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Law and Culture in Conflict: A Legal Study of Dowries and Domestic Violence

Lindholm, Sofie LU (2013) JURM02 20132
Department of Law
Abstract (Swedish)
Våld mot kvinnor är ett av de mest allvarliga brotten mot internationella mänskliga rättigheter i världen. Det bekräftar underordningen av kvinnor, den patriarkatiska normgivningen och den otillräckliga implementationen av mänskliga rättigheter. Det här arbetet utreder vad våld i hemmet består av i Indien och i Sverige. I Indien är detta fokuserat på dowry-våld och i Sverige är ”vanligt” våld i hemmet och hedersrelaterat våld prioriterat. Därefter undersöks vad stater har gjort legislativt på detta område då det är staters ansvar att vidta erforderliga åtgärder och stoppa våld mot kvinnor, och det finns inga legitima ursäkter att ignorera denna skyldighet. Detta leder till en diskussion om rollen för universella mänskliga rättigheter och... (More)
Våld mot kvinnor är ett av de mest allvarliga brotten mot internationella mänskliga rättigheter i världen. Det bekräftar underordningen av kvinnor, den patriarkatiska normgivningen och den otillräckliga implementationen av mänskliga rättigheter. Det här arbetet utreder vad våld i hemmet består av i Indien och i Sverige. I Indien är detta fokuserat på dowry-våld och i Sverige är ”vanligt” våld i hemmet och hedersrelaterat våld prioriterat. Därefter undersöks vad stater har gjort legislativt på detta område då det är staters ansvar att vidta erforderliga åtgärder och stoppa våld mot kvinnor, och det finns inga legitima ursäkter att ignorera denna skyldighet. Detta leder till en diskussion om rollen för universella mänskliga rättigheter och kultur. Slutsatsen är att olika former av våld i hemmet inte ska separeras då de delar samma grunder; maktstrukturer i samhället och familjen, såväl som underordningen av kvinnor. Därav borde en enda lösning, d.v.s. internationella mänskliga rättigheter, vara ett lämpligt system för att förbättra problemet. Arbetet efterforskar emellertid de två olika ståndpunkterna på detta ämnesområde uttryckt av mänskliga rättigheter universalister och kulturella relativister. Detta kan bli sammanfattat som en konflikt mellan de som tror att det existerar universella mänskliga rättigheter och de som tror att mänskliga rättigheter tar sitt utryck beroende på deras kulturella miljö. Frågan är huruvida internationella mänskliga rättigheter är i konflikt med kultur eller om de måste ta sedvanor i beaktande för att vara effektiva. Svaret kan vara att det måste finnas en balans mellan de två motsatta polerna och ha både konceptet ”olikhet” for kulturella varianter och hänsyn till ”samma” för att skapa normativ auktoritet. Oavsett detta är slutsatsen att den tidigare attityden att ignorera kvinnors mänskliga rättigheter, eller vad brott mot dem berodde på, är en dåtida förseelse. Avmarginaliseringen av problemet har lett till tron att kvinnors rättigheter är mänskliga rättigheter sedan Wiendeklarationen och handlingsprogrammet från 1993. Oberoende av detta, normgivningen är bara ideologisk om den inte följs av regeringsinitiativ, utbildning av allmänheten och mer forskning på området. Det är viktigt att bekräfta att mäns våld mot kvinnor inte bara händer någon annanstans, utan är en realitet i hela världen, vilket tvingar kvinnor till en särskild roll och förhindrar dem från att åtnjuta sina grundläggande mänskliga rättigheter. Detta arbete är menat att förklara, utreda och analysera denna situation. (Less)
Abstract
Violence against women is one of the most serious international human rights breaches in the world. It reaffirms the subordination of women, the patriarchal standard setting and insufficient implementation of human rights. This thesis investigates what domestic violence consists of in India and in Sweden. In India this is focused on dowry violence and in Sweden “ordinary” domestic violence and honour-related violence are prioritized. Thereafter it is examined what States have done legislatively on this field since it is the responsibility of States to perform due diligence and stop violence against women, and there are no legitimate excuses to ignore this obligation. This leads to a discussion of the role of universal human rights and... (More)
Violence against women is one of the most serious international human rights breaches in the world. It reaffirms the subordination of women, the patriarchal standard setting and insufficient implementation of human rights. This thesis investigates what domestic violence consists of in India and in Sweden. In India this is focused on dowry violence and in Sweden “ordinary” domestic violence and honour-related violence are prioritized. Thereafter it is examined what States have done legislatively on this field since it is the responsibility of States to perform due diligence and stop violence against women, and there are no legitimate excuses to ignore this obligation. This leads to a discussion of the role of universal human rights and culture. The conclusion is that different forms of domestic violence should not be separated since they share the same root causes; the power structures in society and family, as well as the diminishment of women. That is why a single solution, that is international human rights law, should be a suitable machinery to amend the problem. However, the thesis explores the two different viewpoints in this field expressed by human rights universalists and cultural relativists. This can be summarized as a conflict between those that think that universal human rights exist and those that think that human rights take their stand depending on their cultural environment. It is a question whether international human rights are in conflict with culture or if they have to take customary practises into consideration in order to be effective. The answer might be to balance the two opposing poles and have both the concept of “difference” for cultural variety and a regard for “sameness” to create normative authority. Regardless, the conclusion is that the former attitude to ignore women’s rights, or what violations of them depended on, is a thing of the past. The de-marginalisation of the problem has lead to the belief that women’s rights are human rights since the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action in 1993. Nonetheless, the standard setting is merely ideological if it is not followed by government initiatives, public education and more research on the area. It is important to acknowledge that violence against women does not happen somewhere else, but is a reality in the entire world, which forces women into a certain role and hinders them from realising their basic human rights. This thesis was meant to explain, investigate and analyse this situation. (Less)
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@misc{4227020,
  abstract     = {Violence against women is one of the most serious international human rights breaches in the world. It reaffirms the subordination of women, the patriarchal standard setting and insufficient implementation of human rights. This thesis investigates what domestic violence consists of in India and in Sweden. In India this is focused on dowry violence and in Sweden “ordinary” domestic violence and honour-related violence are prioritized. Thereafter it is examined what States have done legislatively on this field since it is the responsibility of States to perform due diligence and stop violence against women, and there are no legitimate excuses to ignore this obligation. This leads to a discussion of the role of universal human rights and culture. The conclusion is that different forms of domestic violence should not be separated since they share the same root causes; the power structures in society and family, as well as the diminishment of women. That is why a single solution, that is international human rights law, should be a suitable machinery to amend the problem. However, the thesis explores the two different viewpoints in this field expressed by human rights universalists and cultural relativists. This can be summarized as a conflict between those that think that universal human rights exist and those that think that human rights take their stand depending on their cultural environment. It is a question whether international human rights are in conflict with culture or if they have to take customary practises into consideration in order to be effective. The answer might be to balance the two opposing poles and have both the concept of “difference” for cultural variety and a regard for “sameness” to create normative authority. Regardless, the conclusion is that the former attitude to ignore women’s rights, or what violations of them depended on, is a thing of the past. The de-marginalisation of the problem has lead to the belief that women’s rights are human rights since the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action in 1993. Nonetheless, the standard setting is merely ideological if it is not followed by government initiatives, public education and more research on the area. It is important to acknowledge that violence against women does not happen somewhere else, but is a reality in the entire world, which forces women into a certain role and hinders them from realising their basic human rights. This thesis was meant to explain, investigate and analyse this situation.},
  author       = {Lindholm, Sofie},
  keyword      = {Ämnesord: komparativ rätt (comparative law) Nyckelord: dowries,hedervåld,komparativ rätt,kvinnors mänskliga rättigheter,internationella mänskliga rättigheter,kultur,nationell lagstiftning,staters ansvar,våld i hemmet. Keywords: comparative law,culture,domestic violence,domestic legislation,dowries,honour-violence,international human rights,state responsibility,women’s human rights.},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Law and Culture in Conflict: A Legal Study of Dowries and Domestic Violence},
  year         = {2013},
}