Females and the united nations : a new history of women’s international human rights .

 Females and the united nations : a new history of women’s international human rights .

females and united nations ichhori.com

 What if the international legal framework of human rights was shaped by overlooked women from the worldwide South who argued for the universality of human rights against colonial and patriarchal interests?

In the recently published book Women and therefore the United Nation, scholars from different disciplines revisit a number of the crucial United Nations documents that shaped human rights into a universal language of gender equality and non-discrimination. This new history of international human rights demonstrates how human rights and gender equality were inscribed in the core documents of the United Nation thanks to women delegates from the Global South. The inclusion of gender equality and non-discrimination thanks to sex within the United Nations Charter and therefore the UDHR was in large part thanks to Latin American and Indian women delegates. The suggestion made by colonial powers to incorporate a clause within the covenants and core conventions of the United Nations, excepting the applicability of human rights to non-self-governing territories, was defeated because of women delegates from the worldwide South.

What the authors within the volume Women and therefore the United Nation contribute is an understanding that the dominant historical narrative of the creation of international human rights from the inception of the United Nation diminished the role of girls from the worldwide South in how they need to shape international norm-setting. They did numerous times in conflict with both western feminists (those who limited women’s rights to certain issues or contexts), male delegates from their own countries (who enjoyed the privileges of unequal systems), and representatives of the time from colonial powers (who opted for a colonial application clause within the human rights conventions).

At the adoption of the United Nations Charter in the year 1945, Latin American feminists, headed by Brazilian Bertha Lutz, lobbied and managed to incorporate Article 8 which ensures women to carry office in UN bodies, that non-discrimination supported sex was repeated in several articles of the Charter, and therefore the equality of girls and men were mentioned in its preamble.

Three years later, at the adoption of the UDHR in the year 1948, India-born Hansa Mehta, who was the sole woman delegate beside Roosevelt within the Commission on Human Rights, changed the wording in the UDHR from ‘the rights of man’ to ‘human rights and from ‘all men’ to ‘everyone,’ and ‘all human beings.’ Hansa Mehta was supported by the Commission on the Status of girls, which was created due to the continued pressure by delegate Minerva Bernardino, the Dominican Republic. When the UDHR reached the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly in the year 1947, Shaista Ikramullah of Pakistan amongst others argued against a US deletion of Article sixteen on the rights connected to marriage, and for a particular mention of the rights for ladies in marriage and at its dissolution.

In the year the 1950s, women delegates Lakshmi Menon and Begum Shareefah, both from the newly independent state of India, criticized the UDHR for being abstract. The Declaration’s ‘lofty’ articles were later translated into ‘real rights’ for ladies through the primary binding United Nations treaty on human rights concerned with rights within the private, namely the Convention on Consent, Minimum Age, and Registration for Marriage. Another early convention also from the year 1950s that tested the universality of gender equality was the Convention on the Political Rights of girls (CPW).

Women delegates from Pakistan, Iraq, Indonesia, Egypt, Guinea, Togo, Nigeria, and Peru notably questioned why women under the colonial rule should be precluded from these conventions. Marie Sivomey (Togo), Jaiyeola Aduke Moore (Nigeria), and Jeanne Martin Cissé (Guinea) acknowledged that it had been unfair of western representatives within the United Nation to use custom to exclude women in several parts of the planet from their right to vote and their economic rights. Aziza Hussein (Egypt), Artati Marzuki (Indonesia), and Carmela Aguilar (Peru) felt that western delegates referenced custom in prejudiced ways to carry back the universalizing of human rights, and in ways that did not acknowledge the more progressive interpretations of religions that afforded women rights and freedoms. In debating the universal applicability of the wedding Convention, Jeanne Martin Cissé (Guinea) criticized how male representatives from southern countries enjoyed the privileges of unfair legal systems while denying women support to change discriminatory legislation and customs in their addresses to the United Nation.

The World Plan of Action from the year 1975 was one among the concrete results from the primary international United Nations Conference on Women. It speaks of women’s different social conditions and the way feminist issues got to address the unjust economic world order. The Action Plan with its additional declaration were the result of a constructive yet critical debate between western and globally southern women representatives in 1975, where women like Domitila Barrios de Chungara (Bolivia) had taken part in placing women’s role in the development on the agenda.

The CEDAW, adopted in the year 1979, which has laid the bottom for the law of nations on women’s rights as international human rights, was initially prepared by Letitia Ramos Shahani of the Philippines. Its preamble was inspired by the preceding declaration, which was crafted by Annie Jiagge of Ghana, who was the Commission on the Status of girls rapporteur at the time.

The first United Nations Security Council Resolution on Women and Peace and Security (UNSCR 1325) was placed for open debate under the presidency within the Council by Namibia in the year 2000. The resolution was prepared by several women representatives from Namibia, most notably Monica Ndiliawike Nashandi who had fought within the freedom struggle of Namibia. It was Namibia’s women delegates in NY, Selga Ndeyapo Ashipala-Musayyi (the Deputy Permanent Representative of Namibia) and First Secretary Aina Iiyambo who shepherded the negotiations of the draft resolution.

Our collective book responds to a continued got to reveal a more complex concept of agency in diplomacy which simultaneously defends the universality of human rights from diverse perspectives. When ‘human rights’ are utilized in the vocabulary of structural adjustment programs and trade agreements of the planet Bank, IMF, and WTO they appear to merely shield a neoliberal world order and a continuation of colonial patterns of economic injustices internationally. Critiques from within human rights scholarship tend to strengthen the view of human rights as a western, liberal creation, perhaps unintentionally supporting an orientalism split between the civilized and the rest which is inaccurate and dangerous.

Our research aims to vary a paradigm that has seen gender equality as a western hand me down to the worldwide South to at least one where the south was a driver from the beginning. The pantheon of worldwide feminists must now spotlight its vital and various southern stars.



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