New book examines women’s rights in conflict

PSRP welcomes a new book examining how institutions and regimes interact under international law to protect women’s rights in conflict. Written by Dr Catherine O’Rourke of the Transitional Justice Institute at Ulster University, the book uses case studies to reveal the implications of the fragmented protection of women’s rights in conflict.

Women’s Rights in Armed Conflict under International Law is published by Cambridge University Press, 2020. A policy summary drawn from the book is also available.

About the book

Laws and norms that focus on women’s lives in conflict have proliferated across the regimes of international humanitarian law, international criminal law, international human rights law and the United Nations Security Council. While separate institutions, with differing powers of monitoring and enforcement, implement these laws and norms, the activities of regimes overlap. Women’s Rights in Armed Conflict under International Law is the first book to account for this pluralism and institutional diversity. This book identifies key aspects of how different regimes regulate women’s rights in conflict, and how they interact. Using country case studies to reveal the practical implications of the fragmented protection of women’s rights in conflict, this book offers a dynamic account of how regimes and institutions interact, the extent to which they reinforce each other, and the tensions and gaps in regulation that emerge.

  • Counters siloed analysis by looking across various key regimes
  • Looks at interactions in order to take a dynamic approach in examining institutions
  • Explores case studies to reveal what fragmentation in law means in practice for the regulation of women’s rights in conflict

Contents

PART I: LEGAL AND CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK

  1. Fragmented Protection of Women’s Rights in Conflict: An Introduction
  2. An Overview of Laws and Institutions
  3. Regime Interactions and Tensions
  4. Opportunities and Dilemmas for Women’s Participation

PART II: CASE STUDIES

  1. Women’s Rights and International Law in a Fragile State: Democratic Republic of Congo
  2. Women’s Rights and International Law in Ending Conflict: Colombia
  3. Women’s Rights and International Law in Building Peace: Nepal

PART III: LOOKING FORWARD

  1. Fragmented Protection of Women’s Rights in Conflict: The Story So Far
  2. A New Story: A Feminist Toolbox for Fragmentation

Advance Praise

“Over the past three decades, the language of women’s rights has entered various legal regimes applicable in armed conflict: international human rights law, international humanitarian law, international criminal law and the ‘Women, Peace and Security’ agenda of the UN Security Council. Catherine O’Rourke offers a fresh and perceptive analysis of these important developments through the lens of fragmentation. She studies the overlaps and tensions in these normative systems, and the problems of implementation and accountability that result. Three country case studies anchor this impressive book, grounding its insights in women’s lived experience. Women’s Rights in Armed Conflict under International Law both extends the legal literature on fragmentation and provides an invaluable guide for lawyers and activists working to protect women’s rights in conflict.”

Hilary Charlesworth, Melbourne Laureate Professor, University of Melbourne

 

“This publication challenges the current discourse that frames women’s rights in armed conflict as one grand narrative under the ‘Women, Peace and Security’ agenda, through an overview of normative standards and institutionalized practices under four international regimes: humanitarian law, human rights law, criminal law and security council resolutions. The use of case studies further contributes to a substantive understanding of the different legal regimes, the challenges of gaps and fragmentation, and importantly the consequences of a lack of coherence. This book will contribute to a more nuanced understanding of gender justice, accountability and the realization of women’s rights.”

Rashida Manjoo, University of Cape Town, Former UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, its Causes and Consequences

More information

The book is an output of the Political Settlements Research Programme, funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.

Read and download a book excerpt.

Read a policy summary of the book.