Gender inequality is an affront to human dignity, a challenge to the rule of law and an obstacle to development. Denying women of their rightful place in society – by depriving them of equal access to education, justice or livelihood – means robbing societies of the talent and potential of half of their members. In securing every social need from peace to food, the role of women has been shown to be paramount.
Although gender equality is increasingly a feature of national Constitutions, the law often continues to restrict women's rights and freedoms, dictates their submission to male relatives, or limits what they may own or inherit.
IDLO works to empower rural women by enhancing legal knowledge and rights awareness, giving them tools to promote justice in their local communities, and promoting their professional participation in the justice sector. Many women living in rural communities are excluded from decision-making processes and unable to access formal justice structures.
Over a decade has passed since the end of conflict in Liberia, but incidence of sexual and gender-based violence has not diminished. Numerous studies reveal an extremely high prevalence of sexual and gender-based violence. According to an IDLO study, in 2015 1396 cases were reported to the Montserrado five one-stop clinics alone. Among those cases, 267 were reported to the Women’s and Children’s Protection Section within the Liberia National Police, 119 received an indictment, while only 3 cases went through to trial.
Women in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean region, including Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, and Tunisia, are significantly affected by considerable inequalities. Discriminatory legal frameworks and neutral laws enforced with underlying biases and stereotypes continue to hold women in the region back from fully participating in society. Crucially, this is also the case in political and other leadership and decision-making positions. Enhancing the contributions of women judges is particularly important as gender justice remains elusive in many aspects.
“The rule of law is fundamentally about equality. We are all equal in the eyes of the law and entitled to equal protection,” remarked Director-General Irene Khan at the Opening Ceremony of the GQUAL Conference on 3 October. “The meaningful participation of women in international bodies is a right well-recognized in international documents, but a long way from realization.”
STATEMENT OF THE INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT LAW ORGANIZATION
36th Session of the Human Rights Council: Annual Discussion on the Integration of a Gender Perspective throughout the Work of the Human Rights Council and that of its Mechanisms
September 15, 2017
The story goes as follows: A wife confronts her husband with allegations of an extramarital affair. The husband’s reaction is violent; yelling and screaming, he beats her. She goes to seek help from a local administrator – but falls on deaf ears.
Over 5,000 people across several provinces in Afghanistan have learned about violence against women and citizens’ legal rights through an awareness campaign supported by IDLO.
Strengthening the Legal Environment for Food Security and Nutrition of Vulnerable Groups as part of the COVID-19 Response and RecoveryThe COVID-19 pandemic poses a significant threat to the right to food for populations, and especially for marginalized groups. In many countries, COVID-19 is intertwining with pre-existing factors affecting food security and nutrition, by limiting the access to affordable and nutritious food, including lack of economic opportunities, extreme weather conditions, ongoing conflicts and more.
For over 15 years, IDLO has been assisting the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan develop accessible, accountable, effective and efficient justice sector institutions. While significant progress has been made, many challenges remain, frequently perceived to be rooted in the ongoing conflict, the impact of insecurity and the public’s fear for their safety. There is a strong need to address the concerns and goals of the justice sector and find innovative solutions and methods to strengthen its resilience.
Lack of access to a fair and equitable justice system is one of the most pressing problems confronting modern Somalia on its path towards stability and reconstruction. Informal justice systems, offering alternative dispute resolution are often much better placed to respond to the immediate justice needs of many Somalis seeking justice, as they have more legitimacy and are more easily accessible. To enhance access to justice in Somalia, it is therefore essential to engage with the alternative dispute resolution systems.
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.