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Using Human Rights to Protect Women against Violence

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improve understanding of human rights related to violence ... State agents and officials must protect women against violence perpetrated by private actors ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Using Human Rights to Protect Women against Violence


1
Using Human Rights to Protect Women against
Violence
2
Introduction
  • Workshop for womens rights advocates on using
    human rights to protect women against violence
  • Purpose
  • improve understanding of human rights related to
    violence
  • develop capacity of community advocates to use
    human rights
  • strengthen womens rights network
  • improve access to justice for women
  • Supported by the Victorian Womens Trust

3
Violence against Women in Australia
  • 1 in 3 women experience physical violence
  • 1 in 5 women experience sexual violence
  • Aboriginal women are 40 times more likely to
    experience domestic violence
  • International evidence suggests that 80 of women
    with intellectual disabilities have experienced
    some form of sexual abuse
  • Access Economics Report estimated that, in
    2002-2003, domestic violence cost Australia over
    8 billion

4
Human Rights Approach to Violence
  • Violence is a systemic issue that requires a
    comprehensive legal and social response
  • Human rights are one tool that can be used to
    address this wrong
  • Human rights are a tool that carry legitimacy
    with Government

5
Loddon Campaspe Community Legal Centre
  • Peter Noble, Principal Solicitor
  • Violence is Out of Bounds

6
What are human rights?
  • Human rights are those rights one needs to live a
    dignified life (a life worthy of a human being)
  • Human rights are
  • derived from human dignity
  • universal, core minimum standards
  • common sense and common values
  • essential in a democratic and inclusive society
    that respects the rule of law, human dignity,
    equality and freedom (Victorian Charter)
  • Human rights belong to all human beings by virtue
    of them being human

7
What are human rights?
  • Freedom movement, assembly association, forced
    work, expression, thought religion, liberty
    security, fair hearing
  • Respect life, protection of families and
    children, cultural rights, property
  • Equality non-discrimination, equal recognition,
    participation
  • Dignity torture cruel treatment, privacy
    reputation, humane treatment in detention

8
What are human rights?
  • Examples of key human rights include
  • Civil and political rights Economic, social and
    cultural rights
  • Right to life Right to health
  • Right to privacy Right to food
  • Freedom from discrimination Right to adequate
    shelter
  • Freedom of expression Right to work and to just
    conditions of work
  • Freedom from slavery Right to education
  • Right to liberty and security Cultural rights
  • Right to a fair hearing Protection of families
    and children
  • Freedom from torture Right to an adequate
    standard of living
  • Freedom of religion Right to social security

9
Human rights obligations
  • Obligation to respect rights
  • Government must not violate human rights
  • Obligation to protect rights
  • Government must protect others from violating
    human rights
  • Obligation to fulfill rights
  • Government must take steps to ensure that human
    rights are enjoyed by all persons

10
Where do we find human rights internationally?
  • International Covenant on Civil and Political
    Rights (ICCPR) ?
  • International Covenant on Economic, Social and
    Cultural Rights (ICESCR) ?
  • Convention on the Elimination of Racial
    Discrimination (CERD) ?
  • Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
    Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) ?
  • Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) ?
  • Convention against Torture and Other Cruel,
    Inhuman or Degrading Treatment (CAT) ?
  • Convention on the Rights of Persons with
    Disabilities (CRPD) ?
  • Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All
    Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families ?

11
CEDAW
  • International Bill of Rights for Women
  • Adopted by UN General Assembly in 1979
  • Entered into force in 1981
  • Introduced because, despite existence of other
    human rights treaties, extensive discrimination
    against women persisted

12
CEDAW
  • Object and purpose to eliminate all forms of
    discrimination against women, with a view to
    ensuring substantive equality
  • Wrongful gender stereotyping (art 5)
  • Trafficking (art 6)
  • Representation in Political and Public Life (arts
    7-8)
  • Nationality (art 9)
  • Education (art 10)
  • Employment (art 11)
  • Reproductive and sexual health (art 12)
  • Socio-economic life, sport and culture (art 13)
  • Rural women (art 14)
  • Equality before the law / civil matters (art 15)
  • Marriage and family relations (art 16)

13
CEDAW and Violence
  • CEDAW does not explicitly prohibit VAW
  • General Recommendation No. 19
  • VAW discrimination against women
  • VAW human rights violation
  • States must take positive steps to eliminate VAW
  • State agents and officials must not commit VAW
  • State agents and officials must protect women
    against violence perpetrated by private actors

14
CEDAW and Violence
  • CEDAW therefore requires the elimination of VAW
  • What other rights in CEDAW are relevant to VAW?
  • What happens if Australia doesnt comply with its
    obligations under CEDAW?
  • Reporting obligations and Concluding Observations
  • Optional Protocol

15
CEDAW and Violence
  • What does the Government report say about VAW?
  • What does the NGO report say about VAW?
  • What do the Concluding Observations say about
    VAW?
  • What is the impact of these documents?

16
Where do we find human rights in Australia?
  • Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities 2006
    (Vic)
  • Equal Opportunity Act 1995 (Vic)
  • Family Violence Prevention Act 2008 (Vic)
  • Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth)
  • National Human Rights Act 2010 (Cth) ????

17
Victorian Charter
  • The Charter protects and promotes human rights in
    Victoria
  • It requires all arms of the Victorian Government
    to act compatibly with human rights

18
Victorian Charter
  • Government
  • Human rights standards should be built into laws
    and policies
  • Should assess all new laws for compliance with
    human rights and report to Parliament
  • Respond to declarations made by the Supreme Court
  • Parliament
  • Pass laws after assessing them for compliance
    with human rights
  • In exceptional circumstances, can override the
    Charter in passing legislation
  • Has final say on all laws
  • Courts
  • Where possible, should interpret law to be
    compatible with the Charter
  • Supreme Court can make a declaration that a law
    is not consistent with the Charter

19
Public authorities
  • Charter applies to public authorities
  • Public authorities are bodies that perform public
    functions
  • A private entity performing a public function
    will be a public authority
  • Examples include
  • Police
  • Public transport officials
  • Health providers
  • Local council
  • Prison authorities
  • Schools
  • Government departments

20
Victorian Charter
  • Right to recognition and equality before the law
    (s 8)
  • Right to life (s 9)
  • Freedom from torture and cruel, inhuman or
    degrading treatment (s 10)
  • Freedom of movement (s 12)
  • Right to protection of families and children (s
    17)
  • Right to liberty and security of person (s 21)

21
Victorian Charter equality
  • Right to recognition as a person before the law
  • all people have legal rights in a general sense
  • Enjoyment of human rights without discrimination
  • every person should be able to enjoy the human
    rights that are set out in the Charter without
    discrimination
  • Equality before the law, equal protection of the
    law, protection against discrimination
  • people must not be discriminated against based on
    any of the attributes listed in the Equal
    Opportunity Act 1995 (eg age, gender, race)

22
What if domestic avenues fail?
  • Optional Protocol to CEDAW
  • Communication procedure
  • Akin to an international court case
  • Submit complaint to CEDAW Committee
  • Has been used repeatedly to address VAW eg,
    Goekce v Austria
  • Inquiry procedure
  • Can submit information to CEDAW Committee
    requesting that it conduct an inquiry into
    allegation of grave or systematic violations of
    CEDAW
  • Has been used to address VAW eg, Ciudad Juarez
    inquiry

23
Why use human rights?
  • Universally agreed set of norms and principles
  • Human rights have legitimacy and currency with
    Government
  • Government doesnt want to be embarrassed by
    violating human rights
  • Private sector is now more accepting of human
    rights and this is applying pressure on
    Government
  • A lot of issues are universal we can learn from
    how human rights have been applied to address
    violence elsewhere
  • Clarity of framework (esp where there are
    competing rights)

24
Using human rights to protect against VAW
  • Empower victims/survivors
  • Protect and promote rights of victims/survivors
  • Advocacy work
  • Policy and law reform work
  • Community education
  • Media engagement
  • Funding applications

25
Using human rights to protect against VAW
  • Small group exercises on using human rights to
    protect against violence against women
  • Group 1 exercises 1-2
  • Group 2 exercises 3-4
  • Report back

26
Further Information
  • PILCH
  • Lucy McKernan or Simone Cusack
  • Level 17, 461 Bourke Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
  • Tel 8636 4414 (Lucy) or 8636 4415 (Simone)
  • E lucy.mckernan_at_pilch.org.au or
    simone.cusack_at_pilch.org.au
  • Loddon Campaspe Community Legal Centre
  • Peter Noble
  • 29 Queen Street, Bendigo VIC 3550
  • Tel 1800 639 121 (freecall) or 5444 4364
  • E admin_at_advocacyandrights.org.au
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