The Ethical Dimensions of



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Operationalisation of the Court

Uganda and the Lord’s Resistance Army

Before the year 2003 was over, the Prosecutor announced that a case had been referred to the Court by a State Party, in accordance with Article13 (a) and 14. Moreover, this was a referral by a state of a situation within its own borders. On 16 December 2003, the Government of Uganda referred the situation in northern Uganda.158 In July 2004, the Presidency assigned the “situation in Uganda” to a Pre-Trial Chamber. More than seven months after the initial referral by the Government of Uganda, the Prosecutor announced his conclusion that there was a “reasonable basis” to proceed with an investigation.

In May 2005, nearly seventeen months after the referral by Uganda, the Prosecutor submitted applications for five arrest warrants, in accordance with Article 58 of the Rome Statute. These were subsequently amended, and considered by three judges of the Pre-Trial Chamber, and in hearings during the month of June. In September 2005, the Prosecutor applied to have warrants unsealed. The Pre-Trial Chamber so decided in October 2005 and the warrants became known to the general public. Yet, by the end of 2006, none of the warrants had been executed.

Democratic Republic of Congo and the Lubanga case

The Uganda “self-referral” inspired the Prosecutor to attempt the same strategy in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This was the situation he had indicated as his first priority in July 2003. Then, he was planning to precede on the basis of his proprio motu powers, in accordance with Article 15 of the Rome Statute. This changed in March 2004, when the Democratic Republic of Congo followed Uganda’s example and referred the situation in the Ituri region to the Court. Congo was not only referring the case but indicating that it conceded the admissibility of the case. It did not, however, indicate whether this was because it was unwilling or because it was unable to proceed.

In June 2004 the Prosecutor informed the Presidency of the referral, and after citing an estimated 5,000-8,000 unlawful killings committed in the region since July 2002, he announced the opening of a formal investigation.

While the Prosecutor worked with the authorities of the Democratic Republic of Congo in order to ensure the accused person’s transfer to The Hague, the Lubanga arrest warrant remained under seal. The Registrar formally transmitted the request to the Congolese Government for arrest and surrender of Lubanga in March 2006. Lubanga was apparently brought before a Congolese judicial authority, which authorized his surrender and transfer to the International Criminal Court.

The suspect was promptly transferred to The Hague by French military aircraft, with the assistance of the United Nations mission. In March 2006, Lubanga came before the Pre-Trial Chamber, the first defendant ever to appear before the International Criminal Court, and the Pre-Trial Chamber confirmed the charges against him concerning the enlistment, conscription and active use of child soldiers. He became the first person to be committed for trial before the International Criminal Court.

Darfur referred by the Security Council

The third “situation” to come before the Court, that of Darfur in western Sudan, is the result of a Security Council referral in accordance with Article 13(b) of the Rome Statute. Though Sudan signed the Statute in September 2000, it has not yet ratified it.

The referral really followed American pressure after the statement made by US Secretary of State Colin Powell when he called upon the Security Council to take action with regard to what he described as genocide in Darfur. In actual fact, the situation in Darfur was never acknowledged by the United Nations or the Security Council as genocide, nor did the US ever push for such acknowledgement.

As of May 2006 there have been two missions to Khartoum. The first, in November 2005, was largely preparatory. The second, in February 2006, focused entirely on the issue of admissibility and had as its objective the assessment of national proceedings.

The Government of the Sudan has on many occasions stated that the issue has been highly politicized and the Prosecutor himself has been used by the Western circles in order to weaken the country through the Court.

The recent decision of the Prosecutor to indict the President of Sudan is another major escalation of the jurisdiction of the ICC, and is likely to produce a serious debate about consequences, including for the ICC itself.



Conclusion

In conclusion, neither the legal mandate of the International Criminal Court, nor the resources available to it, are sufficient to allow it to fulfill the world’s high expectations. The global community expects the ICC to provide worldwide accountability, yet the Court’s own internal predictions and the current level of funding from the Assembly of States Parties anticipate a maximum of no more than two or three trials per year. In addition, the Court optimistically assumes that States will cooperate in the arrest and surrender of indictees.

This combination of unrealistic hopes and limited capacity raises the real prospect that the Court may be seen as a failure only a few years after its creation. Any limited contribution it may make will inevitably fall short of the global community’s high expectations.

As a potential solution to this misalignment of expectations, mandate, and resources, the ICC could participate more directly in efforts to encourage national governments to prosecute international crimes themselves. This solution, predicated upon the ICC’s ability to motivate and assist national judiciaries, could be termed “proactive complementarity”. Under such a policy, the ICC would cooperate with national governments and use political leverage to encourage states to under take their own prosecution of international crimes.

As is well known, the U.S has concluded ASPA agreements with 99 countries - over half the States Members of the United Nations - to protect against the possibility of transfer or surrender of any US personnel to the Court, even if they have committed any of the serious crimes falling within the latter’s jurisdiction. While the US certainly appreciates that Security Council Resolution 1593 on the referral of the Darfur situation to the Court took note of the existence of these ASPA agreements, this exception will limit the ability of the Court to exercise its jurisdiction with universality and impartiality and will strongly prove that the ICC can not succeed unless the United States changes its approach.

The recent arrest of one of the main culprits of ethnic cleansing in Bosnis, and his transfer to the ICC will give the Court a distinct fillip in credibility, and may help bring the US around to accept its existence and jurisdiction.



ISLAM AND Women
Introduction

Whenever the issue of violence against women or that of the maltreatment of women or of the violation of women’s rights comes up, the critical finger is usually pointed at the Islamic world.

This paper highlights the fact that the maltreatment of women and the violation of their rights in Islamic countries do not represent the real Islamic rights as recommended in Islam and the Quran. It is intended to analyze the misconceptions, reasons, wrong practices and differences between traditions which have affected culture in Islamic countries, and to elaborate on the status of women as well as on women’s rights in Islam.

The Definition of Women’s Rights

Since women are human beings, all the rights that belong to human beings are to be enjoyed by them. In other words, the term women’s rights refers to the freedoms inherently possessed by human beings of all ages, which may be institutionalized, ignored or suppressed by law, custom, and behavior in a particular society. These liberties are grouped together and differentiated from broader notions of human rights because they often differ from the freedoms inherently possessed by or recognized for men in male-dominated societies

Issues commonly associated with notions of women’s rights include, though are not limited to, the right: to bodily integrity and autonomy, to vote (universal suffrage), to hold public office, to work, to fair wages or equal pay, to own property, to education, to serve in the military, to enter into legal contracts, and to have marital, parental and religious rights. Women and their supporters have campaigned and in some places continue to campaign for these same rights as for modern man.

The History of Women’s Rights Since early times women have been uniquely viewed as the creative source of human life. Historically, however, they have been considered not only intellectually inferior to men but also a major source of temptation and evil. In Greek mythology, for example, it was a woman, Pandora, who opened the forbidden box and brought plagues and unhappiness to mankind. Early Roman law described women as children, forever inferior to men.

Early Christian theology perpetuated these views. St. Jerome, a 4th Century leader of the Christian church, said: "Woman is the gate of the devil, the path of wickedness, the sting of the serpent, in a word a perilous object”. Thomas Aquinas, the 13th-Century Christian theologian, said that woman was "created to be man’s helpmate, but her unique role is in conception since for other purposes men would be better assisted by other men”.

The attitude towards women in the East was more favorable. In ancient India, for example, women were not originally deprived of property rights or individual freedoms by marriage. But Hinduism, as it evolved in India after about 500 B.C., required the obedience of women toward men. Women had to walk behind their husbands, they could not own property, and widows could not remarry. Male children were preferred over female children.

Nevertheless, whenever they were allowed personal and intellectual freedom, women made significant achievements. During the Middle Ages, nuns played a key role in the religious life of Europe. Aristocratic women enjoyed power and prestige. Whole eras were influenced by women rulers such as, Queen Elizabeth of England in the 16th Century, Catherine the Great of Russia in the 18th Century, and Queen Victoria of England in the 19th Century.

This paper would like to review briefly how women were treated in general in previous civilizations and religions, especially those which preceded Islam (pre-610 A.D.)159. Part of the information provided here, however, describes the status of woman as late as the 19th Century, or more than twelve centuries after the advent of Islam.

Women in Ancient Civilizations

Describing the status of the Indian woman160, Encyclopedia Britannica states: “In Hindu India, subjection was a cardinal principle. Day and night must women be held by their protectors in a state of dependence says Manu. The rule of inheritance was agnatic, that is descent traced through males to the exclusion of females”.161

In Hindu scriptures, the description of a good wife is as follows: "a woman, whose mind, speech and body are kept in subjection, acquires high renown in this world, and, in the next, the same abode with her husband”.162

In Athens, women were not better off than either the Indian or the Roman women. Athenian women were always minors, subject to some male - to their father, to their brother, or to some of their male kin.163

Her consent in marriage was not generally thought to be necessary and ‘she was obliged to submit to the wishes of her parents, and receive from them her husband and her lord, even though he were stranger to her”.164

A Roman wife was described by an historian as: "a babe, a minor, a ward, a person incapable of doing or acting anything according to her own individual taste, a person continually under the tutelage and guardianship of her husband”.165

In the Encyclopedia Britannica, we find a summary of the legal status of women in Roman civilization:166

In Roman law a woman was, even in historic times, completely dependent. If married, she and her property passed into the power of her husband. The wife was the purchased property of her husband, and like a slave acquired only for his benefit. A woman could not exercise any civil or public office, could not be a witness, surety, tutor, or curator; could not adopt or be adopted, or make a will or a contract.

Among the Scandinavian races women were under perpetual tutelage, whether married or unmarried. As late as the Code of Christian V, at the end of the 17th Century, it was enacted that if a woman married without the consent of her tutor he might have, if he wished, administration and usufruct of her goods during her life.167

According to English Common Law all real property which a wife held at the time of a marriage became a possession of her husband. He was entitled to the rent from the land and to any profit which might be made from operating the estate during the joint life of the spouses.

As time passed, the English courts devised means to forbid a husband’s transferring real property without the consent of his wife, but he still retained the right to manage it and to receive the money which it produced. As to a wife’s personal property, the husband’s power was complete. He had the right to spend it as he saw fit.168

Only by the late 19th Century did the situation start to improve. "By a series of acts starting with the Married Women’s Property Act in 1870, amended in 1882 and 1887, married women achieved the right to own property and to enter contracts at par with spinsters, widows, and divorcees”.169 As late as the 19th Century an authority in ancient law, Sir Henry Maine, wrote: "No society which preserves any tincture of Christian institutions is likely to restore to married women the personal liberty conferred on them by the Middle Roman Law”.170 In his essay The Subjection of Women, John Stuart Mill wrote: “We are continually told that civilization and Christianity have restored to the woman her just rights. Meanwhile the wife is the actual bondservant of her husband; no less so, as far as the legal obligation goes, than slaves commonly so called.171

Before moving on to the Quranic decrees concerning the status of woman, a few Biblical decrees may shed more light on the subject, thus providing a better basis for an impartial evaluation.

In Mosaic Law, the wife was “betrothed”. The Encyclopedia Biblica states: "To betroth a wife to oneself meant simply to acquire possession of her by payment of the purchase money; the betrothed is a girl for whom the purchase money has been paid”.172 From the legal point of view, the consent of the girl was not necessary for the validation of her marriage. "The girl’s consent is unnecessary and the need for it is nowhere suggested in the Law”.173

As to the right of divorce, we read in the Encyclopedia Biblica: "The woman being man’s property, his right to divorce her follows as a matter of course”.174 The right to divorce was held only by man. In Mosaic Law, “divorce was a privilege of the husband only”. 175

Writers assumed that a patriarchal order was a natural order that had existed as John Stuart Mill wrote, since "the very earliest twilight of human society”. This was not seriously challenged until the 18th Century when Jesuit missionaries found matrilineal social orders in native North American peoples.

Some have claimed that women generally had more legal rights under Islamic law than they did under Western legal systems until more recent times. English Common Law transferred property held by a wife at the time of a marriage to her husband, which contrasted with the Quranic Sura: "Unto men (of the family) belongs a share of that which Parents and near kindred leave, and unto women a share of that which parents and near kindred leave, whether it be a little or much - a determinate share".

French married women, unlike their Muslim sisters, suffered from restrictions on their legal capacity which were removed only in 1965. In the 16th Century, the Reformation in Europe allowed more women to add their voices, including the English writers Jane Anger, Aemilia Lanyer, and the prophetess Anna Trapnell. It has been claimed that the dissolution and resulting closure of convents had deprived many such women of one path to education. Giving voice in the secular context became more difficult when deprived of the rationale and protection of divine inspiration. Queen Elizabeth I demonstrated leadership amongst women, even if she was unsupportive of their causes, and subsequently became a role model for the education of women.



The Status of Women in Islam

The attitude of the Quran and the early Muslims bear witness to the fact that a woman is, at least, as vital to life as a man, and that she is not inferior to him, nor is she one of the lower species. Had it not been for the impact of foreign cultures and alien influences, this question would have never arisen among Muslims. The status of woman was taken for granted to be equal to that of man. It was a matter of course, a matter of fact, and no one considered it as a problem at all.

Islam has given women rights and privileges which she had never enjoyed under other religious or constitutional systems. The rights and responsibilities of a woman are equal to those of a man, but they are not necessarily identical with them. Equality and sameness are two quite different things. This difference is understandable because man and woman are not identical, and yet they are created as equals.

This distinction between equality and sameness is of paramount importance. Equality is desirable, just, and fair; but sameness is not. People are not created identical but they are created equals. With this distinction in mind, there is no room to imagine that woman is inferior to man. There is no ground to assume that she is less important than he just because her rights are not identically the same as his. Had her status been identical with his, she would have been simply a duplicate of him, which she is not. The fact that Islam gives her equal but not identical rights shows that it takes her into due consideration, acknowledges her, and recognizes her independent personality.

It is not the tone of Islam that brands woman as the product of the devil or the seed of evil. Nor does the Quran place man as the dominant lord of woman who has no choice but to surrender to his dominance. Nor was it Islam that introduced the question of whether or not woman has any soul in her. Never in the history of Islam has any Muslim doubted the human status of woman or her possession of soul and other fine spiritual qualities.

Unlike other beliefs, Islam does not blame Eve alone for the First Sin. The Quran makes it very clear that both Adam and Eve were tempted; that they both erred; that God’s pardon was granted to both after their repentance; and that God addressed them jointly176. In fact the Quran gives the impression that Adam was more to blame for that first sin from which emerged prejudice against woman and suspicion of her deeds. But Islam does not justify such prejudice or suspicion because both Adam and Eve were equally in error.

The rights of women in modern times were not granted voluntarily or out of kindness to the female. Modern woman reached her present position by force, and not through natural processes or mutual consent or divine teachings. She had to force her way, and various circumstances came to her aid. Shortage of manpower during wars, pressure of economic needs and requirements of industrial developments forced woman to get out of her home, to work, to learn, to struggle for her livelihood, to appear as an equal to man, to run her race in the course of life side by side with him. She was forced by circumstances and in turn she forced herself to acquire her new status. Whether or not all women were pleased with these circumstances, and whether they are happy and satisfied with the results is a different matter.

The fact remains that whatever rights modern woman enjoy, fall short of those of her Muslim counterpart. What Islam has established for woman is that which suits her nature, gives her full security and protects her against disgraceful circumstances and uncertain channels of life.

The status of women in Islam is something unique, something novel, and something that has no similarity in any other system. Under Islamic law, marriage was no longer viewed as a “status” but rather as a "contract", in which the woman’s consent was imperative. Women were given inheritance rights in a patriarchal society that had previously restricted inheritance to male relatives. Annemarie Schimmel states that "compared to the pre-Islamic position of women, Islamic legislation meant an enormous progress; the woman has the right, at least according to the letter of the law, to administer the wealth she has brought into the family or has earned by her own work”.

Women were not accorded such legal status in other cultures, including the West, until centuries later. The social system built up a new system of marriage, family and inheritance; this system treated women as individuals too and guaranteed social security to her as well as to her children. Legally controlled polygamy was an important advance on the various loosely defined arrangements which had previously been both possible and current; it was only by this provision (backed up by severe punishment for adultery), that the family, the core of any sedentary society could be placed on a firm footing. The attitude of Islam with regard to woman is then explained as follows:

• Women are recognized by Islam as full and equal partners of men in the procreation of humankind. He is the father; she is the mother, and both are essential for life. Her role is not less vital than his. By this partnership she has an equal share in every aspect; she is entitled to equal rights; she undertakes equal responsibilities, and in her there are as many qualities and as much humanity as there are in her partner. To this equal partnership in the reproduction of human the Quran says: “Mankind! Verily we have created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female and made you into nations and tribes that you may know each other”.177

• Women are equal to men in bearing personal and common responsibilities and in receiving rewards for their deeds. She is acknowledged as an independent personality, in possession of human qualities and worthy of spiritual aspirations. Her human nature is neither inferior to nor deviant from that of man. Both are members of one another. The Quran says: “And their Lord has accepted (their prayers) and answered them (saying): Never will I cause to be lost the work of any of you, be he male or female; you are members, one of another”.178 • Women are equal to men in the pursuit of education and knowledge. When Islam enjoins the seeking of knowledge upon Muslims, it makes no distinction between men and women. Almost fourteen centuries ago, Muhammad declared that the pursuit of knowledge is incumbent on every Muslim, male and female.

• Women are entitled to freedom of expression as much as men. Her sound opinions are taken into consideration and cannot be disregarded just because she happens to belong to the female sex. It is reported in the Quran and history that women not only expressed their opinions freely but also argued and participated in serious discussions with the Prophet himself as well as with other Muslim leaders179. There were also occasions when Muslim women expressed their views on legislative matters of public interest, and stood in opposition to the Caliphs, who then had to accept the sound arguments of these women. • Historical records show that women participated in public life with the early Muslims, especially in times of emergencies. Women used to accompany the Muslim armies and engaged in battles to nurse the wounded, prepare supplies, and help the warriors when needed.

• Islam grants women equal rights to contract, to enterprise, to earn and possess independently. Her life, her property, her honor are as sacred as those of men. If she commits any offense, her penalty is no less or more than of man’s in a similar case. If she is wronged or harmed, she gets due compensation equal to what a man in her position would get.

• Islam never tolerates those who are inclined to prejudice against women or discriminate between men and women. Time and again, the Quran reproaches those who believe women to be inferior to men180.

• Apart from the recognition of women as independent human beings, acknowledged as essential for the survival of humanity, Islam has given them a due share of inheritance. Whether she is a wife or mother, a sister or daughter, she receives a certain share of the deceased kin’s property, a share which depends on her degree of relationship to the deceased and the number of heirs. This share is hers, and no one can take it away or disinherit her. Even if the deceased wishes to deprive her by making a will in favor of others, the Law allows him to limit such derogations to no more than one-third of his property. The remaining two-thirds must go to the normal heirs. In the case of inheritance, the question of quality and sameness is fully applicable. In principle, both men and women are equally entitled to inherit proportions of the property of the deceased, but the portions they get may vary. In some instances men receive two shares whereas women get one only. This is not a sign of giving preference or supremacy to men over women. The reasons are as follows: First of all, men are solely responsible for the complete maintenance of the wife, the family and any other needy relations. It is their duty by Law to assume all financial responsibilities and maintain his dependents adequately. It is also his duty to contribute financially to all good causes in his society. All financial burdens are borne by him alone. Second, and in contrast, women have no financial responsibilities whatsoever except for their own personal expenses. She is financially secure and provided for. If she is a wife, her husband is the provider; if she is a mother, it is the son; if she is a daughter, it is the father; if she is a sister; it is the brother, and so on. If she has no relations on whom she can depend, then there is no question of inheritance because there is nothing to inherit and there is no one to bequeath anything to her. Third, when a woman gets less than a man does, she is not actually deprived of anything that she has worked for. The property inherited is not the result of her earning or her endeavors. It is something coming from a neutral source, something additional or extra. It is a sort of aid, and any aid has to be distributed according to the needs and responsibilities. We can thus say that when taken as a whole the rights of women are equal to those of men although not necessarily identical181.

• In some instances of bearing witness in certain civil contracts, two men are required or one man and two women. Again, this is no indication of the women being inferior to men. It is a measure of securing the rights of the contracting parties, because women as a rule do not normally participate in practical life. This lack of experience may cause a loss to a party in a given contract. So the Law requires that at least two women should bear witness along with one man.

• Women enjoy certain privileges of which men are deprived. She is exempt from some religious duties, for example at times of confinement. She is exempt from all financial liabilities. As a mother, she enjoys more recognition and higher honor in the sight of God.182 The Prophet acknowledged this honor when he declared that Paradise lay under the feet of mothers. As a wife she is entitled to demand of her prospective husband a suitable dowry that will be her own. She is entitled to complete provision and total maintenance by the husband. She does not have to work or share with her husband the family expenses. She is free to retain, after marriage, whatever she possessed before it, and the husband has no right whatsoever to any of her belongings. As a daughter or sister she is entitled to security and provision by the father and brother respectively. That is her privilege. If she wishes to work or be self-supporting and participate in handling the family responsibilities, she is quite free to do so, provided her integrity and honor are safeguarded.

• Women must stand behind men or in a separate enclosure during prayers. The standing of women in prayers behind or separately does not indicate in any sense that she is inferior to him. Women, as already mentioned, are exempt from attending congregational prayers, which are obligatory on men. But if she does attend she stands in separate lines made up of women exclusively. This is very important because Muslim prayers involve actions, motions, standing, bowing, prostration, etc. So if men mix with women in the same lines, it is possible that both may be distracted from the concentration that is required during prayers.

• Muslim women are always associated with an old tradition known as the "veil". It is Islamic tradition that the woman should beautify herself with the veil of honor, dignity, chastity, purity and integrity. She should refrain from all deeds and gestures that might stir the passions of people other than her legitimate husband. She is warned not to display her charms or expose her physical attractions before strangers. Islam is most concerned with the integrity of society and the family, with the safeguarding of its morals and morale and with the protection of character and personality.183

Muslims believe that the status of woman in Islam is unprecedentedly high and realistically suitable to her nature. Her rights and duties are equal to those of man but not necessarily or absolutely identical with them. The whole status of woman is given clearly in the Quranic verse which may be translated as follows: “And women shall have rights similar to the rights according to what is equitable; but man has a degree of advantage (as in some cases of inheritance) over them”.

The Status of Women in Non-Islamic Countries According to Amnesty International, in the United States, a woman is raped every 6 minutes and battered every 15 seconds.184 Millions of underage girls become sex slaves. Statistics from the Department of Justice show some 100,000 to three million American children under the age of 18 as involved in prostitution.

Elsewhere, this year, more than 15,000 women will be sold into sexual slavery in China. More than 7,000 women in India will be murdered by their families and in-laws in disputes over dowries. According to Amartya Sen, the Nobel Prize winning economist, there are 60 million women missing in India alone, due to female abortions and infanticide.

Consider some facts and figures from the alarming litany of gender violence collated by the United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women:


  • A 1997 survey of 1,500 Swiss women found that a full 20 % reported physical abuse in their relationships.

  • Attempts at suicide are 12 times more common among women who are subject to abuse.

  • Battered women are over-represented among female alcoholics, drug abusers, and sufferers of mental illness.

  • Every day in Scotland (population 5 million) more than 50 women, with their children, leave their homes to escape from abusive men.

  • Over 15,000 Russian women were killed by their husbands or partners in 1997.

  • An English study in 1994 indicates that 6 out of 10 men regard violence against their partner as an option.

  • In statistics and data from 7 countries, more than 60 % of sexual assault victims know their attacker.

  • In Germany, a woman or female child is raped every three minutes.

  • In surveys from six countries, 27 % to 34 % of women reported sexual abuse during childhood or adolescence.

  • Studies have shown that between 36 % and 62 % of all known sexual assault victims are aged 15 or under.

  • More than 130 million women and girls living today have been subjected to female genital mutilation.

  • In former Yugoslavia, Rwanda and other conflict zones, thousands of women were raped as a deliberate war strategy

Millions of women throughout the world live in conditions of abject deprivation of, and attacks against, their fundamental human rights for no other reason than that they are women.

Combatants and their sympathizers in conflicts, such as those in Sierra Leone, Kosovo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan, and Rwanda, have raped women as a weapon of war with near complete impunity. As a direct result of inequalities found in their countries of origin, women from Ukraine, Moldova, Nigeria, the Dominican Republic, Burma, and Thailand are bought and sold, trafficked to work in forced prostitution, with insufficient government attention to protect their rights and punish the traffickers. In Guatemala, South Africa, and Mexico, women’s ability to enter and remain in the work force is obstructed by private employers who use women’s reproductive status to exclude them from work and by discriminatory employment laws or discriminatory enforcement of the law.

Abuses against women are relentless, systematic, and widely tolerated, if not explicitly condoned. Violence and discrimination against women are global social epidemics, notwithstanding the very real progress of the international women’s human rights movement in identifying, raising awareness about, and challenging impunity for women’s human rights violations. Women in state custody face sexual assault by their jailers185.

Violence against women is rooted in a global culture of discrimination which denies women equal rights with men and which legitimizes the appropriation of women’s bodies for individual gratification or political ends.


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