The Law and Politics of Responding to Attacks against Aid Workers
inescapable, as enshrined, for example, in international humanitarian law (IHL), including the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols of 1977 and 2005; the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC); and customaryinternationallaw ( Brooks, 2015 ).
On the other hand, the interview findings of this study reveal a widespread sense of frustration among aid workers over the perceived inefficacy of the law in practice for the protection of humanitarian action. Even in light of the existence of not only international courts and tribunals but
The book explores the relationship between violence against women on one hand,
and the rights to health and reproductive health on the other. It argues that
violation of the right to health is a consequence of violence, and that (state)
health policies might be a cause of – or create the conditions for – violence
against women. It significantly contributes to feminist and international human
rights legal scholarship by conceptualising a new ground-breaking idea, violence
against women’s health (VAWH), using the Hippocratic paradigm as the backbone of
the analysis. The two dimensions of violence at the core of the book – the
horizontal, ‘interpersonal’ dimension and the vertical ‘state policies’
dimension – are investigated through around 70 decisions of domestic, regional
and international judicial or quasi-judicial bodies (the anamnesis). The concept
of VAWH, drawn from the anamnesis, enriches the traditional concept of violence
against women with a human rights-based approach to autonomy and a reflection on
the pervasiveness of patterns of discrimination (diagnosis). VAWH as theorised
in the book allows the reconceptualisation of states’ obligations in an
innovative way, by identifying for both dimensions obligations of result, due
diligence obligations, and obligations to progressively take steps (treatment).
The book eventually asks whether it is not international law itself that is the
ultimate cause of VAWH (prognosis).
gender-based violence against
women has evolved into a principle of customaryinternationallaw,’ and that
‘General recommendation No. 19 has been a key catalyst for this process.’31 The
question is in fact two intertwined questions, as follows: does an international
custom prohibiting gender-based VAW exist? If so, what is the content of this
norm? The Committee has proved courageous, and the GR will probably spur
the consolidation of a custom to that effect in years to come. For the time being,
however, I consider this argument with caution, respectfully contending
Reconceptualising states’ obligations in countering VAWH
Sara De Vido
The tripartite structure and the theory of core obligations possess a lot of
merit, despite being quite descriptive, in highlighting how each human right
creates a wide spectrum of legal obligations, against which states’ actions must
be assessed.100A possible solution to the impasse could be to conceive core obligations as obligations that have consolidated as customaryinternationallaw,
thereby binding all states without requiring ratification of a specific treaty, but it is
not my purpose here to dwell on their nature; rather to reflect on the most suitable
A conceptualisation of violence against women’s health (VAWH)
Sara De Vido
See in that respect, S. De Vido, ‘The prohibition of violence against women as
customaryinternationallaw? Remarks on the CEDAW General Recommendation
No. 35’, Diritti umani diritto internazionale 2 (2018) 379.
6 See also the Istanbul Convention, where the only reference to states’ policies in the
field of health causing VAW could be forced abortion and forced sterilisation.
7 J.S. Mill, On Liberty (1859) (Kitchener, Ontario: Batoche Books, 2001), p. 13.
8 J. Feinberg, Harm to Others (New York: Oxford University Press, 1984).
DE VIDO 9781526124975