‘Women’s rights are human rights!’ This notion may seem self evident, as the United Nations system for the promotion and the protection of human rights builds on the idea of equality in dignity and rights of men and women. Yet, as was convincingly showed by critics of this international system, it is not.
At the 1993 World Conference on Human Rights held in Vienna, Austria, a caucus of women’s rights activists made it unequivocally clear that much of what women experience as everyday abuse was largely kept outside the realm of international human rights. Their arguments were heard. In the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, the outcome document of the Conference, 171 states call upon the monitoring bodies of the international human rights treaties to include the status and human rights of women in their deliberations and findings.
Many years have passed since this landmark event. High time to check the results achieved: have human rights of women actually become an integral part of mainstream international human rights activities? This book examines whether the work of two human rights monitoring bodies, the United Nations Human Rights Committee and the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, reflects compliance with the request of the 1993 World Conference. The focus is on the attention of the bodies for matters that affect women’s physical integrity.
About this book
‘[…] van Leeuwen’s book is an interesting, informative and important publication. It analyses a significant, however rather rarely addressed aspect of the development of women’s rights as human rights – the actual compliance of the two human rights treaty bodies (the HRC and the CESCR) with the aspiration of the 1993 World Conference on Human Rights. At the beginning of the development of an international human rights framework that would adequately and effectively take account of women’s experiences, van Leeuwen’s book documents 15 years of such developments, assessing the past and giving hope that future, hopefully great, advancements are soon to come.’
Olga Jurasz in HRLR 11 (2011), 407.
‘[…] an interesting book which gives great insights into the work of the HRC and the CESCR as far as the inclusion of a woman’s perspective in their work on physical integrity is concerned. It will be an eye-opener for UN monitoring committee members. The book will also be useful for NGOs because it gives an indication of why and how the work of the Committees does not yet come up to the mark and in which ways NGOs should present the root causes for existing problems and suggest possible solutions.’
Ingrid Westendorp in 30 (2012) NQHR, 591.
CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION (p. 1)
CHAPTER 2. WOMEN IN THE PICTURE – GENERAL OUTLINE (p. 25)
CHAPTER 3. PREGNANCY AND HUMAN RIGHTS – THE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE (p. 43)
CHAPTER 4. PHYSICAL VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND HUMAN RIGHTS – THE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE (p. 91)
CHAPTER 5. PREGNANCY AND HUMAN RIGHTS – THE COMMITTEE ON ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS (p. 149)
CHAPTER 6. PHYSICAL VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND HUMAN RIGHTS – THE COMMITTEE ON ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS (p. 181)
CHAPTER 7. CONCLUSIONS (p. 235)
The Human Rights Research Series’ central research theme is the nature and meaning of international standards in the field of human rights, their application and promotion in the national legal order, their interplay with national standards, and the international supervision of such application. Anyone directly involved in the definition, study, implementation, monitoring, or enforcement of human rights will find this series an indispensable reference tool.
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Editorial Board of the Series: Prof. dr. J.E. Goldschmidt (Utrecht University), Prof. dr. D.A. Hellema (Utrecht University), Prof. dr. W.J.M. van Genugten (Tilburg University), Prof. dr. F. Coomans (Maastricht University), Prof. dr. P.A.M. Mevis (Erasmus University Rotterdam), Dr.J.-P. Loof (Leiden University) and Dr. O.M. Ribbelink (Asser Institute).
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