Academic journal article South Asian Studies

The Recognition of Violence against Women as a Violation of Human Rights in the United Nations System

Academic journal article South Asian Studies

The Recognition of Violence against Women as a Violation of Human Rights in the United Nations System

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

This paper seeks to capture the gradual process of acceptance and recognition of violenceagainst-women-issue as a human right violation in the International human rights discourses. It discusses the role of four World Conferences on women and the Convention on Elimination of All forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in bringing the issue under International spotlight. While so doing it reflects on the silence, regarding the issue of violence against women, in CEDAW and the compensation of this omission in the form of General Recommendation 19 ( interpretive procedure established by the Committee for Elimination of discrimination against women). It also illuminates some of the landmark developments in the United Nations human rights system to combat violence against women. These developments include, inter alia, the Declaration on Elimination of Violence Against Women (DEVAW), gender mainstreaming in the United Nations human rights mechanism and the appointment of Special Rapporteur on violence against women its causes and consequences. The final remarks include some considerations about large number of reservations attached to the CEDAW, which minimise its efficacy, and the lack of willingness of the state parties to withdraw these reservations.

KEY WORDS: Violence against Women, General Recommendations, DEVAW, Gender Discrimination, Human Rights

Introduction

Despite the magnitude and systematic nature of the problem, International Human Rights Law (HRL) had failed to recognize violence against women (VAW), particularly in the domestic context, as a violation of women's human rights and a priority matter for international action, until recently (Wing, Adrien, Katherine, 1997 & Onyango, Oloka, J. 1995, 94) As a result the widespread phenomenon of violence against women remained in precarious positions in the international law and policy. World Conference of the International Women's Year 1975 1, the first in a series of global Women's Conferences, recognised and made references to violence against women in various contexts and urged governments to implement effective legislation to protect women from different forms of violence (Report of the World Conference of the International Women's Year 1976, pp 77, 93, 124, 133). However, it did not particularly focus on the issue of violence against women or passed any resolution to that effect. The Second Women's Conference (World Conference of the United Nations Decade for Women: Equality, Development and Peace 1980)2 touched the issue of violence against women by adopting the resolution on 'battered women and violence in the family' and referred to violence in home in its final report.3 Nevertheless, the effects of the resolution continued to be minimal in terms of transforming the issue of domestic violence from a private matter to a problem deserving of sustained and priority international attention. The Convention on Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW hereinafter) came into being not very long after first Women's World Conference, however, its original text is silent over the issue of VAW (Edwards: 8 & Byrnes, 2008: 519). It did not spell out the issue of VAW as violation of their human rights, except the reference to women trafficking/prostitution (Kelly p. 477: 477). This omission was especially significant for the Convention that had addressed hosts of issues relating to women's inequality and had dealt elaborately with a wide range of women's human rights. However, backed by the intensified efforts of the women's movement the issue emerged as a serious international concern at the Third Women Conference (World Conference to review and appraise the achievements of the United Nations Decade for Women: Equality, Development and Peace 1985)4. The Forward Looking strategies adopted by the Conference linked the promotion and maintenance of peace to the eradication of violence against women both in public and private sphere5. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.