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Roehampton professor to advise United Nations on gender perspectives on torture and ill-treatment

Experts advising the United Nations on gender perspectives on torture and ill-treatment will take evidence from Roehampton Criminologist Professor Aisha K Gill from the Department of Social Sciences early next month.

Posted: 29 October 2015

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Professor Aisha K Gill will share her expertise on combating torture and ill-treatment with a United Nations advisory group.

Invited by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Professor Juan E. Méndez, Roehampton's Professor Gill is one of just 35 experts from around the world and is the only UK-based academic to attend the Washington DC meeting.

The aim of the meeting will be to assist the Special Rapporteur in preparing a report on the ways in which women, girls, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or intersex people uniquely or disproportionately experience harm, gender-based violence, and discrimination which does not fit within the traditional constructs of, but may amount to torture or other ill-treatment.

The report will seek to examine how the legal framework on torture and other ill-treatment can be applied in a gender-sensitive manner to prevent, combat, and remedy serious violations of human rights suffered by women, girls, and LGBTI people.

Professor Gill said: “Despite significant progress in improving the legal response to violence against women in the UK, much work remains to be done as abuse of this kind continues to occur at unacceptably high levels.

“Frequently, women who are subject to crimes related to ‘honour’ based violence and forced marriage are reluctant to report them to authorities and do not always make use of existing legal remedies. Law can play a key role in the effort to end violence against women; however non-legal remedies are also essential to ensure society lives up to its promise of protecting citizens affected by gender-based violence.

During the meeting, Professor Gill will draw upon her expertise in domestic violence, ‘honour’-based violence, forced marriage, and female genital mutilation to explain the effectiveness of existing legislation regarding harmful practices against women and girls.

She will also assist organisations in drafting recommendations to address any deficiencies identified by her work. These recommendations will form part of the final meeting report, which will help shape future UN legislation on violence against women and girls.

The outcomes from the meeting will be published and presented to the United Nations Human Rights Council in March 2016.

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