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Using the international human rights system to protect and promote the rights of women migrant workers.
New York, New York, UN Women, . 7 p. (Policy Brief No. 6)This Brief provides an overview of the international human rights system as it applies to the promotion and protection of women migrant workers’ rights. Using examples from UN Women’s joint EU-funded project "Promoting and Protecting Women Migrant Workers’ Labour and Human Rights: Engaging with International, National Human Rights Mechanisms to Enhance Accountability" (the Project), which is anchored nationally in three pilot countries: Mexico, Moldova, and the Philippines, this Brief illustrates how these mechanisms can be used by governments, civil society and development partners, to enhance the rights of women migrant workers in law and practice.
[Unpublished] 2004. Presented at the Conference on Gender Justice in Post-Conflict Situations, "Peace Needs Women and Women Need Justice”. Co-organized by the United Nations Development Fund for Women [UNIFEM] and the International Legal Assistance Consortium. New York, New York, September 15-17, 2004. 5 p.When wars occur, women are usually the most abused, aggrieved and powerless. In the vast majority of countries, women play no significant role in the decision-making process of whether war is warranted or lawful. When hostilities break out, women are exposed not only to the forms of violence and devastation that accompany any war but also to forms of violence directed specifically at women on account of their gender. The use of sexual violence and sexual slavery as tactics and weapons of war remains at a high level in spite of tremendous strides made by the global community over the past decade. It is imperative to acknowledge the immeasurable injury to body, mind and spirit that is inflicted by these acts. The overall deterioration in the conditions of women in armed conflict situations is due not only to the collapse of social restraints and the general mayhem that armed conflict causes, but also to a strategic decision on the part of combatants to intimidate and destroy the enemy as a whole byraping and enslaving women who are identified as members of the other warring party. (excerpt)
Gender and child protection policies: Where do UNHCR's partners stand? A report by the Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children.
New York, New York, Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children, 2006 Jul. 15 p.The purpose of this study is to gauge what kind of policies, tools and accountability mechanisms are in place at partner organizations with respect to gender equality and child/youth protection. The aim is to find out if and what specific policies exist and the level of partner interaction with UNHCR to implement AGDM through information sharing and training. This report is not meant to evaluate UNHCR partners' policies and tools. Rather, it is meant to make a contribution to UNHCR and partners' work by documenting progress and good practice as well as obstacles and challenges they face in mainstreaming. As pertinent, these survey findings are to be taken into consideration within the overall context of strengthening UNHCR's multi-year AGDM global rollout by enhancing its impact through the promotion of relevant policy and accountability mechanisms development with its key partners. (excerpt)
Research Observer. 2007 Spring; 22(1):25-51.This article highlights the progress in building a knowledge base on effective ways to increase access to justice for women who have experienced gender-based violence, offer quality services to survivors, and reduce levels of gender-based violence. While recognizing the limited number of high-quality studies on program effectiveness, this review of the literature highlights emerging good practices. Much progress has recently been made in measuring gender-based violence, most notably through a World Health Organization multicountry study and Demographic and Health Surveys. Even so, country coverage is still limited, and much of the information from other data sources cannot be meaningfully compared because of differences in how intimate partner violence is measured and reported. The dearth of high-quality evaluations means that policy recommendations in the short run must be based on emerging evidence in developing economies (process evaluations, qualitative evaluations, and imperfectly designed impact evaluations) and on more rigorous impact evaluations from developed countries. (excerpt)
New York, New York, United Nations Population Fund [UNFPA], 2006.  p.Even in times of peace, it is usually women who look after children, the sick, the injured and the elderly. When emergencies strike, this burden of care can multiply. In many cases, women become the sole providers and caretakers for their households, and sometimes the families of others -- especially when men have been killed, injured or must leave their communities to fight or rebuild. During crisis and in refugee situations, women and girls become the ultimate humanitarian workers. They obtain food and fuel for their families, even when it is unsafe to do so. They are responsible for water collection, even when water systems have been destroyed and alternate sources are far away. They help to organize or rebuild schools. They protect the vulnerable and care for sick and disabled family members and neighbours. Women are also likely to take on additional tasks, including construction and other physical labour, and activities to generate income for their families. In many conflict zones, women's actions also help to bring about and maintain peace. Women care for orphaned children who might otherwise become combatants. They organize grass-roots campaigns, sometimes across borders, to call for an end to fighting. When the situation stabilizes, women work together to mend their torn communities. They help rebuild, restore traditions and customs, and repair relationships -- all while providing care for the next generation. (excerpt)
Forced Migration Review. 2006 May; (25):36.Lebanon has a significant problem of trafficking in persons that particularly affects foreign women recruited as domestic workers and foreign women in the sex industry. The trafficking of Lebanese and foreign children into street begging and sexual exploitation is a quantitatively smaller but no less serious problem. Large numbers of migrant women come to Lebanon to serve as domestic workers in private households. NGOs estimate that there are between 120,000 and 200,000 domestic migrant workers in a country of only four million people. Sri Lankan women are the largest group, followed by Filipinas and Ethiopians. The government fails to exercise due diligence in protecting them from exploitation and abuse: The authorities confiscate passports on arrival and hand them to employers who retain them to control their 'investment' of $1,000-2,000 for the agency charge and the airfare; Without passports, women are liable to arrest, criminal conviction as an undocumented migrant and deportation; Women generally sign a contract prior to departure for Lebanon but on arrival find themselves forced to sign another contract for a significantly lower salary; only this contract has legal validity in Lebanon even though it was concluded in a situation characterised by deception and duress; Domestic workers are not allowed to change employers during their stay. (excerpt)
Securing equality, engendering peace: a guide to policy and planning on women, peace and security (UN SCR 1325).
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, United Nations International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women [INSTRAW], 2006.  p.What must be done in order to transform written words into reality? One of today's greatest development challenges is turning policy into practice. This is especially the case in the realm of women's rights and gender equality, where the commitments made at the international and national levels remain far from the day-to-day realities of women's lives. This guide examines one of the crucial steps on the path towards the full implementation of existing laws, namely the formation and implementation of concrete policies and plans. More specifically, this guide concentrates on the creation of action plans on the issue of women, peace and security (WPS). The purpose of this guide is to help facilitate the development of realistic action plans on women, peace and security through the provision of good practices, specific recommendations and a six-step model process. The guide is designed as a resource for governments, United Nations and regional organisations as well as non-governmental organisations (NGOs) who are interested in developing plans and policies on women, peace and security issues. (excerpt)
New York, New York, United Nations, General Assembly, 2006 Aug 25. 23 p. (A/61/292)The present report provides a review and update of the programme and activities of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) for 2005. The report tracks overall progress and highlights concrete results in the implementation of its multi-year funding framework 2004-2007 during the year under review. The report concludes with a set of recommendations on how the development and organizational effectiveness of UNIFEM can be further strengthened. (author's)
UN Chronicle. 2002 Dec; 39(4): p..The Secretary-General's final report on women, peace and security to the Security Council was released on 21 October 2002, coinciding with the second anniversary of the Council's adoption of resolution 1325 (2000), which mandated the Secretary General to carry out a study on the impact of armed conflict on women and girls, women's roles in peace-building and the dimensions of gender in peace processes and conflict resolution. The report contains recommendations on how the United Nations can improve the status of women in peace and security processes, and hasten implementation of the resolution. The study analyzes the effects of armed conflict situations involving women and girls, who are both victims and perpetrators of violence, and whose contributions to all aspects of peace operations-peacemaking, peace-building, humanitarian operations, and reconstruction and rehabilitation-would increase the chances to achieve sustainable peace. The study asserts that there has been a failure to integrate gender perspectives into peace processes and conflict resolution due to a lack of know-how and accountability mechanisms on the part of policy- and decision-makers. (excerpt)
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)
Fuera del Closet. 1996 Sep; (10):4-5.The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (a human being under the age of 18) declared the right of children to health and protection from sexual exploitation and sexual abuse. This was reiterated by the 1993 World Conference on Human Rights. The Declaration of the Conference on Human Rights urged the governments to step up their efforts to protect and promote the human rights of women and children. It called for the elimination of gender-based violence and all forms of sexual harassment and exploitation. (excerpt)
In: Thematic compilation of General Assembly and Economic and Social Council resolutions, [compiled by] United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees [UNHCR]. Geneva, Switzerland, UNHCR, 2003 Feb 1. 515-538.The provisions reproduced below call upon States to ensure access for refugee and displaced women to emergency relief, health programmes, counselling services, and material assistance. GENERAL ASSEMBLY RESOLUTIONS: Calls upon all States and donors providing immediate relief to refugees and displaced persons to endeavour to lessen the special vulnerability of women in these circumstances, by ensuring their access to emergency relief and to health programmes, and. their active participation in decision making in centres or camps for refugees or displaced persons; Further calls upon all States and donors assisting in the rehabilitation, resettlement or repatriation of refugees and displaced persons to recognize the pivotal role of the mother in the family, and thus in the provision of family welfare, to ensure women's rights to physical safety and to facilitate their access to counselling services and material assistance. (excerpt)
Bulletin Économique et Social du Maroc. 2000; (159):21-24.According to the 1998 World Human Development Report (HDR), Morocco ranks 125th with a human development indicator (HDI) of 0.557 points. The indicator elements pertaining to life expectancy, adult literacy and schooling levels remain unchanged in the HDI, but the revenue indicator has improved. These important changes have armed this HDI with a more solid methodological base. With an average per capita revenue of 3,310 dollars (PPP), Morocco finds itself in the revenue segment that has undergone the most significant revision of the standardized value. In effect, although it is not found among the principal Arab countries which have successfully reduced deficits in terms of human development during the last two decades, Morocco has, however, successfully reduced them by 27%. The progress made by this country in terms of human development in the last decade can be seen in the struggle against poverty and is reinforced and consolidated by the commitment of the Head of State for the purpose of improving the living conditions of the poor. The struggle against poverty constitutes the fundamental goal of the UNDP, around which are centered most of the programs and projects whose implementation should contribute to promoting the necessary environment for poverty reduction and consequently, to improved human development. The strategy chosen for the UNDP's intervention is broken into two parts: one is to support strategies and policies in the struggle against poverty, and the other lies in local initiatives for validating these same policies. It targets the socio-geographic aspect of action, on the one hand, benefiting the most vulnerable social groups such as women, children, and girls in the poorest areas, and on the other hand, is directed at those geographic areas that are the most ill-favored in the rural world as well as urban outskirts. The process of integrating Morocco into a free trade zone with the European Union has required the implementation of reforms at the legal and institutional level to manage ever stiffer competition in the world market.
Refugees. 2002; 1(126):6-7, 10-13, 23-7.In any civilian exodus, women and children normally make up an estimated 75% of a refugee population. In view of this, UN High Commissioner for Refugee's Executive Committee endorsed its first Conclusion on Refugee Women and International Protection in 1985. In 1998, the Statute of the International Criminal Court was adopted giving it power to adjudicate a wide spectrum of offenses including rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution and forced pregnancy. In the early millennium, a UN resolution committed governments to protect women from abuses of war and include them in subsequent peace talks. To address the 'gender challenge' within humanitarian organizations themselves, greater numbers of women were recruited, specialized posts were created, sensitization programs were developed for staff, and some budgets were rationalized to move nearer to equality.
London, England, Institute for War and Peace Reporting, 2001 Jun 1. 3 p. (RCA No. 54)Life in Kyrgyzstan is extremely hard, especially for women, of whom the vast majority is unemployed. To earn money, increasing numbers of Kyrgyz women are falling prey to false promises of high-paying work abroad, only to end up being forced into sexual slavery. Experts have concluded that human trafficking in Kyrgyztan has escalated, filling the demand for women in the sex industry. Children, too, are falling victim. Many are missing and are thought to have been sent abroad for the sex trade, cheap labor, organ transplant donors, and even adoption. According to the British-based charity, Save the Children, 10% of prostitutes--between 2000 and 2500 in Bishkek alone--are under the age of 18. However, the Bishkek government is either unwilling or unable to tackle the problem. Moreover, the country also lacks the appropriate sanctions for those caught involved in human trafficking. In response, several international organizations and nongovernmental organizations have taken the initiative. Parliamentary Deputy Kubat Baibolov argued that the problems should be addressed by reviving the economy and improving people's lives, and not merely reforming the law.
Women tell UN Security Council of abuses during war. Unprecedented Security Council debate could open door to stronger enforcement of measures to protect women in armed conflict.
[Unpublished] 2000 Oct 23 3 p.In New York, UN Security Council members heard informal testimony about crimes committed against women and girls in countries in conflict. Women spoke of thousands of babies being born from rapes and forced pregnancy, and of young girls abducted by troops, forced into sexual slavery, and infected with the HIV/AIDS virus. The women illustrated how, in the most dangerous of circumstances, they have shown leadership as peacemakers, reaching across the conflict divide to seek resolution and common ground. In view of this, a nongovernmental organization coalition involving such leading international organizations as Amnesty International, the Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children, the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, International Alert, and the Hague Appeal for Peace recommended that the Security Council take concrete measures to prevent further abuses of women and girls. These measures should include that all fact-finding missions consult with women's organizations; that all peacekeeping and peace support operations are mandated to protect women and girls and uphold peacekeeping codes of conduct; that women have equal participation in negotiation processes, and the full integration of women's human rights into post-conflict efforts to reform constitutions, electoral systems, the judiciary, and security forces.
Security Council, unanimously adopting Resolution 1325 (2000), calls for broad participation of women in peace-building, post-conflict reconstruction. SC/6942.
[Unpublished] 2000 Oct 31 5 p.Reaffirming the important role of women in the prevention and conclusion of conflicts and in peace-building, the UN Security Council called on all parties to adopt a gender perspective emphasizing the broad participation of women in peace-building and post-conflict reconstruction. This action was undertaken when the Council unanimously accepted Resolution 1325 (2000), by which it also expressed willingness to ensure that Security Council missions take into account gender considerations and the rights of women. In particular, the Council urged member states to increase the participation of women at decision-making levels as well as to end impunity and to prosecute those responsible for war crimes, including those relating to sexual violence against women and girls. The Council also requested the Secretary-General to provide member states with training guidelines and materials on the protection, rights, and specific needs of women. A full text of the Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) is presented.
[Unpublished] 2000 Apr. 7 p.This paper explains briefly the role of the International Labor Organization (ILO) in maternity protection, the process of adopting and revising ILO standards on maternity protection and the main differences between the existing international standards and the draft Maternity Protection Convention. Presented in a questionnaire form, this fact sheet focuses on maternity protection. It answers questions as to what constitutes a maternity protection and how it is provided, and what ILO standards relate to maternity protection. In addition, it enumerates international labor standards and explains its effects; it explains the revision process of the Convention No. 103; and highlights some of the differences between Convention No. 103 and the Draft Convention.
Nairobi, Kenya, Government of Kenya, 1998. 259 p.The 1998 Situation Analysis of Children and Women in Kenya highlights the policy of the UN Children's Fund of initiating a rights-based approach to program planning. Chapter 1 reviews the social and economic base, which plays an important role in the formulation of policies, and programs aimed at improving the welfare of children and women. Discussion covers a geographical, environmental, political, administrative and economic overview and an analysis of the economy. Key issues of poverty, labor force, demographic and sociocultural perspectives and how they interplay to influence the situation of children and women are also discussed. Chapter 2 explores the extent to which the Kenyan law protects the rights of women and children. Chapter 3 summarizes the national and legal policy framework, reviews and analyzes the status of women and children participation in education, highlights key strategies for moving ahead, and examines collective efforts for the provision of education. Chapter 4 examines the survival rights of children including 1) the rights to maternal and child health; 2) the right to nutrition; 3) the right to household food security; and 4) the right to water and environmental sanitation. Also, it examines the situation of HIV infection and AIDS in children and women. Finally, chapter 5 identifies opportunities for sustainable and effective intervention.
ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL OFFICIAL RECORDS. 1991; Suppl 1:24-5.This document contains the text of a 1991 UN resolution on refugee and displaced women and children. After reviewing previous UN action on this issue, the resolution recommends that: 1) member states cooperate with UN agencies and nongovernmental organizations to address the root cases of refugee migrations; 2) women and children be protected from violence and abuse; 3) the specific needs of refugee women and children be considered in planning; 4) refugee women be given sufficient information to make decisions on their own future; 5) women and, when possible, children, be given access to individual identification documents; 6) refugee women participate fully in the assessment of their needs and in the planning and implementation of programs; 7) the UN Secretary-General review the ability of its organizations to address the situation of refugee women and children; and 8) international organizations increase their capacity to respond to the needs of refugee women and children through greater coordination of efforts. The resolution commends member states which receive large numbers of refugees and asks the international community to share the resulting burden and further recommends that all pertinent organizations adopt an appropriate policy on refugee women and children, female field staff be recruited, staff be trained to increase awareness of the issues related to refugee of women and children and skills for planning appropriate actions, and the collection of refugee statistics be disaggregated by age and gender.
[Resolution No.] 48/104. Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women [20 December 1993].
RESOLUTIONS AND DECISIONS ADOPTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY DURING ITS FORTY-EIGHTH SESSION. 1994; 1:217-9.On December 20, 1993, the UN General Assembly issued a Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women. The preamble to the Declaration refers to international human rights treaties and notes that the present resolution will strengthen the implementation process for the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. Violence against women is denounced as an obstacle to development, a violation of rights and fundamental freedoms, and a manifestation of historically unequal power relations between the sexes. Concern is also expressed for women in particularly vulnerable groups. The Declaration opens with a definition of "violence against women" as "any act of gender-based violence that results in . . . physical, sexual, or psychological harm or suffering to women. . .." Article 2 notes that these acts include domestic violence, sexual abuse, dowry-related violence, marital rape, female genital mutilation, rape, sexual harassment, forced prostitution, and violence perpetrated or condoned by any State. The third article states that women's rights are to include the right to life, to equality, to liberty and security of person, to equal protection under the law, to freedom from discrimination, to the highest attainable physical and mental health, to just and favorable employment conditions, and to protection from torture or inhuman punishment. Article 4 notes that States should condemn violence against women and should not invoke any custom, tradition, or religion to avoid their obligations to elimination such violence. This article also contains additional specific measures which States should follow. The fifth article covers ways in which the UN can contribute to this goal by taking such actions as fostering international and regional cooperation, promoting meetings and seminars, fostering coordination within the UN system, and cooperating with nongovernmental organizations.
In: ICPPD '94 update. International Conference of Parliamentarians on Population and Development, Cairo. Follow up, November 1994. [Cairo, Egypt], International Conference of Parliamentarians on Population and Development, 1994 Nov. 4.Dr. Hiroshi Nakajima, Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), addressed the International Conference of Parliamentarians on Population and Development (ICPPD), on behalf of the UN Secretary General, Mr. Boutros Boutros-Ghali. He stated that parliamentarians should pass and enact laws which protect women's rights and opportunities for self development, and that a new international covenant for social development and cooperation, one based on active solidarity, was the best guarantee for peace and human security. When members of a society realized that they were interdependent, that by sharing risks they gained access to shared resources, and that by accepting their obligations they would have their rights protected in the community and by the government they had chosen to represent them, a lasting social covenant was established within communities and among nations.
ANNUAL REVIEW OF POPULATION LAW. 1988; 15:118.This Decree approves the Plan of Operations entered into by the Government of Honduras and the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) with respect to women and children for the years 1987-91. The general objective of the Plan is to monitor and improve the situation of women and children in Honduras by means of providing the following services: 1) early attention to and development of children; 2) basic services for rural women and children; and 3) intersectoral social planning and promotion of infancy. Among the specific services to be provided are literacy training and adult education for women, infant nutrition, and programs of social support for women and children. Further provisions of the Decree set forth the details of the Plan for the year 1987, as well as provisions on past agreements between the Government of Honduras and UNICEF, monitoring and evaluation, and the contributions of the Government of Honduras and UNICEF, among other things. UNICEF's contribution is US$1,465,000. (full text)