These publications include summaries and analyses of cases pertaining to reproductive and sexual rights, including gender-based violence, HIV discrimination, property and family law, abortion, and claims of fetal interests. They examine how African national courts interpret and apply regional and international human rights laws.
Ruma (not her real name), a school teacher by profession and a mother of two, living in Dhaka, married Mainul eight years ago. Soon after, Mainul started harassing her, calling her an ‘ugly’ woman – because of her dark complexion. Her mother-in-law and other members of her husband’s family used to verbally abuse her almost every day, saying that her skin is ‘moyla’ (dirty); and expressed their anger and frustration, and thought that Mainul had bad luck as he was not able to marry a ‘beautiful’ woman–meaning a fair-complexioned woman. Ruma tried very hard to be seen as beautiful in the eyes of her husband and in-laws and experimented to see how she could look fairer. She started buying brand name fairness creams, hoping to make her skin lighter as she started to believe that fair meant lovely, as the advertisements say. She regularly watched fairness cream advertisements on television, read about them on bill boards and newspapers and wanted to be as fair as the models in the advertisements. Unfortunately, nothing really worked or showed much of a result. Her husband and in laws demanded a huge amount of dowry repeatedly – apparently as a retaliation for her darker skin.
Violence against women and girls is one of the most systematic and widespread human rights violations. According to a 2013 global review of available data, 35 per cent of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence. Eliminating such violence globally requires intensive efforts, which led world leaders to establish an online tool that increases opportunities to exchange experiences and strengthen knowledge to prevent and stop violence against women. The Global Database on Violence against Women provides easy access to comprehensive and up-to-date information on measures undertaken by United Nations Member States to address all forms of violence against women
The entities of the United Nations system address violence against women through research and normative and policy development. They support Member States and other stakeholders in their efforts and provide services and other assistance to victims of violence, undertake advocacy and awareness-raising activities, implement innovative projects, as well as provide funding to various stakeholders for their activities. This Inventory of United Nations Activities to End Violence against Women is intended to strengthen the knowledge base on work that is being implemented by the system on this critical issue.
In 2004, the Human Rights Committee noted its concern about the high level of domestic violence against women and called upon Morocco to “take suitable practical measures to combat this phenomenon”. In spite of more than ten years of strong civil society advocacy for a comprehensive violence against women law, the Moroccan government has failed to respond and meet its obligation to protect Moroccan women from violence.
In the development of any of its global guidelines, the World Health Organization (WHO) places importance on the values and preferences of the population or individuals that could be affected by the recommendations made within the guidelines. WHO has guidelines on the care, treatment and support for women living with HIV and their children in resource-con-strained settings, but these guidelines were published in 2006 and require updating. As an initial step in the updating process, WHO commissioned a global survey to listen to the voices of women living with HIV and determine these women’s sexual and reproductive health priorities. The main aim of the survey was to ensure that the values and preferences of women living with HIV would inform the guidelines from the very start of its development. The methods and key outcomes of the global survey are described and discussed below.