Translating and Internalising International Human Rights Law: The Courts of Melanesia Confront Gendered Violence

Citation:

Zorn, Jean G. 2016. "Translating and Internalising International Human Rights Law: The Courts of Melanesia Confront Gendered Violence." In Gender Violence & Human Rights: Seeking Justice in Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu, edited by Aletta Biersack, Margaret Jolly, and Martha Macintyre, 229-70. Australia: ANU Press.

Author: Jean G. Zorn

Annotation:

"CEDAW has had a salutary effect on the island nations of the South Pacific, including Papua New Guinea. To say that, however, is not to say very much. To date, CEDAW’s effect has been limited— and the problems of women’s subordination and of widespread, systemic violence against women remain obdurate and intractable. Nevertheless, it is a beginning. Guided by the analyses of Meyersfeld and Koh, who pointed out that the first impact of an international law on the politics, economy and social ordering of any culture will most likely be found in the legal practices of that culture, I sought for evidence of CEDAW in the decisions handed down by judges of the state courts. And, indeed, I found a number of cases—still scattered, but potentially influential—in which judges have not only mentioned CEDAW’s existence, but have actually relied upon it in framing the common law and in applying domestic statutes. In other words, in the Meyersfeld/Koh terminology, judges are aiding the infiltration of this crucially important piece of international law into the domestic legal system" (Zorn, 2016, p. 262).

Topics: Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, International Law, International Human Rights, Rights, Women's Rights, Sexual Violence, SV against women, Violence Regions: Oceania Countries: Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu

Year: 2016

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