Dignity (which sits in the heart of human rights - rights that are, as stated in the International Human Rights Law as, inherent to humanity1) remains in rhetoric. I wish to see that my completion of the Master's Degree in Human Rights Law & Policy is my guide into the world's turmoil in understanding the ways in which dignity can be "respected, protected, and fulfilled2”.
In addition, I defend the notion that education continues to be the best tool in which empowerment can be intensified - which, I am quite sure, Malala Yousufzai agrees to. In my case, I used the opportunity to study more about my rights as a woman, indigenous, and Muslim in the international arena. The experience not only empowered me but also those who I came across. Thanks to my stories of dignity, particularly those that reflect dignity’s struggle against armed conflicts.
One of the best highlights from the said experience that I want to share with the International Museum of Women (IMOW) is the possibility of uniting two contesting bodies of international law - the Human Rights Law and the Humanitarian Law (also referred to as Law Of Armed Conflict). Scholars maintain that IHL continues to fail women, particularly in matters relating to women’s suffering. And as Helen Durham elaborates,
“IHL takes a particular male perspective on armed conflict, as a norm against which to measure equality. In a world where women are not equals of men, and armed conflict impacts upon men and women in a fundamentally different way, a general category of rules that is not inclusive of the reality for women cannot respond to their situation”3.
Interestingly, the union presents an opportunity wherein women can take a lead, particularly those who are in the field. In line with this, I am confident that my co-participants, given the wealth of their experiences, have the potential to rise to the challenge of inculcating “feminism” into IHL. I trust that we are at the stage that moves us beyond the corners of CEDAW and pushes us into the barricade of other treaties – to this I present the IHL treaties. And let us pray that we do not lose the battle. And to the other women from different parts of the world, will you join us in the battle?
Amanah Busran Lao is a Muslima Ambassador.