This article highlights the significant theoretical constraints of universalism, the tendency of human rights advocates to ignore the underlying cause of rights violations, as well as problems associated with the concept of and informal hierarchy between rights. The article suggests that there are certain circumstances in which INGOs that rely primarily on human rights language in their advocacy efforts may wish to supplement their analysis with explicit reference to feminist legal theory in order to more effectively secure women's interests globally. These ideas will be developed with ongoing reference to the recent and successful campaign initiated by Nepali women to have abortion legalized. The campaign was supported by the Center for Reproduction Law and Policy (CRLP) (New York) (now the Center for Reproductive Rights), in partnership with the Forum for Women, Law and Development (FWLD) (Katmandu). CRLP became involved with the domestic campaign to legalize abortion in 2001, largely to draw attention to the massive human rights violations arising out of its continued criminalization. Abortion was legalized by Nepal's legislature in March 2002. The Nepal example will illustrate more concretely the way in which INGOs tend to focus on human rights analysis when advocating for women's rights globally.
The Use of Human Rights Discourse to Secure Women's Interests: Critical Analysis of the Implications,
Mich. J. Gender & L.
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