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‘Women’s rights are human rights!’ This notion may seem self evident, as the United Nations system for the promotion and the protection of human rights builds on the idea of equality in dignity and rights of men and women. Yet, as was convincingly showed by critics of this international system, it is not.
At the 1993 World Conference on Human Rights held in Vienna, Austria, a caucus of women’s rights activists made it unequivocally clear that much of what women experience as everyday abuse was largely kept outside the realm of international human rights. Their arguments were heard. In the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, the outcome document of the Conference, 171 states call upon the monitoring bodies of the international human rights treaties to include the status and human rights of women in their deliberations and findings.
Many years have passed since this landmark event. High time to check the results achieved: have human rights of women actually become an integral part of mainstream international human rights activities? This book examines whether the work of two human rights monitoring bodies, the United Nations Human Rights Committee and the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, reflects compliance with the request of the 1993 World Conference. The focus is on the attention of the bodies for matters that affect women’s physical integrity.