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The Due Diligence Standard, Violence against Women and Protection Orders in the Arab Region

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As of 2018, six Arab States have implemented stand-alone violence against women laws, with other States having draft legislation underway. Such legislation may outline social, legal and/or medical interventions to be taken by the State (and other actors, such as civil society) to address such violence. One intervention commonly mandated through this type of legislation is the protection order.  As States are exerting considerable efforts to combat violence against women, the increasing presence of such legislation in the region means that protection orders will play a substantial role in Arab States’ response to combating violence within the family and supporting survivors. For States without such legislation, it is important that protection orders are viewed as an obligatory mechanism within a larger coordinated response to violence against women and understand what such legislation should entail.

The brief begins by defining protection orders, and then introduces the concept of the due diligence standard and its applicability to violence against women in both the public and private spheres perpetrated by State and non-State actors. The due diligence standard is then applied to the State’s provision and enforcement of protection orders as part of an evolving norm under customary international law. This includes a detailed overview of relevant international and regional jurisprudence concerning the State’s obligation to provide protection orders to survivors of violence. Lastly, the brief discusses the contents and application of protection orders within Arab States and highlights the steps taken and the steps needed to ensure such orders are in line with international best practice and are survivor-centered. The brief then concludes with a series of recommendations directed at the regional and State level, while also arguing for greater service provision from non-State actors, such as women’s civil society.