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Freedom from Domestic Violence as a Fundamental Human Right Resolutions, Presidential Proclamations, and Other Statements of Principle

Across the United States, advocates and government actors are increasingly looking to human rights principles to address pressing concerns. This is especially true at the state and local levels. Since 2011 an increasing number of local government bodies across the country have adopted resolutions or proclamations recognizing that freedom from domestic violence is a human right. This page contains these resolutions and proclamations, laws citing to them, and federal statements that similarly have recognized freedom from domestic violence as a human right.

Updated October 2015. Ongoing efforts to track and analyze these local efforts have been undertaken jointly by Columbia Law School's Human Rights Institute, University of Miami School of Law Human Rights Clinic, and Cornell Law School's Avon Global Center for Women and Justice and Global Gender Justice Clinic.

For more information please contact Elizabeth Brundige, Cornell Law School's Global Gender Justice Clinic, and JoAnn Kamuf Ward, the Human Rights in the US Project at Columbia Law School's Human Rights Institute.

Resolutions by County, Town, and Municipal Governments

For discussion of the resolutions' features, click here.

  1. Cincinnati, OH (2011)
  2. Baltimore, MD (2012)
  3. Miami Springs, FL (2012)
  4. Prattville, AL (2012)
  5. Erie County, NY (2012)
  6. Albany County, NY (Legislature) (2012)
  7. Albany County, NY (Executive) (2012)
  8. Albany City, NY (2012)
  9. Miami-Dade County, FL (2012)
  10. Montgomery City and Montgomery County, AL (2012)
  11. Seattle, WA (2012)
  12. Washington, D.C. (2013)
  13. Travis County, TX (2014)
  14. Austin, TX (2014)
  15. Boston, MA (2014)
  16. Jacksonville, FL (2014)
  17. Chicago, IL (2014)
  18. Tompkins County, NY (Legislature) (2014)
  19. Ithaca (Town), NY (2014)
  20. Lansing (Town), NY (2015)
  21. Tompkins County, NY (Council of local governments) (2015)
  22. Cayuga Heights, NY (2015)
  23. Ithaca (City), NY (Legislature) (2015)
  24. Ithaca (City), NY (Executive) (2015)
  25. Laredo (City) and Webb County, TX (2015)
  26. State College, PA (Executive) (2015)

White Papers:

Local Legislation Citing to Domestic Violence Resolutions

  1. Miami-Dade, FL: Anti-Discrimination Ordinance Amendment (2014)

The Miami-Dade County Commission amended its anti-discrimination ordinance in July 2014, adding victims of domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking to the list of protected classes regarding discrimination in employment, family leave, public accommodations, credit and financing practices, and housing accommodations. The amendment cited the language from the 2012 Miami-Dade County domestic violence resolution in its preamble: "Whereas on July 17, 2012, Resolution Number R-644-12 was adopted whereby this Board expressed its intent to join world leaders and leaders within the United States in recognition of domestic violence as a human rights concern and declare that the freedom from domestic violence is a fundamental human right . . . ."

Federal Government Proclamations and Statements

  1. Presidential Proclamation: Twentieth Anniversary of VAWA (2014)
  2. Presidential Proclamation: National Domestic Violence Awareness Month (2014)
  3. Nancy Pelosi Statement (2014)
In 2014, President Barack Obama issued two proclamations on violence against women reaffirming the "basic human right to be free from violence and abuse." On October 1, 2014, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi issued a statement recognizing October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month and declaring that "[f]reedom from abuse is a basic human right -and all victims of violence deserve our support."

Coordinated by Columbia Law School's Human Rights Institute, University of Miami School of Law Human Rights Clinic, and Cornell Law School's Avon Global Center for Women and Justice and Global Gender Justice Clinic