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LGD 2001 (1) - Editorial


Editorial - Special Edition:
Gender, Justice and Development

Guest Editors:
Dr Beatrice Odonga-Mwaka
University of Warwick, and

Dr Reena Patel
University of Warwick

Special thanks are also extended to the following editors for their valued input: Professor Bina Agarwal, Institute of Economic Growth, University of New Delhi, Professor Anne Hellum, Department of Public and International Law, Institute of Women's Law, University of Oslo, Norway and Professor Julie Stewart, Co-ordinator, Women's Law Programme, University of Zimbabwe.

1. Introduction

We welcome readers to this special issue of Law, Social Justice and Global Development, focussing on gender, justice and development. We are pleased to present papers addressing a variety of issues where gender is constructed and implicated, and exploring these to reveal the unequal results for women.

There is a continuing need to be critical of the gendered implications for social justice in development processes. Such critical evaluation should move beyond theoretical analyses to engagement with the specific and grounded realities of women's struggles around the world.

A common theme of a number of the articles is the recognition that focusing on gender necessarily involves a critical analysis of the location of women between international agendas and local imperatives. Further, that a critical perspective of the global processes, drawing international frameworks and local circumstances together, advance our inquiry on gender. The discussion in the contributions to this issue show that although defined in physical terms across particular contexts, women's embodiement and occupation of spaces occurs and is constructed at a variety of levels including local, national and global.

In this issue, these themes are brought out by discussion in five broad areas: Gender and Global Migration; International Principles and Local Measures; Violence Against Women; Sensitive Research Methodologies and, Issues of Governance, Democracy and Civil Society in the Developing World. The edition includes some seven refereed articles, four commentaries, a report from the Permanent People's Tribunal and a book review.

2. Gender and Global Migration

The global movement of persons as refugees and asylum seekers is addressed from a gendered perspective by Muller-Hoff, who argues in the refereed article, that within the context of Europe, that 'Europe' creates a humanitarian self-image while pursuing economic protectionism, resulting ultimately in the exclusion of women from the construction of the 'refugee'. Muller-Hoff also provides a different gender perspective with a commentary which examines the provision of Legal Services to the Displaced Population of Colombia.

Grossman addresses the increased significance of nationality as a source of economic rights, and as a criterion for inclusion or exclusion. Consequently, he argues that it becomes even more important to address gendered and racial constructions in attributing nationality.

Kyambi reviews the book, 'Refugees, Race and the Legal Concept of Asylum in Britain', by Prakash A. Shah. According to Kyambi the book brings valuable historical perspective to the field of refugee law.

3. International Principles, Local Measures

Hellum locates water reform measures in Zimbabwe within broader shifts in policy at local, national and international levels. In the context of the shifts from welfarist to individualist policy, she probes tensions/conflicts which she argues should be addressed by using CEDAW human rights principles within CEDAW.

Stewart's paper examines the use of judicial education in achieving gender justice with the training of judges from India as an example. She argues that the exposure of judges to other judicial context, their openness to issues at stake and their willingness to change as being key factors in achieving the goals.

Rai discusses the need to focus on issues of redistribution (of economic and political resources) in order to further transformation of women's lives by looking at the particular case study of the Sathin initiative by the government of India in Rajasthan.

4. Violence Against Women

Estremadoyro's article takes a critical look at the initiatives for reducing domestic violence in the Andean communities in Peru. She argues that universal human rights perspectives, although useful, do not go far enough to provide comprehensive solutions in the local context.

Jayasimha's commentary critically analyses the Tokyo Trails of 1949 and argues that 'two crimes of silence' were committed in neglecting the victims of bombing and ignoring the sexual enslavement of women by the Japanese army. He throws open the challenge brought by the IWWCT in attempting to bring prosecution for wartime rape and forced prostitution.

5. Sensitive Research Methodologies

Liebling and Shah's commentary highlights the dilemmas involved in conducting sensitive research, particularly the problems posedby issues of cultural sensitivity and the potential dangers faced by those being researched. They have addressed these issues in the context of their ongoing research in the sexual abuse of women and girl children in Uganda and Tanzania.

6. Issues of Governance, Democracy and Civil Society in the Developing World

Issues of governance, democracy and civil society in the developing world are discussed by Katalikawe's article and Kakarala's commentary and the reported decision of the Permenant Peoples' Tribunal (PPT).

Katalikawe questions the use of referendum in deciding highly contentious issues within political systems. Using the Uganda Referendum 2000 which sought to decide on a political system for Uganda he reveals its possible impact on democracy and good governance, and Kakarala explores the linkages between donor funding to southern NGOs and increasing emphasis on 'civil society' with its underlying rhetoric of good governance and 'partnership building'.

The PPT report demonstrates the alternative face of global social justice. Based on the initiative of Bertrand Russell the current PPT signifies the continuing role of academics, practitioners and other citizens and citizens groups in bearing witness to human rights violations.

7.And Finally

We hope you find this special edition of Law, Social Justice and Global Development (LGD) to be interesting and worthy of debate.

We welcome you as readers to participate fully in the journal by contributing to the discussion, and perhaps by being stimulated sufficiently to contribute your own articles and commentaries, whether your are located in the academe or on the coal face or in between. Please see the submissions standards for further information on submitting articles.

Contributions and suggestions about the journal should be sent to: Manish Narayan, the Production Editor, at

This Editorial was published on 21 June 2001.

Citation: 'Editorial', 2001 (1) Law, Social Justice and Global Development (LGD).
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