Access To Justice

Women’s right of access to justice is critical to the realization of women’s human rights and achieving gender equality. In order for access to justice to become a reality, laws have to be effective, institutions must be competent to resolve women’s human rights issues, and gender equality jurisprudence has to evolve both at national and international levels.

IWRAW AP aims to create an enabling legal environment for women’s access to justice through enhanced implementation of CEDAW. We work to enhance the technical capacity of women’s rights organisations to engage with the justice sector and advocate for increased compliance with the CEDAW framework. We also engage directly with justice sector and legal actors – judges, lawyers, legal organisations – to build their technical capacity to engage with the CEDAW framework. We work to create spaces in which women’s rights organisations and justice sector actors can come together to identify scalable solutions to key challenges concerning women’s human rights and access to justice.

IWRAW AP recognises that change must also occur beyond the legal sphere if women’s right of access to justice is to be effective. Our work on access to justice complements our other areas of work that with the aim of addressing and overcoming the structural barriers, whether social, economic, cultural or political, that prevent women from engaging effectively with the justice system.

We Work With

  • Women’s rights organisations
  • Justice sector and legal actors (Judges, lawyers, legal organisations)
  • National Human Rights Institutions

Programme in Action

IWRAW AP was part of a group of civil society organisations calling for an inquiry under article 8 of the Optional Protocol to CEDAW in the Philippines. A request for inquiry was submitted to the CEDAW Committee in 2008 due to growing concerns regarding the consequences of Manila City Executive Order 003 Series of 2000 (EO 003) on the lives of women including their sexual and reproductive health and rights. From 2008 onwards, EnGendeRights and WomenLEAD served as co-convenors of the twenty-member Philippine-based Task Force CEDAW Inquiry, together with the Center for Reproductive Rights and IWRAW AP. We worked with EnGenderRights to collect information to build a case for the inquiry and gave input to the joint submission made by the taskforce to the CEDAW Committee. We also provided technical support to women’s rights organisations in the Philippines on engaging and advocating with the CEDAW Committee during the course of the inquiry.

The inquiry was carried out in 2012 and the CEDAW Committee found the Philippines accountable for grave and systematic violations of women’s rights including having “failed to address the effects of the implementation of EO 003 and EO 030 and, between 2004 and 2010, has at times either supported or condoned the policies of the City of Manila”.

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