Since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, many international and regional instruments have drawn attention to gender-related dimensions of human rights issues. Despite the progress registered in this field, in 1993, the UN World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna felt the need to confirm that “women’s rights are human rights”. The need of such a statement is, in itself, striking. Yet, it represents a step forward in recognizing the rightful claims of one half of humanity in identifying neglect of women’s rights as a human rights violation and in drawing attention to the relationship between gender and human rights violations. In addition, the inclusion of gender equality and women’s empowerment as one of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDG) represents a further step in reiterating the commitment of the international community towards gender equality after the adoption of the UN Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women. However, even that global pledge, has not been able to eliminate gender disparities, a goal which is an important end in itself as well as fundamental to ensure sustainable development.
In this background of prevailing deficiencies, through the 2013 edition of the Summer School on Human Rights, UNICRI and John Cabot University* offer a course focusing on the achievements and failings of the human rights system in addressing social, political and economic inequalities specifically affecting women. During an intensive one-week course, students will be guided in examining critically how the human rights system engages with gender inequalities, assessing international policies and strategies and discussing the gender-based differential treatment that in practice exists in a variety of different areas.
The course thus offers an opportunity to deepen, from a gender-based perspective, the understanding of how human rights work and are being implemented in practice. Good and bad practices are also examined with a view to strengthen the capacity of the participants to promote public policies and strategies and become active actors of change. In order to achieve its stated aims, the following areas will be discussed during the course:
(1) International Human Rights Law, standards and strategies
(2) Gender-inequalities related to:
a. Access to justice
b. Access to resources an enjoyment of economic rights
c. Participation in decision and policy-making processes
d. Sexual and reproductive health
e. Enjoyment of cultural rights
(3) Violence against women
(4) Voluntary and forced migration
The Summer School on Human Rights, which will take place at John Cabot University (Rome, Italy), couples more theoretical lectures with roundtable discussions, dynamic case studies, and practical exercises. The faculty is composed of prominent lawyers, judges, academics from John Cabot University and elsewhere, United Nations staff, and members and representatives of international human rights bodies.
In this unique learning environment, participants will have the opportunity to interact with international recognized experts, meet peers and build lasting professional relationships with young professionals and students from all over the world. This intense experience fosters intercultural dialogue and a deeper understanding of some of the world’s most complex and debated issues. To date, past UNICRI short courses and summer schools have gathered participants from many different countries, among which are, Afghanistan, Austria, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, Check Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Kenya, India, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, Palestine, Poland, Santo Domingo, Slovenia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Tanzania, Togo, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
* John Cabot University, founded in 1972, is an independent, American four-year liberal arts university offering undergraduate degrees and study abroad programmes to English-speaking students from all over the world. It provides an international and stimulating environment to the participants and offers a state-of-the-art learning environment, including a library, canteen, and accommodations.