Women's Rights in Recent Inter-American Human Rights Jurisprudence
Proceedings of the ASIL Annual Meeting
While certain aspects of women's rights had been addressed in earlier OAS instruments and more generally in the American Declaration on the Rights and Duties of Man and in the American Convention on Human Rights, many consider that the issue of women's rights was first incorporated in the normative corpus of the Inter-American Human Rights System (IAHRS) with the 1994 adoption of the Belém do Pará Convention on the Prevention, Punishment, and Eradication of Violence Against Women. This treaty
... liges states to prevent, punish, and eradicate violence against women, taking special account of vulnerabilities due to race, ethnic background, migrant status, age, pregnancy, socioeconomic situation, etc. It defines the concept of violence against women and forces states to ensure that women live free of violence in the public and private sphere. It also grants the Commission and the Court the ability to process individual complaints regarding alleged violations of the treaty. Since 1994, the Commission has also established a Rapporteurship on the rights of women, which assists the IACHR in its thematic or country reports and visits, as well as in the processing of women's rights–related petitions. In recent years, the jurisprudence of the Commission and the Court has addressed several fundamental issues related to women's rights, in particular regarding violence against women, women's right to equality, and reproductive health.