By definition, the international human rights law is considered as a set of globally based rules that effectively reinforce the rights and dignity of every human being, whether man or woman, across the world, without discrimination. Besides, human rights are the basic freedoms that every human should be guaranteed, and therefore, like any other individual, women are entitled to enjoy the same human rights and equal protection under the law. For this reason, the attainment of equality between men and women as well as eliminating all forms of violence and discrimination against women are arguably, deemed as some of the most fundamental human rights. Nonetheless, despite the protection that women are accorded under the international human rights law, there still are cases of women across the world who regularly suffer violations of their human rights. Studies substantiate that, dating back to the 1990s, the need to increase international attention on issues of violence against women, has increasingly merited significant concerns but there still lacks substantial and explicit treaties under the international human rights law that wholesomely prohibit violence against women. This being said, the issue of violence against the women remains under-defined and poorly understood under the law, and as a result, it is believed that most women in the world are insufficiently protected from issues of violence and discrimination by the law.
Violence against women particularly includes domestic, physical and sexual abuse and assault, among many others. According to Edwards (2013), sexual violence against the women includes rape, forced prostitution and several other forms of sexual assault. However, although the international human rights law clearly stipulates that the state is overly responsible for taking proper measures to prevent, investigate, and also remedy any forms of sexual violence, women, especially those in conflict zones are most often vulnerable to violence and abuse. In this regard, militaries and rebel groups in these areas have increasingly used rape and other forms of sexual assault as forms of military tactics against civilian populations. Therefore, based on this concept, it is therefore evident that in as much as the international human rights law has formed treaties which are primarily intended to protect the women against violence, the law is not lenient enough to give protection to women, especially in these conflict zones. Additionally, despite the fact that the United Nations Security Council, in 2013, adopted the Resolution 2016, which was primarily intended to recognize the need for collective action by the civil society, States and the International actors so as to implement preventive measures against violence, the military forces in many areas of the world still get their way through when it comes to abusing women. Thus, in a nutshell, despite the stipulations and the protections accorded to women by this particular law, it is evident that most women, especially in the conflict prone areas, are not given enough protection against assault by the military forces.
Reports by the World Health Organization suggest that it is approximated that at least 1 in every three women globally will be raped, beaten or otherwise abused in her lifetime. This being the case, numerous scholars across diverse disciplines have continually questioned the relevance and the efficiency of the international human rights law when it comes to protecting the women against violence. Also, a myriad of organizations such as the Soroptimist International is known for recognizing that while all children are vulnerable, despite the presence of the various form of laws and legislations, girl children experience heightened vulnerabilities due to deeply rooted cultural and traditional beliefs which have continually placed girls in subordinated positions. This being said, both the government laws and the international human rights law are most often outweighed by most of these customary beliefs and practices.
A majority of studies in the modern day today statistically substantiate that the international human rights law are increasingly failing the women, as compared to their male counterparts. For instance, a majority of recent literature contend that the international human rights law fail to have a significant educational component for the furthering of the womens human rights. This being the case, the United Nations Development Funds for Women point out that the CEDAW needs to have a popular education which ought to be part of any form of litigation strategy. With this, the human rights for women will firstly require that the international law is acknowledged by the international community as well as their adherence to state parties through challenging a wide range of fundamental religious and cultural beliefs.
Being the most common form of violence amongst many women, domestic violence in some of the developed countries such as the UK is widely recognized, dealt with and accepted as an issue, in accordance with the international human rights law. Nonetheless, in some countries such as Ghana, owing to the illiteracy and deeply rooted cultural practices matters of domestic violence are not widely recognized as an issue. Besides, whats worse is that despite having the international human rights law as responsible for ensuring that the government accords the women the necessary protection, there are no measures that are put in place by the local government, to tackle these issues. As a matter of fact, being an African Country, Ghana is one of the countries that faces numerous cultural barriers. This being the case, the message of domestic violence as an infringement of womens human rights is not perceived with great seriousness, as the international human rights law would require. Besides, international organizations such as the United Nations have not set aside measures that should put in place social structures to help these women. On the other hand, although well-developed countries such as the UK and the US have NGOs which are equivalent to social services that offer women the right forms of protection against violence, a majority of these organizations primarily rely on women coming forward to report these issues. Thus, these organizations do not take it as their responsibility, to carry out investigations on suspicion of domestic violence. For this reason, women who do live in fear of victimization do not come forward to report these issues and hence the skyrocketing numbers of female deaths as orchestrated by domestic violence.
Despite numerous evidence that domestic violence affects a majority of the women in the world, beyond ethnicity, cultural backgrounds, and geographic locations, the issue of domestic violence was only introduced as a substantial international human rights agenda in the early 1980s. However, over the recent past, the international human rights law has come up with special measures that have been able to identify the causes and the measures to prevent domestic violence both at the international and regional levels. For instance, today, in the 21st century, some of the conventions which have become products if the global consensus on domestic violence is such as; the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). Nonetheless, even with the ratification of some of these conventions, in some places such as Australia have experienced great challenges in matters regarding coming up with measures to formulate programs and polices according to the international human rights law. With this put into consideration, it is with no doubt that the issue of domestic violence is still in the process of definition and hence the insufficient protection of the women under the international human rights law.
Although the international human rights law offers protection of all individuals, and especially the women across the entire globe, the World Health Organization reports that in some countries such as India, the magnitude of women who have ever been victims of violence, whether physical or sexual violence, ranging from 15% to 71%. Particularly, in some of the Indian states such as Bihar, M.P, and a majority of other northern states, more than 55 percent of the women population face violence and worse still, do not get compensated or at the very least, guaranteed of protection by the law. This being the case, the World Health Organization concludes that in contrary to what is expected of the international human rights law, there is no one particular worldwide accepted definition of violence against women. Therefore, the United States encourages organizations to make their own definitions of domestic violence, in accordance to the local needs and circumstances that affect the women in the region.
Additionally, based on data and statistics collected over the recent past, violence against women has become one of the greatest human rights scandals of our times. Many at times, the reasons for vulnerability and the exposure of women to violence, is greatly attributed to under protection by the law. Particularly, right from birth, whether in times of peace or in times of war, with the international human rights law or not, women face both violence and discrimination at the hands of the state, their own families and also the society as a whole. Additionally, female infanticide also deprives countless women of their conjugal rights and also life itself. For instance, cases of rape, sexual abuse and sexual assault by men, security officials or even worse, armed combatants are inflicted on millions of women, every year. Nonetheless, owing to the fact that a majority of the women are usually ashamed and in fear of skepticism, any form of violence against them are characteristically under-reported. In a similar regard, although the international human rights law ensures that women get enough protection from their governments, the definitions of the forms of violence vary in different countries. For example, while some countries lack good reporting systems to determine the prevalence of violation against the women, other countries fail to have laws that are already set aside to offer women the right form of protection that they require.
The international human rights law does not offer sufficient protection to women who participate in commercial sex work. According to studies, whether trafficked or not, a majority of the female sex workers, especially in countries where sex work is illegal. Besides, being a particularly vulnerable group, women ought to have special status as well as protection within the United Nations and also the regional human rights systems. Besides, the international human rights treaties require that State parties take proactive steps in ensuring that the human rights concerning the women are respected by the law so as to ensure that inequalities, discrimination, as well as numerous practices that negatively affect womens rights are eliminated. Substantial examples of women sex workers who have been subjected to violence while working are substantiated by surveys conducted among female sex workers in England, Leeds, and Scotland, which revealed that an approximate of 30% of these women have been slapped, kicked or physically assaulted by their clients.
Also, despite the fact that the international human rights law guarantee both men and women equal rights in both protection and enjoyment of all human rights, women in the modern day today can still be said to be insufficiently protected by the law. Some of the key reasons why this particular contention has in the past couple of decades, merited great concerns are, in sp...
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