Bristol Law School, UWEGaps in normative instruments relating to VAW Presentation by Name Professor Jackie Jones
INTRODUCTION • Economy • Civil unrest • Radicalisation • Power relations between and inter genders • Traditional views/practices • Breakdown in power structures? • Impunity
Opportunity & Strategic • MDG re-negotiations & Beijing + 20 • Call to action from: • CSW Conclusions 2012 • G8 commitments • Inter-American Convention • ASEAN • African Union • Rashida Manjoo
No adequate and effectivesingle global legal instrument on VAW • CEDAW • 1979 • Need stronger language than: ‘foster’, ‘recommend’, ‘encourage’, etc. • Istanbul Conv example how things can progress…
General Recommendation 19is not enough • GR19 recognizes the context in which VAW occurs and the manner in which discrimination is structured and inter-connected. It affirms that States are obligated to eliminate all forms of VAW and take effective measures to: Review circumstances in which violence occurs Adopt appropriate legislation and policy measures to protect women from violence Ensureavailability and accessibility of remedies to women victims Establish substantive equality of women in conformity with the provisions of CEDAW Recommends monitoring and other mechanisms to deal with the gaps in current state action on VAW
CEDAW • Optional Protocol • CEDAW Committee scrutiny and cases • E.G.: rape, forced sterilization, systemic violence and multiple rape and murders of women. • Not very many though!
Confusion around definitions • What is included what not • Variations between regions and countries • Is it a public harm or private one? • What does violence cover? • Little consensus if look around the world
Violence • physical, psychological and sexual violence are covered in various provisions, ranging from comprehensive laws on violence against women, laws on domestic violence, Penal Codes and even the Constitution in the cases of Bolivia and Ecuador. • economic, property-related or financial violence not expressly mentioned in the Convention, but regarded as a form of violence at the international level.
economic violence are regarded as forms of domestic or family violence. That creates a favorable context for preventing and punishing violence in the private sphere. However, a similar framework is needed to deal with violence against women in the public sphere.
moral violence, understood as any behavior that involves libel, slander, defamation or other harm inflicted on a woman’s honor; • symbolic violence, which includes messages, values and symbols that convey and perpetuate dominance over women, their inequality and discrimination against them.
femicide • …the murder of women because they are women, whether it is committed within the family, a domestic partnership, or any other interpersonal relationship, or by anyone in the community, or whether it is perpetrated or tolerated by the state or its agents.
An example: South Asia • New laws to combat violence: Out of 9 countries in South Asia, 5 countries (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) have in existence a legislation against sexual harassment. • Only 4 countries (Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka) have laws to prohibit domestic violence. • Global data shows that where laws are in place against domestic violence, its prevalence is lower and fewer people think it is acceptable.
Institutional violence • In hospitals, educational institutions, prisons and the like, the Committee notes with concern that the majority of States either do not have or did not report having provisions that would make this type of violence a punishable offense. • The perpetrator was a public official/employee an aggravating circumstance of a sexual violence offense, or making sexual violence a separate criminal offense when committed in State-run institutions.
Intersectional violence • Disability & race & ethnic origin & …
unified/holistic approach to tackling VAWG • Shrinking of the state – non-governmental actors, contractors, post-conflict zones etc. function of the state. • CEDAW not explicit about applicability in times of peace and in armed conflict (only implicit) • As VAW is informed by all aspects of our lived experience, a holistic approach is needed to address its root causes in political, economic, social and cultural spheres
Inclusion of girl child • It is vital that we place in the foreground the girl child and draft specific articles for her, rather than subsuming her into women. • This is especially important in the context of growing gender inequality. • There are many differences: gang culture; grooming; social media; smart technologies; online activities; the ways girls are targeted have moved on and we need to move on too.
Natural disasters • The proliferation of sexual violence against women, girls and teenagers in situations of natural disasters. In December 2010 the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights granted precautionary measures to prevent and punish said violence in Haiti. • Natural disasters exacerbate pre-existing patterns of violence against women and girls. Therefore, the national response must take into account their protection, as well as the prevention and punishment of any type of violence against them. • (is it natural or man-made?)
Access to justice & enforcement mechanism • In an era of increased state-sponsored violence it is important to try to take the trial process out of the hands of state officials (eg Bangladesh – bribes) and place it at an international level. • The ICC has not been effective enough to deal with this issue. • European protection order • Protocols for the care and treatment of female victims of violence, in the official language and in indigenous languages (police, prosecutors’ offices, health system personnel)~AQ
THE ISTANBUL CONVENTION • 27 Signatories, 5 Ratifications. • Comparison btw CEDAW &Istanbul Conv: http://www.coe.int/t/dghl/standardsetting/convention-violence/Background%20info/The%20Istanbul%20Convention%20and%20the%20CEDAW%20framework_a%20comparison%20(short%20version).pdf • Council of Europe; regional • Very proscriptive • Heavy financial commitment by states – feasibility of Global South? • Colonization • Very European! • Not global
Conclusion • If we had new international instrument it would bespeak the political will of the State to take measures to prevent and punish these crimes. • The drafting process itself can be a powerful enabling tool. • Keeping the focus on VAWG is vital. • 2015 is the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action: it would be great to celebrate it by drafting a new Conv. • Hilary Clinton’s call