This document contains a brief introduction to the different legal tools, international instruments and strategic contexts through which the advancement of women worldwide can be facilitated, and how the Global Justice Center is helping to achieve this goal.
The United States signed CEDAW in 1980, but it has not yet ratified the Convention. Proponents of ratification argue that the U.S.’ failure to ratify CEDAW hurts American efforts, by both the government and private organizations, to promote human rights. Although the Global Justice Center agrees, we urge organizations committed to promoting true gender equality not to support ratification accompanied by the sort of "understanding" added by Senator Helms in 1994.1 The compromises made by the addition of the Helms "understanding" sacrificed the core concepts of CEDA W. This dangerous "understanding" resurrects the discriminatory fallacy of biology as destiny and promotes the agenda of those who would find laws severely restricting or even criminalizing abortion to be perfectly compatible with "women's rights" and "equality."
There is growing consensus in international law that grave violations of international humanitarian law are a threat to international peace and security and that the world community has a moral and legal duty to intervene if the state is the perpetrator, or cannot or will not stop the crimes. Perpetrators of gender-based crimes must be held accountable in order to ensure a rule of law based on gender equality.
Facilitating Collaboration in Darfur: Organizations Working with Women in Darfur, Sudan on Sexual Violence and the Rule of Law
The deteriorating humanitarian situation in Sudan has led to an increase in the activities of international organizations working towards humanitarian relief, international protection, and international justice. In addition to grassroots organizations that have been working in Sudan to promote women’s rights in their local communities, many organizations are devoting countless time and resources to upholding and pro-tecting the rights of women in Darfur to be free from violence and gain access to justice. To that end, the Global Justice Center has assembled this directory of organizations working with women in Darfur, Sudan. The organizations surveyed in this directory provide a range of services for women. From subsidizing basic needs, to documenting rape cases, to enabling women to take active part in the peace process, these organizations are encouraging women to assume their rightful place in Sudanese society. The support provided by the contributing organizations is vital to Sudanese women at this crucial time in their history and the Global Justice Center is pleased to contribute to these efforts by providing this directory. We hope it will be a useful resource to the international NGO community, to Sudanese civil society and to the women of Darfur. We also hope it facilitates collaboration and communication among these organizations and ultimately, help us all to better serve the women and girls in Darfur.
This manual starts with a general background on the role of international law and how it can be used in a domestic context. It then touches on the concept of Customary International Law and some international forums for enforcing women’s rights when domestic efforts fail. We then look at some of the tools women are using – the laws – starting with the women’s rights treaty – the bill of rights for women – Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, followed by a brief discussion of other treaties with a bit of extra focus on the ICCPR. In addition to treaties, a number of other international legal tools have developed including, most recently, Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace, and security. The manual then reviews two other forums for enforcing women’s rights—regional bodies and tribunals. It then discusses the role of constitutions and quotas in advancing rights. Finally we try to provide other resources for understanding and researching international law. We hope this guide will be the beginning of your use of international law to advance rights.
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