Also in the introductory issue is an article by IntLawGrrl's own Stephanie Farrior on the challenges and opportunities of human rights advocacy on gender issues. Here's the abstract:
Many of the legal campaigns against governmental practices and policies in large-scale human-rights abusing regimes are waged ‘internally’, through the regime's own institutions. Such litigations raise serious dilemmas for human rights lawyers and for human rights organizations. This essay is an attempt to dig out the implications of these internal legal struggles, whatever their effectiveness, for the project of bringing an end to the human rights abusing regime. The essay analyzes 35 years of ongoing, occupation-related human rights litigation in the Israeli court as a generic example of a massive ‘internal’ legal opposition. The author of this essay, an Israeli lawyer, involved in such litigations, reaches a painful conclusion: although internal legal action might ease human sufferings in individual cases, it nevertheless potentially empowers the regime and contributes to its sustainability.
Recent years have seen notable progress on issues of gender and human rights in standard-setting and to some extent application of those standards through international and domestic legislation and jurisprudence, and in institutional programming and development. Some international and regional human rights bodies now go beyond just including ‘women’ in a list of ‘vulnerable’ groups, and have begun to incorporate women's experiences and perspectives into recommendations for structural changes needed to bring about full enjoyment of human rights by women and girls. In addition, recent years have seen the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex people being taken up beyond the first human rights bodies that addressed them, and developments have taken place in standard-setting. Despite this progress, many challenges remain. Violence against women continues at a staggering rate. Gender-based discrimination persists in the workplace, housing, education, disaster relief, health care, and countless other areas. Access to justice continues to be hindered by a range of obstacles. Religion, tradition, and culture continue to be used as a shield for violating women's rights. Same-sex conduct is still criminalized in scores of countries, and it carries the death penalty in seven states. The traditional human rights law paradigm, with its focus on the state, may be obsolete in dealing with human rights abuses by such diverse non-state actors as powerful militias and global corporations. This article highlights just a few opportunities and challenges to come for international human rights advocacy on gender issues.
Bonne lecture (good reading)!