International Standards for Gender Rights as Human Rights: Are they effective?

In light of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, we are taking a deeper look at some of the root injustices affecting gender-based violence and the international standards meant to address such issues. Both the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights have articles aimed specifically at protecting and guaranteeing equal rights in regards to education, employment, and economic and social rights of women. Part III of CEDAW (Articles 10-14) details these protections, while Articles 23 and 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights will be discussed here. Continue reading

Increased vulnerability of Gender Based Violence in refugee settings – lack of provision, choice and acceptance

UNHCR defines Gender Based Violence as ‘violence that is directed against a person on the basis of gender or sex’ (2003). It encompasses violence occurring in the family, within the general community, and perpetrated or condoned by the State and institutions. In general it would appear there is limited provision supporting survivors of gender based violence in refugee settings, following the pattern of gender in emergency settings as ‘nice to have’. Continue reading

Anti-Abortion Legislation: A Failure to Protect a Woman’s Right to Health

The restriction of safe access to abortion procedures has consistently been proven to have a detrimental impact on women’s health and is therefore considered by many as a violation of a woman’s right to health. Only last month the UN warned that unsafe abortions kill nearly 50,000 women each year. Despite this, countries are continuing to implement policies that criminalise abortion. Continue reading

An Introduction to Economic Gender-Based Violence

In recent years, Gender-based violence has become a term that is quite prevalent in society. When the general public or the media address this concept, very specific imagery is evoked to depict the situation. These images are usually ones of wartime sexual abuse and domestic abuse. However when the technical definitions of this term are examined, it is evident that they are broad and meant to cover much more than just these instances. Continue reading

The Long Road to Recognition: Sexual and Gender-Based Crimes as International Crimes

Sexual and gender-based crimes (SGBC) have long been neglected in international criminal law. It took decades and significant efforts by international civil society to change the status quo. While SGBC have already been recognised as crimes against humanity and war crimes at the International Criminal Court, the actual implementation of provisions enabling the prosecution of such crimes has shown mixed results. Continue reading