Property and Economic Rights



Avellanal v. Peru, Human Rights Committee, Communication No.202/1986, 28 Oct 1988.

A law permitting only the husband to represent matrimonial property before the courts amounts to discrimination and is a violation of the rights to equality before the law and before the courts protected by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Details of Avellanal v. Peru:Read


Broeks v. Netherlands, Human Rights Committee, Communication No.172/1984, 9 Apr. 1987.
A social security law which provides benefits only to married women who are the breadwinners (earning more than one-half the family’s income) or permanently separated from their husbands is a violation of Article 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Article 26, the principle of non-discrimination before the law, applies to laws concerning economic, social and cultural rights as well.

Details of Broeks v. Netherlands:Read (pdf)


C Masilamani Mudaliar & Ors v. Idol of Sri Swaminathaswami Thirukoil & Ors, Supreme Court, India, 30 Jan 1996.
Women are entitled to full ownership of property left to them in a will; to allow otherwise would constitute discrimination and be a violation of Article 2 and 16 of CEDAW.


Ephrahim v. Pastory and Kaizilege, High Court, Tanzania, 22 Feb 1990.
Customary law barring women from selling clan land is discriminatory and contrary to Tanzania’s international obligations under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women, the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.


Pauger v. Austria, Human Rights Committee, Communication No.415/1990, 26 Mar 1992.
By giving widows full pensions, regardless of income, and only providing widowers with partial pensions, the pension laws amount to discrimination. Because such unequal treatment is based on stereotypes about gender and does not have a reasonable justification, it is a violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Details of Pauger v. Austria:Read(pdf)


Schuler-Zgraggen v. Switzerland, European Court of Human Rights, 24 June 1993.
The assumption that a woman would give up work after the birth of a child and therefore is no longer entitled to her invalidity pension amounts to a difference in treatment between men and women without any reasonable objective justification and is, therefore, a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights.


Willis v. United Kingdom, European Court of Human Rights, Application No. 36042/97, Judgment, Strasbourg, 11 June 2002.
The European Convention on Human Rights requires that there be an objective and reasonable justification for any difference in treatment between men and women. Excluding men from receiving Widow’s Payment and Widow’s Mother’s Allowance is based on gender-stereotyping about which gender works and which takes care of the children and is therefore discrimination.