1963-2013 - 50 years of Research for Social Change

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Back | Programme Area: Gender and Development (2000 - 2009), Governance (2000 - 2009) | Event: Gender Justice, Development and Rights: Substantiating Rights in a Disabling Environment


Gender Justice, Development and Rights: Substantiating Rights in a Disabling Environment

  • Date: 3 Jun 2000
  • Location: Henry Labouisse Hall, UNICEF House, 3 United Nations Plaza, New York
  • Speakers: Shahra Razavi, Maxine Molyneux, Rosalind Petchesky, Veronica Schild, V.K. Ramachandran, Afsaneh Najmabadi, Shireen Hassim, Aída Hernández Castillo, Aili Mari Tripp
  • Project Title: Gender Justice, Development and Rights

Keynote Speech, by Maxine Molyneux, Institute of Latin American Studies, University of London


“In 1948 the Universal Declaration of Human Rights started a legal revolution and founded an international human rights movement. In the years since 1945 the legal gains have been significant in the domain of human rights, and social movements claiming rights in the international and local arenas have grown in strength and effectiveness, perhaps none more so than those concerned with the fate of that half of the worlds population that is female.

Before the Second World War, international law was largely based on the rights of states. After 1945, the rights of individuals against the state also received international legal recognition. The Universal Declaration changed radically the value accorded to the human person. For the first time, individuals - regardless of race, creed, gender, age or any other status - were given both rights and remedies against injustice in society and in the family. Almost all modern states have ratified the main international human rights conventions and most have absorbed their rights and remedies into their constitutions.

The 1990s were an important landmark in the international human rights movement and saw many positive changes in women's rights as well as human rights more broadly. The collapse of authoritarian regimes in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, Latin America and many other parts of the world, gave issues of rights and democracy a major impulse, and revitalised debates over development policy, itself now more closely tied than ever before to considerations of rights…”

To read the Keynote Speech, select one of the options on the right.