This study aims to contribute to the paucity of information that exists on forced marriage within the United States by presenting findings from a multi-method research study that includes an analysis of the following: 1) 524 surveys with students, domestic violence professionals and refugee service providers; 2) 52 case reviews of suspected and confirmed cases of forced marriage; and, 3) 22 interviews with frontline responders. This study is among a handful of studies within the United States that aim to provide information on the responses, remedies, and protections that are available for victims of forced marriage. This paper is the first to present findings from a group of college students on forced marriage, and the forms of abuse they have witnessed as a result of forced marriage; simultaneously this is also one of the first studies that presents findings from case reviews for 52 reported and suspected cases of forced marriage. Further this paper documents the experiences and recommendations of frontline responders, scholars, activists, and survivors for improving responses to forced marriage. Overall our findings are sobering and highlight the numerous challenges victims, their support networks, and direct service providers face in seeking remedies, protection, and adequate responses against forced marriage.
This document introduces international law and its uses in the prevention of sex-based and gender-based violence against refugee women. For this purpose, it includes discussions on the following:
- What is international law and which are its sources? - Is international law binding? - What international legal bodies exist? - What constitutes violence against women? - What are the primary legal documents securing the rights of refugee women? - Other governmental and non-governmental organizations dealing with refugee women
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We assessed the incidence of sexual violence, physical violence, physical health symptoms, gynecological symptoms, and risk behaviors for contracting an STD or HIV infection in women who had used a shelter for women with abusive partners. In addition, we investigated the relationships between sexual violence and the frequency of physical health symptoms, including specific gynecological symptoms. Results indicated that one fourth of the women interviewed had experienced sexual violence and nearly two thirds of the women had experienced physical violence in the past 6 months. The incidence of physical health symptoms, gynecological symptoms, and risk behaviors for exposure to STDs and HIV infection are presented. The correlations among sexual violence, physical violence, and experiences of physical health symptoms are also reported. This study is particularly valuable because previous research has not documented the relationship between sexual violence and physical health symptoms.
The origins of the 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees, which reflected recognition by UNHCR and the States members of its Executive Committee that there was a disjuncture between the universal, unlimited UNHCR Statute and the scope of the 1951 Convention, were quite different from those of the latter. Instead of an international conference under the auspices of the United Nations, the issues were addressed at a colloquium of some thirteen legal experts which met in Bellagio, Italy, from 21 to 28 April 1965. The Colloquium did not favour a complete revision of the 1951 Convention, but opted instead for a Protocol by way of which States parties would agree to apply the relevant provisions of the Convention, but without necessarily becoming party to that treaty. The approach was approved by the UNHCR Executive Committee and the draft Protocol was referred to the Economic and Social Council for transmission to the General Assembly. The General Assembly took note of the Protocol (the General Assembly commonly “takes note” of, rather than adopts or approves, instruments drafted outside the United Nations system), and requested the Secretary-General to transmit the text to States with a view to enabling them to accede (resolution 2198 (XXI) of 16 December 1966). The Protocol required just six ratifications and it duly entered into force on 4 October 1967.
The 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, with just one “amending” and updating Protocol adopted in 1967 (on which, see further below), is the central feature in today’s international regime of refugee protection, and some 144 States (out of a total United Nations membership of 192) have now ratified either one or both of these instruments (as of August 2008). The Convention, which entered into force in 1954, is by far the most widely ratified refugee treaty, and remains central also to the protection activities of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
In the aftermath of the Second World War, refugees and displaced persons were high on the international agenda. At its first session in 1946, the United Nations General Assembly recognized not only the urgency of the problem, but also the cardinal principle that “no refugees or displaced persons who have finally and definitely ... expressed valid objections to returning to their countries of origin ... shall be compelled to return ...” (resolution 8 (I) of 12 February 1946). The United Nations’ first post-war response was a specialized agency, the International Refugee Organization (IRO, 1946-1952), but notwithstanding its success in providing protection and assistance and facilitating solutions, it was expensive and also caught up in the politics of the Cold War. It was therefore decided to replace it with a temporary, initially non-operational agency, and to complement the new institution with revised treaty provisions on the status of refugees.