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Challenges in the implementation of Women's Human Rights:
Field perspectives

Sarah Forti


February 2005

SARPN acknowledges the University of Manchester as a source of this document.
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The paper hereby presented is extracted from a research currently undertaken on the linkages between Women's Human Rights, Domestic Violence and HIV/AIDS from a socio-legal and anthropological perspective in Uganda. The study's scope is to critically assess the "formal" and "informal" judicial institu-tions and bodies that are accessed by women living in poor urban neighbour-hoods to resolve conflicts related to domestic violence.

This paper shows the complexities related to the implementation of women's human rights with regard to 1) substantive legal issues: the application of inter-national human rights law in national legislation and 2) structural challenges: access to justice and the legitimacy of "formal" judicial institutions.

The paper is thus structured as follows:

Chapter 1
Focuses on key and fundamental violations of Women's Human rights in two intrinsically related categories: 1) violations related to women's right to dignity and life focusing on SGBV and HIV/AIDS and 2) violations related to women's socio-economic rights. Based on the statistics available, the chapter seeks to pro-vide an overview of the extent of the problem in Uganda.

Chapter 2
Provides an analysis of developments in National Legislation in relation to key women's human rights issues discussed in Chapter 1 above. It examines the extent to which, the content of present and pending national legislation provides an adequate response to current violations of women's human rights in Uganda.

Chapter 3
Assesses the structural challenges related to the low access to one "formal" institution by the poorest section of the population in re-lation to women's human rights abuses described in Chapters 1 and 2 and highlights the set of "informal" institutions that are cur-rently accessed. On this basis the chapter seeks to address the problem of institutional legitimacy.

Chapter 4
Concludes with thought provoking questions for further reflection and debate.

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