歐美研究季刊第46卷第1期 - page 57

“Human Rights Protection, Democratic Deliberation”
57
loopholes for member-states to weaken their commitments to the
United Nations human rights protection.
21
In practice, many local
laws do not measure up to international standards and are
essentially toothless. Second, a state can be functioning in name
only. Under such circumstance, local authorities often lack the
resources to provide protection; generally, what rushes to fill in the
vacuum are patriarchal strongmen who do not support women’s
rights as human rights in the way that one might wish, say, on a par
with “universal” human rights.
22
Finally, when functioning states
do take actions, these actions have largely failed to prioritize the
protections of women. “For example, in Bangladesh, violent crimes
against women
rape, dowry death, domestic violence, acid
burning, and suicide
go under-reported; when reported, women
are discouraged from filing their cases; when filed, cases are
pursued slowly. Although these crimes are illegal, the police’s
willingness and ability to enforce these laws, and the judiciary’s
uneven record at carrying out the law, mean that women live in a
context of insecurity” (Ackerly, 2008: 4).
In this light, let me turn to Martha C. Nussbaum’s rival
approach, i.e., the capabilities approach that advances “a single
clear line of feminist argument” (2000a: xiv).
23
By focusing on the
21
According to Merry’s anthropological account (2006: 80), there are “123
reservations” to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) (United Nations, 1979). It is not
surprising, then, Okin (2005b: 100-101) reached this conclusion, “for countries
to sign and ratify the CEDAW, but to express reservations about equality within
marriage, is
not very different
from their not signing or ratifying it at all”
(emphasis added).
22
Protections afforded by the so-called “universal” human rights cover
public-sphere violations, such as persecutions of political dissidents, for example,
Liu Xiaobo, see On (2012). By privileging the public sphere, private-sphere
violations are often neglected. See Okin (1989a; 1989b: 41-45; 1999; 2005b)
and Landes (1998).
23
Capabilities are “what people are actually able to do and be” (Nussbaum, 2000a:
51). Nussbaum regards her capabilities approach as “one species of a human rights
view” (2004: 196). The distinctions between Amartya Sen’s and Nussbaum’s
capabilities approaches have been drawn out by Dowding (2006: 323-326).
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