9 Whittier Law Review 399 (1987-1988)
Address Given at the Fourth Annual International Law Symposium

handle is hein.journals/whitlr9 and id is 409 raw text is: ADDRESS GIVEN AT THE FOURTH
ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL
LAW SYMPOSIUM
BY
JESSICA NEUWIRTH*
TOWARDS A GENDER-BASED APPROACH TO
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS
Human rights violations have traditionally been subject to a gen-
der-blind approach. Both men and women are imprisoned for polit-
ical activism, and both men and women are tortured and killed in
countries around the world. Within this framework, little discussion
has taken place on the violations as they relate particularly to women.
Human rights violations against women take many different forms.
Some of these, such as bride burning or infibulation, are by their very
nature unique to women. Others, such as female infanticide or domes-
tic violence, are in practice unique to women.
This article will focus on the ways in which political imprison-
ment and torture affect women. Human rights organizations have
documented cases which involve these issues, but have failed to focus
on the issues themselves which pertain specifically to women and tor-
ture, or to women and political imprisonment. Initial research in this
area suggests directions for future consideration and research, as well
as some preliminary conclusions on these issues.'
* Jessica Neuwirth graduated from Yale University in 1982 with a B.A. in history. She
received her J.D. from Harvard in 1985. She is a member of the bar in New York and Massachu-
setts, and since 1985 has been working at Amnesty International as Staff Coordinator of
Amnesty International's Legal Network. She wants to acknowledge J.F. Rodenbeck for her help
on this article.
1. Some initial work has been done on these issues, in particular with respect to human
rights violations by military dictatorships. See Ximena Bunster-Burotto, Surviving Beyond
Fear: Women and Torture in Latin America, in Women and Change in Latin America, ed. June
Nash and Helen Safa, Bergin & Garvey Publishers, Inc., Massachusetts 1985. This work and

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