Blog

Still the second sex: Some feminist reflections on the new General Comment of the UN Human Rights Committee on the right to life

Fleur van Leeuwen - 13th May 2019

In October 2018 the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Committee (HRC) adopted general comment (GC) 36 on the right to life, replacing GC 6 and GC 14. Latter documents date back to the 1980s and attest to the androcentric nature of the international human rights system. Neither document pays attention to issues that characteristically affect the […]

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Universal jurisdiction to the rescue: a way forward for victims of Franco-era crimes of gender-based violence?

Lucy Geddes - 25th January 2019

Between the years of 1960 and 1974, Spanish lawyer and feminist activist Lidia Falcón O’Neill was detained seven times by security police on behalf of the Franco government, because of her protests against the regime. On five of these occasions, she alleges that she was brutally tortured, including being hung from a hook in the […]

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Indian Supreme Court Decriminalises Adultery: A Step Closer to Criminalising Marital Rape

Kali Srikari Kancherla and Shreyasi Tripathi - 25th October 2018

In the landmark decision in Joseph Shine v Union of India on 27 September 2018, the Indian Supreme Court unanimously struck down a 150-year old penal provision criminalising adultery as unconstitutional. Section 497 of Indian Penal Code 1860 criminalises a man having consensual sexual intercourse with a married woman without the consent of her husband. The Court […]

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The Indian Supreme Court Takes a Stand Against Honour Crimes

Karan Tripathi - 23rd May 2018

Despite India’s liberal and secular commitments, honour killing has remained a social reality. A report by the National Crime Records Bureau records at least 288 cases of such violence in the period 2014-2016. Against this background, the Supreme Court of India, on 28th March 2018, passed a landmark judgment in Shakti Vahini v. Union of […]

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Tackling FGM In India: Is It Time For A New Law?

Tarika Jain - 20th March 2018

According to a study conducted on members of the Bohra community in India, a startling 75% of the daughters of the 94 participants were subjected to Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) around the age of seven to nine years, in accordance with their religious customs. A majority of the reported cases were of Type 1 FGM/C […]

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International Law, Right to Privacy and Marital Rape in India

Surya Rajkumar - 25th February 2018

In an order dated 6/11/2017, the High Court of Gujarat described marital rape as “a disgraceful offence that has scarred the trust and confidence in the institution of marriage”, proposing to consider, through its own motion, whether a husband forcing his wife to perform oral sex constitutes an offence under the provisions of the Indian […]

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When The Law is Not Enough: International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM

Brenda Kelly - 6th February 2018

On February 6, UN International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), the international community will condemn FGM. Who would disagree that FGM (the partial or total removal of female external genitalia or injury to female genital organs for cultural reasons) is not a great harm, violence against women and violation of human […]

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Breaking the Silence, Holding the Gaze: Women Denounce Sexual Torture in Atenco Before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights

Tania Sordo Ruz - 8th January 2018

In the coming months, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights will issue its decision on the Atenco case, regarding acts of sexual torture committed against women by Mexican state agents. On November 16 and 17, 2017, a public hearing was held in the case of Mariana Selvas Gómez et al. v. Mexico, known as the Atenco […]

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Levenstein: A Case to End Prescription of All Sexual Offences in South Africa

Jesslin Wooliver - 17th December 2017

Widely considered the most progressive constitution in the world, the South African Constitution contains an inclusive and wide reaching Bill of Rights. Amongst these rights, the Bill guarantees every citizen the right to dignity, equality, protection of children, freedom from violence, access to courts, and a fair trial. However, South African law also enforces prescription […]

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The need to consider victim’s voices in the sentencing of offenders: Director of Public Prosecutions v Oscar Leonard Carl Pistorius

Amanda Spies - 14th December 2017

On 24 November 2017, the South African Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) handed down a unanimous decision increasing the sentence of convicted murderer Oscar Pistorius from six, to fifteen years imprisonment (Director of Public Prosecutions v Oscar Leonard Carl Pistorius (950/2016) [2017] ZASCA 150. Oscar’s case needs little introduction. The famous Paralympian athlete was convicted […]

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