P. was subsequently admitted to a hospital in Warsaw, where she was informed that the hospital was facing pressure not to perform the abortion and had received numerous e-mails criticising the applicants for their decision. P. also received unsolicited text messages from the priest and others trying to convince her to change her mind. Feeling manipulated and helpless, the applicants left the hospital two days later. They were harassed by anti-abortion activists and eventually taken to a police station, where they were questioned for several hours. On the same day, the police were informed that the Lublin Family Court had ordered P.’s placement in a juvenile shelter as an interim measure in proceedings issued to divest her mother of her parental rights on the grounds that she was pressurising P. into having the abortion. In making that order the court had regard to text messages P. had sent to her friend saying she did not know what to do. Later that day, the police drove P. to Lublin, where she was placed in a juvenile shelter. Suffering from pain, she was taken to hospital the following day, where she stayed for a week. A number of journalists came to see her and tried to talk to her. After complaining to the Ministry of Health, the applicants were eventually taken in secret to Gdańsk, some 500 kilometres from their home, where the abortion was carried out.
The family court proceedings were discontinued eight months later after P. testified that she had not been forced by her mother to have an abortion. Criminal proceedings that had been brought against P. for suspected sexual intercourse with a minor were also discontinued as was the criminal investigation against the alleged perpetrator of the rape.
1.The case originated in an application (no. 49669/07) against the Republic of Bulgaria lodged with the Court under Article 34 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (“the Convention”) by a Bulgarian national, Ms P.M. (“the applicant”), on 25 October 2007.
2.The applicant was represented by Mr V.Vasilev, a lawyer practising in Sofia. The Bulgarian Government (“the Government”) were represented by their Agent, Ms M. Kotseva, of the Ministry of Justice.
3.The applicant alleged, in particular, that the investigation into sexual offences of which she had been a victim had been ineffective, and that she had not had an effective domestic remedy in this respect.
The Pacific with its huge geographic coverage and small populations is often overlooked in global and regional research and publications. Documented information about what is happening in the Pacific can be hard to find for both Pacific Islanders and people new to the region. International organisations that document human rights issues in much of the world often do not include the Pacific Islands. This is not to say that information on human rights in the Pacific does not exist. It does and there are many sources for it. However, until now, it has not been brought together in one place to provide an overview of human rights issues in the region. We hope that this publication, Human Rights in the Pacific – Country Outlines, provides such an overview and guides readers to sources and people that can provide further information.
The strengths and weaknesses of different human rights enforcement regimes are typically assessed from a vantage point that evaluates each type of mechanism in isolation from others. From this perspective, human rights courts are sometimes regarded as the “gold standard” in human rights enforcement because they possess what their far-more-common enforcement brothers — reporting and monitoring mechanisms — lack: The authority to impose sanctions on states that have violated their human rights obligations. When viewed side by side with human rights courts, reporting and monitoring mechanisms are frequently found wanting.
In fact, however, reporting and monitoring mechanisms have strengths as well as weaknesses. Moreover, they support treaties that have substantive obligations that overlap those found in treaties that are enforced by human rights courts. Once the connections between the treaties are taken into account, it follows that the treaties’ enforcement mechanisms also may impact one another. Viewing enforcement as an integrated phenomenon reveals a much more nuanced and complicated picture of the strengths and weaknesses of different types of enforcement mechanisms than is typically depicted when they are viewed as acting in isolation from one another.
Recognizing that different regimes of human rights treaty enforcement can be integrated requires re-conceiving the coercive and persuasive influence of mechanisms that have no direct sanctioning authority. Far from being “toothless,” these enforcement mechanisms have the potential to directly impact human rights courts with strong enforcement authority. Moreover, the ability of the courts to identify non-compliant behavior is strengthened through their interactions with other treaties’ reporting mechanisms.
R.K.B.’s employer accused her of having an affair with a male colleague and dismissed her from the position but did not dismiss the male colleague, and threatened to “spread rumours about her relationships with other men” to pressure her to sign a document, attesting that she had been paid all her benefits upon termination. R.K.B. presented a claim to the Committee, alleging that her employer, a hairdressing salon, had unfairly terminated her contract of employment based on gender stereotypes. The Kocaeli 3rd Labour Court did not agree with the petitioner that dismissing her but not her male colleague was discriminatory. The court simply decided that the termination of her contract had not been justified. R.K.B. appealed to the Court of Cassation, which dismissed the appeal without reference to gender discrimination.
The Committee concluded that the Turkish courts based their decisions on gender stereotypes, tolerating allegations of extramarital relationships by male employees but not by female employees. The Committee decided that there had been a violation of articles 5(a), 11(1a) and 11(1d) of CEDAW. The Committee also responded to the State argument that laws on women’s rights had been adopted since the 1990s, hence meeting the due diligence standard, by explaining that the State has the obligation to actually improve women’s position in society and to eliminate wrongful stereotypes. The Committee decided that adequate compensation should be paid to the author; that the State should take measures to implement laws on gender equality in the work environment; and that the State should provide training to judges, lawyers and law enforcement personnel on women’s rights and gender-based stereotypes.
This expert paper was written by Dr. Dubravka Simonovic, a member of the UN CEDAW Committee, for the expert group meeting on the ‘Prevention of violence against women and girls’ (September 2012). The purpose of the meeting was to contribute to a deeper understanding of violence against women and girls, in preparation for 57th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW).
In the introduction, the author writes about the importance of the CEDAW Convention (1979) and its Optional Protocol (2000). Although there is not a specific global convention on the prevention of violence against women, CEDAW protects women from all forms of discrimination, including violence against women. However, gender-based violence, especially domestic violence, remains the most common and widespread violation of women’s human rights. The author then goes on to describe the significance of CEDAW in international human rights law, highlighting important features, such as its comprehensiveness and adaptability. Although CEDAW does not contain an explicit article on violence against women, the CEDAW Committee has recommended an interpretation of violence against women as falling under the convention. Before examining this recommendation in more depth, the author describes the main principles and key concepts of CEDAW.
The following sections discuss the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (DATE), looking particularly at its relationship to CEDAW; the UN Declaration on Violence against Women (CEDAW), adopted in 1993; development at the regional level, with particular focus on the Istanbul Convention, adopted by the Council of Europe in 2011; and the jurisprudence of CEDAW, referring to specific cases on violence against women brought before the CEDAW Committee under the Optional Protocol. The final section describes the function of the CEDAW Committee’s concluding observations and related follow-up procedure (introduced in 2008), and provides a brief synopsis of the most important concerns raised by the Committee over the years regarding violence against women. This synopsis is divided into these topics: reservations, legislation and implementation, comprehensive approaches in preventing and combating violence against women, articles and stereotypes, provision of support measures for victims of domestic violence, and data and research. On this last topic, the author writes that, “the Committee has consistently called attention to the limited availability of data on various forms of violence against women and has called for data collection relevant for the prevalence of violence against women.
The Team of the Gender Alternatives Foundation (www.genderalternatives.org) works on pro-active research, education, legal and psycho-social counseling, campaigning and lobbying for legislative changes in the field of gender equality and women's rights. Violence against women and socio-economic rights of women make the main focus of its activities. Given the focus of its work and following its mission to achieve a balanced civil society in the Republic of Bulgaria, ensuring equal chances and equal representation of women and men and of different ethnic groups, in the public and private spheres, the Team prepared a Shadow report for the 52nd CEDAW Committee session in July 2012. The Team aims at using the report as a tool for holding the Government accountable for the implementation of the CEDAW as well as a tool for advancing women‟s human rights in the country.
The report covers six of the areas of concern outlined in the CEDAW Committee List of Issues and Questions1, namely: 1. Legal status of the Convention and legislative and institutional framework; 2. Traditional stereotypes; 3. Violence against women; 4. Education; 5. Health; 6. Disadvantaged groups of women. The report also provides a list of recommendations to be taken into account by the CEDAW Committee for the Concluding observations.
In 2012, the Committee on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women considered Jallow v. Bulgaria (C/52/D/32/2011). Isatou Jallow moved from the Gambia to Bulgaria after marrying A.P., a Bulgarian national. Once in Bulgaria, A.P. allegedly became abusive toward Jallow and subjected her to physical and psychological violence, including sexual abuse, and attempted to force her to take part in pornographic films and photographs. Even after social workers and police became involved, authorities took no measures to protect Jallow from further domestic violence and sexual abuse. In March 2009, prosecutors—without interviewing Jallow—refused to continue investigating the alleged domestic violence due to insufficient evidence. An order granting A.P. custody of the couple’s daughter was issued solely on the basis of A.P.’s statement and the Court did not consider Jallow’s allegations of domestic violence. In November 2010, Jallow submitted a communication to the Committee on behalf of her daughter and herself claiming that Bulgarian authorities failed to provide adequate protection against domestic violence and that the state’s actions relative to her situation amounted to gender-based discrimination.
The Committee concluded that Bulgaria had violated Articles 2(b)-2(f), 5(a), 16(1)(c), 16(1)(d) and 16(1)(f) of CEDAW, read in conjunction with Articles 1 and 3, when it failed to investigate allegations that A.P. had committed domestic violence against Jallow and her daughter. In the Committee’s view, these actions, together with the State’s failure to inform Jallow properly about her daughter’s whereabouts and her condition, violated Articles 2(b) and 2(c). The Committee determined that Bulgaria had also failed to protect Jallow’s rights to equality within marriage and as a parent, and to treat her daughter’s interests as paramount, in violation of Articles 5(a), 16(1)(c), 16(1)(d) and 16(1)(f). The Committee explained that Bulgaria’s actions were based on stereotypes concerning the roles of women and men within marriage, according to which men are perceived to be superior to women. The authorities’ reliance on these stereotypes caused them to act on the statements and actions of A.P. and to disregard Jallow’s allegations of violence. It also meant that they ignored Jallow’s vulnerable position and disregarded evidence concerning the disproportionate impact of domestic violence on women. The Committee urged Bulgaria to compensate Jallow and her daughter for violating their rights under CEDAW.It also recommended that the State Party adopt measures to ensure that women victims/survivors of domestic violence, including migrant women, have effective access to justice and other services (e.g., translation services). It also called on Bulgaria to provide regular training on CEDAW and the Optional Protocol and to adopt legislative and other measures to ensure that domestic violence is taken into account in the determination of custody and visitation rights of children.
In 2012, the Committee on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women considered J.S. v. the U.K. (C/53/D/38/2012 ). J.S. (“the author”) claims that he is a victim of discrimination of a continuous nature, because the revision of the 1948 British Nationality Act in 1981 and 2002 did not eliminate the discrimination against women. He claims that if he had been born of a father with United Kingdom and Colonies’ citizenship, or after 1983, he could have applied for a British passport.
The author claims that the Convention recognizes women’s autonomy and equality in the transfer and acquisition of nationality, and permits either spouse to confer nationality on their children. On the issue of nationality, the granting of equal rights to women requires having an independent nationality, regardless of the nationality of one’s husband, and granting equal rights regarding the nationality of children. States parties are also expected to uphold equal rights with regard to laws relating to the movement of persons and the freedom to choose one’s residence and domicile. They must also take measures to eliminate discrimination against women in matters relating to marriage and family relations, and ensure that overall equality between men and women exists. Any State which does not respect these provisions in practice and law fails in its duties under articles 1 and 2 of the Convention.
The author claims to be a victim of a violation of article 9 of the Convention. In substantiation, he refers to the Committee’s general recommendation No. 21 (1994) on equality in marriage and family relations (which emphasizes the importance of granting equal rights to women concerning acquisition and retention of citizenship. The author notes in particular that paragraph 6 of general recommendation No. 21 reads as follow: “Nationality is critical to full participation in society [...]. Without status as nationals or citizens, women are deprived of the right to vote or to stand for public office and may be denied access to public benefits and a choice of residence. Nationality should be capable of change by an adult woman and should not be arbitrarily removed because of marriage or dissolution of marriage or because her husband or father changes his nationality.”
In 2012, the Committee on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women considered Kell v. Canada (CEDAW/C/51/D/19/2008). In 1990, William Senych applied for housing without the knowledge of his common law partner, Cecilia Kell, an Aboriginal woman from the Rae-Edzo community in the Northwest Territories (NWT) of Canada. Senych’s application was denied because he was not a member of the Rae-Edzo community for which the housing was earmarked. On the advice of a Tenant Relations officer at the Rae-Edzo Housing Authority, Kell then applied for housing, listing Senych as her spouse. In 1991, the NWT Housing Corporation issued an Agreement for Purchase and Sale to Kell and Senych as co-owners of the property. Senych subjected Kell to domestic violence, including economic abuse, over the subsequent three-year period. In 1993, following a request from Senych and without Kell’s knowledge, the NWT Housing Corporation (on instruction from the Rae-Edzo Housing Authority) removed Kell’s name from the Assignment of Lease, the document that certified co-ownership. The removal had the effect of making Senych the sole owner of the property. Senych was a board member of the Housing Authority at the time of his request
In 1995, Senych changed the locks and denied Kell access to the property. He subsequently sought to evict her while she sought protection in a shelter Kell filed proceedings against Senych in the NWT Supreme Court seeking compensation for assault, battery, sexual assault, intimidation, trespass to chattels, loss of use of her home and consequential payment of rent and attendant expenses. She also filed a declaration that Senych had obtained the property fraudulently, aided and abetted by the NWT Government. Kell was assigned a legal aid lawyer, who advised her to comply with the letter of eviction and did not challenge the letter’s validity. Shortly thereafter, Senych was diagnosed with cancer at which time Kell’s lawyer advised her to delay proceedings. Senych later died, following which Kell’s lawyer initiated proceedings against his estate, the NWT Housing Corporation and another. A replacement legal aid lawyer added a claim for damages for assault and intimidation. In 1999, Senych’s estate and the Housing Corporation offered Kell a monetary settlement. During negotiations, Kell’s case was twice reassigned to new lawyers. Both insisted that Kell settle. She refused, however, as her key concern was regaining the property. Following her refusal, Kell’s lawyer ceased acting on her behalf. Kell’s case was only re-assigned to a new lawyer after she appealed to the Legal Services Board. The Supreme Court dismissed both proceedings for “want of prosecution”. Costs were imposed against Kell and subsequent appeals were unsuccessful. In 2004, Kell filed a third action related to her interest in and right to the leasehold title and possession of the property. The property had then been sold and the Court dismissed the matter.
Kell subsequently submitted a communication to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women in which she claimed that Canada had violated articles 1, 2(d), 2(e), 14(2)(h), 15(1)-15(4), 16(1)(h) of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. Kell claimed that Canada had allowed its agents – the NWT Housing Corporation and the Rae-Edzo Housing Authority – to discriminate against her on the grounds of sex, marital status and cultural heritage and had failed to ensure that its agents provide equal treatment to female housing applicants. Kell noted, in particular, Canada’s failure to prevent and remedy the fraudulent removal of her name from the Assignment of Lease and the failure to ensure that its agents afford women and men equal rights in respect of ownership, acquisition, management, administration and enjoyment of property.DV, sexual abuse
M.P.M., a Mexican national, sought asylum in Canada in 2006. M.P.M. claimed that she was entitled to asylum because she is a victim/survivor of domestic violence and was seeking to escape her abusive ex-husband, a Mexican police officer.
Canadian authorities dismissed M.P.M.’s claim on the basis that she had failed to establish that she was a refugee, within the meaning of the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. Authorities concluded that M.P.M. had falsely claimed to be a victim/survivor of domestic violence in order to obtain asylum in Canada and failed to provide credible and consistent evidence to support a claim of asylum. An application for judicial review and a separate application for a pre-removal risk assessment were also dismissed. M.P.M. did not file an application to prevent her deportation on humanitarian and compassionate grounds because of the low success and cost of such applications. In addition, she believed that Canadian authorities would dismiss such an application, since it would be based on the same arguments included in her previous unsuccessful applications. M.P.M. subsequently submitted a communication to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (Committee) in which she claimed, inter alia, that there were substantial grounds for believing that her life and safety were at real risk if deported to Mexico. M.P.M. submitted that Canada had violated articles 2(c), 2(d) and 3 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) by discriminating against her in her asylum claim and failing to ensure equal protection of her rights. In addition, she submitted that the failure of Canadian authorities to take her vulnerable situation fully into account constituted a violation of article 15 concerning equality in legal and civil matters. M.P.M. also claimed that Canada had violated article 16 of equality in marriage and family relations, but she failed to identify the basis of that claim.
The Committee concluded that the communication was ill-founded and not sufficiently substantiated and, thus, declared it inadmissible under article 4(2)(c) of the Optional Protocol. In doing so, it noted the voluntary return of M.P.M. to Mexico, her failure to explain her return to the Committee or follow-up her communication, the absence of any reports of violence since her return to Mexico, and her failure to provide new evidence to the Committee to substantiate her claim. Having declared the communication inadmissible on this basis, the Committee declined to consider Canada’s other objections to the admissibility of the communication.
The purpose of the current overview is to set out the case-law principles for the new admissibility criterion under Article 35 § 3 (b), as developed by the Court during the first two years of its operation. It is to be recalled that application of the criterion was reserved exclusively to Chambers and the Grand Chamber1 from 1 June 2010 until 31 May 2012. In accordance with Article 20 of Protocol No. 14, the new provision began to apply to all applications pending before the Court, except those declared admissible.
Intimate partner violence is one of the most common forms of violence against women and includes physical, sexual, and emotional abuse and controlling behaviours by an intimate partner. Intimate partner violence (IPV) occurs in all settings and among all socioeconomic, religious and cultural groups. The overwhelming global burden of IPV is borne by women. Although women can be violent in relationships with men, often in self-defense, and violence sometimes occurs in same-sex partnerships, the most common perpetrators of violence against women are male intimate partners or ex-partners. By contrast, men are far more likely to experience violent acts by strangers or acquaintances than by someone close to them.
The Handbook serves as a useful tool in supporting efforts to provide justice, support, protection and remedies to victims and to hold perpetrators accountable.
The Handbook first outlines the international and regional legal and policy frameworks which mandate States to enact and implement comprehensive and effective laws to address violence against women. It then presents a model framework for legislation on violence against women, divided into fourteen chapters. Finally, the Handbook provides users with a checklist of considerations to be kept in mind when drafting legislation on violence against women.
This Handbook intends to provide all stakeholders with detailed guidance to support the adoption and effective implementation of legislation which prevents violence against women, punishes perpetrators, and ensures the rights of survivors everywhere.
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;
This Article explains the development of a new judicial trend towards states' positive obligation to protect victims of domestic abuse. This Article also investigates the standard of due diligence for state liability, and suggests universal criteria according to which international law should apply to domestic violence as a human rights violation.
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The Istanbul Convention codifies established standards, jurisprudence and developments at international level, as well as best practice at national level, thereby lending them more weight and ensuring their wider application. Drawing in particular on the framework of measures of the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and case law developed by the CEDAW Committee, it is firmly based on the premise that violence against women cannot be eradicated without investing in gender equality and that in turn, only real gender equality and a change in attitudes can truly prevent such violence.
The following tables describe the manner in which the Istanbul Convention builds on the three sources that constitute the CEDAW framework: the Convention, General Recommendations and case law. The tables also show how the Istanbul Convention complements these instruments by establishing a more detailed catalogue of legally-binding obligations to prevent and respond to violence against women. The tables do not however contain a detailed explanation of the extensive list of obligations under the Istanbul Convention.