Integrating a Gender Perspective into Human Rights Investigations

Guidance and Practice

image of Integrating a Gender Perspective into Human Rights Investigations

This publication provides practical guidance on the integration of a gender perspective throughout the work of investigative bodies or entities, from the planning phase to the investigations and to writing the report and presenting its findings. It should be read in conjunction with existing OHCHR guidance in the Manual on Human Rights Monitoring and Commissions of Inquiry and Fact-finding Missions on International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law: Guidance and Practice. The publication specifically aims to strengthen the content of human rights reports in order to accurately depict the different experiences of women, men, girls and boys. It is primarily aimed at United Nations Human Rights Officers, especially those performing investigative functions, including with CoIs/FFMs. It may also be used as a reference material for the human rights monitoring, analysis and reporting performed by OHCHR field presences or as part of peace operations mandated by the Security Council and overseen, managed and supported by OHCHR. States Parties, regional mechanisms, national human rights institutions, national commissions of inquiry, civil society organizations and others could also benefit from guidance on how to integrate a gender perspective into monitoring and investigating human rights violations and abuses.

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Key terminology

Gender refers to the socially constructed identities, attributes and roles of persons in relation to their sex and the social and cultural meanings attached to biological differences based on sex. The meaning of such socially constructed identities, attributes and roles varies across societies, communities and groups and over time. This often results in hierarchical relationships between women and men and an unequal distribution of power and rights, favouring men and disadvantaging women and affecting all members of society. The social positioning of women and men is affected by political, economic, cultural, social, religious, ideological and environmental factors.

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