This paper provides background information on the international legal and policy framework on violence against women, plural legal systems and women’s movements for the participants attending the Asia Pacific Roundtable: International and Regional Standard setting to eliminate Violence Against Women 2013, set to be held on 7 and 8 Dec, in Bali, Indonesia.
In September 2011, a woman by the name of Shiela Macapugay hid a .38 caliber gun in the lining of her bag that was undetected by the security in the mall where her husband was working. She fired a fatal shot at her husband and in her attempt to kill herself immediately thereafter, also killed the security guard who tried to stop her from committing suicide.
The demise of Macapugay’s husband was not a simple but common occurrence. Her husband abandoned her and their child to be with another woman, and denied them of support. These are acts of violence against women protected by Republic Act No. 9262, otherwise known as the Anti-Violence Against Women and Children Act of 2004. Sheila Macapugay is now facing charges of both parricide and murder for the tragedy. If convicted, she will suffer a fate of imprisonment, reclusion perpetua. Fortunately, because of RA 9262, she has a defense available. Her counsel may present evidence that she was suffering from Battered Woman Syndrome (BWS), a justifying circumstance under RA 9262.
Notably, years ago before there was RA 9262, a policewoman, who was battered by her husband, shot him. She pleaded guilty, and years later, was released on parole. Such case would have been a good test case for BWS as a defense but there was no RA 9262 then. This paper will discuss the legal concepts, as well as the issues and problems of BWS as a legal defense, and the role of psychiatrists, psychologists, barangay officials and counselors. Macapugay’s case has been witnessed by society and jurisprudence since time immemorial, and now, it is a good test case to use the innovations created in RA 9262.
The Committee expresses its appreciation to the State party for its combined sixth and seventh periodic report, which was well structured and, in general, followed the Committee’s guidelines for the preparation of reports, although it lacked references to the Committee’s general recommendations and to some specific sex disaggregated data. The Committee expresses its appreciation to the State party for its oral presentation, the written replies to the list of issues and questions raised by the pre-session working group, and the further clarifications to the questions posed orally by the Committee.
The submission to the UPR process elaborated by the Women´s Legal and Human Rights Bureau, Inc from the Philippines addresses the issue of women’s access to justice in the country, which highlights technology-related violence against women (VAW) as an emerging form of VAW. The submission also looks at the gaps and challenges in available domestic remedies to survivors of violence and abuse against women online, criticizing that existing laws on VAW do not guarantee the prosecution of technology-related VAW. It further highlights the importance of women’s access to the internet and their representation in policy processes as integral to their right to access to justice.
In Jessica Lenahan (Gonzales) v. United States, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights found, inter alia, that the United States violated a woman's right to equality and non-discrimination under Article II of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man.' The Commission found that the existing legal framework in the United States does not meet international human rights standards, particularly with regard to women from minority and low-income groups. It stressed that international law requires states to act with "due diligence" to protect women from domestic violence. Moreover, the Commission recognized that because domestic violence is one of the most pervasive and pernicious forms of gender-based violence, states should adopt special measures to protect at-risk groups, including young women. It urged the United States to enact laws to make the enforcement of protective orders mandatory and "to create effective implementation mechanisms . . . accompanied by adequate resources destined to foster their implementation" and "training programs" for law enforcement and judicial officials.
This 120-page report is based on 58 interviews conducted in three prisons and three juvenile detention facilities with women and girls accused of “moral crimes.” Almost all girls in juvenile detention in Afghanistan had been arrested for “moral crimes,” while about half of women in Afghan prisons were arrested on these charges. These “crimes” usually involve flight from unlawful forced marriage or domestic violence. Some women and girls have been convicted of zina, sex outside of marriage, after being raped or forced into prostitution.
The fall of the Taliban government in 2001 promised a new era of women’s rights. Significant improvements have occurred in education, maternal mortality, employment, and the role of women in public life and governance. Yet the imprisonment of women and girls for “moral crimes” is just one sign of the difficult present and worrying future faced by Afghan women and girls as the international community moves to decrease substantially its commitments in Afghanistan.
The ASEAN Declaration on Strengthening Social Protection was adopted at the 23rd ASEAN Summit in 2013. The ASEAN Member States had declared to enforce adequate social protection measures, expand social insurance to the informal sector and social assistance to the unemployed and vulnerable groups.
As the overarching institution responsible for the promotion and protection of Human Rights in ASEAN, the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter shall be referred to as “the AICHR”) will discharge its duties pursuant to Article 14 of the ASEAN Charter and the AICHR’s Terms of Reference (TOR). The operations of the AICHR shall be conducted in accordance to the following Guidelines:
WE, the Heads of State/Government of the Member States of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), on the occasion of the 21st ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia;
REAFFIRMING ASEAN’s commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms as well as the purposes and the principles as enshrined in the ASEAN Charter, including the principles of democracy, rule of law and good governance;
REITERATING ASEAN and its Member States’ commitment to the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, and other international human rights instruments, to which ASEAN Member States are parties as well as to relevant ASEAN declarations and instruments pertaining to human rights;
WE, the Heads of State/Government of the Member States of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (hereinafter referred to as "ASEAN"), namely Brunei Darussalam, the Kingdom of Cambodia, the Republic of Indonesia, the Lao People's Democratic Republic, Malaysia, the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, the Republic of the Philippines, the Republic of Singapore, the Kingdom of Thailand and the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, on the occasion of the 21st ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
REAFFIRMING our adherence to the purposes and principles of ASEAN as enshrined in the ASEAN Charter, in particular the respect for and promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as the principles of democracy, the rule of law and good governance;
REAFFIRMING FURTHER our commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Charter of the United Nations, the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, and other international human rights instruments to which ASEAN Member States are parties;
REAFFIRMING ALSO the importance of ASEAN’s efforts in promoting human rights, including the Declaration of the Advancement of Women in the ASEAN Region and the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women in the ASEAN Region;
CONVINCED that this Declaration will help establish a framework for human rights cooperation in the region and contribute to the ASEAN community building process.
The practice of Forced Marriage, where one or both persons involved are coerced through pressure or abuse to consent to a marriage against their will, has been widely addressed in places such as the United Kingdom, but it has only recently begun to enter the framework of women’s rights advocacy work here in the United States. I am an Advocate at Manavi, a New Jersey-based South Asian1 women’s rights organization (SAWO) who has been trained on the issue of forced marriage in the UK. In this position, I have observed that in the US we are only beginning to understand what this practice is, what populations it affects, how prevalent it is and how we can effectively respond to this form of violence against women and girls so as to ensure the safety and well-being of those subjected to it. In June 2010, for the purposes of this paper, I conducted a 10-question web-based survey amongst frontline advocates at 25 SAWOs across the US. The responses I received from the survey, in addition to the cases emerging through Manavi’s advocacy work, con rms that forced marriages are happening in South Asian communities in the US. As frontline, grassroots advocates and activists in the South Asian community, we have witnessed a recent increase in reported cases even though this harmful traditional practice has been happening for many years.
This report tracks the progress made by women in South Asia in areas such as violence against women, and economic empowerment. This was the base document for the Seventh South Asia Regional Ministerial Conference in October 2010.
The word rape is Latin term ratio, which means seize i.e. forcible seizure which constitutes the main ingredient of the offence of rape. Law of rape in India however further widens the definition and means intercourse with a woman without her consent by force, fear or fraud. Several explanations of force fear and fraud has been incorporated to make the law of rape in India more comprehensive and stringent. Law of rape in India is contained in Indian Penal Code; Section 375 defines rape which can be reproduced as under:
2011 was a mixed bag for human rights. There certainly were some positives; some things remained unchanged; and then there were the aggravations. Ratification of a key child rights instrument, extension of Political Parties Act to FATA, introduction of laws to promote women's rights, religious minorities getting representation in the Senate, and a right to statutory bail for detainees in prisons are all steps that ought to be welcomed.
Unfortunately, the inability to introduce implementation mechanisms for international human rights treaties ratified by Pakistan remained unchanged, as did the indifference to or complicity with banning women from voting, and curbing disappearances and extrajudicial killings. The moratorium on executions stayed informal. The prisons remained at breaking point. Nothing was done to revive elected student unions in educational institutions or end the glut of weapons across the country. The public education system remained a scandal, the budgetary allocations to public healthcare fell even further, the government ceded ground to extremists and was utterly unprepared at the framework level to cope with internal displacement and its impact.
According to Human Rights Watch, domestic violence in Bangladesh is "a daily reality for many women" (2011, 3; Human Rights Watch 2010, 4). The 2007 Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey reported that 53 percent of the ever-married women surveyed had experienced some form of physical and/or sexual violence by their husbands (NIPORT et al. Mar. 2009, 201). In 2010, the Bangladesh Police registered 16,210 cases of "[c]ruelty to women" (Bangladesh n.d.a), a term that, under the Prevention of Cruelty Against Women and Children Act, includes rape, trafficking, dowry-related violence, acid throwing, and other forms of violence, but that does not necessarily include domestic violence since "there is no separate provision to seek justice for domestic violence" (UN 24 Mar. 2010, 28, 89).
This report is based on research carried out by UNAMA/OHCHR human rights officers in Kabul and in eight UNAMA regional offices between March 2010 and September 2011. UNAMA/OHCHR officers gathered detailed statistical and substantive information on implementation of the EVAW law by prosecutors, judges and police officers, and on the status of operations of provincial Commissions for Prevention of Violence against Women.
A ‘child victim of trafficking’ is any person under the age of 18 who is recruited, transported, transferred, harboured or received for the purpose of exploitation, either within or outside a country. Child trafficking affects children throughout the world, in both industrialized and developing countries. Trafficked children are often subjected to prostitution, forced into marriage or illegally adopted; they provide cheap or unpaid labour, work as house servants or beggars, are recruited into armed groups and are used for sports. Trafficking exposes children to violence, sexual abuse and HIV infection and violates their rights to be protected, grow up in a family environment and have access to education.
Ratification by Pakistan of all core international human rights treaties was among the positive highlights of the year, although the benefits were not immediately visible to the people. Two new laws were enacted to deal with sexual harassment. The Commission of Enquiry on Missing Persons cited the intelligence agenciesí role in enforced disappearances and for the first time the Supreme Court issued notices to these agenciesí heads. In the conflict-ravaged Swat region, the Taliban could no longer patrol the roads or flog citizens. The activities of non-governmental organisations grew, although many of the threats they faced also increased.
Pursuant to the Terms of Reference (TOR) of the AICHR, this five-year Work Plan for the period of 2010 – 2015 includes programmes and activities of the AICHR with indicative budget to be approved by the ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting, upon the recommendation of the Committee of Permanent Representatives to ASEAN.
AICHR is guided by the ASEAN Charter, the TOR of AICHR and the purposes and principles contained therein. AICHR desires that the ASEAN community shall be free from fear, war, aggression and poverty. The peoples of ASEAN shall enjoy the right to live in peace, dignity and prosperity. There shall be a balance between rights, duties and responsibilities of individuals in the context of the ASEAN Community. The Member States of ASEAN and all sectors of their respective societies have the shared responsibility to ensure the promotion and protection of these rights and duties.
The objective of the AICHR Work Plan 2010-2015 is to give reality to the Terms of Reference of AICHR. To that end, the Work Plan is aimed at realizing the aspiration of the people of ASEAN on human rights, strengthening AICHR, promoting awareness on human rights in ASEAN and enhancing cooperation with external partners, as well as to implement AICHR’s overarching mandate on human rights, thereby contributing to the successful building of an ASEAN Community by 2015.
Violence against women (VAW), in its various forms – physical, psychological and sexual – continues to be pervasive in the Philippines. Violence against women by State actors was highlighted at the time of martial rule when detained women suffered sexual abuse, torture and other ill-treatment. The human rights issue was largely viewed as State violence, and minimal attention was given to VAW by non-State actors or private individuals, particularly in inter-relational contexts.