When you think of a border, you think guards, passport controls, fences, bits of barbed wire maybe. In the northern Costa Rican department of Upala, bordering with Nicaragua, you will find none of that.
Violence and Discrimination
Overall, the law has failed women. Although governments and the international community have invested heavily in legal systems, in many settings, women still suffer appalling violence and discrimination. In some countries, rape is endemic; in others, girls are bought and sold in settlement of family debt; forced and underage marriage, domestic violence and femicide remain all too common. Women's oppression and suffering is compounded by civil conflict. Under the guide of religion or ideology, the desire to control women's bodies or garb persists. For these reasons, IDLO has made gender cross-cutting theme in all its work, as well as the focus of distinct research and programming.
(Photo: ILO/Sarah-Jane Saltmarsh)
In India, a student — still nameless — is fatally gang-raped on a Delhi bus; in Pakistan, teenager Malala Yousafzai is shot in the head for advocating girls’ education; in Afghanistan, a young woman, Lal Bibi, is abducted and raped as payback in a family feud. Elsewhere — countless other women and girls, brutalized, trafficked, denied basic rights, either in law or in practice.
The Attorney General’s Office (AGO) in Afghanistan has launched the process of creating ten more units specialized in combatting violence against women. Dubbed ‘EVAW’ from the 2009 law aimed at reducing gender violence, the units are prosecution taskforces.
IDLO is working with the European Union’s EUROsociAL II program in Honduras to aid and empower women who are victims of domestic violence. With the country’s judiciary, we have created the Centro de Atención y Protección de los Derechos de la Mujer (CAPRODEM), a women’s center providing orientation and legal assistance for female victims in Tegucigalpa. IDLO has played a key role in drafting the internal and functional guidelines for the Center and helped build the capacity of those involved. CAPRODEM is expected to be replicated in other regions of Honduras.
Reducing violence against Afghan women and girls has been one of our priority areas of intervention. Although the Law on the Elimination of Violence Against Women (LEVAW) has been stuck in the Afghan parliament for years, the Attorney General’s Office in 2009 used the law's framework to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with IDLO. The aim was to support the creation of a specialized unit that would prosecute cases of gender violence.
An event organized by IDLO to coincide with the 22nd Session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva heard from a great number of participants. Focusing on women’s access to justice, the meeting was supported by the Australian, Austrian and Finnish governments.
IDLO is working in Costa Rica with the European Union’s EUROsociAL program to empower migrant women and refugees who are victims of violence. The project, supported by Costa Rica’s judiciary and France Expertise Internationale (FEI), provides orientation and legal assistance to vulnerable migrant women, in line with the Brasilia Regulations on Access to Justice.
IDLO has been working with victims of gender violence and disadvantaged young people through the EU’s EUROsociAL program. Backed by Argentina’s Ministry of Justice, the initiative is aimed at raising awareness about women’s rights and increasing legal assistance. Youth access to education is also being promoted through the project, which is being co-ordinated by France Expertise Internationale (FEI).
Funded by the Delegation of the European Union to Mongolia, the “Child Protection Enhancement Project” (CPEP) builds on the results of its first phase of COVID-19 response programming addressing child access to justice in Mongolia. CPEP works to enhance the child protection system and support Mongolian children by building the technical and professional skills of Legal Committees for Child Rights (LCCRs) through mentorship and advanced training.
The COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to contain it have had severe and long-lasting impacts on Mongolia. Though prevention and containment measures have successfully prevented a large-scale health crisis, extended lockdowns have negatively affected children’s access to education, psychological and physical wellbeing and reduced the capacity of the Mongolian justice system to respond to crimes against children.
As a result of the combined military offensive of the Somali National Army and African Union Mission in Somalia with international support, the Al Shabaab extremist group has been significantly degraded and forced into retreat. Al Shabaab’s emergence, and support, particularly among marginalized communities, was and is still to a large extent fueled by both inter and intra-clan conflicts and lack of justice.
The Government of Mongolia has taken a number of legislative and policy steps aimed at tackling domestic violence. While the new legal framework undeniably offers an improved, holistic and more victim-centered approach, its practical implementation and adherence to ensuring the needs of victims requires significant technical assistance, ongoing monitoring, and effective coordination among all the relevant actors.
With a view to replacing a culture of violence in Honduras with one of legality, IDLO has outlined a program to reduce violent acts and homicides through better access to justice. Work, carried out in partnership with national institutions and civil society organizations, will focus specifically on vulnerable groups, including women, children, youth and people in detention. The program is financed by the US Department of State.