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CSW61 (2017)

March 13-24

Women's Economic Empowerment in the Changing World of Work

The sixty-first session of the Commission on the Status of Women will take place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 13 to 24 March 2017. The Due Diligence Project and the Association for Progressive Communications were proud sponsors of a side event at CSW61:

Women's Access to the Internet: Eliminating Online Violence and Engendering Digital Equality

"there's nothing we can do"

"it's out of our jurisdiction"

"you cannot control the internet"

Online violence is one of the key barriers for women's meaningful access to the internet and affects their active participation in social and economic life. Our panel of experts explored an accountability framework for States and internet intermediaries to end online violence against women.

Date: 13 March 2017

Time: 2:30pm

Armenian Cultural Center - Vartan Hall

630 2nd Avenue (at 35th Street)

New York, New York 10016


David Kaye, UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Expression

Dubravka Šimonović, UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, its Causes and Consequences (Statement)

Zarizana Abdul Aziz, Due Diligence Project

Dafne Sabanes Plou, Association for Progressive Communications

Eliminating Violence Against Women:

Due Diligence Framework and the Role and Responsibilities of the State and Civil Society to Women

Date: December 20 - 23, 2016

Kathmandu, Nepal

The Due Diligence Project, together with UN Women and Women's Rehabilitation Center (WOREC Nepal) will convene workshops and focus group discussions with government, civil society and relevant stakeholders on instrumentalizing and applying the Due Diligence Framework to eliminate discrimination and violence against women. Facilitators will work with stakeholders on understanding the due diligence principle and integrating the Due Diligence Framework into cases of discrimination and violence against women to facilitate the incorporation of the due diligence principle on state responsibility in compliance with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

Participants will include executive, judicative and legislative bodies, representatives of the National Human Rights Council, advocates, lawyers, police and non-governmental organizations.

Expert Group Meeting:

Creating a violence free culture:                              

Due Diligence and Effective Engagement with Community Leaders to End Violence and Discrimination Against Women

Date: November 28 & 29, 2016

Robert F Kennedy International Center for Justice and Human Rights

Florence, Italy

The Due Diligence Project convened an expert group meeting to further critically explore, analyse and formulate strategies on engagement with community leaders.

What makes for an effective strategy in these engagements?

Do they result in real and recognizable change on the ground, in law/policies and in practice?

Are these strategies sustainable and capable of furthering the gains already achieved?

How do we apply the due diligence principle and the Due Diligence Framework for State Accountability in the context of enagaging with community leaders?

Participants included experts in the area of women's human rights representing diverse religious and cultural backgrounds.

13th AWID International Forum

Demand justice! How to hold States and companies accountable for tech-based VAW

Date: Thursday, 8 September 2016

Time: 11:30am

Capitania Sao Vicente, Arena Sauipe

Costa do Sauipe, Bahia, Brasil

Online violence against women increasingly impacts our lives, yet existing laws are insufficiently equipped to deal with this new and emerging threat. States argue lack of jurisdiction; companies deny responsibility. Holding them accountable is possible. Learn how to apply the Due Diligence Framework for accountability for States and internet/digital intermediaries alike.


Zarizana Abdul Aziz, Due Diligence Project, Malaysia

Jan Moolman, APC, South Africa

Jelen Paclarin, WLB, Philippines

Aida Mahmutović, OWPEE, Bosnia and Herzegovina

13th AWID International Forum

Legislative victories but then what?  Influencing for the implementation of VAWG/GBV legislation

Date: Saturday,10 September 2016

Time: 2:30pm

Canario, Arena Sauipe

Costa do Sauipe, Bahia, Brasil

Due Diligence Project in collaboration with Oxfam shared findings of multi-country research on “implementation gaps”, shortfalls in governments' implementation of their legislative obligations on violence against women and girls, with an emphasis on key lessons and tools that civil society can use to more effectively influence governments to live up to their commitments.  


Janine Moussa, Due Diligence Project & Global Women's Institute, George Washington Institute, USA

Dr. Rajini Menon, Oxfam, India

Zobeyda Cepeda, Oxfam, Dominican Republic

Sergia Galván, Colectiva Mujer y Salud, Dominican Republic

The Brave New World of Women's Rights:

A Conversation with Women's Advocates from Around the World

Date: Thursday, 14th July 2016

Time: 4:00pm - 6:00pm

Milken Institute School of Public Health

Lower Level Auditorium

950 New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington DC 20052


Mary Ellsberg; Zarizana Abdul Aziz; Lisa Veneklasen; Alda Facio; Janine Moussa; Marusia Lopez Cruz and Madhu Mehra

Hosted by The Global Women's Institute (GWI); Due Diligence Project (DDP) and Just Associates (JASS). This forum was free and open to the public. Light reception was included.

Essentials of Good Practices:

Enhancing States Due Diligence Compliance and Accountability to Eliminate Discrimination and Violence against Women

Date: 15 - 16th July 2016

Hosted by: Global Women's Institute of George Washington University

The Due Diligence Project convened an expert group meeting to examine the constituents of effective State action to end discrimination and violence against women, with the aim of filling this gap. The meeting critically explored, analysed, and formulated the methodology and criteria in identifying and defining the elements of what constitutes a “good practice” in the context of eliminating violence and discrimination against women.

Participants included representatives from civil society organisations, academics and international experts.

Specifically the Expert Group Meeting:

·     Provided a platform for experts and representatives from key UN bodies and CSOs to come together to brainstorm and strategize on the issues described above;

·     Critically examined State implementation of laws and policies on discrimination and violence against women, its successes, shortcomings and failures;

·     Explored the partnership between CSOs and the State and whether and how such partnerships influence the success or failure of implementation of laws and policies on discrimination and violence against women;

·     Identified the factors and risks that influences discrimination and violence against women in society and in the family, hence condoning discrimination and violence against women

·     Discussed the applicability of the due diligence principle and the Due Diligence Framework for State Accountability in the context of determining “good practices';

·     Developed a framework on good practices in eliminating discrimination and violence against women.

TOWARD AN ASEAN WITHOUT GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE: NGO Experience in Gender-based Violence Policy Influencing

Date: May 10-11, 2016     

Venue: The Hanoi Club, 76 Yen Phu Street, Tay Ho District, Hanoi

The workshop was an opportunity to reflect on the experience of civil society organizations (CSOs) in the Mekong region regarding gender-based violence (GBV) policy influencing. CSO experiences and expertise will be harnessed to influence the implementation of the Regional Plan of Action on the Elimination of Violence Again Women and to promote GBV prevention and response.

The workshop was held in Hanoi on the 10th and 11th of May, 2016. The Center for Studies and Applied Sciences in Gender, Family, Women and Adolescents (CSAGA) and CARE International in Vietnam jointly organized the workshop, which was supported by the Australian Government.

The workshop aimed at sharing and learning about the experiences of CSOs in influencing GBV policies and fostering cooperation among CSOs in the Mekong region to influence policy development and implementation. The workshop was divided into four sessions among which three sessions focused on sharing and learning about 1) best practices, 2) the role of social change in policy advocacy, and 3) the challenges that CSOs have to face in GBV policy advocacy. The last session was on discovering opportunities for cooperation where participants were provided with information about the ASEAN Regional Plan of Action (RPA) on the Elimination of Violence Against Women (EVAW) and on mechanism for CSOs to get involved in the planning process. Workshop participants also discussed how CSOs in the region were working together to foster the implementation of the ASEAN RPA on EVAW at national and regional level.

Janine Moussa of the Due Diligence Project presented the 5P Framework on State obligation to end violence against women, and shared lessons from its vast multi-year, multi-country study on effective strategies to address and combat violence.


The Due Diligence Project was pleased to convene / co-convene / participate in the following panels in conjunction with the 60th session of the Commission on the Status of Women.

SDG 5 and Online VAW:   

Who's Accountable? Due Diligence, the State, and Internet Intermediaries

Date: Friday 18th March 2016

Time: 10am - 11:30am

The Permanent Mission of Netherlands to the UN

666 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10017

(between 42nd and 43rd)

The panel explored the next steps to address online violence against women. Access to information and communications technology is no longer the privilege of select members of society. In many instances it has overtaken more conventional forms of communications to become the main form of communication in both commercial dealings and personal interaction. Access to this technology is key to women’s empowerment. The transformative potential of the internet is (increasingly) under threat by high levels of online violence against women. Increased prevalence of online violence against women, the lack of effective measures to prevent and contain it and the ensuing impunity has created barriers to women becoming full participants and equal players in development. These barriers must be addressed as part of the struggle to eliminate violence against women.

The panel was attended by representatives from the Australian Human Rights Commission, the Myanmar delegation, the Malaysian delegation and NGO representatives. The Malaysian Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, Mr Raja Reza delivered the closing address.

Panelists included Zarizana Abdul Aziz, Director, Due Diligence Project; Jan Moolman from the Association for Progressive Communications; the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, Dubravka Simonovic; and Frank LaRue, Robert F. Kennedy Foundation and former Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression (statement). Janine Moussa from the Global Women’s Institute moderated the discussion.

Hosted by the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Government of Malaysia.

Addressing Violence against Women and Girls to Achieve Sustainable Development

Date: Tuesday 15th March 2016

Time: 11:30am - 12:45pm

This panel highlighted progress, potential effective interventions, and the various challenges associated with ending VAWG across countries.


- Natasha Stott Despoja, Australian Ambassador for Women and Girls

- Åsa Regnér, Swedish Minister for Gender Equality

- Zohra Rasekh, former Advisor to the Foreign Minister on human rights and gender issues in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (TBC)

- Zarizana Abdul Aziz, Director at the Due Diligence Project on State Obligation to End Violence against Women.

Moderator: Diana Arango, Senior Gender-Based Violence and Development Specialist at the World Bank Group

Closing remarks: Mary Ellsberg, Director of the Global Women's Institute at the George Washington University.

This event was open to all UN pass-holders.

Challenging and Changing Social Norms to Prevent Violence against Women and Girls and

Support Policy Implementation

Date: Tuesday 15th March 2016

Time: 2.30pm

Thai Cultural Center

310 44th St., Suite #L, New York, NY 10017

(between 1st and 2nd Ave) Room Assignment: Room 2

The Due Diligence Project and Oxfam collaborated to highlight the importance and impact of social norms on the reality of women. These negative social norms are collectively held ideas in a community or society about how women and men, and girls and boys, do and should act. They reflect unequal gender power relations, in which women and girls are assigned less worth than men and boys. In order to tackle implementation gaps and create a violence-free reality for women, negative social norms must be addressed and changed resulting in strong societal condemnation of VAW. Social norms that support gender equality and non-violence are needed to create a more enabling environment for both political commitments and NGOs' work.


· Zarizana Abdul Aziz, Due Diligence Project,

· Christine Hughes, Oxfam,

· Coralie Vox, Oxfam

FGM - Bridging Gaps, New Research:

From Advocacy to Policies in Action Post 2015

Date: Friday 18th March 2016

Time: 12pm

Church Center, (across the street from the UN)

corner of East 44th street & 1st Avenue, New York City

Co-convened with Women's UN Report Network, Yale University, OHCHR - African Committee, this Panel gave serious attention to the legal dynamics involved with the practice of FGM including among migrant girls and women. It also considered FGM progress in the Post-2015 Era and intersectionalities of FGM and the Sustainable Development Goals.


· Mr. Juan Mendez, FGM & Torture Statement – UN Special Rapporteur on Torture

· Zarizana Abdul Aziz – Due Diligence Project, Director

· Dr. Lori Ann Post, Yale University – Long-Term Research on Violence Against Women in Africa & FGM Focus

· Dr. Morissanda Kouyate, Executive Director Inter-African Committee on Traditional Practices – FGM Progress in the Post-2015 Era

· Ms. Lorraine Koonce Farahmand - Attorney at Law UK & US - FGM Specialist


· Dr. Adebisi Adebayo, Inter-African Committee – Implications of UN Study on Best Practices & Challenges to Eliminate FGM

· Ms. Lois A. Herman – Coordinator WUNRN, Women's UN Report Network – FGM Power Point

· Dr. Tobe Levin Von Gleichen - Associate Professor Harvard University, Visiting Research Fellow at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University – FGM Activist & Publisher

Moderator: Dr. Adebisi Adebayo – Inter-African Committee, IAC Geneva Programme Director

National Application

and Instrumentalisation of the



Due Diligence Framework in the Elimination

of Violence against Women

Jakarta, Indonesia on 23-24 November 2015

The Due Diligence Project collaborated with Komnas Perempuan (the National Commission on Violence Against Women) with the support of UN Women CEDAW South East Asia Programme (UN Women) and Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada to convene a national level workshop for national human rights institutions, ministries, law enforcers, house of representatives and civil society organisations. 65 participants consisting of national human rights institutions, executive, judicative and legislative bodies, representative of Asean Independent Commission of Human Rights (AICHR) and Asean Commission on Women and Children (ACWC) and civil society organizations attended the workshop. The workshop was facilitated by Zarizana Abdul Aziz, Due Diligence Project Director and Noraida Endut, regional consultant, Due Diligence Project.

The objectives of the workshop were:

     ·     To enhance understanding of Due Diligence

     o     The principle due diligence  

     o     Due diligence framework: prevention, protection,      prosecution, punishment and provide redress

      ·     To integrate due diligence framework to eliminate violence against women.

     o     Identify area of works and best practices of national human rights mechanism, executive, judicative and legislative bodies, ASEAN human rights mechanism and non-government organizations to eliminate violence against women based on due diligence framework

     o     Identify opportunities and collaborative works in implementing due diligence framework at national and regional (ASEAN) level

Immediate Outcomes achieved were:

     ·     Deepened understanding of Due Diligence principles and framework  

     ·     Greater understanding of ways in which national human rights mechanism, executive, judicative and legislative bodies, and non-government organizations can collaborate in implementing due diligence framework at national and regional (ASEAN) level


Due Diligence for Violence against Women Online:

The Role of the State and Internet Intermediaries

15-16 October 2015, Florence, Italy

The meeting brought together feminist legal scholars, experts on tech-related violence against women and experts on freedom of expression to apply the international legal principle of due diligence and State obligation to tech-related violence against women.  The meeting drew on the due diligence principle to promote, protect and fulfill human rights in respect to violence against women. The Due Diligence Project together with the Association for Progressive Communications developed a draft report with a set of accountability principles to hold State and private sector actors alike responsible for online acts of violence against women in the areas of prevention, protection, prosecution, punishment and provision of redress.  In attendance were women's human rights and violence against women experts as well as experts on freedom of expression. These include the former UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression, Frank La Rue, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) representative on freedom of the media, representative from the Norwegian Equality and Anti-Discrimination Ombudsman, Article IX (UK), Women's Legal Bureau (Philippines). The draft report prepared by the Due Diligence Project was tabled for discussion. The report is presently being finalized and shall be released later this year.

This meeting was co-convened by the Due Diligence Project with the Association for Progressive Communication and the Robert F. Kennedy Centre for Human Rights, Europe.


Due Diligence Framework: The Role of the State in Ending Violence against Women

8 - 9 September 2015, Rabat

The Due Diligence Project collaborated with our Moroccan partner, Fatima Outaleb, founding member of Union of Women's Action (UAF) to convene this workshop. The meeting gathered around 25 participants from various sectors e.g. medical, advocacy, legal, media from in and around Rabat to spend two learning about the Due Diligence Framework and its Guiding Principle, grounded in the local Moroccan context.  Lessons were drawn from the Middle East and North Africa regional experience and from around the world. The workshop was led by Due Diligence Project co-Director Janine Moussa, and supported by DDP MENA expert, Afaf Jabiri, and Fatima Outaleb,  The workshop was a success, and participants left invigorated and asking for a follow-up workshop to be held in 2016, especially in light of Morocco's recent ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women.

Musawah International Consultation to Uphold and Advance the Rights of Women Living in Muslim Contexts: Strengthening the Human Rights System and NGO Engagement

5 - 6 September 2016, Rabat

Musawah is an international netwok o avocates working towards equality and justice within the Muslim family. In attendance were members of civil society, inter-governmental organizations (e.g. United Nations, Organization of Islamic Cooperation), academics and others from around the world. Janine Moussa, co-Director of the Due Diligence Project, acted as expert participant and co-facilitator, contributing the lens of State Obligation and the “5P” framework to the proceedings.  


Application of the Due Diligence Framework on

State Accountabilty in an Integrated Justice System

to End Violence against Women

[Integrasi Kerangka Due Diligence (Uji Tuntas) Kewajiban Negara Menghapuskan Kekerasan terhadap Perempuan dalam Sistem Peradilan Pidana Terpadu (SPPT PKKTP)]

27-28 August, 2015, Semarang, Indonesia

The Due Diligence Project collaborated with our Indonesian partners, National Commission on Violence against Women (KOMNAS Perempuan) and Legal Resources Center for Gender Justice and Human Rights (LRC-KJHAM) to convene a workshop on applying the Due Diligence Framework in an integrated (multi-sectoral) criminal justice system to promote gender justice in relation to cases on violence against women. The Integrated Justice System would be implemented in Central Java (Jawa Tengah). Participants included prosecutors, judges, police, officials from the relevant ministries (Law and Human Rights, Women’s Empowerment, Social Services and Health) and civil society organisations which were involved in establishing and implementing the  Integrated Justice System. Co-Director Zarizana Abdul Aziz and DDP regional consultant, Noraida Endut conducted the workshop.


Women's Human Rights Institute (WHRI)

24-25 June 2015, Toronto

The Due Diligence Project conducted modules on violence against women and the due diligence obligation of the State at the Women's Human Rights Institute hosted at the Center for Women's Studies of the University of Toronto, Canada. The Institute brought together expert lecturers and advocates from around the world for this month-long course on fundamental human rights and women's advocacy. Participants at this year's training included advocates from Afghanistan, Armenia, The Bahamas, Canada, Costa Rica, Grenada, India, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, and Sri Lanka. The Due Diligence modules were conducted on 24 and 25 June 2015 and were selected as the only modules open to the public. Due to the success of this collaboration, the Due Diligence Project will be co-convening the Institute in 2016.