International Agreements and How to Build a Legal Case for Women’s Land Rights

Amanda Richardson · Sep 22, 2016

Appendix C: Regional Agreements

The African (Banjul) Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights

As a regional international human rights agreement, the Banjul Charter seeks to address the unique human rights and economic development concerns of countries that are a part of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) or the African Union.

 

Although this regional agreement will only apply to those States that are eligible for membership in the OAU, it has been included to emphasize the important of looking at regional international agreements as part of one’s toolbox in challenging local property laws. Just like any other international agreement, under the Banjul Charter, States have obligations and duties to other States as well as their citizens.

 

Unlike past agreements, the Charter recognizes the socio-economic rights of all generations of peoples—men, women, and children. It also recognizes that duties are imposed both on States and individuals. In addition, it contains no derogation clause, which means that the rights in the Charter cannot be derogated from by emergencies and special circumstances. The only legitimate reasons for limitations to the rights stated in the Charter are mentioned in Article 27(2).

 

Of particular interest to the rights of women and access to land, Article 14 ensures that the right to property shall be guaranteed for all peoples.  Article 18 supplements this language by stating that the State has a duty to ensure the elimination of every discrimination against women. This duty to ensure includes the obligation to protect the rights of women and children as stipulated in other international declarations, conventions, and this Agreement.

 

See the full text of the Banjul Charter. Also view a full history of the Banjul Charter.

 

See Table 6.1 for a list of relevant articles within the Banjul Charter.

 

Click here and see Table 6.2 for a list of all the countries’ obligations under the Banjul Charter.

 

See here for an updated list of declarations and reservations each country has made with respect to the Banjul Charter.

 

Table 6.1

Article

Relevant Language

Preamble

The African States members of the Organization of African Unity (Union), parties to the present convention entitled "African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights", Recalling…a "preliminary draft on an African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights providing inter alia for the establishment of bodies to promote and protect human and peoples' rights"; Considering the Charter of the Organization of African Unity, which stipulates that "freedom, equality, justice and dignity are essential objectives for the achievement of the legitimate aspirations of the African peoples"; Reaffirming the pledge they solemnly made in Article 2 of the said Charter to eradicate all forms of colonialism from Africa, to coordinate and intensify their cooperation and efforts to achieve a better life for the peoples of Africa and to promote international cooperation having due regard to the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; …Considering that the enjoyment of rights and freedoms also implies the performance of duties on the part of everyone; Convinced that it is henceforth essential to pay a particular attention to the right to development and that civil and political rights cannot be dissociated from economic, social and cultural rights in their conception…

1

 

Member states shall recognize the rights, duties, and freedoms enshrines in this Chapter and shall undertake to adopt legislative and other measures to give effect to them.

2

Every individual shall be entitled to the enjoyment of the rights and freedoms recognized and guaranteed in the present Charter without distinction of any kind such as race…sex…

3

Every individual shall be equal before the law…shall be entitled to equal protection of the law.

14

The right to property shall be guaranteed. It may only be encroached upon in the interest of public need or in the general interest of the community and in accordance with the provisions of appropriate laws.

18(1)-(3)

The family shall be the natural unit and basis of society…[and] protected by the State which shall take care of its physical health and moral. The state shall have the duty to assist the family which is the custodian of morals and traditional values recognized by the community. The State shall ensure the elimination of every discrimination against women and also ensure the protection of the rights of the woman and the child as stipulated in international declarations and conventions.

19

All peoples shall be equal; they shall enjoy the same respect and shall have the same rights. Nothing shall justify the domination of a people by another.

21

State parties to the present Charter shall individually and collectively exercise the right to free disposal of their wealth and natural resources with a view to strengthening African unity and solidarity.

22

All peoples shall have the right to their economic, social, and cultural development with due regard to their freedom and identity and in the equal enjoyment of the common heritage of mankind. States shall have the duty, individually or collectively, to exercise of the right to development.

24

All peoples shall have the right to a general satisfactory environment favorable to their development.

 

Table 6.2: Signatories to the Banjul Charter

Notably, 53 States have signed and ratified the Banjul Charter; only South Sudan has not signed and ratified the Banjul Charter.

Country

Voting

Signed and Ratified (r)

Date of Signature

Date of Ratification

Algeria

r

4/10/1986

3/1/1987

Angola

r

 

3/2/1990

Benin

r

2/11/2004

1/20/1986

Botswana

r

 

7/17/1986

Burkina Faso

r

3/5/1984

7/6/1984

Burundi

r

 

7/28/1989

Cameroon

r

7/23/1987

6/20/1989

Cape Verde

r

3/31/1986

6/2/1987

Central African Republic

r

2/4/2003

4/26/1986

Chad

r

5/29/1986

10/9/1986

Comoros

r

12/7/2004

6/1/1986

Congo

r

11/27/1981

12/9/1982

Cote d’Ivoire

r

8/30/2005

1/6/1992

Democratic Republic of the Congo

r

7/23/1987

7/20/1987

Djibouti

r

12/20/1991

11/11/1991

Egypt

r

11/16/1981

3/20/1984

Equatorial Guinea

r

8/18/1986

4/7/1986

Eritrea

r

 

1/14/1999

Ethiopia

r

 

6/15/1998

Gabon

r

2/26/1982

2/20/1986

Gambia

r

2/11/1983

6/8/1983

Ghana

r

7/3/2004

1/24/1989

Guinea

r

12/9/1981

2/16/1982

Guinea-Bissau

r

3/8/2005

12/4/1985

Kenya

r

 

1/23/1992

Lesotho

r

3/7/1984

2/10/1992

Liberia

r

1/31/1983

8/4/1982

Libya

r

5/30/1985

7/19/1986

Madagascar

r

 

3/9/1992

Malawi

r

2/23/1990

11/17/1989

Mali

r

11/13/1981

12/21/1981

Mauritania

r

2/25/1982

6/14/1986

Mauritius

r

2/27/1992

6/19/1992

Mozambique

r

 

2/22/1989

Namibia

r

 

7/30/1992

Niger

r

7/9/1986

7/15/1986

Nigeria

r

8/31/1982

6/22/1983

Rwanda

r

11/11/1981

7/15/1983

Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic

r

4/10/1986

5/2/1986

Sao Tome and Principe

r

 

5/23/1986

Senegal

r

9/23/1981

8/13/1982

Seychelles

r

 

4/13/1992

Sierra Leone

r

8/27/1981

9/21/1983

Somalia

r

2/26/1982

7/31/1985

South Africa

r

7/9/1996

7/9/1996

South Sudan

not signed or ratified

--

--

Sudan

r

9/3/1982

2/18/1986

Swaziland

r

12/20/1991

9/15/1995

Tanzania

r

5/31/1982

2/18/1984

Togo

r

2/26/1982

11/5/1982

Tunisia

r

 

3/16/1983

Uganda

r

8/18/1986

5/10/1986

Zambia

r

1/17/1983

1/10/1984

Zimbabwe

r

2/20/1986

5/30/1986

 

The (Maputo) Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Right of Women in Africa

The Maputo Protocol is a regional international human rights agreement that addresses the human rights and needs of African Women in all aspects of life. This all-encompassing document speaks to many different issues including inheritance, access to land and property, right to a sustainable living, and a prohibition on the exploitation or degradation of women, regardless of age.

 

As part of the process of ratifying the Maputo Protocol (adopted in 2003 and entered into force in 2005), the AU adopted but did not ratify the Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa (2004). Under this Declaration, the heads of State agreed to pave the way for the successful implementation of the Maputo Protocol and its goals by 1) urging the full participation and representation of women in resolving and managing conflicts in Africa; 2) extending the principle of gender quality to all other organs of the AU; 3) actively promoting the implementation of legislation that strengthens women’s land, property, and inheritance rights, including the right to housing; 4) signing, ratifying, and ensuring that the Maputo Protocol is implemented by 2005; and 5) strengthening the gender machineries within their respective countries, providing them with enough human and financial resources to carry  out the promotion and tracking of gender equality.

 

See the full text of the Maputo Protocol.

 

See Table 7.1 for a list of relevant articles within the Maputo Protocol.

 

Click here and see Table 7.2 for a list of all the countries’ obligations, reservations, and declarations under the Maputo Protocol.

 

Table 7.1

Article

Relevant Language

1

 

"Discrimination against women" means any distinction, exclusion or restriction or any differential treatment based on sex and whose objectives or effects compromise or destroy the recognition, enjoyment or the exercise by women, regardless of their marital status, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in all spheres of life;

"Harmful Practices" means all behavior, attitudes and/or practices which negatively affect the fundamental rights of women and girls…

"Violence against women" means all acts perpetrated against women which cause or could cause them physical, sexual, psychological, and economic harm, including the threat to take such acts; or to undertake the imposition of arbitrary restrictions on or deprivation of fundamental freedoms in private or public life in peace time and during situations of armed conflicts or of war

 “Women” means persons of female gender, including girls

2(1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2(2)

States Parties shall combat all forms of discrimination against women through appropriate legislative, institutional and other measures. In this regard they shall:

  • include in their national constitutions and other legislative instruments, if not already done, the principle of equality between women and men and ensure its effective application;

 

  • enact and effectively implement appropriate legislative or regulatory measures, including those prohibiting and curbing all forms of discrimination particularly those harmful practices which endanger the health and general well-being of women;

 

  • integrate a gender perspective in their policy decisions, legislation, development plans, programs and activities and in all other spheres of life;

 

  • take corrective and positive action in those areas where discrimination against women in law and in fact continues to exist;

 

  • support the local, national, regional and continental initiatives directed at eradicating all forms of discrimination against women.

States Parties shall commit themselves to modify the social and cultural patterns of conduct of women and men through public education…with a view to achieving the elimination of harmful cultural and traditional practices and all other practices which are based on the idea of the inferiority or the superiority of either of the sexes, or on stereotyped roles for women and men.

3

Every woman shall have the right to dignity inherent as a human being and to the recognition and protection of her human and legal rights; Every woman shall have the right to respect as a person and to the free development of her personality; States Parties shall adopt and implement appropriate measures to prohibit any exploitation or degradation of women; States Parties shall adopt and implement appropriate measures to ensure the protection of every woman’s right to respect for her dignity and protection of women from all forms of violence, particularly sexual and verbal violence.

5

States Parties shall prohibit and condemn all forms of harmful practices which negatively affect the human rights of women and which are contrary to recognized international standards. States Parties shall take all necessary legislative and other measures to eliminate such practices, including:

  • creation of public awareness in all sectors of society regarding harmful practices through information, formal and informal education and outreach programs;

 

  • protection of women who are at risk of being subjected to harmful practices or all other forms of violence, abuse and intolerance.

6

Article 6: States Parties shall ensure that women and men enjoy equal rights and are regarded as equal partners in marriage. They shall enact appropriate national legislative measures to guarantee that:

  • a woman and a man shall jointly contribute to safeguarding the interests of the family, protecting and educating their children;

 

  • during her marriage, a woman shall have the right to acquire her own property and to administer and manage it freely.

13 (e)-(f)

States Parties shall adopt and enforce legislative and other measures to guarantee women equal opportunities in work and career advancement and other economic opportunities. In this respect, they shall:

  • create conditions to promote and support the occupations and economic activities of women, in particular, within the informal sector;

 

  • establish a system of protection and social insurance for women working in the informal sector and sensitize them to adhere to it;

15

Provide women with access to … land [] and the means of producing nutritious food.

16

Women shall have the right to equal access to housing and to acceptable living conditions in a healthy environment. To ensure this right, States Parties shall grant to women, whatever their marital status, access to adequate housing.

17(1)

Women shall have the right to live in a positive cultural context and to participate at all levels in the determination of cultural policies. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to enhance the participation of women in the formulation of cultural policies at all levels.

18(a)

Women shall have the right to live in a healthy and sustainable environment. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to:

  • ensure greater participation of women in the planning, management and preservation of the environment and the sustainable use of natural resources at all levels

 

19 (a)-(e)

Women shall have the right to fully enjoy their right to sustainable development. In this connection, the States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to:

a) introduce the gender perspective in the national development planning procedures;

b) ensure participation of women at all levels in the conceptualization, decision-making, implementation and evaluation of development policies and programs;

c) promote women’s access to and control over productive resources such as land and guarantee their right to property;

d) promote women’s access to credit, training, skills development and extension services at rural and urban levels in order to provide women with a higher quality of life and reduce the level of poverty among women;

e) take into account indicators of human development specifically relating to women in the elaboration of development policies and programs

 

21(1)

 

 

21(2)

A widow shall have the right to an equitable share in the inheritance of the property of her husband. A widow shall have the right to continue to live in the matrimonial house. In case of remarriage, she shall retain this right if the house belongs to her or she has inherited it.

 

Women and men shall have the right to inherit, in equitable shares, their parents' properties.

25

States Parties shall undertake to: provide for appropriate remedies to any woman whose rights or freedoms, as herein recognized, have been violated; ensure that such remedies are determined by competent judicial, administrative or legislative authorities, or by any other competent authority provided for by law.

 

Table 7.2: Signatories to the Maputo Protocol

Unlike the Banjul Charter, which had a near 100% ratification rate, the Maputo Protocol, while in effect, remains more contested. To date, 28 States have both signed and ratified the Protocol; 18 have signed but not ratified the Protocol; and 8 States have not signed nor ratified the Protocol. These eight States are: Botswana, Central African Republic, Egypt, Eritrea, Sao Tome and Principe, South Sudan, Sudan, and Tunisia.

Country

Voting

Signed and Ratified (r)

Signed but no ratification (s)

Date of Signature

Date of Ratification

Algeria

s

12/29/2003

--

Angola

r

2/22/2007

9/30/2007

Benin

r

2/11/2004

9/30/2005

Botswana

not signed or ratified

--

--

Burkina Faso

r

2/26/2004

6/9/2006

Burundi

s

12/3/2003

--

Cameroon

s

7/25/2006

--

Cape Verde

r

--

6/21/2005

Central African Republic

not signed or ratified

--

--

Chad

s

12/6/2004

--

Comoros

r

2/26/2004

3/18/2004

Congo

s

2/27/2004

--

Cote d’Ivoire

r

2/27/2004

--

Democratic Republic of the Congo

r

12/5/2003

6/9/2008

Djibouti

r

12/18/2003

2/2/2005

Egypt

not signed or ratified

--

--

Equatorial Guinea

s

1/30/2005

--

Eritrea

not signed or ratified

--

--

Ethiopia

s

6/1/2004

--

Gabon

s

1/27/2005

--

Gambia

r

11/9/2003

5/25/2005

Ghana

r

10/31/2003

6/13/2007

Guinea

s

12/16/2003

--

Guinea-Bissau

r

3/8/2005

6/19/2008

Kenya

s

12/17/2003

--

Lesotho

r

2/27/2004

10/26/2004

Liberia

r

12/16/2003

12/14/2007

Libya

r

5/11/2003

5/23/2004

Madagascar

s

2/28/2004

--

Malawi

r

--

5/20/2005

Mali

r

12/9/2013

1/13/2005

Mauritania

r

--

9/21/2005

Mauritius

s

1/29/2005

--

Mozambique

r

12/15/2003

12/9/2005

Namibia

r

12/9/2003

8/11/2004

Niger

s

7/6/2004

--

Nigeria

r

12/16/2003

12/16/2004

Rwanda

r

12/19/2003

6/25/2004

Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic

s

6/20/2006

--

Sao Tome and Principe

not signed or ratified

--

--

Senegal

r

12/26/2003

12/27/2004

Seychelles

r

1/24/2006

3/9/2006

Sierra Leone

s

12/9/2003

--

Somalia

s

2/23/2006

--

South Africa

r

3/16/2004

12/17/2004

South Sudan

not signed or ratified

--

--

Sudan

not signed or ratified

--

--

Swaziland

s

12/7/2004

--

Tanzania

r

11/5/2003

3/3/2007

Togo

r

12/30/2003

12/10/2005

Tunisia

not signed or ratified

--

--

Uganda

r

12/18/2003

7/22/2010

Zambia

r

8/3/2005

5/2/2006

Zimbabwe

r

11/18/2003

4/15/2008

 

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

At the end of World War II, countries in the Americas sought to compose a declaration on human rights that would eventually be adopted as a Convention.  In May 1948, the member states of the Organization of the American States (OAS) gathered in Colombia and approved the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man. To further safeguard human rights in the Americas, the OAS adopted the American Convention on Human Rights in 1969 (it entered into force on July 18, 1978).As part of the Convention, it created two authorities with power to observe human rights violations: the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the Inter-American Court on Human Rights.

 

The Commission is responsible for the examining complaints of petitions regarding human rights violations in the individual petition system, monitoring human rights situations in member states, and developing thematic reports or country reports for human rights violations. The Commission carries out on-site visits to observe the general human rights situation in a country as well as to investigate situations that may need redress. The Commission consists of 7 members elected as individuals by the Council of the OAS from panels of three names presented the States’ governments.

 

The Court is composed of 7 judges elected in their individual capacity from “jurists of the highest moral authority and recognized for their competence in the human rights field.” Judges serve 6 year terms and may only be re-elected once.

 

The Court serves both a judicial and advisory role. For its judicial role, the Commission and State parties to the American Convention have the right to jurisdiction of the court and are authorized to submit cases regarding the interpretation or application of the American Convention. For its advisory role, any member state of the OAS has the ability to consult the Court for an interpretation and opinion relating to the American Convention or other treaties concerning the protection of human rights in the Americas.

 

24 countries have ratified or adhered to the American Convention including:

Argentina Barbados Bolivia
Brazil Columbia Costa Rica
Chile Dominica Ecuador
El Salvador Granada Guatemala
Haiti Honduras Jamaica
Mexico Nicaragua Panama
Paraguay Peru Dom. Republic
Surinam Uruguay Venezuela

For a complete list of international instruments of the Inter-American Court, see here.

 

The American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man (1948)

Article

Relevant Language

Preamble

 

All men are born free and equal, in dignity and in rights, and, being endowed by nature with reason and conscience, they should conduct themselves as brothers one to another.

 

The fulfillment of duty by each individual is a prerequisite to the rights of all.  Rights and duties are interrelated in every social and political activity of man.  While rights exalt individual liberty, duties express the dignity of that liberty.

 

 

1

Every person has the right to life, liberty, and security of his person

2

All persons are equal before the law and have the rights and duties within this Declaration without distinction as to sex or any other factor

7

All women, during pregnancy and during the nursing period, and all children have the right to special protection, care, and aid.

11

Every person has the right to preservation of his health through sanitary and social measures relating to food, clothing, housing, and medical care to the extent permitted by public and communal resources

12

Every person has the right to education which should be based on principles of liberty, morality, and human solidarity. Every person has the right to education that will prepare him to attain a decent life, to raise his standard of living, and to be a useful member of society.

23

Every person has the right to own such private property as meets the essential needs of decent living and helps to maintain the dignity of the individual and of the home.

28

The rights of man are limited by the rights of others, by the security of all, and by the just demands of the general welfare and the advancement of democracy.

 

The American Convention on Human Rights (1969; 1978)

Article

Relevant Language

1

 

State parties to this Convention undertake to respect the rights and freedoms recognized herein and to ensure all persons subject to their jurisdiction the free and full exercise of those rights and freedoms without any discrimination for reasons of … sex, economic status, or any other social condition. For the purposes of this Convention, “person” means every human being.

2

Where the exercise of any of the rights or freedoms referred to in Article 1 are not already ensured by legislative or other provisions, State parties undertake to adopt, in accordance with their constitutional processes and the provisions of this Convention, such legislative or other measures as may be necessary to give effect to those rights or freedoms.

7

Everyone has the right to personal liberty and security

17(1)

 

17(4)

The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

 

State parties shall take appropriate steps to ensure the equality of rights and adequate balancing of responsibilities of the spouses as to marriage, during marriage, and even at its dissolution. In case of dissolution,  provisions shall be made for the necessary protection of the children, solely on the basis of their best interests.

19

Every minor child has the right to the measures of protection required by his condition as a minor on the part of his family, society, and the State.

21

Everyone has the right to the use and enjoyment of his property. The law may subordinate such use and enjoyment to the interest of society.

23

Every citizen shall enjoy the following rights and opportunities:

a. to take part in the conduct of public affairs, directly or through freely chosen representatives;

b. to vote and to be elected in genuine periodic elections, which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and by secret ballot that guarantees the free expression of the will of the voters; and

c. to have access, under general conditions of equality, to the public service of his country.

The law may regulate the exercise of the rights and opportunities referred to in the preceding paragraph only on the basis of age, nationality, residence, language, education, civil and mental capacity, or sentencing by a competent court in criminal proceedings.

26

The State Parties undertake to adopt measures, both internally and through international cooperation, especially those of an economic and technical nature, with a view to achieving progressively, by legislation or other appropriate means, the full realization of the rights implicit in the economic, social, educational, scientific, and cultural standards set forth in the Charter of the OAS as amended by the Protocol of Buenos Aires.

27

No derogating from Article 7, 19, 23

 

The Additional Protocol to the American Convention on Human Rights in the area of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1988; 1999)

Article

Relevant Language

Preamble

 

Reaffirming their intention to consolidate in this hemisphere, within the framework of democratic institutions, a system of personal liberty and social justice based on respect for the essential rights of man;

Recognizing that the essential rights of man are based upon attributes of the human person…

Recognizing the benefits that stem from the promotion and development of cooperation among States and international relations;

Recalling that, in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the American Convention on Human Rights, the ideal of free human beings enjoying freedom from fear and want can only be achieved if conditions are created whereby everyone may enjoy his economic, social and cultural rights as well as his civil and political rights;

1

The States undertake to adopt the necessary measures, both domestically and through international cooperation, especially economic and technical, to the extent allowed by their available resources, and taking into account their degree of development, for the purpose of achieving progressively and pursuant to their internal legislations, the full observance of the rights recognized in this Protocol.

2

States Parties must undertake to adopt, in accordance with their constitutional processes and the provisions of this Protocol, such legislative or other measures as may be necessary for making those rights [within the Protocol] a reality.

3

The State Parties to this Protocol undertake to guarantee the exercise of the rights set forth herein without discrimination of any kind for reasons related … sex …economic status, birth or any other social condition.

5

The State Parties may establish restrictions and limitations on the enjoyment and exercise of the rights established herein by means of laws promulgated for the purpose of preserving the general welfare in a democratic society only to the extent that they are not incompatible with the purpose and reason underlying those rights.

6

 Everyone has the right to work, which includes the opportunity to secure the means for living a dignified and decent existence by performing a freely elected or accepted lawful activity.

The State Parties undertake to adopt measures that will make the right to work fully effective, especially with regard to the achievement of full employment, vocational guidance, and the development of technical and vocational training projects, in particular those directed to the disabled. The States Parties also undertake to implement and strengthen programs that help to ensure suitable family care, so that women may enjoy a real opportunity to exercise the right to work.

10

Everyone shall have the right to health, understood to mean the enjoyment of the highest level of physical, mental and social well-being.

 In order to ensure the exercise of the right to health, the States Parties agree to recognize health as a public good and, particularly, to adopt the following measures to ensure that right:

a. Primary health care, that is, essential health care made available to all individuals and families in the community;

b. Extension of the benefits of health services to all individuals subject to the State's jurisdiction;

f. Satisfaction of the health needs of the highest risk groups and of those whose poverty makes them the most vulnerable.

12

Everyone has the right to adequate nutrition which guarantees the possibility of enjoying the highest level of physical, emotional and intellectual development.

In order to promote the exercise of this right and eradicate malnutrition, the States Parties undertake to improve methods of production, supply and distribution of food, and to this end, agree to promote greater international cooperation in support of the relevant national policies.

15

The family is the natural and fundamental element of society and ought to be protected by the State, which should see to the improvement of its spiritual and material conditions.

States Parties hereby undertake to accord adequate protection to the family unit and in particular:

a. To provide special care and assistance to mothers during a reasonable period before and after childbirth;

b. To guarantee adequate nutrition for children at the nursing stage and during school attendance years;

c. To adopt special measures for the protection of adolescents in order to ensure the full development of their physical, intellectual and moral capacities;

d. To undertake special programs of family training so as to help create a stable and positive environment in which children will receive and develop the values of understanding, solidarity, respect and responsibility.

16

Every child, whatever his parentage, has the right to the protection that his status as a minor requires from his family, society and the State. Every child has the right to grow under the protection and responsibility of his parents; save in exceptional, judicially-recognized circumstances, a child of young age ought not to be separated from his mother. Every child has the right to free and compulsory education, at least in the elementary phase, and to continue his training at higher levels of the educational system.

22

Any State Party and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights may submit for the consideration of the States Parties meeting on the occasion of the General Assembly proposed amendments to include the recognition of other rights or freedoms or to extend or expand rights or freedoms recognized in this Protocol.

 Such amendments shall enter into effect for the States that ratify them on the date of deposit of the instrument of ratification corresponding to the number representing two thirds of the States Parties to this Protocol. For all other States Parties they shall enter into effect on the date on which they deposit their respective instrument of ratification.

 

The Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women (1994; 1995)

 

Signatories to the Convention include: Argentina, the Bahamas,  Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Chile, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Kitts Nevis, Saint Vincent and Grenadines, Saint Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

 

Article

Relevant Language

1

 

For the purposes of this Convention, violence against women shall be understood as any act or conduct, based on gender, which causes death or physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, whether in the public or the private sphere.

2

Violence against women shall be understood to include physical, sexual and psychological violence:

  • that occurs within the family or domestic unit or within any other interpersonal relationship, whether or not the perpetrator shares or has shared the same residence with the woman, including, among others, rape, battery and sexual abuse;

 

  • that occurs in the community and is perpetrated by any person, including, among others, rape, sexual abuse, torture, trafficking in persons, forced prostitution, kidnapping and sexual harassment in the workplace, as well as in educational institutions, health facilities or any other place; and

 

  • that is perpetrated or condoned by the state or its agents regardless of where it occurs.

3

Every woman has the right to be free from violence in both the public and private spheres.

4

Every woman has the right to the recognition, enjoyment, exercise and protection of all human rights and freedoms embodied in regional and international human rights instruments. These rights include, among others:

a. The right to have her life respected;

b. The right to have her physical, mental and moral integrity respected;

c. The right to personal liberty and security;

e. The rights to have the inherent dignity of her person respected and her family protected;

f. The right to equal protection before the law and of the law;

g. The right to simple and prompt recourse to a competent court for protection against acts that violate her rights;

j. The right to have equal access to the public service of her country and to take part in the conduct of public affairs, including decision-making.

5

Every woman is entitled to the free and full exercise of her civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, and may rely on the full protection of those rights as embodied in regional and international instruments on human rights. The States Parties recognize that violence against women prevents and nullifies the exercise of these rights.

6

The right of every woman to be free from violence includes, among others: the right of women to be free from all forms of discrimination; and the right of women to be valued and educated free of stereotyped patterns of behavior and social and cultural practices based on concepts of inferiority or subordination.

7

The States Parties condemn all forms of violence against women and agree to pursue, by all appropriate means and without delay, policies to prevent, punish and eradicate such violence and undertake to:

a. refrain from engaging in any act or practice of violence against women and to ensure that their authorities, officials, personnel, agents, and institutions act in conformity with this obligation;

b. apply due diligence to prevent, investigate and impose penalties for violence against women;

c. include in their domestic legislation penal, civil, administrative and any other type of provisions that may be needed to prevent, punish and eradicate violence against women and to adopt appropriate administrative measures where necessary;

d. adopt legal measures to require the perpetrator to refrain from harassing, intimidating or threatening the woman or using any method that harms or endangers her life or integrity, or damages her property;

e. take all appropriate measures, including legislative measures, to amend or repeal existing laws and regulations or to modify legal or customary practices which sustain the persistence and tolerance of violence against women;

f. establish fair and effective legal procedures for women who have been subjected to violence which include, among others, protective measures, a timely hearing and effective access to such procedures;

g. establish the necessary legal and administrative mechanisms to ensure that women subjected to violence have effective access to restitution, reparations or other just and effective remedies; and

h. adopt such legislative or other measures as may be necessary to give effect to this Convention.

8

The States Parties agree to undertake progressively specific measures, including programs:

a. to promote awareness and observance of the right of women to be free from violence, and the right of women to have their human rights respected and protected;

b. to modify social and cultural patterns of conduct of men and women, including the development of formal and informal educational programs appropriate to every level of the educational process, to counteract prejudices, customs and all other practices which are based on the idea of the inferiority or superiority of either of the sexes or on the stereotyped roles for men and women which legitimize or exacerbate violence against women;

c. to promote the education and training of all those involved in the administration of justice, police and other law enforcement officers as well as other personnel responsible for implementing policies for the prevention, punishment and eradication of violence against women;

d. to provide appropriate specialized services for women who have been subjected to violence, through public and private sector agencies, including shelters, counseling services for all family members where appropriate, and care and custody of the affected children;

e. to promote and support governmental and private sector education designed to raise the awareness of the public with respect to the problems of and remedies for violence against women;

f. to provide women who are subjected to violence access to effective readjustment and training programs to enable them to fully participate in public, private and social life;

g. to encourage the communications media to develop appropriate media guidelines in order to contribute to the eradication of violence against women in all its forms, and to enhance respect for the dignity of women;

h. to ensure research and the gathering of statistics and other relevant information relating to the causes, consequences and frequency of violence against women, in order to assess the effectiveness of measures to prevent, punish and eradicate violence against women and to formulate and implement the necessary changes; and

i. to foster international cooperation for the exchange of ideas and experiences and the execution of programs aimed at protecting women who are subjected to violence.

9

With respect to the adoption of the measures in this Chapter, the States Parties shall take special account of the vulnerability of women to violence by reason of, among others, their race or ethnic background or their status as migrants, refugees or displaced persons. Similar consideration shall be given to women subjected to violence while pregnant or who are disabled, of minor age, elderly, socioeconomically disadvantaged, affected by armed conflict or deprived of their freedom.

 

Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Land, Fisheries, and Forests in the Context of National Food Security

The FAO Voluntary Guidelines (The Guidelines) were created and officially endorsed by the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) as a way to re-approach how land tenure impacts national food security. The Guidelines promote” responsible governance of tenure of land, fisheries and forests, with respect to all forms of tenure: public, private, communal, indigenous, customary, and informal.” The Guidelines seek to achieve food security to all; support the realization of the right to adequate food; eradicate hunger and poverty; achieve sustainable livelihood; and protect vulnerable and marginalized people within the fight for food security.

 

The Guidelines are a voluntary, soft law instrument with no legally binding force. They cannot replace existing national or international commitments of which States have obliged themselves. But, the Guidelines are important in that they establish an international consensus on an issue that if implemented over a period of time, may eventually lead to binding customary international law or the creation of a treaty reflecting the norms established within the Guidelines. The Guidelines are also particularly useful in guiding a State’s national policies and legislation with regard to land tenure. When a State enacts part or all of an international soft law instrument, it becomes “hard law” within that State, having the same binding force as other international agreements the State may have signed.

 

The Guidelines are particularly important because it recognizes, unlike in other international instruments, the right to tenure as a human right. This right is important because it determines which persons have control over use of land as well as access to land, an important right in reaching an adequate standard of living for all. One’s access to land affects the enjoyment of other guaranteed international human rights set forth in other binding international agreements.

 

The Guidelines are also important in that they recognize women as a socially and economically marginalized group that remains vulnerable when a State’s land tenure governance is weak.  The Guidelines further support women by taking an explicit gender equality approach. While the Guidelines do not have a section dedicated to gender, gender is addressed all throughout the Guidelines.

 

Click here for the full text of the FAO Guidelines.

 

For detailed information on the FAO Guidelines, see here.

 

For more information and assistance in applying the FAO Guidelines to women or for a detailed guide on the role of gender within the FAO Guidelines, see the Technical Guide on Governing Land for Women and Men.

Article

Relevant Language

1(1)

These Voluntary Guidelines seek to improve governance of tenure of land… [to the] benefit of all, with an emphasis on vulnerable and marginalized people, with the goals of food security and progressive realization of the right to adequate food, poverty eradication, sustainable livelihoods, social stability, housing security, rural development, environmental protection and sustainable social and economic development.

3(1)

States should: recognize and respect all legitimate tenure right holders and their rights. They should take reasonable measures to identify, record and respect legitimate tenure right holders and their rights, whether formally recorded or not; to refrain from infringement of tenure rights of others; and to meet the duties associated with tenure rights.

  • Safeguard legitimate tenure rights against threats and infringements. [protecting against] the arbitrary loss of their tenure rights, including forced evictions that are inconsistent with their existing obligations under national and international law.
  • Promote and facilitate the enjoyment of legitimate tenure rights.
  • Provide access to justice to deal with infringements of legitimate tenure rights.

3(B)(4)

Gender equality: Ensure the equal right of women and men to the enjoyment of all human rights, while acknowledging differences between women and men and taking specific measures aimed at accelerating de facto equality when necessary. States should ensure that women and girls have equal tenure rights and access to land, fisheries and forests independent of their civil and marital status.

4(1)

 

States should strive to ensure responsible governance of tenure because land, [is] central for the realization of human rights, food security, poverty eradication, sustainable livelihoods, social stability, housing security, rural development, and social and economic growth.

 

4(4)

 

States should provide legal recognition for legitimate tenure rights not currently protected by law. Policies and laws that ensure tenure rights should be non-discriminatory and gender sensitive. States should define through widely publicized rules the categories of rights that are considered legitimate. All forms of tenure should provide all persons with a degree of tenure security which guarantees legal protection against forced evictions that are inconsistent with States’ existing obligations under national and international law, and against harassment and other threats.

4(5)

 

States should protect legitimate tenure rights, and ensure that people are not arbitrarily evicted and that their legitimate tenure rights are not otherwise extinguished or infringed.

 

4(6)

States should remove and prohibit all forms of discrimination related to tenure rights, including those resulting from change of marital status, lack of legal capacity, and lack of access to economic resources. In particular, States should ensure equal tenure rights for women and men, including the right to inherit and bequeath these rights. Such State actions should be consistent with their existing obligations under relevant national law and legislation and international law, and with due regard to voluntary commitments under applicable regional and international instruments.

4(7)

States should consider providing non-discriminatory and gender-sensitive assistance where people are unable through their own actions to acquire tenure rights to sustain themselves, to gain access to the services of implementing agencies and judicial authorities, or to participate in processes that could affect their tenure rights.

5(3)

 

States should ensure that policy, legal and organizational frameworks for tenure governance recognize and respect [] tenure rights that are not currently protected by law; and facilitate, promote and protect the exercise of tenure rights. Frameworks should reflect the social, cultural, economic and environmental significance of land... States should provide frameworks that are non-discriminatory and promote social equity and gender equality.

5(4)

 

States should consider the particular obstacles faced by women and girls with regard to tenure and associated tenure rights, and take measures to ensure that legal and policy frameworks provide adequate protection for women and that laws that recognize women’s tenure rights are implemented and enforced. States should ensure that women can legally enter into contracts concerning tenure rights on the basis of equality with men and should strive to provide legal services and other assistance to enable women to defend their tenure interests.

5(5)

States should develop relevant policies, laws and procedures through participatory processes involving all affected parties, ensuring that both men and women are included from the outset…They should incorporate gender-sensitive approaches, be clearly expressed in applicable languages, and widely publicized.

7(1)

 

When States recognize or allocate tenure rights to land, fisheries and forests, they should establish, in accordance with national laws, safeguards to avoid infringing on or extinguishing tenure rights of others, including legitimate tenure rights that are not currently protected by law. In particular, safeguards should protect women and the vulnerable who hold subsidiary tenure rights, such as gathering rights.

7(4)

States should ensure that women and men enjoy the same rights in the newly recognized tenure rights, and that those rights are reflected in records. Where possible, legal recognition and allocation of tenure rights of individuals, families and communities should be done systematically, progressing area by area in accordance with national priorities, in order to provide the poor and vulnerable with full opportunities to acquire legal recognition of their tenure rights. Legal support should be provided, particularly to the poor and vulnerable

9(2)

Indigenous peoples and other communities with customary tenure systems that exercise self-governance of land, fisheries and forests should promote and provide equitable, secure and sustainable rights to those resources, with special attention to the provision of equitable access for women. Effective participation of all members, men, women and youth, in decisions regarding their tenure systems should be promoted through their local or traditional institutions, including in the case of collective tenure systems. Where necessary, communities should be assisted to increase the capacity of their members to participate fully in decision-making and governance of their tenure systems.

9(6)

States should consider adapting their policy, legal and organizational frameworks to recognize tenure systems of indigenous peoples and other communities with customary tenure systems. Where constitutional or legal reforms strengthen the rights of women and place them in conflict with custom, all parties should cooperate to accommodate such changes in the customary tenure systems.

12(4)

Responsible investments should do no harm, safeguard against dispossession of legitimate tenure right holders and environmental damage, and should respect human rights. … They should strive to further contribute to policy objectives, such as poverty eradication; food security and sustainable use of land, fisheries and forests; support local communities; contribute to rural development; promote and secure local food production systems; enhance social and economic sustainable development; create employment; diversify livelihoods; provide benefits to the country and its people, including the poor and most vulnerable

12(10)

When investments involving large-scale transactions of tenure rights []are being considered, States should strive to make provisions for different parties to conduct prior independent assessments on the potential positive and negative impacts that those investments could have on tenure rights, food security and the progressive realization of the right to adequate food, livelihoods and the environment

13(5)

States should establish strategies for readjustment approaches that fit particular local requirements. Such strategies should be socially, economically and environmentally sustainable, and gender sensitive. Strategies should identify the principles and objectives of the readjustment approaches; the beneficiaries; and the development of capacity and knowledge in the public sector, the private sector, organizations of farmers and small-scale producers, of fishers, and of forest users, and academia. Laws should establish clear and cost-effective procedures for the reorganization of parcels or holdings and their uses.

13(6)

States should establish appropriate safeguards in projects using readjustment approaches. Any individuals, communities or peoples likely to be affected by a project should be contacted and provided with sufficient information in applicable languages. Technical and legal support should be provided. Participatory and gender-sensitive approaches should be used taking into account rights of indigenous peoples. Environmental safeguards should be established to prevent or minimize degradation and loss of biodiversity and reward changes that foster good land management, best practices and reclamation.

15(5)

 

Where States choose to implement redistributive reforms, they should clearly define the objectives of reform programs and indicate land exempted from such redistribution. The intended beneficiaries, such as families including those seeking homegardens, women, informal settlement residents, pastoralists, historically disadvantaged groups, marginalized groups, youth, indigenous peoples, gatherers and small-scale food producers, should be clearly defined.

15(6)

Where States choose to implement redistributive reforms, they should develop policies and laws, through participatory processes, to make them sustainable. States should ensure that policies and laws assist beneficiaries, whether communities, families or individuals, to earn an adequate standard of living from the land, fisheries and forests they acquire and ensure equal treatment of men and women in redistributive reforms. States should revise policies that might inhibit the achievement and sustainability of the intended effects of the redistributive reforms.

15(7)

 

When redistributive reforms are being considered, States may, if so desired, conduct assessments on the potential positive and negative impacts that those reforms could have on tenure rights, food security and the progressive realization of the right to adequate food, livelihoods and the environment. This assessment process should be conducted consistent with the principles of consultation and participation of these Guidelines. Assessments may be used as a basis to determine the measures needed to support beneficiaries and improve the redistributive program.

15(10)

States, with the participation of the involved parties, should monitor and evaluate the outcomes of redistributive reform programs, including associated support policies, as listed in paragraph 15.8, and their impacts on access to land and food security of both men and women and, where necessary, States should introduce corrective measures.

16(9)

Evictions and relocations should not result in individuals being rendered homeless or vulnerable to the violation of human rights. Where those affected are unable to provide for themselves, States should, to the extent that resources permit, take appropriate measures to provide adequate alternative housing, resettlement or access to productive land, fisheries and forests, as the case may be.