Call for Papers: The Canadian Journal of Women and the Law/Revue Femmes et droit

Call for Submissions

 The Canadian Journal of Women and the Law/ Revue Femmes et droit is Canada’s oldest and only feminist legal periodical. Since it began in 1985, the journal has provided a forum in which feminist writers from diverse backgrounds, speaking from a wide range of experience, can exchange ideas and information about legal issues that affect women. We are looking to build on this tradition and remain committed to reflecting a diversity of political, social, cultural, and economic thinking, unified by a shared interest in law reform.

We invite submissions from people who are engaged in feminist analysis of socio-legal issues that reflect a range of approaches, including multidisciplinary, action-focused, theoretical, and historical, and that reflect linguistic and regional differences in Canada. We particularly encourage submissions authored by women from different backgrounds, disciplines and jurisdictions who are doing new feminist work.

The CJWL/RFD is seeking papers for publication in the following sections of the CJWL/RFD: articles, review essays, commentaries, case comments, research notes, book reviews, and notes on Canadian and International events of interest to our readers. Comments on previously published materials are also welcome.

Full submissions information is available here

Appel à contributions

La Revue Femmes et droit/The Canadian Journal of Women and the Law est le plus ancien périodique consacré à des analyses féministes en droit au Canada. Depuis son lancement en 1985, la Revue offre aux auteures féministes de tous horizons un forum où échanger des idées et de l’information sur des questions juridiques qui touchent les femmes. Nous souhaitons renforcer cette tradition, en continuant de nourrir des réflexions politiques, sociales, culturelles et économiques diversifiées qui partagent un même intérêt pour la réforme du droit.

Nous accueillons les contributions de personnes engagées dans l’analyse féministe d’enjeux sociojuridiques. Les articles reflèteront à la fois des approches variées – multidisciplinaires, centrées sur l’action et historiques, notamment –, et les différences linguistiques et régionales du Canada. Nous recherchons, en particulier, des travaux de féministes issues de différentes formations, disciplines et juridictions qui renouvèlent les approches et analyses féministes.

La RFD/CJWL sollicite des textes relevant des catégories suivantes : articles, études de fond, commentaires de jurisprudence, études de cas, notes de recherche, recensions de livres, et observations sur les évènements nationaux et internationaux susceptibles d’intéresser notre lectorat. Les réactions à des textes publiés précédemment sont également bienvenues.

Vous trouverez tous les renseignements concernant les propositions d’articles ici

If you have comments or questions, please contact:

Natasha Bakht

English Language Co-Editor

Canadian Journal of Women and the Law

cjwl-rfd@uottawa.ca

Annie Rochette

French Language Co-Editor – Corédactrice francophone

Revue Femmes et droit

Transitional Justice: What is the role of law in bringing imaginative and imaginary peace to Colombia?

This blog post is based on a reflection presented at the “Transitional Justice as Legal Field, Site and Imagination” panel at the Transnational Law Summer Institute, Kings College, London June 29, 2016. I am grateful to Prabha Kotiswaran and Peer Zumbansen for the invitation.  

What is the role of law in bringing imaginative and imaginary peace to Colombia?

June 23 2016 was described by Colombian and international media as the “last day of the war”, adopting FARC’s hashtag #ElÚltimoDíaDeLaGuerra. The signing of a bilateral ceasefire between the Colombian government and FARC formally ended hostilities in the world’s longest running war. The signing of a peace agreement is expected to take place during the summer of 2016.

To the overlapping academic fields of human rights, transitional justice and post-conflict reconstruction, the sophisticated Colombian transitional justice process is attractive and will likely be highly influential for the coming decade, both as an example of success and of failure. There is also a significant risk that scholars (outside Colombia) will embrace the Colombian experience either deterministically — as an example of systemic yet de-historicized power imbalances — or as a fantastical  and outsized legal progress narrative that can serve as an endless source of political models, constitutional processes and legal arguments suitable for embellishing the transitional justice juggernaut.

My argument in the following is based on one big supposition: I will put forward the idea that approached from a law and social change perspective, the Colombian transitional justice project is necessarily a failure foreseen.

“Everybody” knows that positive peace is not going to happen through legislation, decisions by a progressive Colombia Constitutional Court or the signing of a formal agreement. This Everybody also knows that if positive peace happens, it will not happen soon.  At the same time, it is easy to imagine that a year from now, politicians, ordinary Colombians, pundits and academics will dismiss the transitional justice legislation and the peace agreement as partial or total failures for their inability to perform the impossible expected by the Everybody; namely ending violence, providing reparations and changing the structural inequality that is the source of much of the violence.

However, I think that precisely at this juncture, as a community professionally engaged in the business of imagining peace and transitional justice, we need to reflect on what the critical takeaways from and beyond this failure foreseen could be. We may find that imagined and imaginative outcomes turn out to be imaginary. But this is not enough, it’s not even a starting point. We need to go beyond that.

Hence, after briefly describing the Colombian peace process, I will map out three sets of issues that could serve as tentative points of departure for critical reflection. This includes:

  • How we can gauge the meaning of the Colombian transitional justice process for Colombian citizenry, citizenship and the state;
  • The implications of Colombia being both outlaw and legal outlier for how we consider the role and place of the law in creating durable peace;
  • A first attempt to think through some of the general lessons Colombia can have for transitional justice practice and scholarship.

Peace and conflict as statecraft

The armed conflict between the government and FARC began in 1964. Separate negotiations have previously led to the demobilization of smaller guerillas (MAQL, M-19; EPL) and an agenda for formal negotiations has now been agreed with ELN.  However, Colombia has been at war or seen violent societal conflict for most of the time since the late 1890s. Colombian peace processes and attempts at political, legal and land reform are a fixture of Colombian statecraft. The last round of peace talks with FARC ended with fiasco in 2002. From 2003 president Uribe engaged in a much-criticized effort to demobilize the paramilitary AUC, with a basis in the 2005 Justice and Peace Law. Despite its shortcomings, it must be remembered that this framework has provided a platform for the current process.

Continue reading

IA Court: Is Forced Sterilization TCIDT?

Earlier this month Ciara O’Connell’s blog post alerted us that I.V. v. Bolivia is expected to be the first Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IA Court) case to apply the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence Against Women to a reproductive rights case.  The case is exciting for other reasons as well. It is the IA Court’s  first case involving non-consensual sterilization and provides an important opportunity for the Court to condemn forced sterilization, to adopt clear standards concerning informed consent, and to join U.N. human rights bodies and the European Court of Human Rights in recognizing that forced sterilization violates women’s fundamental human rights to personal integrity and autonomy, to be free from gender discrimination and violence, to privacy and family life, and, as CUNY Law School’s Human Rights and Gender Justice Clinic and Women Enabled International recently argued in our amicus brief to the IA Court, the right to be free from cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment (CIDT) or torture.

In order to ensure that states fully recognize and address violations of women’s human rights and to overcome the inherent bias in human rights law that has historically prioritized violations that disproportionately impact men, it is critical for international and regional human rights bodies to recognize the gender dimensions of torture and CIDT. Non-consensual sterilization falls squarely within the parameters of CIDT, and in some cases torture, under international human rights law: the practice, which disproportionately affects women, inflicts permanent bodily harm, as well as severe physical and mental health consequences, and is often intentionally carried out for discriminatory purposes. Indeed, forced sterilization is frequently motivated by animus towards a specific group (e.g., immigrants, ethnic or national minorities, or indigenous women) or by discriminatory attitudes that certain people should not have children (e.g., women with disabilities, women living with HIV, transgender individuals). In a series of cases against Slovakia concerning the forced sterilization of Roma women, the European Court of Human Rights has recognized that that forced sterilization violates Art. 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which prohibits torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. The U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture recently reiterated that forced sterilization violates a person’s right to be free from torture or ill-treatment.

The case also provides an interesting opportunity for the IA Court to directly consider and condemn gender bias in the health care context. The circumstances surrounding the forced sterilization of I.V., a Peruvian refugee, seem to illustrate the all too common scenario of medical providers making medical decisions on behalf of women who are deemed unfit or unable to make their own choices because of patriarchal and stereotypical attitudes.

According to the petitioner, I.V. went to a Bolivian public hospital that predominantly serves poor women, many of whom are migrant or indigenous women, to deliver her third child. During the c–section, the doctors decided that a future pregnancy would be dangerous for I.V. and performed a tubal ligation. The parties dispute whether consent was obtained during the surgical procedure. (Because circumstances during labor and immediately preceding or after delivery are inconsistent with voluntary patient choice, medical ethical standards, U.N. human rights bodies and the European Court of Human Rights make clear that if I.V. had given consent at this time, it would have been invalid). Continue reading

Engendering Reparations in Forced Sterilization Case

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights recently heard its second reproductive rights case, IV v. BoliviaThis case deals with the sterilization of a migrant Bolivian woman who did not give prior informed consent to the doctors who performed her sterilization. The judgment will be released in the coming months, and is expected to be the first Inter-American Court case to apply the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence Against Women (“Convention of Belém do Pará”) to a woman’s reproductive rights case. This is especially exciting because the Court’s first reproductive rights case, Artavia Murillo et al. (“In vitro fertilization”) v. Costa Rica failed to examine women’s reproductive rights violations through the Convention of Belém do Pará, which ultimately resulted in reparations that were gender-free. The IV v. Bolivia case presents an opportunity for the Inter-American Court to connect gender stereotyping to forced sterilization. It also provides a forum for the Court to expand upon its gender-based analysis in previous women’s rights cases in order to frame reproductive violations within a violence against women framework.

Ciara O’Connell (University of Sussex) and representatives from Dejusticia,  Diana Guarnizo-Peralta and César Rodríguez Garavito, submitted an amicus curiae brief in this case  in order to emphasize the need to repair gender-based harm in reproductive rights cases. The amicus reviews the Inter-American Court’s jurisprudence in relation to gender stereotyping, and in doing so highlights the advancements and shortcomings in how the Court defines the role of women in society. The amicus suggests that the sterilization of “IV” was not an individual violation, but rather, this case is emblematic and represents a culture of gender-based discrimination and “paternalistic control” within the Bolivian medical sector. The final elements of the amicus suggest specific reparation measures designed to address gender discrimination and stereotyping, and the need to comply with international standards on informed consent.

If you’re interested, the amicus can be downloaded here in both English and Spanish. And, the public hearing before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights can be viewed here.

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

SOU-Ruth

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

Write On! Women in International Security

 

WIIS-logo-web-shrunk

Women in International Security (WIIS) is an excellent international network base for any women interested in political science, international law, international relations, military careers, peacekeeping, policy-making and just about anything to do with international security. It operates not only as a career network base for young women, but also as a platform for women’s voices in academia, military and government.You can read about WIIS International here.

There are 6 US regional chapters and 21 International chapters around the world. Last year I attended the WIIS Canada Annual Workshop, and I was struck by the environment of positive engagement and support from men and women alike. It stood out as one of the best conferences I have ever attended.

This year’s WIIS Canada Annual Workshop will be held in Halifax in beautiful Nova Scotia  on June 17-19. The call for papers is open until March 15, and this year’s theme is “Women in Security Across Military and Civilian Lines”. The emphasis is very much on graduate student participation, so if you are one, or know any, please consider submitting an abstract. There are (at least partial) travel funds available for participants.

A non-exhaustive list of possible topics includes:

  • The role of gender in militaries and military-to-civilian transitions
  • Sexual harassment and sexual violence in militaries
  • The experiences and well-being of female soldiers and veterans
  • Women in military families
  • Women in international development and humanitarian sectors
  • Women in peace negotiations, peacebuilding, and peacekeeping
  • UNSCR 1325 on women, peace, and security
  • Women’s peace movements
  • Women and combat
  • Women in the defence and private security industry
  • Feminist foreign policy

 

This Tuesday (5/5): UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay at Stanford

For those of you in the San Francisco Bay Area on May 5, Stanford University’s WSD HANDA Center for Human Rights and International Justice is pleased to present its Inaugural Public Lecture on Human Rights with Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay. She will address The Protection and Promotion of Human Rights: Achievements and Challenges at 5:30 p.m. on May 5 in CEMEX Auditorium at Stanford University (641 Knight Way).

The address will cover Ms. Navi Pillay’s work as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on prevention of human rights violations and implementation of human rights principles, as well as the activities of the UN Human Rights mechanisms such as the Human Rights Council, Treaty Bodies, and Special Procedures. She will also share her insights on future human rights challenges.

Navi Pillay served at the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights from 2008 to 2014. Her tenure was marked by a focus on addressing discrimination on all grounds, including against previously unaddressed groups such as migrants, LGBT people, people with albinism, and caste-based discrimination. She oversaw the 2011 launch of Free & Equal, an unprecedented global public education campaign to promote greater respect for LGBT rights, and the Secretary-General’s endorsement of the Rights Up Front policy, which ensures that every UN department, regardless of mandate, is committed to advancing the protection of human rights.

A native of South Africa, Pillay was the first non-white female judge of the High Court of South Africa, and previously served as a judge at the International Criminal Court and President of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda where she oversaw groundbreaking jurisprudence on rape as genocide, and on issues of freedom of speech and hate propaganda.

Attendees can kindly RSVP to Jessie Brunner at jbrunner@stanford.edu. We hope to see you there!

A note about the Handa Center:

The WSD HANDA Center for Human Rights and International Justice is dedicated to promoting the rule of law, accountability, and human rights around the world, in post-conflict settings, developing countries, and in societies grappling with difficult legacies from a historical period of violent conflict. Through research and international programs, the Handa Center supports and helps improve the work of domestic courts, international tribunals, and human rights commissions around the world. Relying on a small core group of lawyers, scholars, student interns, and volunteers, the Center concentrates its resources where it can make a real difference helping people make sense of the past, come to terms with periods of violent social upheaval, and build institutions that will promote justice and accountability. The Center is further committed to increasing awareness and raising the level of discourse around new developments in the fields of human rights and international law. To this end, the Handa Center has dedicated itself to becoming a major public resource center for the study of war crimes and human rights trials, where students, scholars, and legal practitioners can take advantage of new technologies to access unique archival resources from World War II through contemporary international criminal trials. The Handa Center succeeds and carries on all the work of the University of California at Berkeley’s War Crimes Studies Center, which was established by Professor David Cohen in 2000.