What a 'Private Life' Means for Women

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights: Theory and Practice, Present and Future, in Y. Haeck, O. Ruiz-Chiriboga, C. Burbano Herrera, eds. (Intersentia, 2015)

15 Pages Posted: 14 Nov 2015

See all articles by Ciara O'Connell

Ciara O'Connell

University of Pretoria, Faculty of Law, Centre for Human Rights, Students

Date Written: December 1, 2015

Abstract

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights has emphasized the right to privacy as it includes an obligation not to interfere in private life. As the Court has expanded upon the definition of the right to privacy, it has determined that as much as there is an inherent negative obligation for the State to respect the right to privacy, there is equally a positive duty for the State to protect and promote the right to private life. In the context of women’s rights, where a considerable number of rights violations occur in the private sphere, regulation of the private in the form of protection from discrimination and violence is fundamental to the promotion of women’s human rights. However, as it stands, regulation in the private sphere is most often concerned with interference in women’s decision-making and autonomy. While the Court has included in the definition of the right to privacy provisions for women such as reproductive health services, it has failed to apply this definition to subsequent women’s rights violations. Despite developments in rhetoric, the Inter-American Court has been reluctant to traverse the divide that exists between the public and private spheres, which can ultimately prove detrimental to the advancement of women’s enjoyment of their rights in the region.

Keywords: women's rights, right to privacy, human rights, public/private divide, feminism

Suggested Citation

O'Connell, Ciara, What a 'Private Life' Means for Women (December 1, 2015). The Inter-American Court of Human Rights: Theory and Practice, Present and Future, in Y. Haeck, O. Ruiz-Chiriboga, C. Burbano Herrera, eds. (Intersentia, 2015), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2689240

Ciara O'Connell (Contact Author)

University of Pretoria, Faculty of Law, Centre for Human Rights, Students ( email )

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Hatfield 0028
Pretoria
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