As pointed out in the UN Secretary-General’s IAP 2017 Report, Transformative Accountability for Adolescents, national policies tend to be “adolescent blind”. Those addressing violence against women and girls have been no exception.

“Unfortunately, this has often been the case with responses to gender-based violence. The good news is this is now changing, though certainly not fast enough”, stated IAP Co-Chair Dr Carmen Barroso at the launch event of the CEDAW General Recommendation No. 35 on gender-based violence against women on 14 November 2017, organized by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

“More importantly, do not forget adolescents as a distinct group when CEDAW recommendations are followed up on — when legislation and policies are formulated, when budgets are decided”. She reminded the gathering of government delegates, CEDAW Committee members, UN System and civil society representatives that “it is in adolescence when girls become prime targets of gender-based violence, including harmful practices, and when denial and violations of their sexual and reproductive health and rights can be especially fierce, with often devastating lifelong consequences”.

We applaud the recognized importance of fostering non-violent social norms and masculinities through gender equality education starting in early childhood and the call for comprehensive sexuality education for all girls and boys. If we don’t start there, we are not headed anywhere on ending gender-based violence”, Dr Barroso added.

She concluded how “these elements of the CEDAW Recommendation resonate enormously with the reports of our Independent Accountability Panel, in which we adopted a human rights framework, and made specific recommendations for accountability for the health of women, children and adolescents”.

See also the interview with Dr Barroso and event web story on the OHCHR website here