A number of stories on violence against women, such as violence against albinos in Tanzania and violence against female domestic workers in Brazil, were posted during the Durban Review Conference, held in April in Geneva, on both the OHCHR and the Conference sites. Another story focused on the side event “Double Odds: Women Overcoming Multiple Discrimination” including a presentation by the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences. Other stories were posted in 2009 in relation to human trafficking.
In March 2009, the OHCHR Women’s Rights and Gender Unit co-organized a side event on “Honour Killings” during the Human Rights Council. On the occasion of the 12th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, UNHCR and OHCHR organized a side event entitled “A Modern day "Crucible" - Witchcraft accusations against women and children in the 21st Century” to draw attention to witchcraft accusations, often targeting marginalized groups, including refugees and IDPs.
OHCHR participated in the organization of an awareness-raising workshop on human rights and national laws related to women's rights in May 2009 for an Arab settlement in Zeina, in Sudan. OHCHR’s Regional Office in Central Asia produced leaflets, in Kyrgyz and Russian languages, with information on the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, including the template individual communications form.
In order to celebrate International Women’s Day and the anniversaries of the adoption of the CEDAW Convention and its Optional Protocol in 2009, the OHCHR in Uganda featured an article in Uganda’s main daily newspaper, calling for speedy enactment of pending bills, including the ones on domestic relations, sexual offences and domestic violence.. OHCHR’s country office in Uganda, in cooperation with Pader NGO Forum and the Civil-Military Coordination Centre (CMCC), sensitized internally displaced persons (IDP) community leaders on the human rights of women, focusing on ending sexual and gender-based violence, forced and early marriages, and promoting inheritance and property rights. In February and July 2009, in Kitgum District/Uganda, the Office facilitated sessions on sexual, gender-based violence and human rights. The Country office also gave a presentation on the role of international organizations and civil society organizations in preventing sexual and gender-based violence during activities organized by the Refugee Law Project.
In February 2009, the OHCHR Regional Office for Eastern Africa commemorated the International Day of Zero Tolerance of Female Genital Mutilation through a range of activities. In March 2009, it participated in the launch of the “Leave No Woman Behind Project”, implemented by the Ethiopian and Spanish Governments and UNFPA, including also elements on ending violence against women.
OHCHR supported financially awareness-raising and advocacy programs implemented by the human rights components of various United Nations Peacekeeping Missions. On International Women’s Day 2009, the human rights component in the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire organized training and sensitization sessions through its nine regional offices, in close cooperation with other UNOCI components, the UN Country Team and a wide range of stakeholders. The mission has focused on raising awareness of gender-based violence in Côte d’Ivoire, such as rape and female genital mutilation, early and/or forced marriages, as well as of the legal provisions contained in the Ivorian Penal Code. The Human Rights and Protection Section of the United Nations Mission in Liberia, in collaboration with County Gender Coordinators and women’s organisations, continued to raise awareness of women’s rights, female genital mutilation and sexual and gender-based violence, targeting also traditional leaders.