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Women's Rights in Armed Conflict under International Law


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Catherine O'Rourke,
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  • Date Published: September 2020
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108474306

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About the Authors
  • 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 at 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
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    • Winner, 2021 Kevin Boyle Book Prize for Outstanding Legal Scholarship, Irish Association of Law Teachers

    Reviews & endorsements

    '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

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2020
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108474306
    • length: 250 pages
    • dimensions: 160 x 235 x 30 mm
    • weight: 0.75kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    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
    5. Women's Rights and International Law in a Fragile State: Democratic Republic of Congo
    6. Women's Rights and International Law in Ending Conflict: Colombia
    7. Women's Rights and International Law in Building Peace: Nepal
    8. Fragmented Protection of Women's Rights in Conflict: The Story So Far
    9. A New Story: A Feminist Toolbox for Fragmentation

  • Author

    Catherine O'Rourke, University of Ulster
    Catherine O'Rourke is Senior Lecturer in Human Rights and International Law at the Transitional Justice Institute and School of Law, Ulster University, Northern Ireland. She is a leading scholar of gender, conflict, transitional justice and international law. Her work has been published widely, including in the European Journal of International Law, International and Comparative Law Quarterly, International Journal of Transitional Justice, and Harvard Journal of Human Rights. She is regularly commissioned by key international, national and non-governmental institutions, including the United Nations, to conduct policy-based research and develop recommendations for the enhanced protection of women's rights in conflict.


    Catherine O'Rourke,


    • Winner, 2021 Kevin Boyle Book Prize for Outstanding Legal Scholarship, Irish Association of Law Teachers
    • Honorable Mention, 2022 Women in International Law Interest Group Scholarship Prize, American Society of International Law

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