Read On! ‘The Human Rights of Migrant Women in International and European Law’

copertinaI am delighted to post on IntLawGrrls for the first time and to present my new monograph The Human Rights of Migrant Women in International and European Law. This book starts from the consideration that European and domestic migration law indirectly discriminates against third-country national migrant women, and aims to answer the question of whether human and fundamental rights law can remedy this gender bias.

The book carries out an analysis of significant instances of indirect discrimination against migrant women within EU immigration law, as well as in the domestic orders of Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom. It then critically reviews human and fundamental rights jurisprudence at supranational and domestic level, with a specific focus on the case law of the European Court of Human Rights, the Court of Justice of the European Union, as well as the domestic jurisdictions of Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom. By doing so, it identifies effective judicial interpretations to ensure migrant women’s enjoyment of their rights and entitlements in conditions of equality and non-discrimination.

The book is divided in two parts. The first focuses on family reunification and care, analysing the gendered effects of income requirements in European family reunification regimes as well as migrant women’s access to residence rights on the grounds of childcare. A second part of the book concerns the employment realm, with a focus on discrimination against migrant women workers and labour exploitation in the domestic work sector.

Ultimately, this book argues that a normative and judicial awareness of migrant women’s most common difficulties in their host countries is crucial to ensure the full enjoyment of their right to equality and non-discrimination. For this purpose, it is equally important for law to focus not only on moments of crisis and victimisation, but also on prevention through an effective protection of migrant women’s socio-economic rights.

Write On! Read On! “Inter Gentes”: a new kind of international law journal

Yesterday a buzzing social event at McGill Faculty of Law marked the launch of a new peer reviewed international law journal – but rather than adding to the existing plethora of academic journals, Inter Gentes is breaking the mold and doing something truly exciting and innovative. And they welcome your submissions in many different, multi-media forms.

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The name Inter Gentes represents the ethos of this journal, to consider international law not according to the traditional 19th Century conception of law between States, but rather as law between people. This goes far beyond a “transnational” or “transboundary” approach, and is broader than “legal pluralism” or “cosmopolitanism”. The intention is to create debate and interaction on the way in which international law affects individuals and peoples, and the way in which we affect international law.

To facilitate this debate, Inter Gentes is an open access online journal, with no paper print issues. This reduces the overheads for the team producing the bi-annual publication, but more importantly ensures true international accessibility.

Inter Gentes will be publishing articles in English, French and Spanish, all of which will be peer-reviewed by members of the star-studded Advisory Board, including Bruno Simma; Francois Crepeau, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights of Migrants; Mark Drumbl; Lorie Graham; Sally Engel Merry; Jens Ohlin; Rene Provost; Juan Carlos Sainz Borgo and others. The expertise of the Advisory Board will guarantee the quality of the work published, but the real footwork will be undertaken by a dedicated team of students at McGill Faculty of Law, a faculty renowned for it’s commitment to linguistic and legal diversity, and which attracts students from all over the world.

As well as the peer-reviewed articles published in the bi-annual themed issues, Inter Gentes will have op-ed dialogues, encourage debate and dialogue among readers through interactive comments platforms, and provide multi-media content in the form of podcasts, images, posters and more. Since 2015 it has been creating ad-hoc content in the form of editorials, and it will continue this alongside it’s bi-annual issues.

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The inaugural edition has the theme “International Law and Peoples’ Resistance”, and it is testament to the commitment and ethos of this new journal that the articles included are written by authors from around the world, from perspectives as diverse as indigenous law and international law as colonialism; self determination as resistance; and global participation in global democracy.

The theme for next Spring is “(In)tangible Ownership in the International Sphere”, looking at diverse notions of property and land rights. The deadline for the Spring edition has now passed,  however the editorial team is happy to receive op-ed pieces on topics related to this theme.

Keep an eye out for this exciting new platform, which really is an expression of twenty-first century perspectives, dialogues, multi-media forms of knowledge dissemination and learning, and diverse identities. And let the editorial team know if you have something you’d like to submit – they  accept non-thematic articles on any area of international law year round on a rolling basis, which will be considered for ad-hoc publication, outside the publishing schedule for the theme issues

 

Refugees, Conflict and the Search for Belonging

For those who might be interested, I have just published the book, Refugees, Conflict and the Search for Belonging (Palgrave Macmillan). It is based on seven years of research in Eastern and Central Africa, but has application beyond the region, pointing to drivers and failures that continue to feed the global refugee crisis.

The book examines the convergence of two problems: the ongoing realities of conflict and forced migration, and the crisis of citizenship and belonging. By addressing them together, it examines how a holistic approach can more effectively point the way towards possible solutions.

It argues that issues of inclusion and exclusion animate and sustain cycles of violence, and that the likelihood of conflict increases when collective identities are mobilised, politicised and “hardened” by conflict entrepreneurs. By the same logic, expanding spaces for belonging helps create the conditions for sustainable peace. These spaces are ones in which multiple identities can exist; in which identities are seen as fluid and changeable; and in which systems for marking out “difference” are carefully crafted so as to not create these hardened boundaries of insiders and outsiders. It argues that citizenship and belonging are both a cause, and part of a possible resolution, to ongoing conflict and displacement in the region.

Based on 1,115 interviews carried out between 2008 and 2014 with refugees, internally displaced groups and returnees in seven countries of the Great Lakes region, the book argues that the reality of exile provides a litmus test for understanding these dynamics of inclusion and exclusion. Causes of exile, failures to belong in exile, and the illusive nature of “durable solutions” all conspire to create exclusion and to leave those who have been uprooted from their homes on the margins of societies. It argues that shortcomings in refugee policy, which often maintain marginalisation as the default position for those who have been exiled from their state, collude with the logic of exclusion that is at work in formal, legal mechanisms of citizenship in postcolonial states.

The book utilises two connected but different approaches to understanding dynamics on the ground: a policy lens that engages with the primarily state-centric legal framework; and a socio-anthropological lens that nuances and challenges a narrative that is driven by categorisation. It considers ways in which policy and the lived experience of exile interact – or fail to interact – in order to try and make sense of why the international human rights framework that holds so much promise continually fails to deliver rights on the ground.

In using these two approaches, the analysis tries to hold in tension the fact that, on the one hand, spaces for refugee protection are continually shrinking and the label, refugee, is a crucial tool for targeting and maintaining protection of the rights of a specific legal category of people both during exile and at the point of return. On the other, realities on the ground demonstrate that refugees have multiple identities, deploy multiple coping strategies, and often defy neat categories.

The book does not claim that one or the other is right, but argues that both narratives need to listen to and interact with each other. It maintains a clear engagement with legal categories through an emphasis on policy and the extent to which she upholds the use of categorisation; but also demonstrates the inadequacies of an overreliance on these categories, and shows the need for far greater nuance and flexibility in adapting to specific contexts. The findings reveal the multiple ways in which refugees forge spaces for belonging in ways that often contradict – or even subvert – national and international policies, and point to the somewhat obvious fact that policy needs to be bottom up, rather than top-down, something that has long been recognised by practitioners and academics alike but has yet to infuse much programming on the ground.

The findings, therefore, point to the tenuous nature of state-bounded citizenship that has failed to accommodate the reality that notions of inclusion and exclusion function in multiple ways that go beyond – or even discard – national citizenship. At the same time, they also demonstrate that whether for those living on the margins within their own state, or refugees pushed to the edges of a polity in exile, citizenship retains strong symbolic – as well as, at times, real – value. Both the possibility of citizenship and its continual failure to deliver beat at the heart of the book.

Thus, refugees continue to challenge the parameters of citizenship and belonging, and to test our political imaginations. But, as the book concludes, it should never be this hard for those uprooted from their homes to find spaces in which to belong. Instead, in order for responses to be anything more than palliative, policies need to be rooted in understandings of identity and belonging that are more supple; that pull people into the centre rather than polarise and exclude; and that draw on, rather than negate, the creativity that refugees themselves demonstrate in their quest to forge spaces of belonging.

 

Read On! Achieving Sex-Representative International Court Benches

Kudosgrossman-nienke to IntLawGrrl Nienke Grossman (pictured right), whose article Achieving Sex-Representative International Court Benches, published in the American Journal of International Law in January, is the subject of a new AJIL Unbound symposium.  The symposium, which you can find here, features an introduction by Katerina Linos and responses from Cecily Rose, Neus Torbisco-Casals, and Memooda Ebrahim-Carstens.  Heartfelt congratulations!

Read On! ‘Developing the Right to Social Security – A Gender Perspective’

I am really pleased to be writing for IntLawGrrls for the first time and to introduce my new book Developing the Right to Social Security – A Gender Perspective which is part of the Routledge Research in Human Rights Series. The right to social security has become increasingly relevant in the context of austerity cuts to welfare in many parts of the developed world following the global financial crisis. At the same time, there has been a burgeoning of social protection programs in developing nations as a response to poverty. Many countries in the world now recognise the right to social security within their national constitutions and the international law in this area has recently been given greater definition. These developments present an opportunity to consider the gender dimensions of this right, particularly as women face disproportional poverty all over the world.
My book develops a set of principles for a substantively equal, gendered right to social security by rethinking the relationship between the right to social security and traditional conceptions of work. I argue for a new understanding of this crucial right that takes account of women’s unpaid labour, informal work, and care, within the context of global economic changes. The book applies this gender perspective to an examination of the international law on the right to social security and includes three country studies – India, South Africa and Australia. Hopefully the book will be of interest to people working on international law, comparative constitutional law, social policy, feminism and women’s rights.

Introducing OLYMPE’s first collective book: “Féminisme(s) et droit international” (2016)

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A few months ago, OLYMPE, the network for francophone feminist studies in international law and relations, published its first collective opus. Entitled Féminisme(s) et droit international. Études du réseau Olympe (Éd. de la Société de Législation Comparée), this volume brings together, under the co-direction of Emmanuelle Tourme Jouannet, Laurence Burgorgue-Larsen, Horatia Muir Watt and Hélène Ruiz Fabri, 14 chapters providing a valuable first overview of the state of feminist research in international law and international relations in French. All in all, a great addition to the critical canon of international law in French. As an important side note, OLYMPE is already preparing a call for a second volume on LGBTQIA/Queer approaches to international law. Said call should be issued in a few issues; stay tuned!

To order the book…

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Read On! New Book on Public Law of Gender

I am delighted to contribute my first post to this excellent website to let readers know of the final book in a six volume series, Connecting International Law with Public Law, which I initiated as part of my former position as Director of the Centre for International and Public law at the ANU (2006-2015).  The first five volumes looks at themes including Sanctions, Access to Medicines, Environmental Discourses, Allegiance and Identity, and Security Institutions and have been published through Cambridge University Press.

The final volume has just been launched and it is of particular interest to the IntLawGrrls community.

I have co-edited this final volume with my friend and former ANU colleague Dr. Katharine Young, who is now at Boston University, and it is called The Public Law of Gender: From the Local to the Global. The volume brings together leading lawyers, political scientists, historians and philosophers.

The book examines the worldwide sweep of gender-neutral, gender-equal or gender-sensitive public laws in international treaties, national constitutions and statutes, and documents the raft of legal reform and critically analyses its effectiveness. In demarcating the academic study of the public law of gender, the book examines law’s structuring of politics, governing and gender in a new global frame.

Of interest to constitutional and statutory designers, advocates, adjudicators and scholars, the contributions explore how concepts such as equality, accountability, representation, participation and rights, depend on, challenge or enlist gendered roles and/or categories. These enquiries suggest that the new public law of gender must confront the lapses in enforcement, sincerity and coverage that are common in both national and international law and governance, and critically and pluralistically recast the public/private distinction in family, community, religion, customary and market domains.  The book outlines the common and distinct challenges and issues across various fields and it provides those working with gender-sensitive laws and gender-neutral laws with an assessment of the various ways in which public law interacts with gender, by intent or outcome. It also uncovers the local and global perspectives and the obstacles facing gender equality, equity and parity, showing how traditional agendas of feminist theory now translate in a global legal frame.

I would encourage any one interested in reviewing the volume (or any of the set of six, or indeed the whole set!) for a journal to contact Elizabeth Spicer at Cambridge University Press- espicer [at] cambridge.org.

Professor Kim Rubenstein, ANU College of Law, Public Policy Fellow, Australian National University

Putting the “Woman Question” front and centre: Professor Ruth Rubio Marín

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On 5-7 May 2016, the European University Institute in Florence, Italy, hosted the sixth edition of the State of the Union, a space for high-level reflection on Europe. This year, these reflections revolved around the topic of Women in Europe and the World. There were many amazing and strong women who spoke at this conference, such as Valerie Amos and Patricia Sellers, and the various panels featured fascinating discussions on topics such as women in conflict, women and transition in the Middle East, migration, employment and social affairs, or sexual and reproductive politics. One particular highlight of the conference was the State of the Union address on day 2, given by Professor Ruth Rubio Marín (pictured above), who holds the chair of Constitutional and Public Comparative Law at the European University Institute. Her powerful speech was rewarded with what seemed like a never-ending standing ovation. It was well deserved. I highly recommend listening to the address in full, but here are some highlights.

In her speech, Professor Ruth Rubio Marín highlighted the injustices women and girls in Europe and the World face on a daily basis in a very straight forward manner. For those of us working on issues of gender equality and women’s emancipation and rights, the statistics Professor Rubio Marin provided were all too familiar. One in three women will suffer some form of physical or sexual violence at least once during their lifetime, and for one in five women, this violence occurs at the hands of a current or former partner. Yet, only 14 per cent of women report their most serious incident of intimate partner violence to the police. Women receive only 84 cents to every euro men earn, and the pension gap between women and men is 38 per cent. Working men devote only 9 hours a week to unpaid care and household duties, compared to 26 hours a week for working women. The gap in care responsibilities when high-wage women enter the labour market, is often filled by migrant women, thus perpetuating global (gender) inequalities. Women still account for only 20 per cent of company board members of the largest publicly listed companies, and on average only 28 percent of parliamentarians around the world are women. Androcentric values remain systematically privileged over those traditionally seen as ‘feminine’. As Professor Rubio Marín so rightfully stated: “Oppression does not only happen in cases of a cruel tyrant with bad intentions. Indeed, a well-intentioned liberal society can place system-wide constraints on groups and limit their freedom, relying not only on overt rules but also on unquestioned norms, habits and symbols.”

But what struck me most about her address was her courage and honesty. The personal became the general, the general the personal. When speaking about the by now well-known statistics about the number of women who have suffered some form of physical or sexual violence (1 out of 3), she bravely said: “Ladies and gentlemen, I have never said so publicly, but the time has come to unite and end any form of silence. I was one in the ones out of three.” And when addressing the gender pay gap, she directly addressed the president of the European University Institute, Professor Joseph H.H. Weiler, saying: “The gender pay gap is perpetuated by the generalised practice of lack of transparency around payment by almost every employer, including our beloved European University Institute. Dearest president, perhaps the time has come to change that?”

By drawing on these experiences, Professor Rubio Marín made the numbers we so often hear personal, perhaps making it a little easier for those more unfamiliar with the statistics to grasp their meaning. I could not help but notice that the majority of speakers on the second day of the conference, held at Palazzo Vecchio, were men (14 men versus 13 women spoke on day 2). I hope we can count on all of them in the struggle for gender equality, both in Europe and in the World. Women remain an oppressed group, and it is up to all of us together to change that. To paraphrase Professor Rubio Marín: Now, more than ever, we must put the “Woman Question” front and centre, both in Europe and in the World.

  • Listen to Professor Ruth Rubio Marín’s speech in full
  • Get a written copy of the speech

Read On! Gender and Violence in Haiti

IntLawGrrl benedetta-faedi-duramy book photoBenedetta Faedi Duramy‘s book, Gender and Violence in Haiti: Women’s Path from Victims to Agents, offers a rich and nuanced description of the complex forces that entangle impoverished Haitian women in cycles of violence, both as subjects and as perpetrators.  Her clear and powerful writing explains in detail the historical evolution of this violence, situating it within a climate of deep gender inequality and desperate poverty.  It is a worthwhile read for that history alone, but goes on to describe in depth the complexities of contemporary Haitian society and the situation of women within it.  Prof. Faedi Duramy catalogues the relevant human rights law and offers practical suggestions as to how it might be applied to ameliorate the condition of Haitian women.  I’ve posted on SSRN a full review of her book, forthcoming next spring in Human Rights Quarterly.  But don’t stop there — the book itself is an engaging and informative though deeply troubling read.

International Perspectives and Empirical Findings on Child Participation: from Social Exclusion to Child-Inclusive Policies (Oxford 2015)

Cover for<br /><br />
International Perspectives and Empirical Findings on Child Participation<br /><br />
Edited by Tali Gal & Benedetta Faedi Duramy

The 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child has inspired advocates and policy makers across the globe, injecting children’s rights terminology into various public and private arenas. Children’s right to participate in decision-making processes affecting their lives is the acme of the Convention and its central contribution to the children’s rights discourse. At the same time the participation right presents enormous challenges in its implementation. Laws, regulations and mechanisms addressing children’s right to participate in decision-making processes affecting their lives have been established in many jurisdictions across the globe. Yet these worldwide developments have only rarely been accompanied with empirical investigations. The effectiveness of various policies in achieving meaningful participation for children of different ages, cultures and circumstances have remained largely unproven empirically. Therefore, with the growing awareness of the importance of evidence-based policies, it becomes clear that without empirical investigations on the implementation of children’s right to participation it is difficult to promote their effective inclusion in decision making.

This book provides a much-needed, first broad portrayal of how child participation is implemented in practice today. Bringing together 19 chapters written by prominent authors from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, and Israel, the book includes descriptions of programs that engage children and youth in decision-making processes, as well as insightful findings regarding what children, their families, and professionals think about these programs. Beyond their contribution to the empirical evidence on ways children engage in decision-making processes, the volume’s chapters contribute to the theoretical development of the meaning of “participation,” “citizenship,” “inclusiveness,” and “relational rights” in regards to children and youth. There is no matching to the book’s scope both in terms of its breadth of subjects and the diversity of jurisdictions it covers. The book’s chapters include experiences of child participation in special education, child protection, juvenile justice, restorative justice, family disputes, research, and policy making.

The book is available on Oxford University Press and Amazon.