Gender and Human Rights in the Commonwealth

Some Critical Issues for Action in the Decade 2005–2015

image of Gender and Human Rights in the Commonwealth
The purpose of this book is to contribute to current policymaking, programme planning and implementation on gender and human rights. It is intended for a wide audience of policymakers, magistrates, judges and lawyers, academics and civil society organisations grappling with these issues. It is also intended as a conceptual and policyoriented resource for those committed to implementing and supporting the Human Rights Goals of the new Commonwealth Plan of Action for Gender Equality 20052015.

The papers address a wide range of gender and human rights issues, including the convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), genderbased violence, culture and the law, indigenous peoples, trafficking and migration, land and property rights, diversity and a life cycle approach to gender and human rights. This book brings together the papers commissioned for a PanCommonwealth Expert Group Meeting on Gender and Human Rights which took place at the Commonwealth Secretariat, London February 2004. These papers, together with other key background papers, represent much of the analysis and experience from Commonwealth member countries that informed the development of the Human Rights section of the new Commonwealth Plan of Action for Gender Equality 20052015.



Indigenous Peoples' Rights

Current estimates put the number of indigenous people worldwide at more than 300 million people (approximately 7,000 indigenous societies or cultures) - 5 per cent of the global population (CWIS, 1999). In the absence of reliable censuses, however, hard figures are difficult to come by. Half of the world's indigenous people, approximately 150 million, are living i n the Commonwealth (Whall, 2003a). It can be estimated that half of these, i.e. some 75 million, are indigenous women. The greatest concentration of indigenous people i n the Commonwealth is found i n the following countries: Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka (South Asia); Botswana, Cameroon, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda (Africa); Australia, Fiji, Malaysia, N ew Zealand and Papua New Guinea (Pacific and South-East Asia); and Belize, Canada, Dominica and Guyana (Caribbean and Americas).1


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