is the only honorable way to resolve conflicts. We need to move consciously away from patterns of force and aggressivity and towards methods of consultation and peace-making. it is obvious that violence arises from ignorance -. all attempts to understand the causes and . Likewise.

***** (Baha'i International Community. In this respect. For example. Ending Violence Against Women) . our recent collaboration with UNIFEM in three projects using traditional media as a change agent in society has drawn the attention of UNICEF because one result of the project was a decline in family violence. we would gladly offer to share our experience. we look forward to further collaboration with the Special Rapporteur.consequences of violence against women which do not involve men are bound to fail." Since the Bahá'í International Community has invested considerable effort at the grass roots in the education and training of both men and women in partnership. therefore. 1995 Feb 01. The Bahá'í International Community. It also welcomes the invitation by the Commission on Human Rights to "recommend measures to eliminate violence against women and its causes. and to remedy its consequences. warmly welcomes the inclusion of a full analysis of violence against women in the mandate of the Special Rapporteur.