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Presenting at Women Deliver 2016: Gender-sensitizing the international torture protection framework

On May 17 (6-8pm) I'll be presenting on a high-level panel on the international legal framework to prevent violence against women and girls.  The side event will be held concurrent to the Women Deliver 2016 plenary, this year in Copenhagen. The theme of the panel - gender and the torture framework - was inspired by the latest report by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan Mendez, who will present at the event. It highlights the huge role that gender stereotyping plays in the downplaying of suffering of women, girls and those from LGBTI groups - to the extent that state-led or condoned crimes against them are commonly considered secondary to full 'torture'. The session will also consider whether we need a binding convention, specifically tailored to the prevention of VAWG, as proposed by former UN Special Rapporteur on VAWG, Rashida Manjoo. ... Read the full article

Advocating for the rights of women in Georgia’s criminal justice system

This month I've been acting as international advisor to a project by Penal Reform International, which is preparing to push for gender-specific reform in Georgia's criminal justice system. Funded by the Open Society Foundation, the project will advocate on behalf of the 300 or so women in the country's prison system, and all those who will come after. It will analyse criminal justice policy, practice and legislation and recommend gender-specific considerations during decision-making by judiciary and parole mechanisms, with a particular focus on the use of non-custodial measures for women who aren't a violent risk to society. It will also raise awareness on women’s gender-specific needs in criminal justice system and the gendered negative impact of imprisonment, for them, their families, and society. Currently most justice and correctional systems fail to take into account the factors that colour, often harmfully, women's experiences of criminal justice ... Read the full article

Blog post on issues facing women in prison chosen for Oxford anthology

My post on the vast isolation-related harms faced by women detained across the world has been selected for the Oxford University anthology: Global Perspectives on Human Rights, second edition (2015). The edition is a pick of the best posts contributed to the Oxford Human Rights Hub blog in the preceding year. Read: Women in Prison: The Particular Importance of Contact With the Outside World

Update: Women in Detention – A Cross-regional Study

Throughout 2013 I led research missions into prisons and prison communities in Zambia, Jordan, the Philippines and Albania, for DIGNITY - the Danish Institute Against Torture, and remotely managed research in Guatemala. I'll present this in a qualitative study, due to be launched in the margins of the Human Rights Council summer session 2014, along with a high level panel discussion. The study includes a desk review of UN standards on women in detention (particularly the Bangkok Rules) as well as their their treatment - or lack thereof - by UN treaty bodies. Its primary focus however, is what matters most to the women themselves. The interview methodology combines both a human rights-based and ethnographic approach. This is the first in a series by Dignity on vulnerable groups in detention - with the aim of enhancing their protection by national authorities, and ... Read the full article

Update: Presenting ‘Defamation of Religions’ research at the UN HRCouncil

I joined NGO and OHCHR staff to present research at the panel, 'Evolution of the recent debate on defamation of religions‘, on behalf of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS), and the SOAS Human Rights Clinic, during the 16th UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva.  The study (available here in full, co-written with Julia Alfandari and Regula Atteya) charts the development of discourse on religious defamation at the United Nations, and analyses blasphemy cases in Pakistan, Syria and Algeria using the international human rights legal framework.  It has been published by the Social Science Research Network , and was well used by NGOs and delegates at the Session in the lead up to a groundbreaking draft resolution that better preserved the right to free expression. The resolution was pronounced a 'landmark' by then-US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton. Other panelists included the Director ... Read the full article