Violence against women remains one of the most pervasive human rights violations in the world today, and it permeates every society, at every level. Such violence is considered a systemic, widespread and pervasive human rights violation, experienced largely by women because they are women. Yet at the international level, there is a gap in the legal protection of women from violence. There is currently no binding international convention that explicitly prohibits such violence; or calls for its elimination; or, mandates the criminalisation of all forms of violence against women.
This book critically analyses the treatment of violence against women in the United Nations system, and in three regional human rights systems. Each chapter explores the advantages and disadvantages coming from the legal instruments, the work of the monitoring systems, and the resulting findings and jurisprudence. The book proposes that the gap needs to be addressed through a new United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Violence against Women, or alternatively an Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women. A new Convention or Optional Protocol would be part of the transformative agenda that is needed to normatively address the promotion of a life free of violence for women, the responsibility of states to act with due diligence in the elimination of all forms of violence against all women, and the systemic challenges that are the causes and consequences of such violence.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction: Violence against Women and the Need for International Law (Aisha Gill); 2. Chapter 1: The Importance of International Law and Institutions (Jackie Jones); 3. Chapter 2: Exploring the Consequences of the Normative Gap in Legal Protections Addressing Violence against Women (David Richards and Jillienne Haglund); 4. Chapter 3: Normative Developments on Violence against Women in the United Nations System (Rashida Manjoo); 5. Chapter 4: The African Human Rights System: Challenges and Potential in Addressing Violence against Women in Africa (Nicholas Wasonga Orago and Maria Nassali); 6. Chapter 5: The European System: Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and The Council of Europe Convention on Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention) (Jackie Jones); 7. Chapter 6: Violence against Women: Normative Developments in the Inter-American Human Rights System (Caroline Bettinger-Lopez); 8. Chapter 7: Closing the Normative Gap in International Law on Violence against Women: Developments, Initiatives and Possible Options (Rashida Manjoo); 9. Index
Jackie Jones is Professor of Feminist Legal Studies and activist in the women’s human rights movement, has written, taught and spoken about the need to eliminate violence against women and children using law all over the world. She teaches at the University of the West of England and has specialised in different forms of violence, especially human trafficking and gender equality for more than twenty years. Jackie has written many articles on different aspects of gender, including, transsexual rights in the workplace, same-sex marriage, equality legislation and human dignity. She is member of the Advisory Group on the Istanbul Convention set up to ensure ratification through Parliament in the UK and has recently been appointed as the Chair of the Academic Advisory Panel on Human Trafficking in Wales. She is past President of European Women Lawyers Association and trustee of two women’s organisations in the UK; she is regularly asked to speak and train lawyers and input her views to policy initiatives at local, regional and international levels. She is co-editor (with Prof John Winterdyk) of the Palgrave International Major Reference Work on Human Trafficking (2018).
Rashida Manjoo is a Professor in the Department of Public Law, University of Cape Town, South Africa. Until July 2015, she held the position of United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, its Causes and Consequences, a post she was appointed to in 2009 by the UN Human Rights Council. Prof Manjoo is the former Parliamentary Commissioner of the Commission on Gender Equality, an institution created by the Constitution of South Africa, with a mandate to oversee the promotion and protection of gender equality. She has also been involved in social context training for judges and lawyers, where she has designed both content and methodology. She has over four decades of experience in social justice and human rights work both in South Africa and abroad. Her research interests include human rights broadly with a particular focus on women’s human rights. In the six years as Special Rapporteur she has gained a unique insight into the normative, social contexts and realities facing women and girls in their quest for a life free of all forms of violence. She has extensive first-hand knowledge on the issues of normative gaps, individual and State accountability and responsibility, and regional normative frameworks.