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close this bookWomen's Rights are Human Rights - A review of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR, 2000, 36 p.)
close this folderFROM THE FIELD
View the documentOficina de la Alta Comisionada para los Derechos Humanos en El Salvador
View the documentOffice of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Guatemala
View the documentOffice of the High Commissioner in Bosnia and Herzegovina
View the documentOffice of the High Commissioner in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem

Oficina de la Alta Comisionada para los Derechos Humanos en El Salvador

1. Elaboracie un mo de capacitaciobre la problemca de la violencia domica

La Oficina elabor Mo de Capacitaciobre la problemca de la violencia domica, desde la perspectiva de gro, haciendo asis en el trato especializado que debe brindarse a la mujer vima de la violencia domica y sexual, asome en la actuaciue debe tenerse con el ofensor.

Este mo presenta las siguientes caractericas: a) fue elaborado principalmente con datos estadicos, registros e informaciue ya posela institucieneficiaria, pero que no hab sido nunca agrupados; b) los contenidos del mo fueron validados a travde 32 capacitaciones a miembros de instituciones gubernamentales como polic, educadores/as y jueces/as, y a personal de ONG's involucrado en la atenci las vimas de la violencia contra la mujer. Del total aproximado de 900 personas que participaron en las capacitaciones, un 70 por ciento fueron mujeres y un 30 por ciento hombres; c) durante el curso se distribuun archivo con lecturas complementarias, libros de texto, leyes nacionales, tratados internacionales ratificados por el pa la Declaraci la Plataforma para la Accie Beijing y otros compromisos del parelacionados con la violencia domica y el derecho de las mujeres a gozar de una vida libre de violencia.

Estrategia

Desde un inicio se plante necesidad de contrarar los servicios de una asesora en gro y violencia domica. Esta experta elabora primera propuesta de mo, que fue comentada por la institucieneficiaria.

El modulo fue adoptado por el Instituto Salvadoreara el Desarrollo de la Mujer (ISDEMU) como herramienta educativa permanente. Se estableci equipo de formadores y se produjo el modulo en versinformca para facilitar su utilizacior varias instancias.

Impacto del proyecto

Actualmente existe un conocimiento institucional homogo de los aspectos bcos de la problemca de gro, beneficiando as la mujer atendida por las instituciones; ISDEMU cuenta con un equipo interno de capacitadores/as en la materia y con material de apoyo para preparar futuras capacitaciones.

2. Publicacie un libro de bolsillo que contiene las principales normas nacionales e internacionales de protecciontra la discriminacie la mujer

La oficina publica compilacie las mimportantes normas nacionales e internacionales que protegen a la mujer contra la discriminaciLa publicacis de formato pequetipo bolsillo o cartera, con el fin de que las personas puedan llevarlo con facilidad. Este libro de bolsillo fue distribuido en casi todas las capacitaciones realizadas por la Oficina a un total aproximado de tres mil personas. Ademse realizaron donativos a centros de documentacie instituciones beneficiarias.

Estrategia

A la hora de brindar las capacitaciones la Oficina descubrie los materiales disponibles en derechos humanos no abordaban la temca de gro. Fue por ello que se decidio realizar una agrupacie normativa.

Impacto del proyecto

La incorporacie material sobre la normativa de proteccie la mujer contra la violencia, tanto nacional como internacional, agrupada en un solo instrumento. Esta iniciativa ha sido estratca para dar a conocer a las mujeres sus derechos y facilitarles su ejercicio.

3. Evaluaci/o elaboracie una propuesta legislativa en materia de violencia domica con perspectiva de gro

El objectivo de esta actividad era realizar un ansis desde la perspectiva de gro, de varias propuestas de reforma legislativa en materia de violencia domica, asome elaborar una nueva propuesta legislativa, con perspectiva de gro. La ley penal salvadorequiparaba la desobediencia a la orden judicial de protecci las vimas de violencia domica, con cualquier otro tipo de desobediencia judicial, haciendo invisible la diferencia y desequilibrio de poder que existe entre el agresor y su vima.

Por lo anterior se decidiabajar en una propuesta de reforma legislativa en el ito penal, para sancionar especialmente la desobediencia en materia de violencia intrafamiliar, teniendo en cuanta las diferencias de gro.

La Oficina particip la comisie expertas/os gubernamentales y no gubernamentales que analizs diferentes propuestas de reforma legislativa para aquellos casos en que los agresores incumplen una orden judicial de protecciy elabora propuesta independiente, al notar que las propuestas no eran viables ticamente. El personal del proyecto con experiencia en derecho penal se involucr la comisi al final, la propuesta legislativa, de sanci los agresores, fue aprobada por la Asamblea Legislativa de El Salvador.

Estrategia

Se planerticipar en las discusiones de la propuesta de reforma legislativa, para lo cual se contratuna asesora en gro que asistiera de forma permanente a las mesas de trabajo. Posteriormente, se analizaron las diferentes propuestas y se evalu posibilidad de elaborar una nueva propuesta de reforma legislativa que incluyera todas las observaciones que los grupos de trabajo hab realizado. Se discuti propuesta con las mujeres parlamentarias de El Salvador, comprometidas en la lucha por la equidad de gros, que ten el poder de decisin la propuesta y que ademeran claves en el cabildeo legislativo. Con el apoyo de ellas, se present propuesta a la Asamblea Legislativa de El Salvador y la propuesta fue aprobada. Fue muy importante que el proyecto de la comisiontara como una de sus entidades beneficiarias al Bloque de Mujeres Parlamentarias, ya que facilit cabildeo legislativo para que la reforma penal presentada fuera aprobada.

Lecciones del proyecto

Toda propuesta legislativa debe pasar por el filtro del ansis de gro previo, pero este ansis, no solo debe realizarlo la instituciubernamental responsable del ansis legislativo, sino tambitodas las ONG's interesadas y al menos una oficina o proyecto de las Naciones Unidas.

Impacto del proyecto

Impacto en la legislacie protecciara las mujeres vimas de violencia domica, al haber sido aceptada y aprobada la propuesta de reforma legislativa con perspectiva de gro, que es actualmente ley de la Repa.

Evelyn De Alvarenga

Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Guatemala

The Office participates in the Interagency Group of Gender and Advancement of Women, which has the goal of contributing to the realization of gender equality in Guatemala by reinforcing the application of gender policies in all UN programmes and projects. The Interagency Group has drafted a document on gender indicators and the advancement of women in the frame-work of the Administrative Consultative Committee (ACC).

In 1998, the Office took an active part in the Con-science Tribunal on women's human rights violations, which was held during the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Tribunal was established in an effort to construct an alternative mechanism to fight for women's human rights.


Women in a market in Guatemala

The Office has also worked with indigenous groups and women's organizations on the theme of human rights and given support to the Office in charge of the Rights of Women within the Ombudsperson Office.

The Office is also collaborating with COPREDHE (Presidential Human Rights Commission) in selecting consultants to work as trainers on issues relating to women's human rights and violence against women. The women's sector in Guatemala has identified a range of issues they would like to address, including the administration of justice - an area that has not been adequately reviewed from a gender perspective. Now is a good opportunity for the UNCHR in Guatemala to do so. The justice system in Guatemala should protect and strengthen the application of the law as it concerns women as a means of respecting and protecting both women's human rights and their economic development - two issues mentioned in the Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action.

In developing a gender policy, it is important that the UN agencies identify strategies of work which incorporate NGOs as well as government agencies.

Freddy Ochaeta

Office of the High Commissioner in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Protection for the rights of persons trafficked into Bosnia for the purpose of forced prostitution

Trafficking in persons, particularly for the purpose of forced prostitution, is not a new phenomenon in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The problem was recognized as early as 1993 and since then the numbers involved, the extent of control exercised by organized crime, and the market itself have increased considerably. The situation has also been exacerbated by the poor state of the economy. Over 40% of the population are unemployed, including a disproportionate number of women. As a result, there is increasing evidence of the trafficking of women out of Bosnia to third countries, and also within the country itself, particularly between the two Entities.

To date there has been no real attempt by either the local police or the government to confront the problem. Nor has the international community taken action. OHCHR has therefore taken the lead in coordinating those various agencies with appropriate mandates to recognize the need to address trafficking. The priority in phase one was to ensure the security and protection of the rights of individuals in need of assistance. The objective of Phase two, which overlaps chronologically with Phase one, is to transfer responsibility to the state with the support of the NGO community.

The programme has already resulted in changes in the choices available to trafficked persons. There have been policy changes in the approach of the international community and work is ongoing with the government and the local police to reach a greater understanding of the nature of the problem, and the need to respect human rights.

The involvement of other UN agencies has been a vital component. The UNMIBH, IOM and, to a lesser extent, both UNHCR and UNICEF have been working closely with OHCHR to develop the strategy now in place. The approach can be replicated in other areas where trafficking is a problem.

The second phase of the programme, already under way, involves collaboration with NGO's to build capacity for working with trafficked persons, in areas such as running shelters and providing health care, counselling, legal advice and representation. Meanwhile, discussions are also under way with the responsible ministries on the issues of legal reform, the provision of places of safety, mechanisms for safe repatriation when requested and support for the work of the NGOs.

This initiative is the first to develop such extensive interagency cooperation - due, in part, to the Dayton peace agreement and the mandates it created.

The strategy involved included:

· meeting with relevant bodies to establish the extent of the problem

· setting up a trafficking group of relevant international agencies to coordinate assistance and information campaigns

· training in best practice for dealing with the issue

· issuing guidelines for the International Police Force on how to work with victims of trafficking from a human rights perspective

· using the media to disseminate information for the public

· training for prosecutors by OHCHR, Council of Europe and international NGOs

· conducting a dialogue with the government about its responsibility.

A key element in the success of this initiative has been the use of a human rights perspective as the basis for the strategy. Others include the commitment of international organizations to the issue and the very strong mandates of UNMIBH and the OHR under the Dayton Peace Agreement.

Although the US Government gave financial support to IOM, the project overall has been insufficiently funded and is dependent on financial contributions from individuals. This will affect the long-term sustainability of the initiative.

To date, the project has:

· helped over 40 women in their attempts to leave the places where they were held against their will and to return home. Most received legal advice and health care.

· collated evidence on the extent of trafficking, the routes taken and the criminal networks involved.

· raised general awareness of the issues involved in trafficking through the use of media, training for NGOs, government officials and the judiciary.

· helped prevent the prosecution of women for prostitution where there is evidence of trafficking.

· established a moratorium on all deportations pending legislative reform.

Madeleine Rees

Office of the High Commissioner in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the area designated as Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem (OPT), plays an integral role in a wider international effort aimed at the social and economic development of the OPT through the strengthening of Palestinian institutional capacities in various sectors. As part of its programme, which is due to be completed by end 2000, OHCHR established an office in Gaza in November 1996.

The programme focuses on institution building in the area of the rule of law in the OPT, through a strategy incorporating the three mutually dependent and reinforcing elements of law, policy and institutions. This involves:

· establishing a legal framework consistent with human rights standards, through the provision of support and advisory services on legislative development and drafting to Palestinian institutions and organizations conducting legal research and analysis

· developing an official human rights policy, by supporting the elaboration of a National Plan of Action on Human Rights

· strengthening national structures to protect and promote human rights, with a special focus on the administration of justice (through advisory services and training for police, prison officers, judges, prosecutors and lawyers), on the Palestinian Independent Commission for Citizens' Rights and on local NGOs.

All three components of OHCHR's technical cooperation programme integrate women's human rights and present opportunities to focus on gender issues.

1. Establishing a legal framework

OHCHR supports local institutions and nongovernmental organizations in conducting legal research and consultations in sixteen legislative-developmental areas, including: basic law, prisons, the judiciary, police and firearms, public assemblies, criminal law and procedure, personal status, press and publications, associations, social welfare, sources of legislation and juvenile justice - most of which have gender dimensions. In addition, OHCHR has supported a Gaza-based NGO, Mashraqiyat, to research and consult on future legislation on personal status and family law, with a view to making recommendations based on international standards on the human rights of women. This activity has also drawn on expertise from other Arab countries in addressing Shari´a law. The results of Mashraqiyat's work include formal recommendations presented to the Palestinian Authority and Palestinian Legislative Council.

2. Developing an official human rights policy

The Palestinian National Plan of Action on Human Rights (NPAHR) will cover six sectors related to national developmental priorities. This is an opening for OHCHR to help promote economic, social and cultural rights, as well as women-in-development (WID) and gender-and-development (GAD) values in an unprecedentedly integrated way at the policy level. The current NPAHR framework that OHCHR provided as part of its technical assistance to the coordinating Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation incorporates women's human rights standards for each sector.

OHCHR's technical assistance has resulted in a consultative process to develop the NPAHR, which ensures consideration of WID/GAD values in each sector. The National Union of Palestinian Women, women's NGOs and representatives of the National Programme for Palestinian Children, as well as the National Strategy for the Advancement of Palestinian Women are active participants in each Sectoral Working Group which is responsible for formulating the six sectoral plans.

3. Strengthening national structures

OHCHR provides assistance to the Palestinian Legislative Council, the Palestinian Police Force, the prison service, the judiciary, the Palestinian Independent Commission for Citizens' Rights, and human rights nongovernmental organizations. All training curricula and programmes for law enforcement and security forces, prison staff and judges, prosecutors and lawyers, include sessions on the human rights of women in the administration of justice.

A major aspect of the OHCHR programme is training of the Palestinian Police Force (PPF), including a key component on women and policing, which includes a focus on women as law-enforcement professionals, as victims of crime and abuse and as offenders. Issues such as gender balance in the PPF and equality of opportunity for women police, effective response by law enforcement officials to instances of violence against women, including domestic violence, and the social and cultural challenges associated with these issues are regularly discussed. OHCHR often includes as resource persons in its training programmes members of local organizations dealing with women's issues, in order to facilitate communication and cooperation with the law enforcement agencies.

OHCHR has provided direct support to two NGOs for the development of women's rights units: the Gaza-based Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) and the Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment (LAW), based in Jerusalem. These two projects seek to ensure the integration of women's rights (as well as gender) issues into the work of these two well-established general human rights NGOs.

The PCHR Women Unit provides direct legal services to Palestinian women and women's groups, including representing women in Shari´a courts in cases of separation, divorce, child visitation, and maintenance; conducting legal initiatives to promote women's rights and equal opportunities; organizing education and information campaigns to promote understanding of laws and rights affecting women and to encourage the participation of women in the policy and legal development processes; and integrating women's rights issues in the work of PCHR. As part of the project, the Unit produced a number of publications for the general public explaining current legislation affecting women, on issues including marriage, divorce and inheritance. OHCHR assistance to PCHR was completed in 1998, and the Women Unit is now operating as part of the PCHR structure and supported from PCHR general funds.

The LAW Women Unit, which was established with OHCHR support, will focus on the promotion of the human rights of women through activities such as legal aid, counseling and representation; research studies and policy development; and education and technical assistance for communities and individuals. The Unit is initially concentrating on labour issues with a view to developing recommendations for policy and legislation.

Other activities of the field office

In 1998-99, OHCHR was an active participant in the UNIFEM-initiated UN Interagency Gender Task Force, which meets to coordinate gender-related work among UN developmental programmes, to identify gaps, and to provide assistance in mainstreaming WID/GAD into UN programmes in Palestine. OHCHR has benefited from this coordination by way of information sharing, including special reports such as the regional directory of gender trainers and an Arabic glossary of WID/GAD terms. OHCHR has had input into these consultations, for example by coordinating with other UN agencies on programme activities and experience, and promoting the NPAHR.

In early 1999, OHCHR participated in the UNIFEM Facilitation Initiative, whose activities include a survey of the WID/GAD programmes and experience of UN operations locally, and the provision of training opportunities as needs arise. As part of that Initiative, OHCHR participated in local training by UNIFEM's regional office in “Incorporating Gender in Development Projects” (May 1999). OHCHR and UNICEF have also consulted on common areas of interest, including the UNICEF experience in developing the National Programme for Palestinian Children.

Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory