International Law, COVID-19 and Feminist Engagement with the United Nations Security Council: The End of the Affair

Citation:

O’Rourke, Catherine. 2020. “International Law, COVID-19 and Feminist Engagement with the United Nations Security Council: The End of the Affair?” Feminist Legal Studies 28 (3): 321-8.

Author: Catherine O'Rourke

Abstract:

The gendered implications of COVID-19, in particular in terms of gender-based violence and the gendered division of care work, have secured some prominence, and ignited discussion about prospects for a ‘feminist recovery’. In international law terms, feminist calls for a response to the pandemic have privileged the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), conditioned—I argue—by two decades of the pursuit of the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda through the UNSC. The deficiencies of the UNSC response, as characterised by the Resolution 2532 adopted to address the pandemic, manifest yet again the identified deficiencies of the WPS agenda at the UNSC, namely fragmentation, securitisation, efficacy and legitimacy. What Resolution 2532 does bring, however, is new clarity about the underlying reasons for the repeated and enduring nature of these deficiencies at the UNSC. Specifically, the COVID-19 ‘crisis’ is powerful in exposing the deficiencies of the crisis framework in which the UNSC operates. My reflections draw on insights from Hilary Charlesworth’s seminal contribution ‘International Law: A Discipline of Crisis’ to argue that, instead of conceding the ‘crisis’ framework to the pandemic by prioritising the UNSC, a ‘feminist recovery’ must instead follow Charlesworth’s exhortation to refocus on an international law of the everyday.


Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Gender-Based Violence, Health, International Law, International Organizations, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS

Year: 2020

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