The following article was published in the March 2020 issue of the International Review of Contemporary Law, the journal of the IADL.
by Evelyn Dürmayer, editor-in-chief
This special issue of the IADL International Review of Contemporary Law was meant be an addendum to the UN Commission on the Status of Women and its 64th session and to review the 4th World Conference on Women (Beijing 1995), the achievements since, the gaps and the challenges for the future. This issue was planned to be published on the 8th of March 2020: International Women’s Day as the occasion to present a series of contributions to assume the work for gender equality from legal and international perspectives.
The Conference starting on Monday 9th of March 2020 in New York at the UN premises will be limited to a procedural meeting with some statements and the adoption of the draft Political Declaration. It will be closed and no general debates, no side events planned by Member States and no parallel events prepared by NGO´s will be possible The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) made this decision necessary.
Starting with the text by Rashida Manjoo, the former UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, concentrating on sexual violence and post- conflict situations and the necessity to use a holistic approach and model to ascertain accountability, justice and peace.
Continuing with Jeanne Mirer( President of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, IADL ) who concentrates on the Beijing Platform of Action. Violence and poverty are still the main barriers for gender equality and underlining the role of IADL in this context.
Grace Cowell considers the rape law reform in UK as being a success but nevertheless the gap between reporting cases of sexual violence and the convictions for rape due to the fact that rape myth bias are not addressed in society. Charlotte Kates analyzes the persistent resistance of Palestinian Women detainees and the importance of self education in the prisons against all measures of discrimination especially torture and sexual violence.
Ceren Uysal describes the State of Emergency in Turkey as a masculine backlash regarding dismissed women in various sectors, the new laws limiting the possibilities to fight against them and the necessity to adopt a clear intersectional position against all forms of oppression.
NUPL Women and Children Committee use many examples to denounce that under the Duterte government in the Philippines women and women lawyers are under constant threat and hampered in exercising their duties as human rights defenders.
Youjeong Jeong and Osamu Niikura recall that the 4th World Conference on Women in Beijing (1995) was a milestone in promoting women’s rights but actually in Japan the government under Prime Minister Abe does not resolve the case of the “comfort women” while in South Korea newly adopted laws might assure more rights for women. Silvana Capece and Nelly Minyersky in the Spanish version with an English abstract search if and how in recent years (from 2015 till 2019) the Beijng Declaration and the Platform of Action have been implemented in Argentina in particular reproductive rights and abortion and comprehensive sexual education and the force of the women’s movement.
Maria Lucrecia Hernández explains that patriarchy and the blocus against Venezuela in an English abstract of A Spanish article discuss the further advancement of women in accordance with the Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action.
Many thanks must not only be given to those who presented their articles but as well to the great team who prepared this issue: Marjorie Cohn, Kathy Johnson, and Dinorah La Luz for editing and Charlotte Kates for the design and the layout.
I encourage all readers to follow these texts with care and conscience to understand and support women and women rights in different economical, social and cultural contexts.
Vienna, 8 March 2020