Women’s Rights as Human Rights
“If there is one message that echoes forth from this conference let it be that human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights once and for all.”
Former First Lady Hillary Clinton, Fourth World Women’s Conference
It is not enough merely to call for freedom, democracy and human rights. There has to be a united determination to persevere in the struggle, to make sacrifices in the name of enduring truths, to resist the corrupting influences of desire, ill will, ignorance and fear.
Aung San Suu Kyi
8:30 a.m. Delegates arrive in Clapp Library Lecture Room
9:00 – 11:00 a.m. Panel Discussion
Hina Jilani: Addressing honor crimes and acid crimes; Women’s Action Forum in Pakistan and other women’s networks in post- conflict communities
Kathryn Kolbert: is the Constance Hess Williams Director of the Athena Center for Leadership Studies at Barnard College. She has been recognized by The National Law Journal as one of the “100 Most Influential Lawyers in America,”
Judge Dorothy Harbeck: (Judge Harbeck is speaking in her personal capacity. Her views are her own and may not necessarily reflect the position of the U.S. Department of Justice-Executive Office for Immigration Review). Hearings before her court on violence against women.
Ambassador Meryl Frank: U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women
Moderator: Dr. Susan Roosevelt Weld – Director, Asia Law Center- Georgetown School of Law; United States Representative to the Beijing World Conference on Women, 1995.
The Human Rights Framework and Violence against Women
The human rights of women and the girl child are an inalienable, integral and indivisible part of human rights. The full and equal participation of women in political, civil, economic social and cultural life, at the national, regional and international levels, and the eradication of all forms of discrimination on grounds of sex are priority objectives of the international community.
– The Vienna Declaration and Platform of Action
Women’s access to leadership/ political participation/public service cannot not take place in a in an environment that subordinates and disempowers women. Women’s leadership cannot be isolated from the general status of women in society. Violence against women both in the home and in public is one of the biggest impediments to women’s agency and has enormous social, political and economic ramifications on women and society. In 2005, the World Health Organization (WHO) established that violence against women caused more death and disabilities among women aged fifteen to forty-four than cancer, malaria, traffic accidents and war. In 1992, the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) Committee officially noted that violence against women results in the most widespread form of injuries to women between fifteen to forty-four years of age. Unfortunately, in spite of international commitments, the lives of girl children and women around the world are often marked by gendered, discriminatory practices. However, violence against women is now a critical public policy issue of transnational character and showcases how global forces coalesced with local women’s groups and human rights movements to place it on national and transnational policy agendas.
Some Issues for Discussion
Transformation and implementation of Core Human Rights Conventions- Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), ion on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights ( ICESCR); Convention on the elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), Convention on the Rights of the Child ( CRC), Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) Convention against Torture, Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers ICRMW); and Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD); UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, 2000.
Some Opportunities for Reform: New Developments in the Law
The Afghanistan Domestic Violence Law, 2009 attempts to reconcile human rights with Islamic injunctions:
The law seeks to eliminate “customs, traditions, practices that cause violence against women contrary to the religion of Islam”.
The law makes illegal the selling and buying of women for marriage; forced marriage; child marriage; forcing women to commit self- immolation. Acknowledging that women’s rights cannot be realized in Afghanistan unless harmful practices are addressed, the law defines the denial of right to education, work, access to health services as harmful practices. Moreover, the criminalization of the prohibition of an Afghan woman’s or girl’s education is particularly salient.
The Council of Europe Convention on preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, 2011
This Convention criminalizes Female Genital Mutilation
Kurdistan- Fatwa Against Female Genital Mutilation
Shortly after Human Rights Watch report on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) was published in July 2010, the High Commission for Issuing Fatwas at the Kurdistan Islamic Scholars Union, the highest Muslim religious authority in Iraqi Kurdistan, issued a Fatwa, a religious edict or pronouncement, attesting that FGM is not an Islamic practice. Although the Fatwa did not ban FGM but left the decision to parents, this was an important Fatwa.
Recent Legal Milestone:
The Kurdistan Family Violence Bill to curb Female Genital Mutilation, 2011 and affirms that FGM is not an Islamic practice
Pakistan, The Acid Control and Burn Crime Prevention Bill, 2010
National Acid Control Councils will be established to implement the Act in every province. Moreover, the provincial Acid Control Committees are to ensure prevention of sale of acids in their relevant areas of jurisdiction. The Acid and Burn Crime Control Tribunal is to monitor the Act.
12:00 – 1:30 p.m. Lunch Brackett Reading Room (Library)
Luncheon Keynote Speaker:
Hina Jilani on Addressing Violence against Women as a Human Rights Violation
1:30 – 5:00 p.m. Afternoon Session
Violence against Women as a Human Rights Violation: Developing Laws, Policies and Practices to Combat Violence against Women
Moderater: Stephenie Foster, international expert on policy advocacy
Refer to Materials in Session 5 (1-7)
1:30 – 3:00 p.m. Group discussions
3:00 – 4:30 p.m. Role Play before Plenary
4:30 – 5:00 p.m. Comments and Discussions
Participants will break into groups and discuss the following roleplaying scenarios based on emerging challenges and creating opportunities to address those challenges:
Discuss a plan of action to address state led violence and violence in politics. This can include virginity testing, threats to political candidates and disappearing of political candidates, etc.
Discuss an anti-violence against women law. This can include acid attacks, dowry related crimes etc. Imagine you are a group of stakeholders including NGO, academics, parliamentarians, activists and victims of honor crimes discussing critical provisions to a law. How do you build a consensus; how do you build a team to work on this issue?
Violence against women in Conflict: Transforming UNSC 1325 into practice- this could be a law, policy, plan of action, a speech before congress or a community group
Crimes against women in the name of honor- Discuss changes to criminal laws to revise crimes against women as mitigating or exculpatory offence. Imagine you are a group of stakeholders including NGO, academics, parliamentarians, activists and victims of honor crimes discussing critical provisions to a law. How do you build consensus, how do you build a team to work on this issue?
Discuss a CEDAW State Party or Shadow report to address violence against women; you could also use this opportunity to discuss SC Resolution 1325 and what has or has not been done to implement that.
5:00 – 7:30 p.m. Dinner- Faculty Club
Dinner Keynote Speaker
Gender Equality as Critical Development Policy
Jeni Klugman- World Bank’s Director of Gender and Development. She will discuss the 2012 World Development Report on Gender Equality and Development.
The World Development Report 2012: Gender Equality and Development argues that gender equality as a core development objective is not only a moral imperative but also smart economics. Greater gender equality can enhance productivity, improve development outcomes for the next generation, and make institutions more representative. The Report identifies four priority areas where gender gaps are most significant. These areas include: Reducing excess female mortality; closing education gaps where they remain; improving access to economic opportunities for women and increasing women’s voice and agency in the household and in society.