When violence is perpetrated on a woman some of the basic human rights are violated: The human right to life, the human right to respect and dignity, the human right to good physical and mental health, the human right to freedom from violence and discrimination, the human right to equality between women and men and the human right to freedom from sexual and physical abuse. As Kofi Annan (1999) UN Secretary General has said, “Violence against women is perhaps the most shameful human rights violation. And it is perhaps the most pervasive. It knows no boundaries of geography, culture, or wealth. As long as it continues, we cannot claim to be making real progress towards equality, development, and peace.”
According to the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action the human rights of women and of the girl-child are “an inalienable, integral and indivisible part of universal human rights.” There are many human rights treaties that guarantee women equal treatment and freedom from discrimination. In recent world conferences commitments have been made by governments to ensure the human rights of women. For instance womens human rights are central to the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.” Whereas The Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women states that “violence against women means any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.