Sep 6, 2019

Replicating TrackGBV in Latin America

ICAAD Looking to Replicate TrackGBV in Latin America: Building Partnerships

In late 2018, ICAAD presented TrackGBV on a panel on GBV research methodologies at a conference in Mexico City, which was hosted by the Center for Human Rights & Humanitarian Law at American University Washington College of Law (AUWCL) and the Swedish Embassy. During the presentation, we emphasized that TrackGBV provides a template for systemic change using data to drive systems and behaviour change in a relatively short period of time. The presentation garnered the interest of a number of local stakeholders who were interested in seeing TrackGBV replicated in Latin America. 

Since that time, ICAAD has been engaging in discussions with AUWCL. Along with Clifford Chance and AUWCL, ICAAD will conduct strategic assessments to determine which Latin American countries hold the most promise for the initial phases of TrackGBV. AUWCL has strong connections in Chile, Columbia, and Mexico and emphasised how important this work could be for the newly formed gender units in specific court judiciaries. Moreover, AUWCL already works closely with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) in Costa Rica, which provides a significant opportunity for widespread adoption of TrackGBV if the initiative is supported by the Court. 

Additionally, ICAAD is cooperating with a Chilean non-profit organization La Fundación Henry Dunant América Latina/Instituto Internacional Henry Dunant (FuHD/IIHD). The Foundation has developed an International Diploma Course on Human Rights following a judgment at the IACHR that found that the Supreme Court of Chile had violated the rights of a lesbian woman to live free from discrimination when the court revoked custody of her children. The IACHR ordered Chile to make reparations and adopt “legislation, policies and programmes” to prohibit discrimination against vulnerable groups, and the Diploma Course seeks to respond to the Court’s order by training graduate students and professionals working in the public sector. ICAAD is laying the foundation for engagement in Latin America through its partnership with FuHD and will have opportunities through the cooperation agreement to integrate TrackGBV training into the Diploma Course.

Update on Sexual Harassment Toolkit

In 2017, ICAAD in partnership with The Fiji Women’s Rights Movement (FWRM) and the law firm Manatt Phelps organised the first ever train the trainers workshop to raise awareness on combating sexual harassment in the workplace. The training targeted key stakeholders and agencies to strengthen implementation of laws and policies.

The 3-day training workshop was supported by the Australian Government, the United States Embassy in Fiji, and implemented through the We Rise Coalition. It was especially timely as it coincided with the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence, with Nov. 25th marking the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and December 10th marking Human Rights Day. The training was held from Nov. 27- 29, 2017 at Victoria Palms Hotel in Suva, Fiji.

As part of our impact assessment, we received feedback on how the training has been leveraged locally in Fiji. Over the last two years:

  • FWRM has received 10 requests for training;
  • FWRM and other partners have drafted or enhanced existing sexual harassment policies;
  • FWRM provides two types of service options: 1 hr. Awareness training and a multi-day full training package. These services allow FWRM to create an earned-income stream to tackle an extremely pervasive issue in Fiji.

Going forward, we will continue to monitor the impact of the sexual harassment training program and assess whether it makes sense to replicate the training in other Pacific Island jurisdictions.

Jun 10, 2019

Providing GBV Expertise and Cited by a President

Equality & Justice Alliance (EJA) Group of Experts Meeting 

Sisters For Change (SFC), on behalf of the EJA, invited ICAAD and other senior legal and policy experts to Singapore in April to share their technical expertise and personal experiences on the impact of discriminatory laws on women and girls within the Commonwealth, including the Pacific Island region where ICAAD has a significant gender-based violence (GBV) focus.
The Meeting included expert-led technical presentations on reforms within constitutional, criminal, anti-discrimination, and equality law, with key developments in reform of personal laws and sexual offence legislation. The nine independent legal experts included: 
  • Aruna Narain, Supreme Court Judge of Mauritius and CEDAW Committee Member, Mauritius
  • Chaloka Beyani, Professor of Law at the London School of Economics and former UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons, U.K.
  • Aileen McColgan, Professor of Law at the University of Leeds and Barrister at 11KBW, U.K.
  • Marion Bethel, Attorney and CEDAW Committee Member, Bahamas
  • Florida Kabasinga, Managing Partner at Certa Law Chambers, Rwanda
  • Dianne Hubbard, Director of the Gender Research & Advocacy Project at the Legal Assistance Centre, Namibia
  • Sharon Murdock, Legislative Drafter at the Office of Legislative Counsel, Northern Ireland
  • Vrinda Grover, Supreme Court Advocate, India
  • Hansdeep Singh, Co-Founder of ICAAD, U.S.A.

SFC has also commissioned ICAAD to provide legal research regarding how gender bias and stereotyping link to GBV in the Pacific Island region. This has been part of ICAAD’s ongoing 6 year initiative on TrackGBV and a presentation/ report will be delivered at the EJA Commonwealth Asia High-level Dialogue in Malaysia later this year. 

Compacts of Free Association (COFA) 

On May 17, 2019, ICAAD Advisor Erin Thomas’ publication: Compacts of Free Association in FSM, RMI, and Palau: Implications for the 2023-2024 Renewal Negotiations was cited by the President of Palau, Tommy Remengesau Jr., in an op-ed published in The Hill. In her piece, Erin points to critical issues stakeholders have raised regarding human trafficking, adoption policies, and COFA migrant rights among other important human rights issues. 

Some of the above-mentioned policy gaps span several of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), particularly 10 (reduced inequalities) and 17 (partnership for the goals). Holistically, the existing COFA agreements represent the type of inequity that SDG 10 seeks to address. SDG 17 promotes inclusive and participatory decision-making at the international, national, and local levels. Developing transparency on both sides will allow for a more equitable process and outcome for the renewal negotiations.

The issues within the existing agreements also involve SDG 16 (peace, justice, and strong institutions) and limited access to justice regarding redress for nuclear testing and environmental destruction. This impacts targets and indicators including SDG 13 (climate action) and SDG 3 (good health and well-being). Finally, SDG 10 and 8’s targets for responsible migration policies are important considering the limited provisions for COFA migrants in the U.S. and U.S. territories.

Thoughts on CSW 2019 

ICAAD Fellow, Megan Lee Candolfi, published a blog piece on her experience at the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) earlier this year.

Mar 11, 2019

ICAAD Invited As Experts

ICAAD is honored to have been invited by Sisters for Change, a UK based organization combating discriminatory laws against women and girls, to join the Equality & Justice Alliance (EJA) Group of Experts.

As part of this collaboration, ICAAD will be attending an EJA meeting in Singapore from April 3-5th and also present our work on gender-based violence in the Pacific Island region at the EJA Commonwealth Asia High-level Dialogue in Malaysia in November of this year. The implementing partners of EJA are international NGOs including Kaleidoscope Trust, Human Dignity Trust, The Royal Commonwealth Society, and Sisters For Change.


What EJA Does?

"The Equality & Justice Alliance’s programme will provide support to countries that are seeking to address this systemic discrimination by working with a range of stakeholders to secure the rights of women and girls and LGBT people. The programme will:

  • Support Commonwealth civil society organisations to work intersectionally and conduct advocacy to engage with the legislative and policy process;

  • Convene a series of regional dialogues to build a better understanding of international standards and best practice, strengthen policy exchanges between civil society, officials and experts and to highlight the benefits of legal reform;

  • Provide a range of legal and policy research tools and technical legal assistance and expertise to Commonwealth governments seeking to reform discriminatory laws, combat violence against women and girls, eliminate hate crimes and increase access to justice."

Research in Niue

ICAAD Advisor, Erin Thomas, recently earned a grant to pursue research on gender-based violence in Niue. She will be working with the Ministry for Community Affairs to assess GBV prevalence rates in the unique small island state through a web-based survey. Erin began working on field research in Niue during an internship with ICAAD in 2017; read her pilot assessment here.

Erin has also been working on a policy brief breaking down human rights concerns in the Compacts of Free Association between the U.S. and Palau, the Marshall Islands, and the Federated States of Micronesia (stay tuned). After over 30 years, the agreements will be up for renewal in 2023-2024, and efforts have already begun to create more equitable outcomes.
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