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Abstract

The adoption of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action (VDPA) by the 171 participating states at the United Nations World Conference on Human Rights, held in Vienna in June 1993, is widely regarded as a watershed moment in the women's rights movement. For the first time it was universally accepted that women's rights are human rights, paving the way for the growing integration of women's rights and the gender perspective into human rights norms and practice. This Academy In-Brief considers how far women's human rights have come 20 years since the VDPA by looking at contemporary violations of women's human rights around the world, such as violations of the right to life, to freedom from torture or inhumane treatment, and to freedom from discrimination or slavery. Three challenges to the realization of women's fundamental human rights are highlighted: sexual violence in armed conflict; trafficking of women and girls; and intimate partner violence. An overview of the forms and consequences of these violations is provided along with the applicable international legal framework. Recommendations are made as to how progress can be made in tackling each of the three challenges.

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