Human Rights Watch has estimated that 12,000 women a year die in Russia because of domestic violence; Human Rights Commission of Pakistan reports close to 80% of women experience domestic violence; 49,280 rapes were reported in South Africa in 1998; and the CDC estimates at least 1.8 million women are victims of assault at the hands of men they live with each year. Domestic violence does not discriminate; the problem attacks both the poor and the rich, Christians and Muslims, black, white, and brown. Great debate rages concerning how to curb the prevalence of domestic violence in our world today. Recognizing domestic violence as a human rights violation is the best way to help alleviate the crisis. However, the limitations of implementing a universal framework have been explored and many believe that factors such as culture, religious fundamentalism, more precisely the role of Muslim law, and the tension between the North, more industrialized countries, and the South, the less developed countries warrant a different solution than labeling domestic violence as a human rights violation. Methods that warrant analysis to their effectiveness in improving the widespread occurrence of domestic violence including restorative justice and the belief that domestic violence should be dealt with on the national level, not the international level.
[...] "In the United Nations, the Human Rights Commission has more power to hear and investigate cases than the Commission on the Status of Women, more staff and budget, and better mechanisms for implementing its findings." Perhaps by placing women's right in a human rights context will force the international community to realize, that like any fundamental human right, domestic violence needs to be considered just as serious. The Committee on the Elimination of the Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) has already developed a strategy which "outlines a clear human rights agenda for women which, if accepted by governments, would mark and enormous step forward." By recognizing domestic violence as a human right, countries would feel under more pressure to adopt the CEDAW outline as if they refuse to implement such strategies the threat of negative publicity is always looming. [...]
[...] Beasley and Thomas (1993) also believe that states are beginning to accept more responsibility as well as recognize, rather than ignore, the frequency with which such violence occurs. Recognizing domestic violence as a human rights violation has its broader predicaments as the debate between human rights as being universally applied or applied in a manner sensitive to particular cultural practices arises. Addressing domestic violence by the laws governing each nation has been suggested. However, this approach would not help reduce the problem of domestic violence. [...]
[...] Ultimately though, as will be shown, the international community is best positioned to overcoming these legitimate limitations and applying a universal human rights framework to help domestic violence is the best method. A universal human rights framework can overcome the cultural and religious differences to combat the practices of domestic violence; national jurisprudence, as is evident, cannot. Domestic violence is defined by the United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women as physical, sexual, and/or psychological violence within the family, the community, and/or any violence that is condoned by the state. However, while this definition is considered universal, many cultures define domestic violence in a very different way and applying a universal framework to domestic violence has its problems. [...]
[...] "Analysis of domestic violence as a human rights abuse depends not only on proving a pattern of violence, but also on demonstrating a systematic failure by the state to afford women equal protection of the law against violence." It is very difficult to prove this without statistics and statistics on domestic violence are not reported by victims because of fear and haven't been available until recently. Currently there is no national data collected or statistics concerning gender specific abuse. This problem of inadequate documentation proves to be a barrier in which a universal framework applied to domestic violence will have to overcome. [...]
[...] An-Na'im suggests just one way in which the seemingly polar opposites of human rights and the Muslim world can co-exist, protecting women from domestic violence in the process. An example of a more current interpretation of Islamic scriptures is through the literary writings on feminist Islamic subjects. Amongst the most radical being practiced by the widely circulated Zanan publication in Iran, where the writers are reinterpreting the canon from a woman's perspective. This process is called ijtihad and is radical due to the traditional reservation of such interpretations to male scholars of Islamic law. [...]
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