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Impunity

Legacies of Violence and the Unfinished Past: Women in Post-Demobilization Colombia and Guatemala

Citation:

Tarnaala, Elisa. 2019. “Legacies of Violence and the Unfinished Past: Women in Post-Demobilization Colombia and Guatemala.” Peacebuilding 7 (1): 103–17.

Author: Elisa Tarnaala

Abstract:

This article examines the historically grounded social acceptance of impunity and the role of unwanted actors in peace and transitional processes. The article argues from a post-demobilization violence perspective that counter-democratic developments, which have historical and global roots, condition peacebuilding and impose important limits on the deepening of inclusion. In Colombia and Guatemala, internationally backed peacebuilding activities occurred in the same regions where the local authorities continued their partnership with criminal and authoritarian actors. Thus, parallel to the shift towards greater political and economic stability at the national level, attacks against human rights activists and environmental activists, intra-community violence, violence against women, prostitution and the trafficking of girls continued at the local level and in some areas increased.

Keywords: Colombia, Guatemala, demobilization, women, violence, historical legacies

Topics: DDR, Democracy / Democratization, Gender, Women, Girls, Gender-Based Violence, Justice, Impunity, Transitional Justice, Peacebuilding, Trafficking, Human Trafficking, Violence Regions: Americas, Central America, South America Countries: Colombia, Guatemala

Year: 2019

The Emerging LGBTI Rights Challenge to Transitional Justice in Latin America

Citation:

Bueno-Hansen, Pascha. 2018. "The Emerging LGBTI Rights Challenge to Transitional Justice in Latin America." The International Journal of Transitional Justice 12 (1): 126-45.

Author: Pascha Bueno-Hansen

Abstract:

Latin American truth commissions have recently expanded their purview to include cases of violence against gender and sexual minorities as human rights violations worthy of investigation. This article proposes that grappling with this emerging LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex) rights challenge requires a queer, intersectional and decolonial analytical lens that underscores the relevance of global LGBTI politics, and critiques transitional justice foundational assumptions regarding temporality and binary logics. In practical terms, this analytical lens enacts a double move by unearthing the deeply tangled and life-extinguishing roots of impunity surrounding violence against gender and sexual minorities while advocating for the realization of LGBTI people’s full citizenship.

Topics: Citizenship, Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Gender, Justice, Impunity, Transitional Justice, TRCs, LGBTQ, Rights, Human Rights, Sexuality, Violence Regions: Americas, Central America, South America

Year: 2018

Deploying Justice: Strategic Accountability for Wartime Sexual Violence

Citation:

Loken, Meredith, Milli Lake, and Kate Cronin-Furman. 2018. "Deploying Justice: Strategic Accountability for Wartime Sexual Violence." International Studies Quarterly 62 (4): 751-64. 

Authors: Meredith Loken, Milli Lake, Kate Cronin-Furman

Abstract:

Why do governments and militaries publicly condemn and prosecute particular forms of abuse? This article explores the Sri Lankan government’s decision to promote limited legal accountability for state-perpetrated rape committed in a country otherwise renowned for widespread impunity. We argue that rather than representing a turn against impunity, the symbolic stance against conflict-related sexual violence in a small number of high-profile cases served an explicitly politico-military agenda. The state deployed legal accountability in specific cases to garner political legitimacy among key domestic audiences. The Sri Lankan government drew on the symbolism of female victimhood to mobilize support at a time when support for military counterinsurgency was waning. We show that governments can uniquely instrumentalize sexual violence cases to establish moral authority and territorial legitimacy. Through an examination of the domestic legal response to state-perpetrated human rights abuses, we illustrate the many ways in which women’s bodies—and the law—can be mobilized in war to serve military ends.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Women, Governance, Justice, Impunity, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Rights, Human Rights, Sexual Violence, Rape, SV against women Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Sri Lanka

Year: 2018

Sexual Abuse and Exploitation by UN Peacekeepers as Conflict-Related Gender Violence

Citation:

Vojdik, Valorie K. 2019. "Sexual Abuse and Exploitation by UN Peacekeepers as Conflict-Related Gender Violence." In International Human Rights of Women, edited by Niamh Reilly, 405-21. Singapore: Springer Singapore.

Author: Valorie K. Vojdik

Abstract:

For nearly 30 years, military and civilian peacekeepers across the globe have engaged in rape, sexual assault, forced prostitution, trafficking, and sexual exploitation of women and children. The mechanisms for policing and punishing peacekeeper SEA have been inadequate, creating a culture of impunity. Rather than treat sexual exploitation and abuse as a crime committed by individual peacekeepers, as the UN has done, the international community must situate peacekeeper SEA within the gendered structures of power that help perpetuate conflict-related violence against women and girls. Peacekeeper SEA is rooted in unequal gender relations and poverty, exacerbated by the social and economic dislocations of war. Peacekeeping troops often engage in masculinized social practices that encourage sexual exploitation and gender violence against women and children. With the rise of new peacekeeping economies, peacekeepers often fuel the growth of prostitution and survival sex, harming the individual victims while reinforcing the inequality of women in post-conflict societies. To address peacekeeper SEA requires dismantling the structures of gender inequality and empowering women. It also requires transforming the institutional norms and practices that encourage and enforce masculinized violence by peacekeeping troops.

Keywords: sexual exploitation and abuse, peacekeeping, militarized masculinities, gender inequality, post-conflict

Topics: Economies, Poverty, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gender-Based Violence, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, International Organizations, Justice, Impunity, Peacekeeping, Sexual Violence, Rape, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, SV against women, Trafficking

Year: 2019

Peace for Whom? Legacies of Gender-Based Violence in Peru

Citation:

Boesten, Jelke. 2019. "Peace for Whom? Legacies of Gender-Based Violence in Peru." In Politics after Violence: Legacies of the Shining Path Conflict in Peru, edited by Hillel David Soifer and Alberto Vergara. Austin: University of Texas Press.

Author: Jelke Boesten

Annotation:

Summary: 
"In August 2016, a multitude of women, their families, and their friends took to the streets of Lima to protest the high levels of violence against women in Peru and the impunity routinely accorded to the perpetrators of this violence. Never before had so many Peruvians protested violence against women, even if there had been ample reason to do so. In this chapter, I will explore why this mass mobilization happened at this particular point in time by examining the extent to which the violence against women in 2016 might be interpreted as a legacy of the violence of the Internal Armed Conflict (IAC) or as a result of persistent historical structures of violence and inequity. I also consider whether the contemporary response to such violence from both civil society activists and the state should be seen in light of the continuous battles over truth, justice, and reconciliation. In exploring the hypothesis that the contemporary violence against women is a legacy of a much longer history of violence and inequality, I will focus in particular on what aspects might be seen as a sequel to the Internal Armed Conflict. I will ask if high levels of peacetime violence might be seen as either a wartime mechanism or a post-conflict legacy. To examine this, I draw from my research in the archives of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and other sources for my book Sexual Violence during War and Peace: Gender, Power, and Post-Conflict Justice in Peru (2014). But I am also interested in exploring how the lack of justice and visibility regarding cases of conflict-related violence against women contrasts with the more recent mobilization of hundreds of thousands of people to protests against continuous high levels of violence against women. I argue that perhaps historic cases are too politically and socially divisive to work as examples that promote broader gender justice; instead, it may be that the struggle against the everyday violence women and girls experience across lines of class, ethnicity, geography, and age has finally found its historic momentum, with capable activists to lead the way and a political opportunity to rise to the challenge of demanding justice and social change" (Boesten 2019, 297-98).

Topics: Age, Armed Conflict, Civil Society, Class, Ethnicity, Gender, Women, Gender-Based Violence, Justice, Impunity, TRCs, Post-Conflict, Sexual Violence, Violence Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Peru

Year: 2019

Landscapes of Impunity and the Deaths of Americans LaVena Johnson and Sandra Bland

Citation:

Dowler, Lorraine, and Jenna Christian. 2019. "Landscapes of Impunity and the Deaths of Americans LaVena Johnson and Sandra Bland." Gender, Place & Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography 26 (6): 813-29.

Authors: Lorraine Dowler, Jenna Christian

Abstract:

On July 19th, 2005, American Army Private First Class LaVena Johnson died in Balad, Iraq, just 8 days shy of her 20th birthday. On July 13th, 2015, almost 10 years later, 28-year-old Sandra Bland’s life came to an abrupt end in a jail cell in Waller County, Texas. Both women’s deaths were ruled suicides, and both women’s families and friends reject these judgments. Instead, they insinuate foul play by the state, which directly governed the militarized spaces within which the women both died. At first glance, these women appear to have had very different life trajectories, one a United States soldier and the other a Black Lives Matter activist. However, in both of their cases, the ruling of the suspicious deaths as suicides illustrates the state’s attempt to render their deaths banal, and thereby diminish the state’s own culpability. In understanding the unremitting acts of violence, on women’s bodies, especially women of color, this paper focuses on how a Black feminist praxis extends feminist notions of an ethics of care.

Keywords: care, gender, military violence, police violence, race

Topics: Combatants, Female Combatants, Feminisms, Justice, Impunity, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarization, Race, Violence Regions: Americas, North America Countries: United States of America

Year: 2019

El Salvador - A Peace Worse than War: Violence, Gender, and a Failed Legal Response

Citation:

Musalo, Karen. 2018. "El Salvador - A Peace Worse than War: Violence, Gender, and a Failed Legal Response." Yale Journal of Law and Feminism 30 (3): 3-97. 

Author: Karen Musalo

Abstract:

After twelve years of violent conflict, the bloody civil war in El Salvador came to an end in January 1992 with the signing of peace agreements and, ultimately, comprehensive Peace Accords. During the conflict between the Frente Farabundo Marti para la Liberaci6n Nacional (FMLN) [Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front] and the government, at least seventy-five thousand people were killed, seven thousand were "disappeared," and five hundred thousand were displaced. The great majority of these abuses were committed by the Salvadoran government, which received more than $5 billion in assistance from the United States.

Annotation:

Summary: 
"This article explores explanations for the high levels of violence, including gender violence and femicides, in El Salvador. It examines how the conditions that preceded, accompanied, and have followed the civil war may explain the violence that has engulfed contemporary El Salvador. Within that context, this article focuses particularly on violence against women; it looks at the response to gendered violence in the forms of laws and governmental institutions and evaluates their impact - if any - in reducing the multiple types of violence against women, including gender-motivated killings. The article draws not only on an extensive review of the literature analyzing the situation in El Salvador prior to and following the armed conflict, but also on information gathered from in-depth interviews of Salvadoran experts. 25 Given the dearth and unreliability of published information regarding violence against women in El Salvador, discussed infra, the insights and analyses from in-country experts are essential to presenting a fuller picture of the reality. Part I provides an overview of the historical context relevant to the current situation in El Salvador, looking principally at significant events in the twentieth century. It examines how a confluence of factors - including structural violence, economic inequalities, social exclusion, the proliferation of gangs and organized crime, and a culture of patriarchy dating from the Spanish Conquest - have given rise to contemporary levels of violence, including gender-based violence. Part II presents information on the societal levels of violence, including violence against women and girls, drawing connections between historical and socio-political factors and the contemporary explosion of violence. Part III discusses the legal framework addressing violence against women that has been under development in El Salvador since 1996. It details the inadequacy of the laws, as well as the significant barriers to implementation arising from deeply entrenched institutional resistance to gender equality, which has led to, among other problems, insufficient funding for the laws' implementation and virtual impunity for the failure of governmental officials to carry out their responsibilities under the laws. An objective and key contribution of this article is to substantiate the links between the historical origins of violence and the magnitude of gender violence in El Salvador today. Finally, the Conclusion offers some overarching observations and recommendations drawn from the many Salvadoran activists who have committed themselves to a long struggle to achieve justice and equality for women" (Musalo 2018, 7-8).

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Economies, Economic Inequality, Gender-Based Violence, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Gender Equality/Inequality, Governance, Justice, Impunity, Post-Conflict, Sexual Violence, Violence Regions: Americas, Central America Countries: El Salvador

Year: 2018

Beyond the Hype? The Response to Sexual Violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2011 and 2014

Citation:

Hilhorst, Dorothea, and Nynke Douma. 2018. “Beyond the Hype? The Response to Sexual Violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2011 and 2014.” Disasters 42 (1): 79-98.

Authors: Dorothea Hilhorst, Nynke Douma

Abstract:

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has witnessed a high prevalence of sexual violence since the wars of the mid-1990s. The huge response to it commenced around the turn of the century, but turned to ‘hype’ towards 2010. The paper defines ‘hypes’ as phenomena characterised by a media frenzy, eagerness by non-governmental organisations, and pragmatic local responses. Interviews and analyses conducted in 2011 revealed misuse of services and misrepresentation at different levels. The paper goes on to review medical and legal assistance and to provide evidence of incremental improvements in the response since 2012. It has become better coordinated, with more engagement by the DRC government, more community-oriented, and has incorporated a broader notion of gender-based violence. Nonetheless, concern remains about its impact and its continued dependence on international resources. There is apprehension too about social reactions to the problems of corruption and impunity, seemingly adding to the confusion surrounding gender relations in the country.

Keywords: development hype, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), fight against impunity, gender, sexual violence

Topics: Armed Conflict, Corruption, Gender, Gender-Based Violence, Media, Governance, Justice, Impunity, NGOs, Sexual Violence Regions: Africa, Central Africa Countries: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Year: 2018

Sexual Violence in Burundi: Victims, Perpetrators, and the Role of Conflict

Citation:

Dijkman, Nathalie E. J., Catrien Bijleveld, and Philip Verwimp. 2014. “Sexual Violence in Burundi: Victims, Perpetrators, and the Role of Conflict.” HiCN Working Paper 172, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, Brighton.

Authors: Nathalie Dijkman, Catrien Bijleveld, Philip Verwimp

Abstract:

In this paper we shed light on sexual violence in Burundi in the aftermath of its civil war. By presenting the results of a mixed-method research we discuss five topics: prevalence of sexual violence, a profile of victims, a profile of perpetrators, sexual violence’s relation to civil war and its current legal reactions and challenges. By means of multivariate regression analyses we predict women’s vulnerability to sexual- and gender based violence (GBV) in the context of war compared to everyday life. We find that age, schooling, living in an IDP camp and household wealth before the civil war have significantly different effects on GBV in both contexts. Many uniformed and armed men committed sexual violence during the war, and it appears that today ex-combatants and military continue to do so. From qualitative interviews we find several factors that connect Burundi’s past conflict to today’s violence, among which a weakened solidarity in communities and a problematic integration of excombatants in society. Impunity marks life in today’s Burundi, in particular in relation to persisting sexual violence. A thorough reconciliation or adjudication process since the civil war, as well as today’s difficulties to prosecute and pursue perpetrators, are among the main challenges for countering sexual violence in Burundi.

Topics: Age, Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Class, Combatants, Male Combatants, Displacement & Migration, IDPs, Education, Gender, Gender-Based Violence, Justice, Impunity, Post-Conflict, Sexual Violence, SV against women Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Burundi

Year: 2014

Relations of Ruling: A Feminist Critique of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and Violence against Women in the Context of Resource Extraction

Citation:

Simons, Penelope, and Melisa Handl. 2019. "Relations of Ruling: A Feminist Critique of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and Violence against Women in the Context of Resource Extraction." Canadian Journal of Women and the Law 31 (1): 113-50.

Authors: Penelope Simons, Melisa Handl

Abstract:

FRENCH ABSTRACT:
L’extraction des ressources a des conséquences directes et indirectes sur les femmes, et la recherche a démontré que ces conséquences ne sont pas les mêmes pour les hommes. La violence à l’égard des femmes semble avoir des conséquences transversales. Pourtant, les États, les organismes intergouvernementaux, les différents intervenants et les groupes de l’industrie n’en ont pas tenu compte lorsqu’ils ont établi des normes pour minimiser l’effet des activités des entreprises extractives sur les droits de la personne. En utilisant les travaux de Dorothy Smith sur l’ethnographie institutionnelle, et surtout la textualité féministe, le présent article propose une analyse approfondie à plusieurs niveaux, d’un point de vue féministe, du Principes directeurs relatifs aux entreprises et aux droits de l’homme (PDNU), qui constitue l’un des textes centraux visant l’impunité des entreprises quant aux effets nuisibles genrés de leurs activités d’exploitation des ressources, et en particulier, de la violence faite aux femmes. Les auteures se demandent dans quelle mesure le texte du PDNU tient compte des femmes et de leurs intérêts. Pour répondre à cette interrogation, elles examinent la place que donne le texte au savoir et au traitement distinct des femmes par rapport aux activités des États et des entreprises et le situent dans le système juridique international genré issu du néolibéralisme. Elles démontrent ainsi que le PDNU est une méthode pour établir une « relation de pouvoir » déterminant le comportement des États et des entreprises envers les femmes. La structure et la nature des normes issues du texte non seulement ne reconnaissent pas les expériences des femmes et ne protègent pas leurs droits dans le domaine de l’extraction des ressources, mais aident également à perpétuer les structures patriarcales et néolibérales qui oppriment les femmes.
 
ENGLISH ABSTRACT:
Resource extraction has both direct and indirect impacts on women, and research has shown that such impacts are differentiated from those on men. Violence against women appears to be a crosscutting impact. Yet states, intergovernmental organizations, multi-stakeholder initiatives, and industry groups have not taken this into consideration in the formulation of norms meant to address business-related human rights impacts. Drawing on Dorothy Smith’s work on institutional ethnography and, specifically, on feminist textuality, this article provides a close multi-level feminist analysis of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UN Guiding Principles), which are one of the central instruments designed to address corporate impunity for harm caused by business extraction in terms of their ability to address the gendered impacts of resource extraction and, in particular, violence against women. The authors consider the extent to which women and the interests of women are reflected in the text of the UN Guiding Principles, investigate the prioritization of knowledge and the differentiated treatment in the text of women compared to states and business enterprises, and situate the UN Guiding Principles within the neo-liberal gendered international legal system. They argue that UN Guiding Principles are a technology that establishes the “relations of ruling” with respect to state and business behaviour and women, and that the text, structure, and nature of these norms not only fail to acknowledge women’s experiences or to protect women’s rights in the realm of resource extraction but also help to perpetuate the patriarchal and neo-liberal structures that oppress women.

Topics: Environment, Extractive Industries, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gender Analysis, International Law, Justice, Impunity, Rights, Human Rights, Women's Rights, Violence

Year: 2019

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