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.
Advancing the Legal Enforcement of SCR 1325: Structural and Political Obstacles Imposed by the United Nations
The passage of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (SCR 1325) in 2000 was a legal milestone for women’s rights to equality and non-discrimination. For the first time the UN Security Council not only recognized the gender-biased impact of internal or country conflict, it also mandated that the UN itself and all member states erect and monitor enforceable protections from such gender-based violence. However, there is still an urgent need to address:
- The lack of any systematic progress towards parity for women as decision-makers in UN sponsored and other peace negotiations;
- The failure to recognize SCR 1325 as a binding international law, particularly, as applicable to transitional justice processes;
- The total exclusion of women stakeholders from such pariah states as Burma who are forced to operate only in exile and because of their difficult legal status are prevented from travel and access to critical INGO and UN networking;
- The discrimination against women survivors/victims of conflict from certain countries like Iraq where the politicized nature of the conflict has led to such actions as the de facto UN “blacklisting”, stopping any UN support to the war crimes tribunal or to women victims of gender crimes under the Saddam regime;
- The absence of any penalties or sanctions for repeated violations of SCR 1325 or country funding conditions based on compliance in country action plans.