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Impunity

Violations of Afro-Colombian Women’s Human Rights: A Report for the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

Citation:

Proceso de Comunidades Negras (PCN), MADRE, and Human Rights and Gender Justice (HRGJ) Clinic, CUNY School of Law. 2019. Violations of Afro-Colombian Women’s Human Rights: A Report for the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Cali: PCN; New York: MADRE and HRGJ Clinic.

Authors: Proceso de Comunidades Negras (PCN), MADRE, Human Rights and Gender Justice (HRGJ) Clinic, CUNY School of Law

Annotation:

Summary:
"This report, prepared for the List of Themes in advance of the review of Colombia’s human rights record by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, describes a widespread pattern of human rights violations committed against Afro-Colombian women and their communities, a pattern which in turn underscores entrenched systemic racial and gender discrimination in Colombia. Part II details ways in which Afro-descendant women are excluded from meaningful participation in peace implementation, and relatedly, the Government’s failure to adequately implement racial and gender justice provisions of its 2016 Peace Accord with the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC). Part III describes the consistent attacks on Afro-descendant human rights defenders, including women, the lack of meaningful state protection for them, and the environment of impunity in which the attacks occur. The following section provides information on the disproportionate vulnerability to sexual and gender-based violence that Afro-descendant communities face, and the lack of services, protection and justice for victims. Lack of access to adequate, appropriate, and timely health services for Afrodescendant survivors of sexual and gender-based violence is described in more detail in Part V. Part VI discusses the Government’s failure to uphold the collective territorial rights of AfroColombian women and their communities, placing their very existence as Peoples at risk. Each section is followed by suggested questions and recommendations to the Colombian government" (PCN et al. 2019, 4).

Topics: Gender, Gender-Based Violence, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Health, Justice, Impunity, Political Participation, Race, Rights, Human Rights, Land Rights, Sexual Violence Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Colombia

Year: 2019

Gender-Based Violence and Environment Linkages

Citation:

Castañeda Camey, Itza, Laura Sabater, Cate Owren, and A. Emmett Boyer. 2020. Gender-Based Violence and Environment Linkages. Ed. Jamie Wen. Gland: International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.

Author: Jamie Wen

Annotation:

Summary:
"Around the world, it is estimated that one in three women and girls will experience gender-based violence (GBV) during her lifetime (World Bank, 2019). Rooted in discriminatory gender norms and laws and shrouded in impunity, GBV occurs in all societies as a means of control, subjugation and exploitation that further reinforces gender inequality. This publication, Gender-based violence and environment linkages: The violence of inequality, establishes that these patterns of gender-based abuse are observed across environmental contexts, affecting the security and well-being of nations, communities and individuals, and jeopardising meeting sustainable development goals (SDGs). While linkages between GBV and environmental issues are complex and multi-layered, these threats to human rights and healthy ecosystems are not insurmountable. Research findings demonstrate that ending GBV, promoting gender equality and protecting the environment can be positively linked in ways that contribute to securing a safe, sustainable and equitable future.

Purpose and approaches: Gender-based violence and environment linkages: The violence of inequality establishes a knowledge base for understanding and accelerating action to address GBV and environmental linkages. Developed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), in collaboration with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) as part of the Advancing Gender in the Environment (AGENT) partnership, this publication aims to raise awareness and engage actors working in environmental and sustainable development, gender equality, and GBV policymaking and programming spheres to inform rights-based, gender-responsive approaches to environmental policy, programmes and projects. Gender-based violence and environment linkages: The violence of inequality consolidates vast knowledge and experiences gathered from across sectors and spheres, serving as a robust reference for policymakers and practitioners at all levels to understand issues and potential interventions to address GBV as it relates to the environment. Over 1,000 sources of information, experiences and interventions from international stakeholders, national governments, civil society, environmental practitioners and policymakers, advocates and activists, and academics relating to GBV across environmental contexts from around the world were reviewed. At various stages of drafting this publication, the research further benefited from key informant interviews, input from experts through a validation workshop and extensive feedback from peer reviewers. Additionally, a survey (referred to as the GBV-ENV survey) and a call for case studies on GBV and environment linkages added to this research, garnering over 300 responses and 80 case submissions documenting evidence, promising practices and capacity needs from a broad array of stakeholders. The GBV-ENV survey responses included a range of accounts in which GBV has been a barrier to conservation and sustainable development. Fifty-nine per cent of the survey respondents noted they had observed GBV (from sexual, physical and psychological violence, to trafficking, sexual harassment, sexual coercion – rape in specific cases – child marriage linked to environmental crises, and more) across issues relating to women environmental human rights defenders (WEHRDs), environmental migrants and refugees, specifically-listed types of environmental crimes, land tenure and property rights, Indigenous Peoples, protected areas, climate change, energy and infrastructure, extractive industries, water, disaster risk reduction, forestry and biodiversity and the access, use and control over natural resources of some type in the course of their work to implement environmental and sustainable development projects.1 Meanwhile, survey responses made it clear that knowledge and data gaps, tools and capacity building are all needed to tackle GBV-environment linkages. Seventy-one per cent of respondents noted that staff awareness and understanding of GBV-environment linkages was needed to address GBV.

Key messages: This analysis reveals the complex and interlinking nature of GBV across three main contexts explored in this paper: access to and control of natural resources; environmental pressure and threats; and environmental action to defend and conserve ecosystems and resources. Gender inequality is pervasive across all these contexts. National and customary laws, societal gender norms and traditional gender roles dictate who can access and control natural resources, often resulting in the marginalisation of women compared to men. Threats and pressures on the environment and its resources amplify gender inequality and power imbalances in communities and households coping with resource scarcity and societal stress. Discriminatory gender norms and stereotypes even shape the differentiated treatment of women and men working to protect and conserve the environment, ultimately affecting the effectiveness and success of outcomes. Across contexts, expressions of GBV maintain societal and cultural gender inequalities and norms, forming a feedback loop to the detriment of livelihoods, rights, conservation and sustainable development. GBV is a systematic means of control to enforce and protect existing privileges around natural resources, maintaining power imbalances that create tensions within families, between communities and among involved actors. Furthermore, where the enforcement of the rule of law is limited, GBV abuses are used to enable illicit and illegal activities through sexual exploitation and/or to exert control over communities. As Indigenous communities are often on the frontlines of defending their territories, resources and rights from extractive projects and corporate interests, many Indigenous women face intersecting and reinforcing forms of genderbased and other violence (Wijdekop, 2017).

Access to and control over natural resources: Land, forests, agriculture, water and fisheries; Gender inequalities rooted in legal and social norms – including unequal access to education, economic opportunities and decision making – and genderdifferentiated roles and responsibilities dictate how (and if) women and men access and have control over land and resources related to forests, agriculture, water and fisheries. Evidence and experiences in the context of land and natural resources show that GBV is often employed as a way to maintain these power imbalances, violently reinforcing sociocultural expectations and norms and exacerbating gender inequality. For example, when attempting to enter into agricultural markets, women can experience intimate partner violence (IPV) as their partners seek to control finances and maintain economic dependencies (Case Study EN19).2 Moreover, gender-differentiated roles related to land and resources can also put women in a more vulnerable position to suffer GBV while carrying out daily responsibilities, as seen in firewood and water collection activities (Sommer et al., 2015; Wan et al., 2011). Access to and control over natural resources are also often a source for sexual exploitation, as seen in land tenure when authorities suggest or demand sexual favours for land rights (Matsheza et al., 2012); when male fishers demand sex-for-fish from women fish buyers and processors (Béné & Merten, 2008); or where male supervisors in natural resource industries sexually harass and abuse women, punishing those who do not submit by relegating them to dangerous work or limiting hours if their advances are denied (UN Women, 2018).

Pressures and threats on land and resources: Environmental crimes, extractive industries and agribusiness, and climate change and weather-related disasters: Environmental degradation and natural resource scarcity pose significant threats to ecosystems and livelihoods, resulting in or exacerbating biodiversity loss, food insecurity, poverty, displacement, violence, and loss of traditional and cultural knowledge. Ensuing tension and competition over scarce resources in and between communities, households and industries amplifies normative, discriminatory and exploitative gender inequalities, giving way to a rise in GBV as a means of control and reinforcement of power imbalances. For example, across environmental crimes, the weakened rule of law contributes to the sexual exploitation of women and men towards enabling criminal activities – as seen throughout illegal logging, mining and fishing operations as a means to fill labour forces (GI-TOC, 2016; UNHRC, 2011; Urbina, 2015). At other times, GBV has been employed as a method of quelling resistance from local communities during disputes and forceful displacements due to large-scale developments (IUCN, 2018; Rustad et al., 2016; Schrecker et al., 2018). Armed military and security forces involved in large-scale infrastructure developments and extractive work, as well as protected area rangers, have also deployed GBV as means to pressure local communities or exploit them. In the wake of social, financial and infrastructure stresses due to climate change and weather-related disasters, child marriage has been used as a coping strategy (UN Women, 2017; Human Rights Watch, 2015), while IPV rates rise as men use violence as a means to exert control over scarce natural resources (Dankelman, 2016). Exacerbating challenges, gender-blind disaster risk management planning can also contribute to GBV (Dwyer & Woolf, 2018; Nellemann, et al., 2011; UNHCR, 2011; WRC, 2011).

Environmental action: Women environmental human rights defenders, environmental projects and environmental workplaces: Gender-based discrimination in social, cultural, legal, economic and institutional frameworks affects the ability of women and girls to equally and safely participate and lead in environment-related activism and organisational work and programming. These barriers reinforce gender inequality in actions to defend, protect, conserve and benefit from the environment. In these contexts, GBV is used to assert power imbalances and, at times, violently discourage or stop women from speaking out for their rights, working toward or benefiting from a safe and healthy environment (GBV-ENV survey respondent SP33; GBVENV survey respondent EN53). For example, incidents of GBV against women environmental human rights defenders (WEHRDs) are on the rise (Barcia, 2017; Facio, 2015; Meffe et al., 2018), with GBV normalised to the point where violence and discrimination are experienced in both private and public spheres (López & Bradley, 2017), making it difficult for defenders to seek justice (Watts, 2018). In environmental workplaces, patterns of gender-based inequality and discrimination are often surrounded by a culture of acceptance that reinforce them and can lead to instances of violence and harassment at work (ILO, 2017; Taylor, 2014). Environmental initiatives can unintentionally exacerbate local conditions that contribute to GBV (Tauli-Corpuz et al., 2018). Ultimately, GBV undermines and can even reverse progress on meeting environmental goals.

Ways forward: Gender-based violence and environment linkages: The violence of inequality documents GBV-environment linkages across a range of contexts, demonstrating that GBV is applied as a systematic tool of control to determine the rights and prospects of people based on their gender. While the issues are vast, there are also numerous entry points to prevent and respond to GBV within these linkages. Understanding GBV and environment interlinkages is critical for effective policy-making, planning and interventions, as these issues influence one another in various ways that can hinder or negate progress. Some promising practices do exist and are leading the way for others in this area of work. Environmental programming can address GBV issues and risks by: integrating focused attention in organisational priorities and policies; raising awareness and capacities; building strategic alliances across sectors and stakeholders to expedite action; and integrating GBV considerations across project cycles. In multiple international policy frameworks; donor, aid and finance mechanism priorities; and sustainable development organisations’ strategies and plans, matters pertaining to both GBV (including prevention of and response to violence) and environment (including conservation and sustainable development) tend to be crosscutting but rarely linked, obscuring potential risks for exacerbating violence and/or environmental degradation. Bringing these interlinkages into priority focus offers a chance to see things differently, revealing strategic options for new and renewed efforts toward meeting human rights and international sustainable development commitments" (Wen 2020, xi-xvi).

Table of Contents:
1. Introduction
 
Section I. Gender-Based Violence and Access, Use and Control of Natural Resources
2. The Use of Gender-Based Violence as a Form of Control over Land and Natural Resources
 
Section II. Gender-Based Violence in the Context of Environmental Pressures and Threats
3. Illicit Natural Resource Exploitation - Links Between Gender-Based Violence and Environmental Crime
 
4. The Impacts of Extractive Industries, Large-Scale Infrastructure Projects and Agribusiness on Gender-Based Violence
 
5. The Impacts of Climate Change and Weather-Related Disasters on Gender-Based Violence
 
Section III. Gender Based Violence in Environmental Action
6. Gender-Based Violence in Defending Land, Territories and the Environment - The Situation of Women Environmental Human Rights Defenders
 
7. Gender-Based Violence in Environmental Work and Workplaces
 
Section IV. Pathways for Change: Recommendations for Taking Action
8. Bridging Gaps, Taking Action: Entry Points for Addressing Gender-Based Violence and Environment Links, Including for Improved Environmental Programming

Topics: Environment, Extractive Industries, Gender-Based Violence, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Infrastructure, Justice, Impunity, Rights, Human Rights, Security, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Year: 2020

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

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