Health, Human Rights, and Violence Against Women and Girls: Broadly Redefining Affirmative State Duties After Opuz v. Turkey


By expanding our understanding of human rights and affirmative state duties to include explicit concerns about female health, we provide a more complete articulation of a rights-based approach to elimination of gendered violence, thereby honoring principles of equality within a broader human rights framework. ... While few would question that states have an affirmative duty to implement policies geared at ending male violence against females, many would question whether such policies should include mandated interventions that are contrary to a woman's choice to preference her privacy over her health or safety. ... When assessing whether a nation has violated its duties under the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms ("European Convention"), the Court required states to intervene if authorities knew or should have known there was a risk to the life of an individual by a third party. ... Second, and perhaps more importantly, all of the available data suggests that intimate partner violence is among the greatest preventable health risks that women and girls face. ... Nahide fell into the category of a "vulnerable individual" as a repeat victim of domestic violence who felt helpless because of the inadequate protection the State offered. ... Therefore, while Opuz does not directly create an explicit right to health in the context of gendered violence, it does give life to such a concept by articulating a clear standard of positive state intervention. 

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Last updated on 08/13/2015