When and why do states implement international women's rights norms? This text examines states' responses to violence against women (VAW) in Africa and their implementation of the international women's justice norm. Despite the presence of laws on various forms of VAW in most African countries, most victims face barriers to accessing justice through the criminal justice system. This problem is particularly acute in post-conflict countries. International organizations such as the United Nations and women's rights advocates have, therefore, promoted the international women's justice norm, which emphasizes the establishment of specialized mechanisms within the criminal justice sector to address VAW. With a focus on the response of the police to rape and intimate partner violence in post-conflict Côte d'Ivoire and Liberia, this book theorizes the UN's and women's movements' influence.
When and why do states implement international women's rights norms? Global Norms and Local Action is an examination of states' responses to violence against women (VAW) in Africa and their implementation of the international women's justice norm. Despite the presence of laws on various forms of VAW in most African countries, most victims face barriers to accessing justice through the criminal justice system. This problem is particularly acute in post-conflict countries. International organizations such as the United Nations, and women's rights advocates have, therefore, promoted the international women's justice norm, which emphasizes the establishment of specialized mechanisms within the criminal justice sector to address VAW. With a focus on the response of the police to rape and intimate partner violence in post-conflict Côte d'Ivoire and Liberia, this book theorizes the United Nations' and women's movements' influence on the implementation of the international women's justice norm. It draws on over 300 interviews in both countries to demonstrate that strong international and domestic pressures, combined with favourable political and institutional conditions, are key to the rapid establishment of specialized mechanisms within the police force and to how police officers respond to rape and intimate partner violence cases. It argues that despite significant weaknesses, specialized mechanisms have improved women's access to justice. The book concludes with suggestions for how domestic and international human rights organizations, policymakers, and women's rights advocates can contribute to a holistic approach to addressing VAW.
Abstract The question of whether social movements can catalyze change has preoccupied researchers but an understanding of how such change can be created is equally important. Specifically, there has been little investigation of how women's movements engage in the process of implementation of women's rights laws. We use a case study of Ghana's Domestic Violence Coalition to examine the challenges that movements face in the policy implementation process. The Domestic Violence Coalition, a collective of women's rights organizations, was instrumental to the passage of Ghana's Domestic Violence Act in 2007. Our study investigates the coalition's subsequent attempts to influence the act's implementation. Drawing from the social movement literature, we apply an analytical framework consisting of three internal factors (strategies, movement infrastructure, and framing) and two external factors (political context and support of allies) that have mediated the coalition's impact on implementation. We find that changes in movement infrastructure are most significant in explaining the coalition's relative ineffectiveness, as these changes adversely affect its ability to employ effective strategies and take advantage of a conducive political context and the presence of allies. This article advances the literature on rights advocacy by women's movements by analyzing the challenge of translating success in policy adoption to implementation and explaining why women's movements may have less impact on implementation processes.
AbstractDomestic violence is the predominant form of violence against women in most countries in Africa and Latin America. Scholars have theorized the adoption of domestic violence laws and policies in both regions. However, policy implementation is understudied and under theorized. Therefore, we compare how international organizations and women's nongovernmental organizations have influenced the implementation of domestic violence policies by police officers in Liberia and Nicaragua. We introduce the concept of thetransnational implementation processand describe how international organizations and women's organizations have employed training, institutional and policy restructuring, and monitoring to influence police behavior at the street level. The effects of these strategies have been conditional on the political environment. We identify two patterns of international and domestic influence on street-level implementation: internationally led and domestically supported implementation in Liberia, with domestically led and internationally supported implementation in Nicaragua.
African Affairs' is the top journal in African Studies and has been for some time. This book draws together some of the most influential, important, and thought provoking articles published in its pages over the last decade. In doing so, it collates essential cutting-edge research on Africa and makes it easily available for students, teachers, and researchers alike. 0'The African Affairs Reader' is broken down into four sections that cover some of the biggest themes and questions facing the continent today, including: the African State, the Political Economy of Development, Africa's Relationship with the World, and Elections, Representation & Democracy. Within each section, articles deal with some of the most significant recent trends and events, such as the prospects for democratization in Ghana and Nigeria, the factors underpinning Rwanda's economic success, the rise of political corruption in South Africa, the spread of the drugs trade, the struggle against gender based violence, and the growing influence of China. Each section is introduced by a new purpose-written essay by the journal's editors that explains the evolution of the wider debate, highlights key contributions, and suggests new ways in which the discussion can be taken forward. Taken together, the essays and articles included in the volume provide both a coherent introduction to the study of Africa and a compelling commentary on the current state of play on the continent
Studies have shown that civilians are often intentionally targeted in civil wars and that civilian protection efforts launched by the international community have not always been successful, if they occur at all. Civilians, therefore, have had to rely on themselves for protection in most conflicts. However, despite the pervasiveness of civilian self-protection (CSP) and its success at protecting civilians from violence in some cases, it is rarely discussed in the civilian protection literature, and its impact on civilian targeting is inadequately explored. Addressing this gap in the study and practice of civilian protection by carefully conceptualizing CSP and appreciating its role in civil war dynamics can further scholarly and practitioner discussions on civilian protection.CSP is defined as (a) actions taken to protect against immediate, direct threats to physical integrity imposed by belligerents or traditional protection actors; (b) primarily selected and employed by civilians; and (c) employed during an armed conflict. CSP strategies can be organized into three categories. The first, non-engagement, describes strategies in which civilians do not interact with belligerents or traditional protection actors who pose a threat to them. The second, nonviolent engagement, entails some interaction with one or more actors who may harm civilians. The third, violent engagement, includes CSP strategies that incorporate physical violence.These CSP strategies may actually render civilians more vulnerable to threats. First, some CSP strategies might lock civilians into unpredictable relationships with belligerents, which can become dangerous. Second, allying with one set of belligerents might lead to targeting by opposition forces, who view these CSP strategies as crucial support for their enemies. Third, civilians may overestimate how successful their CSP strategies can be, exposing them to harm. Fourth, civilian use of violence may cause belligerents to view them as threats, leading to intentional targeting.Appreciation of the reasons why civilians engage in CSP and understanding when and how this may endanger them can inspire more effective protection policies, as well as advance our understanding of civil war dynamics. For instance, further study on these issues can provide some insights into the conditions under which CSP is effective in protecting civilians and how the international community can support CSP. This information could be particularly useful in the design and execution of peacekeeping strategies that are sensitive to the efforts and needs of conflict-affected communities. Additionally, studying CSP can advance the vast literature on civilian targeting by shedding additional light on why belligerents kill civilians.
Domestic violence or Intimate partner violence (IPV) is the form of violence against women (VAW) that is most reported to the police in Liberia. This violence cuts across class, ethnic, religious, and age lines (Liberia Institute of Statistics and Geo-Information Services, et al. 2008) and results in psychological trauma, physical injuries, and, in some cases, death. Societal beliefs that frame domestic violence as a regular part of life serve to legitimize and foster the problem in Liberia (Allen and Devitt 2012; LISGIS et al. 2008) and pose a challenge to the state and to international organizations (IOs) and women's nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that have introduced measures to combat domestic violence since the end of the country's 14-year civil war in 2003. One such effort is the Women and Children Protection Section (WACPS) of the Liberian National Police (LNP), established by the government in collaboration with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and other international partners in 2005. Although the section was established primarily to address rape, its officers are mandated to investigate all forms of VAW, including domestic violence.