How Effective Is the U.N's Safe Cities Model?

Thursday, 14 July 2016: 17:00
Location: Hörsaal 33 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Shweta ADUR, California State University Fullerton, USA
In 1995 the U.N explicitly argued that gender based violence is a human rights violations and required all member states to take concerted action against it.  The U.N and its affiliates have since proposed several international initiatives to monitor, evaluate and ultimately, curb the incidence of violence against women. One of its most recent endeavors is the ‘Global Safe Cities Initiative’ program launched in 2010 – which addresses the everyday sexual harassment that takes place in public spaces.  The Safe Cities Initiative is the face of a paradigmatic shift as it is the first time that U.N has recognized sexual violence in public spaces as a human rights violation and designed a series of interventions in its program portfolio.  Delhi, India was among the five pilot cities in which the program was introduced and is also the case study for this paper. Using a human rights approach and a feminist lens, I argue that while the initiative has been valuable in putting the issue on the international agenda, the current framework needs to be more nuanced in its treatment of gender-based violence, both methodologically and conceptually.