Monday, February 26, 2024

New Article: False Promises of Protection: Town of Castle Rock v. Gonzales and The Supreme Court’s Failure to Protect Human Rights

Kylie Rhoton, False Promises of Protection: Town of Castle Rock v. Gonzales and The Supreme Court’s Failure to Protect Human Rights, Immigration & Human Rights Law Review: Vol. 5, Iss. 1 (2024). Excerpt below.

Speaking in front of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Jessica Gonzales highlighted her struggle to get answers and justice after her abusive ex-husband’s murder of her three daughters. The United States’ justice system brought her no recourse. She was first failed by her local police department and then by the highest court of the United States which refused to recognize that Gonzales had any Due Process entitlement to having her restraining order enforced against her abusive ex-husband. Jessica Gonzales’ struggle encapsulates the United States’ systemic and continuous failure in adequately addressing the human rights issue that is domestic violence.

February 26, 2024 in Books and articles, Domestic Violence, Gender Violence | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Women and War Crimes

Picture1By Margaret Drew, Associate Professor of Law, UMass Law School

Women have been raped and otherwise assaulted during war as far as memory can reach.  Domestic abuse also increases during war, with women being the primary targets.

Sexual abuse of women and girls is tactic of war, not a byproduct of war.

As Jewish women have been attempting to tell the world, the female Hamas captives and other victims suffered horrific sexual and other gender-based abuse.  A New York Times investigation found that rape was not an isolated offense, but part of a pattern of gender-based violence by Hamas.  There is no reason to hide the graphic details.  Women for generations have attempted to call attention to their suffering during war only to be unheard.  Following the October 7th attack, bodies of women were found with legs splayed and clothing torn.  Women alive and dead were found with genital injuries.

One survivor gave a detailed account of sexual abuse of women during the attack as reported by the New York Times:

“The first victim she said she saw was a young woman with copper-color hair, blood running down her back, pants pushed down to her knees. One man pulled her by the hair and made her bend over. Another penetrated her, Sapir said, and every time she flinched, he plunged a knife into her back.  She said she then watched another woman “shredded into pieces.” While one terrorist raped her, she said, another pulled out a box cutter and sliced off her breast.  “One continues to rape her, and the other throws her breast to someone else, and they play with it, throw it, and it falls on the road,” Sapir (the survivor) said.  She said the men sliced her face and then the woman fell out of view. Around the same time, she said, she saw three other women raped and terrorists carrying the severed heads of three more women.” 

Some Jewish women blame other women for the lack attention to their plight.  #Me TooUnlessYou’reaJew particularly addresses the failure of United Nations Women to immediately recognize and condemn the slaughter and abuse of women.  On December 1, 2023 UN Women finally issued a statement that recognized Hamas’ actions but was without detail and was without an action plan other than encouraging women from Israel and Gaza to report abuse.

The failure of the world to act has little to do with the fact that the sexually abused and killed women were Jewish.  I do not know of a war in which there has not been initial or ongoing sexual abuse of women.  The Serbian-Bosnian war is the most recent example of widespread sexual abuse of women during war.  In that case one Serbian motivation was to impregnate Bosnian women so diminish Bosnian ethnicity.  The Serbian military set up “rape camps”.  Bosnian women were released only when they became pregnant. 

UN member states have been aware of the sexual abuse of women in Rwanda for decades. 

We have no reason to believe that Palestinian women are not suffering sexual abuse, as well.  We know that Palestinian women suffer from high rates of domestic violence, which increases during war.  We likely will hear of stranger rape and rape by soldiers as time passes. Only today, as I am wrapping up this blog, the UN issued a press release with reported incidents of abuse of Palestinian women and girls:

“We are particularly distressed by reports that Palestinian women and girls in detention have also been subjected to multiple forms of sexual assault, such as being stripped naked and searched by male Israeli army officers. At least two female Palestinian detainees were reportedly raped while others were reportedly threatened with rape and sexual violence.”

Other reports note that photos of female detainees in degrading circumstances were taken by the Israeli army and uploaded online.

Lack of action to assist Israeli women and other female survivors of war sexual abuse is not because of their religious affiliation. The abuse occurs because they are women.  The world has not raised its collective voice to protect women during war.  The perpetrators, world leadership, and the military share the blame – these are primarily male actors.  Until men prioritize the prevention of female sexual abuse, their abuse within and without of war will not diminish.

February 20, 2024 in Women's Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 5, 2024

March – April 2024 Deadlines: Calls for Input by Human Rights Mechanisms

The following calls for inputs have been issued by UN Human Rights Mechanisms with deadlines in March – April 2024 and law professors whose practice, research, and/or scholarship touches on these topics may be interested in submission:

Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights – Call for inputs to inform the High Commissioner’s report on how climate change can have an impact on the realization of the equal enjoyment of the right to education by every girl. Deadline March 1, 2024. Read more.

Working Group on Business and Human Rights – Call for inputs to inform the Working Group’s report on respecting the rights of LGBTI people in the context of business activities: fulfilling obligations and responsibilities under the UNGPs. Deadline March 1, 2024. Read more.

Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education – Call for inputs to inform the Special Rapporteur’s visit to the United States of America, scheduled to take place from 29 April to 10 May 2024, focused on academic freedom and safety at all levels of education and access to public education from kindergarten to 12th grade without discrimination. Deadline March 2, 2024. Read more.

Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights – Call for inputs on application of digital technologies in the administration of justice, to inform the Secretary General’s report to the General Assembly on human rights in the administration of justice. Deadline March 9, 2024. Read more.

Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples – Call for inputs on the challenges faced by mobile Indigenous Peoples, and the initiatives undertaken by States, Indigenous Peoples and other stakeholders to recognize and respect their rights, to inform the Special Rapporteur’s upcoming report. Deadline March 15, 2024. Read more

Working Group on the Use of Mercenaries – Call for inputs to inform the WG’s 2024 thematic report on financing and mercenaries and mercenary related actors. Deadline March 15, 2024. Read more.

Working Group on the Use of Mercenaries – Call for inputs to inform the WG’s 2024 thematic report on arms trafficking and mercenaries and mercenary related actors. Deadline March 15, 2024. Read more.

Special Rapporteur on toxics and human rights – Call for inputs to inform the Special Rapporteur’s 2024 thematic report on Pollution Information Portals and strengthening access to information on releases of hazardous substances. Deadline March 22, 2024. Read more.

Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing – Call for inputs to inform the forthcoming reports of the Special Rapporteur on resettlement as a human rights issue. Deadline March 31, 2024. Read more.

Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery – Call for inputs on the role of workers’ organisations in preventing and addressing contemporary forms of slavery. Deadline March 31, 2024. Read more.

Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and Committee on Migrant Works – Joint call for inputs to inform concept paper on obligations of state parties on public policies for addressing and eradicating xenophobia and its impact on the rights of migrants, their families, and other non-citizens affected by racial discrimination. Deadline March 31, 2024. Read more.

Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights – Call for inputs on promotion and protection of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of Africans and of people of African descent against excessive use of force and other human rights violations by law enforcement officers through transformative change for racial justice and equality. Deadline April 1, 2024. Read more.

Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women and Girls – Call for inputs to inform the Special Rapporteur’s report on violence against women and girls in sport. Deadline April 8, 2024. Read more.

 Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights – Call for inputs to inform the expert workshop and High Commissioner’s report to the Human Rights Council on the centrality of care and support from a human rights perspective. Deadline April 13, 2024. Read more.

Special Rapporteur on Unilateral Coercive Measures – Call for inputs to develop a comprehensive set of Guiding Principles to be used by states, regional organizations, businesses and other actors with regards to sanctions and compliance, and, by that, to minimize negative impact of all types of sanctions, compliance and over-compliance with sanctions on human rights. Deadline April 30, 2024. Read more.

This information was compiled from https://www.ohchr.org/en/calls-for-input-listing.

February 5, 2024 in Advocacy, United Nations | Permalink | Comments (0)