Publications by Year: 2009

2009
Addressing the Needs and Supporting the Crucial Roles of Widows in Society, Particularly in Conflict and Post-Conflict Scenarios. Johannesburg, South Africa : The International Council of Women; 2009.Abstract

A resolution ratified by the ICW-CIF GENERAL ASSEMBLY, 14-19 October 2009, Johannesburg, South Africa (in association with National Council of Women of Great Britain and Widows for Peace through Democracy).

icw_resolution_on_widows_sent_to_un_2009.doc
Belknap J, Melton HC, Sullivan C, Fleury-Steiner RE, Denney JT. The Levels and Roles of Social and Institutional Support Reported by Survivors of Intimate Partner Abuse. Feminist Criminology [Internet]. 2009;4 (4) :337-402. Publisher's VersionAbstract

http://fcx.sagepub.com/content/4/4/377.abstract

*The full article is available through this link. This article may be available free of charge to those with university credentials.

This article explores the roles of social (informal) and institutional (formal) support in the lives of 158 women whose intimate partner abuse (IPA) cases reached the courts in three jurisdictions in the United States.  Women were asked who knew about the IPA and their levels of supportiveness. Data analysis includes comparisons across the women in terms of social support and institutional support, and how these were related to the women’s demographic characteristics, whether they were still in a relationship with their abusers, the severity of the violence, and the women’s mental health.

Beeble ML, Bybee D, Sullivan C, Adams AE. Main, mediating, and moderating effects of social support on the well-being of survivors of intimate partner violence across 2 years. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology [Internet]. 2009;77 (4) :718-729. Publisher's VersionAbstract

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19634964

*The full article is available through this link. This article may be available free of charge to those with university credentials.

Intimate partner violence is a serious and pervasive social problem with deleterious consequences for survivors' well-being. The current study involved interviewing 160 survivors 6 times over 2 years to examine the role of social support in explaining or buffering these negative psychological consequences. The authors examined both between- and within-persons variability to explore women's trajectories regarding their experiences of abuse, social support, depression, and quality of life (QOL). Findings revealed the complex role of social support on women's well-being. Evidence was found for main, mediating, and moderating effects of social support on women's well-being. First, social support was positively related to QOL and negatively related to depression. Social support also partially explained the effect of baseline level and subsequent change in physical abuse on QOL and depression over time, partially mediated the effects of change in psychological abuse, and moderated the impact of abuse on QOL. The buffering effects of social support were strongest at lower levels of abuse. Implications for future research and intervention are discussed.

Pequeño A. Vivir violencia, cruzar los límites. Prácticas y discursos en torno a la violencia contra las mujeres en comunidades indígenas del Ecuador. Academia [Internet]. 2009. Publisher's VersionAbstract

http://www.academia.edu/1796405/_Vivir_violencia_cruzar_los_l%C3%ADmites._Prácticas_y_discursos_en_torno_a_la_violencia_contra_las_mujeres_en_comunidades_ind%C3%ADgenas_del_Ecuador_Andrea_Pequeño

En base a información cualitativa y cuantitativa, este texto analiza la violencia contra mujeres en una comunidad Kichwa de la provincia de Imbabura, en la sierra ecuatoriana. Para ello, relaciona las distintas formas demaltrato con el ciclo biológico-vital de las mujeres y las evidencia comoun ejercicio de poder, domesticación y control de la autonomía. En estemismo sentido, da cuenta de las dificultades en el acceso a los sistemas de justicia. Destaca, además, los discursos de las propias mujeres ante la violencia. Propone que, desde distintas posiciones, asumir, actuar y/o hacerfrente al fenómeno implica necesariamente un cruce de límites y fronte-ras reales y simbólicas. En este sentido, interpreta la apelación al discursode los Derechos Humanos como una política de reconocimiento y comouna resignificación estratégica que, actuando desde el ámbito privado, lespermite defender y contestar a los modelos impuestos sin romper –enestricto sentido– con los órdenes familiares y comunitarios.
Palabras clave: mujeres indígenas, violencia, fronteras, estrategias, derechos, Ecuador
No More Stolen Sisters: The need for a comprehensive response to discrimination and violence against Indigenous women in Canada. Amnesty International; 2009. Publisher's VersionAbstract

http://www.amnesty.ca/research/reports/no-more-stolen-sisters-the-need-f...

Indigenous women in Canada face much higher rates of violence than other women. In a 2004 Canadian government survey, Indigenous women reported rates of violence, including domestic violence and sexual assault, 3.5 times higher than non-Indigenous women. Studies suggest that assaults against Indigenous women are not only more frequent, they are also often particularly brutal. According to another government survey, young First Nations women are five times more likely than other women to die as a result of violence.

Kelly S. Recent Gains and New Opportunities for Women's Rights in the Gulf Arab States. Freedom House; 2009. Publisher's VersionAbstract

https://freedomhouse.org/article/womens-activists-see-gains-gulf-arab-st...

Please access the home page of this site to locate this publication.

As the societies of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) undertake the difficult process of enacting social and political change, the unequal status of women stands out as a particularly formidable obstacle. This study presents detailed reports and quantitative ratings on the state of women’s rights in the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC): Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It is the first installment of a larger project encompassing the entire MENA region, which will be completed in November 2009. Although the study indicates that a substantial deficit in women’s rights persists in every country of the Gulf region and is reflected in practically every facet of their societies, its findings also include the notable progress achieved over the last five years, particularly in terms of economic and political rights

No More Stolen Sisters: The need for a comprehensive response to discrimination and violence against Indigenous women in Canada. Amnesty International; 2009. Publisher's VersionAbstract

http://www.amnesty.ca/research/reports/no-more-stolen-sisters-the-need-f...

‘Families like mine all over Canada are wondering how many more sisters and daughters we have to lose before real government action is taken.’ Darlene Osborne whose relatives, Felicia Solomon and Helen Betty Osborne, were murdered.

Indigenous women in Canada face much higher rates of violence than other women. In a 2004 Canadian government survey, Indigenous women reported rates of violence, including domestic violence and sexual assault, 3.5 times higher than non-Indigenous women. Studies suggest that assaults against Indigenous women are not only more frequent, they are also often particularly brutal. According to another government survey, young First Nations women are five times more likely than other women to die as a result of violence.

In October 2004, Amnesty International released  a report, Stolen Sisters: A Human Rights Response to Discrimination and Violence against Indigenous Women in Canada which documented some of the underlying causes of violence against Indigenous women carried out by both Indigenous and non-Indigenous men. As the report showed, widespread and entrenched racism, poverty and marginalization are critical factors exposing Indigenous women to a heightened risk of violence while denying them adequate protection by police and government services.

Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Case of González et al. (“Cotton Field”) v. Mexico. Organization of American States; 2009. Publisher's VersionAbstract

http://www.oas.org/en/iachr/women/decisions/ia_court_hr.asp

  • Pages 47-61, Facts
  • Pages 145-150, Summary of Decision
  • Pages 152-161, Concurring Opinions

1. On November 4, 2007, under Articles 51 and 61 of the Convention, the Inter- American Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter “the Commission” or “the Inter- American Commission”) presented an application against the United Mexican States (hereinafter “the State” or “Mexico”), which gave rise to the instant case. The initial petition was presented to the Commission on March 6, 2002. On February 24, 2005, the Commission approved Reports Nos. 16/05, 17/05 and 18/05, declaring the respective petitions admissible. On January 30, 2007, the Commission notified the parties of its decision to joinder the three cases. Subsequently, on March 9, 2007, it approved the Report on merits No. 28/07, in accordance with Article 50 of the Convention, with specific recommendations for the State. This report was notified to the State on April 4, 2007. Upon considering that Mexico had not adopted its recommendations, the Commission decided to submit the case to the jurisdiction of the Court. The Commission appointed Commissioner Florentín Meléndez and Executive Secretary Santiago A. Canton, as delegates, and Elizabeth Abi-Mershed, Deputy Executive Secretary, and Juan Pablo Albán, Marisol Blanchard, Rosa Celorio and Fiorella Melzi, Executive Secretariat specialists, as legal advisers.

2. The application relates to the State’s alleged international responsibility for “the disappearance and subsequent death” of the Mss. Claudia Ivette González, Esmeralda Herrera Monreal and Laura Berenice Ramos Monárrez (hereinafter “Mss. González, Herrera and Ramos”), whose bodies were found in a cotton field in Ciudad Juárez on November 6, 2001. The State is considered responsible for “the lack of measures for the protection of the victims, two of whom were minor children, the lack of prevention of these crimes, in spite of full awareness of the existence of a pattern of gender- related violence that had resulted in hundreds of women and girls murdered, the lack of response of the authorities to the disappearance [...]; the lack of due diligence in the investigation of the homicides [...], as well as the denial of justice and the lack of an adequate reparation.” 

Submission to the Council of Europe Ad Hoc Committee on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence. International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association [Internet]. 2009. Publisher's VersionAbstract

http://www.ilga-europe.org/resources/policy-papers/submission-coe-ad-hoc-committee-preventing-and-combating-violence-against

Lesbian, bisexual and transgender (“LBT”) women experience gender-based violence both on account of their gender and because of the way their sexual orientation or gender identity challenges patriarchal concepts of gender and gender roles.

This double exposure to causes of gender-based violence puts them at particular risk. A recent survey by London’s Metropolitan Police of more than 1100 LBT women found that approximately twice as many had experienced violence or abuse on account of their sexual orientation or gender identity as on all other grounds, despite the fact that nearly half of respondents changed their behaviour or appearance to avoid homophobic or transphobic abuse.

This double exposure also means that violence against them can only be addressed effectively by the Convention if the part played by homophobia and transphobia is acknowledged and specific counter-measures identified.

However, there is a further reason to acknowledge explicitly violence against LBT women. Regrettably, as the Committee of Ministers has stressed, homophobia and transphobia are widespread in Europe.2 Without specific references in the Convention it remains all too possible that its measures will not be used to combat violence against LBT women.

Inclusion of such references would be an effective response to the invitation of the Committee of Ministers to all intergovernmental committees to make proposals to strengthen, in law and in practice, the equal rights and dignity of LGBT persons and to combat discriminatory attitudes against them.

This submission therefore recommends that the Convention identify groups of women who are especially vulnerable to violence, including specifically LBT women, and suggests areas where particular measures are required to address violence against them, such as awareness-raising, education, improving confidence by LBT women in law enforcement agencies, increasing the level of incidents reported to the police, and specific training for agencies involved in victim support.

It also recommends that the non-discrimination clause of the Convention makes explicit reference to sexual orientation and gender identity.

ILGA. Submission to the Council of Europe Ad Hoc Committee on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence. [Internet]. 2009. Publisher's VersionAbstract

http://www.ilga-europe.org/resources/policy-papers/submission-coe-ad-hoc-committee-preventing-and-combating-violence-against 

Lesbian, bisexual and transgender (“LBT”) women experience gender-based violence both on account of their gender and because of the way their sexual orientation or gender identity challenges patriarchal concepts of gender and gender roles. This double exposure to causes of gender-based violence puts them at particular risk. A recent survey by London’s Metropolitan Police of more than 1100 LBT women found that approximately twice as many had experienced violence or abuse on account of their sexual orientation or gender identity as on all other grounds, despite the fact that nearly half of respondents changed their behaviour or appearance to avoid homophobic or transphobic abuse. This double exposure also means that violence against them can only be addressed effectively by the Convention if the part played by homophobia and transphobia is acknowledged and specific counter-measures identified. However, there is a further reason to acknowledge explicitly violence against LBT women. Regrettably, as the Committee of Ministers has stressed, homophobia and transphobia are widespread in Europe.2 Without specific references in the Convention it remains all too possible that its measures will not be used to combat violence against LBT women. Inclusion of such references would be an effective response to the invitation of the Committee of Ministers to all intergovernmental committees to make proposals to strengthen, in law and in practice, the equal rights and dignity of LGBT persons and to combat discriminatory attitudes against them. This submission therefore recommends that the Convention identify groups of women who are especially vulnerable to violence, including specifically LBT women, and suggests areas where particular measures are required to address violence against them, such as awareness-raising, education, improving confidence by LBT women in law enforcement agencies, increasing the level of incidents reported to the police, and specific training for agencies involved in victim support. It also recommends that the non-discrimination clause of the Convention makes explicit reference to sexual orientation and gender identity.

Smet M. Sexual Violence Against Women in Armed Conflict - Council of Europe. Council of Europe; 2009. Publisher's VersionAbstract

http://assembly.coe.int/nw/xml/XRef/Xref-DocDetails-EN.asp?fileid=12691&...

Sexual violence against women in armed conflict is a crime against humanity, a war crime, and an unacceptable – but, unfortunately, effective – weapon of war. Raping, sexually assaulting and mutilating, forcibly impregnating and infecting with HIV/AIDS the wives, daughters and mothers of the “enemy” not only have terrible physical and psychological effects on the victims themselves, but are capable of disrupting, if not destroying, whole communities.

It has taken centuries for sexual violence against women in armed conflict to be outlawed. It was not until 2008 that the international community, via United Nations Security Council Resolution 1820 on women, peace and security, recognised that rape and other forms of sexual violence can constitute a war crime, a crime against humanity, and a constitutive act with respect to genocide.

However, sexual violence against women in armed conflict is unfortunately still common – it was a constitutive feature of the Balkan wars little more than a decade ago. Today, the main victims of this crime are found in the Democratic Republic of Congo (especially in Kivu) and in Sudan (especially in Darfur). To this day, thousands of victims are denied access to justice, reparation and redress. The lives of the victims remain blighted in many ways while the perpetrators enjoy almost complete impunity for their crimes.

Davis K. The Emperor Is Still Naked: Why the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa Leaves Women Exposed to More Discrimination. Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law [Internet]. 2009;42 :949-992. Publisher's VersionAbstract

http://www.vanderbilt.edu/jotl/2012/07/the-emperor-is-still-naked-why-the-protocol-on-the-rights-of-women-in-africa-leaves-women-exposed-to-more-discrimination/

The Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa entered into force in 2005.  Met with much celebration for the protection it would provide African women, the Protocol was heralded as one of the most forward-looking human rights instruments.  Now, fifteen years after it was conceived, the Protocol deserves a full assessment of the issues that it has faced in accession and will face in implementation.  This Note analyzes the way in which the Protocol was developed and the effect the Protocol’s language will have on its ability to achieve its object and purpose.  This Note contends that certain language is too narrow, creating an over-specificity that will deter necessary countries from joining.  However, this Note also asserts that certain aspirational provisions of the Protocol are overly broad, creating legal obligations that States Parties will be unable to meet.  Ultimately, African countries with questionable women’s rights records will refuse to sign—States Parties will either be unable or unwilling to protect women to the extent required, leaving women in the same position as before. Worse yet, some States Parties may implement extreme measures that could increasingly disadvantage women over time.  By relying on Western ideas of women’s rights and without explicitly determining how or if customary law will be considered in implementation, the Protocol faces serious obstacles on the domestic level.  This Note concludes by asserting that unless States Parties consider a more grassroots, community-oriented approach to implementing the Protocol, the instrument’s requirements will remain unrealized, and women in Africa will remain marginalized.

Simmons BA. Mobilizing for Human Rights International Law in Domestic Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 2009 pp. Chapter 3. Publisher's VersionAbstract

http://www.cambridge.org/us/academic/subjects/politics-international-rel...

*The full article is available through this link. This article may be available free of charge to those with university credentials.

This volume argues that international human rights law has made a positive contribution to the realization of human rights in much of the world. Although governments sometimes ratify human rights treaties, gambling that they will experience little pressure to comply with them, this is not typically the case. Focusing on rights stakeholders rather than the United Nations or state pressure, Beth Simmons demonstrates through a combination of statistical analyses and case studies that the ratification of treaties leads to better rights practices on average. By several measures, civil and political rights, women’s rights, a right not to be tortured in government detention, and children’s rights improve, especially in the very large heterogeneous set of countries that are neither stable autocracies nor stable democracies. Simmons argues that international human rights law should get more practical and rhetorical support from the international community as a supplement to broader efforts to address conflict, development, and democratization.

Freeman M. Reservations to CEDAW: An analysis for UNICEF. UNICEF; 2009. Publisher's VersionAbstract

http://www.unicef.org/search/search.php?q_en=reservations+to+CEDAW+marsh...

This study is undertaken to provide UNICEF with recommendations for supporting the withdrawal of reservations to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). While the problem of reservations is well documented as a legal issue, the practical effect of reservations on the primary stakeholders—women, girls, families, and communities—and the practical issues surrounding withdrawal of reservations have received much less attention. 

This paper provides an overview of the legal and practical implications of reservations; an examination of the different domestic legal systems in which reservations are entered; a “mapping” of the current reservations to CEDAW; and an exploration of the domestic legal and political contexts in which some of the most critical reservations have been withdrawn. 

ILO. Forced Labour and Human Trafficking. Casebook of Court Decisions. Geneva: International Labour Organization (ILO); 2009. Publisher's VersionAbstract

http://www.ilo.org/global/publications/ilo-bookstore/order-online/books/...

The present casebook fills an important gap. It covers a range of national experience, from judicial decisions on forced and bonded labour in a number of developing countries, through to the more recent decisions on forced labour and trafficking in industrialized countries. In particular, it seeks to illustrate how national court decisions have taken into account the provisions of the ILO's own Conventions on forced labour, and how this may provide useful guidance for future court decisions.

Trafficking in Persons Report 2009. US Department of State [Internet]. 2009. Publisher's VersionAbstract

http://www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/2009/index.htm

The Department of State is required by law to submit each year to the U.S. Congress a report on foreign governments’ efforts to eliminate severe forms of trafficking in persons. This is the ninth annual TIP Report; it seeks to increase global awareness of the human trafficking phenomenon by shedding new light on various facets of the problem and highlighting shared and individual efforts of the international community, and to encourage foreign governments to take effective action against all forms of trafficking in persons.

Breaking the Silence, Seeking Justice in Intimate Partner Violence in the Philippines. Women Working Together to Stop Violence against Women; 2009. Publisher's VersionAbstract

http://www.amnesty.org.ph/reports/

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. 

Interpretation of Torture in the Light of the Practice and Jurisprudence of International Bodies. The United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture [Internet]. 2009. Publisher's VersionAbstract

http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Torture/UNVFT/Pages/Documentation.aspx

Many acts, conducts or events may be viewed as torture in certain circumstances, while they will not be viewed as torture in some other situations. In fact, there is no single definition existing under international law but most international dispositions and bodies tend to agree on four constitutive elements of torture, as further explained in the first part of this paper “Elements of definition”. It should be recalled that usually in legal dispositions, torture is linked with cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment or ill-treatment. Torture is not an act in itself, or specific type of acts, but it is the legal qualification of an event or behaviour, based on the comprehensive assessment of this event or behaviour. Therefore, the difference between these different qualifications, torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment or ill-treatment depends on the specific circumstances of each case and is not always obvious. It is clear that, because of the specific intensity or nature of certain acts, the qualification of torture may be easily granted in certain cases. However, in some others, the vulnerability of the victim (age, gender, status, etc), as well as the environment and the cumulative effect of various factors, should be taken into account to determine whether this case amounts to torture or whether it does not reach this ultimate threshold and should be considered as cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. 

15 years of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences (1994-2009): A critical review. United Nations, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights; 2009. Publisher's VersionAbstract

http://www.unwomen.org/en/docs/2009/1/15-years-of-the-un-special-rapport...

This review aims to take stock of the achievements of 15 years of work on the Violence against Women (VAW) mandate, which has produced an impressive collection of 14 annual reports, 32 country mission reports, 11 communication reports comprising many communications to and from governments, and several other pieces of research. 

Case of Opuz v. Turkey. European Court of Human Rights; 2009. Publisher's VersionAbstract

http://hudoc.echr.coe.int/sites/eng/Pages/search.aspx#{"fulltext":["Opuz%20v.%20Turkey"],"documentcollectionid2":["GRANDCHAMBER","CHAMBER"]}

Facts: The applicant’s mother was shot and killed by the applicant’s husband in 2002 as she attempted to help the applicant flee the matrimonial home. In the years preceding the shooting the husband had subjected both the applicant and her mother to a series of violent assaults, some of which had resulted in injuries which doctors had certified as life-threatening. The incidents had included beatings, an attempt to run the two women down with a car that had left the mother seriously injured and an assault in which the applicant was stabbed seven times. The incidents and the women’s fears for their lives had been repeatedly brought to the authorities’ attention. Although criminal proceedings had been brought against the husband for a range of offences, including death threats, serious assault and attempted murder, in at least two instances they were discontinued after the women withdrew their complaints, allegedly under pressure from the husband. However, in view of the seriousness of the injuries, the proceedings in respect of the running down and stabbing incidents continued to trial. The husband was convicted in both cases. For the first offence, he received a three-month prison sentence, which was later commuted to a fine, and for the second, a fine payable in instalments. The violence culminated in the fatal shooting of the applicant’s mother, an act the husband said he carried out to protect his honour. For that offence, he was convicted of murder in 2008 and sentenced to life imprisonment. He was, however, released pending appeal and renewed his threats against the applicant, who sought the authorities’ protection. It was not until seven months later, following a request for information from the European Court, that measures were taken to protect her.

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