“Violence against Women is not a Force of Nature–it can be stopped.” “This convention is set to bring practical changes that should ultimately improve the lives of women and girls across Europe.”
– Gauri van Gulik

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Femicide, or the gender-related killing of women and girls, is without any doubt the worst manifestation of violence against women. The Academic Council on the United Nations System (ACUNS) Vienna Liaison Office has worked for the last five
years to raise awareness about these heinous unprosecuted crimes, which for many years had been silently witnessed by UN Member States.

In 2013, an initial breakthrough was made with the adoption of the first resolution on gender-related killings by the General Assembly, upon the recommendation of the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice. The second resolution followed in 2015, whereby the General Assembly remained alarmed by the high level of impunity and was concerned about the scourge of sexual violence in conflict situations, targeted mass kidnappings, rapes and killings. This past year, ACUNS organized a high level ancillary meeting at the UN Crime Congress on the mass killing of women and girls, a symposium on the violence committed against women by extremist groups, a side event at the Commission on the desired criminal justice response to femicide, and a High Level Event in New York on what can actually be done to stop femicide.

It is clear that a strong political will is needed to challenge engrained attitudes as well as a willingness to arrest and prosecute in order to end these gruesome crimes. This means that all UN Member States have to take an honest look at their national laws, policies and actual implementation. It means that all progressive forces – government authorities, criminal justice practitioners, civil society, United Nations organizations – have to collaborate to use what is already known and take action.

Many strategies and best practices are out there already. ACUNS Vienna is compiling these ideas and recommendations for the fifth time. The aim of our publications is to serve as a platform and provide practical support to anybody who wishes to prevent, investigate, prosecute and punish gender-related killings of women and girls.

In this volume, we are looking at the latest developments on violence against women in conflict and at terrorist groups targeting women and girls. The Security Council has held a landmark session on the implementation of its resolution on women, peace, and security while the General Assembly is grappling with the Secretary General’s proposal on how to deal with violent extremism. The most important documents are included in this publication.

We hope that this book can be a useful resource to Member States, activists, academics and practitioners. We all know what is happening. We cannot deny it. So let us act now!

Claire Laurent and Michael Platzer