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Domestic violence as a human rights issue. [La violencia doméstica como un problema de derechos humanos]
Human Rights Quarterly. 1993 Feb; 15(1):36-62.Part I of this paper examines why domestic violence was not analyzed traditionally as a human rights issue. It discusses the three independent, though interrelated, changes that occurred to begin to make such an analysis possible: the expansion of the application of state responsibility; the recognition of domestic violence as widespread and largely unprocesuted (brought about by greater public and international recognition of the daily violence experienced by women); and, the understanding that the systematic, discriminatory non-prosecution of domestic violence constitutes a violation of the right to equal protection under international law. Part II describes the first practical application of this evolving approach, in Brazil, where the presence of a broad-based women's movement made it possible to collect the data necessary to support an analysis of the government's responsibility for domestic violence. Finally, Part III explores the value and limitations of the human rights approach to combating domestic violence. We conclude that the human rights approach can be a powerful tool to combat domestic violence, but that there are currently both practical and methodological limitations--in part related to the use of the equal protection framework to assign state responsibility for domestic violence--that are problematic and require further analysis to make the approach more effective. (excerpt)
Human Rights Quarterly. 1991 May; 13(2):229-256.The Charter of the United Nations forbids discrimination on the basis of "race, sex, language or religion." Some of the delegations involved in drafting the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights felt that this short list of four nondiscrimination items was enough and should be repeated in the Declaration. Others wanted to be more exhaustive. The matter was referred to the Sub-Commission on the Prevention of Discrimination and the Protection of Minorities. This commission recommended that the article in the Declaration state that "[e]veryone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind such as race, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, property status, or national or social origin." Everything after "religion" was added to the Charter list. A few objections were raised, but nothing was deleted from the list. Instead, the two items of "color" and "birth" were added to the Sub-Commission's recommendation. Article 2 of the Declaration is thus an expansion of the Charter's mandate that the new world organization promote human rights for all without discrimination. This theme of nondiscrimination runs through all the deliberations about the Declaration, and whatever disagreements there were about the various items on the list were minor. There was complete agreement that the article on nondiscrimination was a keystone of the Declaration and a gateway to its universality. If we take away someone's race, sex, and opinions on various subjects, all information about his or her background, about birth and present economic status, what we have left is just a human being, one without frills. And the Declaration says that the human rights it proclaims belong to these kinds of stripped-down people, that is, to everyone, without exception. As Mr. Heywood, the Australian representative, said, "logically, discrimination was prohibited by the use in each article of the phrase 'every person' or 'everyone.'" That is why the prohibition against discrimination is not repeated- -as it well might have been--with each article, but is stated at the beginning and made applicable to "all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration." Given this opening prohibition against discrimination, there is, strictly speaking, no need for repetition. But that does not mean that the temptation was not there, especially in the case of sex-based discrimination. Nor does it mean that the final product--a litany of the words "everyone" and "no one"--was arrived at without struggle. For there was a struggle, especially in the case of women's rights. (excerpt)
Trafficking in women, girls and boys. Key issues for population and development programmes. Report of the UNFPA Consultative Meeting on Trafficking in Women and Children, Bratislava, Slovak Republic, 2-4 October 2002.
New York, New York, UNFPA, 2002.  p.The Consultative Meeting on Trafficking in Women and Children was held in Bratislava, Slovakia, from 2 to 4 October 2002. The encounter brought together 60 participants from 30 countries, including government and NGO representatives, as well as key persons from UNFPA and other UN agencies. UNFPA’s concerns with this contemporary issue are rooted in the historic Programme of Action adopted in Cairo at the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD). The complex trafficking issues are seen by the Fund as being directly related to the focus in the Programme of Action upon gender equality, women’s empowerment, violence against women, and reproductive health and rights. Trafficking in persons for the purpose of labour and commercial sexual exploitation is a modern form of slavery, according to Article 3 of United Nations Protocol 2000, which supplements the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, adopted by the General Assembly in November 2000. (“The Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children” has been signed by 80 countries.) The agreed definition was helpful to the participants at the Bratislava meeting as they pursued their agenda. At the outset, participants set the objectives they wished to achieve during their deliberations: building a common understanding of trafficking issues and their impact on reproductive health and rights; identifying approaches, methods and good practices in tackling the issues; identifying UNFPA’s comparative advantages as well as possible partners for implementing actions at field level. The meeting framed trafficking as a gender and development problem, and much attention was devoted to the exploration of gender perspectives. The situation facing children at risk was, therefore, discussed in terms of girls and boys; similarly, the gender of the traffickers was highlighted for the insights that might be revealed. The gendered dimension of poverty itself was viewed as an important reason for trafficking, notably because of the poverty-driven construct of ideas and attitudes regarding women and children that so easily permits their bodies to be turned into commodities. (excerpt)
Gender, Technology and Development. 2001 Sep-Dec; 5(3):341-364.Empowering women of forest based societies to participate in local forest management has become an essential rhetorical commitment of donor funded 'participatory' forestry projects and state policies for devolution of forest management. Instead of increasing women's empowerment, the top-down interventions of a World Bank funded forestry project in Uttarakhand are doing the opposite by disrupting and marginalizing their own struggles and achievements, transferring power and authority to the forest department and local elite men. A number of case studies illustrate the project's insensitivity to the dynamic functioning of existing self-governing institutions and the women's ongoing struggles within them to gain greater voice and control over forest resources for improving their quality of life and livelihood security. The article argues for active engagement of forest women and their communities in the policy and project formulation process itself, which permits building upon women's and men's own initiatives and struggles while strengthening gender-equal democratization of self-governing community forestry institutions. (author's)