Laws And Conventions For Women

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Laws And Conventions For Women

Laws And Conventions For Women

Women and children enjoy the protection of all the rules of IHL, human rights law and refugee law. IHL contains a number of rules aimed specifically at protecting women or children in war. International human rights law has specific conventions on the rights of women or children (The Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)). There is also recognition under international refugee soft law of the specific protection needs of displaced women or children (e.g. UNHCR Executive Committee conclusions). (Plattner, 2005, 1249-75)

These standards provide, among other things, that women shall be especially protected against threats to their physical safety, rape, sexual exploitation, and discrimination. Standards specific to children include protection from all forms of violence and forcible recruitment. Education is a basic right protected under all three branches law. (Plattner, 2005, 1249-75)

Over the past three decades, discrimination against women has become a global human rights issue. Women in many countries, developed and developing, have their rights constantly violated at domestic or international levels. In most countries, women are marginalised economically, culturally, and politically, and these norms are resilient to change. International law is often more progressive than national laws are (Charlesworth 1994), and feminists generally agree that international law is needed as a weapon against systemic oppression. (Plattner, 2005, 1249-75) In national governments, women have failed to attain political positions in any significant numbers, while outside the political structure, women are under-represented in power centres such as trade union leadership (Trebilcock 1991). The argument is that by relying on international law, women's advocates can potentially overcome the limitations built into a domestic legal system.

However, international tolerance of discrimination against women has been persistent. Historically, the United Nations has rarely become involved in a country's internal affairs to enforce international human rights law, since this represents a violation of state sovereignty (Plattner 1995).

In the past, many countries have been able to turn a blind eye to international campaigns on women's rights by successfully using the argument that states have a right to govern themselves as they wish, which effectively shuts out criticisms from outside. (Plattner, 2005, 1249-75) An international common effort has been called for in recent years, to adapt the international human rights laws in order to introduce positive changes to enforce women's rights. As Miles (1996:145) correctly observed: `We need global solidarity/support for our local struggles.' Progress in bringing violations of women's rights to the attention of the international community has been largely due to the persistent action of women's organizations around the world. Women activists have highlighted the fact that no international human rights treaty had comprehensively addressed women's rights within political, cultural, economic, social, and family life, or obligated countries to take action to end discrimination against women. (Plattner, 2005, 1249-75)

The `Women's Convention' and CEDAW

The 1979 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (often called the `Women' s ...
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