Dr Dubravka Šimonovic is the United Nations Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, and member of the UNHCR Advisory Group on Gender, Forced Displacement and Protection.
Dr Šimonovic has over 20 years of experience working in human rights at the national, regional and global level. Her primary focus has been centered on women’s rights, in particular responses to and prevention of violence against women. Prior to her latest appointments, she spent 12 years as an expert on the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. During this time, Dr Šimonovic served as the Committee’s Chairperson (2007), Chairperson of the Optional Protocol Working group (2011) and was the Committee’s first ever Follow-up Rapporteur (2009). She also headed the CEDAW Working Group responsible for drafting General Recommendation No. 32: on the gender-related dimensions of refugee status, asylum, nationality and statelessness of women. Outside of the CEDAW Committee’s work, Dr Šimonovic has also served as Chairperson of the UN Commission on the Status of Women and was a member of the UNIFEM Consultative Committee.
Dr Šimonovic began her diplomatic career in Republic of Croatia in 1994. During that time, she became the head of the Human Rights Department at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Croatia, served as the Ministry Plenipotentiary at the Permanent Mission of Croatia to the UN in New York and attended the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing (1995) as a member of the Croatian delegation. Her work in the Republic of Croatia has contributed to the establishment of a national women’s rights machinery – including elaboration of the Law on Gender Equality.
At the regional level, Dr. Šimonović was the Chair and Vice Chair of the Council of Europe’s Task Force to combat violence against women, including domestic violence (2006, 2007), and co-chaired the Ad hoc Committee (CAHVIO) that elaborated the Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (2008-2010) – the most comprehensive international human rights treaty in the world exclusively focused on the eradication of all forms of gender-based violence.
Dr. Šimonović holds a PhD in family law from the University of Zagreb and is the author of several books and articles on women’s rights and violence against women. She has lectured at several academic institutions around the world, including Harvard Law School, Nottingham University, Urban Morgan Institute for Human Rights and the Women’s Human Rights Training Institute (organized by the Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation).