Law and Critique

, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 87–105 | Cite as

Space and Law, Gender and Land: Using CEDAW to Regulate for Women’s Rights to Land in Vanuatu

Article

Abstract

International laws such as The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) promise a universal system of rights to varied people in varied places. In many Pacific states this has been translated to mean that women should have the same privileges as men to control, possess and use land. This could not be further from the truth as evidenced by women’s experiences in Vanuatu, which bring home the visible and invisible spaces of international law. The insights of legal geographers into the spatialised dimensions of social, political and economic activities, together with those of feminist legal scholars into the gendered nature of law, are invaluable in understanding how some spaces are prioritized while others are devalued. We rely on these insights to uncover the prioritized legal spaces of Vanuatu and to locate them against the lived-in spaces of Vanuatu’s women. Becoming aware of the multispatiality of law is the first step in contemplating a landscape where justice can play a part.

Keywords

CEDAW Custom Gender Land Lawscape Space Vanuatu 

References

  1. Agarwal, Bina. 1994. A field of one’s own: Gender and land rights in South Asia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Aoki, Keith. 2000. Space invaders: Critical geography, the ‘Third World’ in international law and critical race theory. Villanova Law Review 45: 913–957.Google Scholar
  3. Arya, Lakshmi. 2009. Imagining alternative universalisms: Intersectionality and the limits of liberal discourse. In Intersectionality and beyond, ed. Emily Grabham, Davina Cooper, Jane Krishnadas, and Didi Herman, 327–351. Abingdon: Routledge Cavendish.Google Scholar
  4. Australian Agency for International Development (AusAid). 2008. Making land work 2: Case studies on customary land and development in the Pacific. Canberra: Pirion Pty Ltd.Google Scholar
  5. Benhabib, Seyla. 2009. Claiming rights across borders: International human rights and democratic sovereignity. American Political Science Review 104(4): 691–704.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Blandy, Sarah, and David Silbey. 2010. Law, boundaries and the production of space. Social and Legal Studies 19(3): 275–284.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Blomley, Nicholas. 1994. Law, space and the geographies of power. London: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  8. Blomley, Nicholas. 2010. Cuts, flows and the geographies of property. Law, Culture and the Humanities 7(2): 203–216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bondi, Liz, and Joyce Davidson. 2005. Situating gender. In A companion to feminist geography, ed. Lise Nelson, and Joni Seager, 15–31. Malden: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  10. Bottomley, Anne. 2004. Shock to thought: An encounter (of a third kind) with legal feminism. Feminist Legal Studies 12: 29–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bowman, Chakriya, Amanda Ellis, Jozefina Cutura, and Claire Manuel. 2009. Women in Vanuatu: Analyzing challenges to economic participation. Washington: The World Bank.Google Scholar
  12. Butler, Judith. 1990. Gender trouble: Feminism and the subversion of identity. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  13. Butler, Chris. 2005. Reading the production of suburbia in post-war Australia. Law Text Culture 9: 11–13.Google Scholar
  14. Butler, Chris. 2009. Critical legal studies and the politics of space. Social and Legal Studies 18(3): 313–332.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Charlesworth, Hilary, and Christine Chinkin. 2000. The boundaries of international law: A feminist analysis. Manchester: Manchester University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Chunn, Dorothy E., Susan B. Boyd, and Hester Lessard. 2007. Feminism, law and social change: An overview. In Reaction and resistance: Feminism, law, and social change, ed. Dorothy E. Chunn, Susan B. Boyd, and Hester Lessard, 1–30. Vancouver: UBC Press.Google Scholar
  17. Cooper, Davina. 1996. Talmudic territory: Space, law and modernist discourse. Journal of Law and Society 23(4): 529–548.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Cooper, Davina. 1998. Governing out of order: Space, law and the politics of belonging. London: Rivers Oram Press.Google Scholar
  19. Cornell, Drucilla. 1991. Beyond accommodation: Ethical feminism, deconstruction, and the law. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  20. Cornwall, Andrea, and Celestine Nyamu. 2004. What is the ‘rights based approach’ all about? Perspectives from international development agencies. Third World Quarterly 25(8): 1415–1437.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Corrin, Jennifer, and Don Paterson. 2007. Introduction to South Pacific law. London, New York: Routledge-Cavendish.Google Scholar
  22. Delaney, David. 2004. Running with the land: Legal-historical imagination and the spaces of modernity. Journal of Historical Geography 4: 493–506.Google Scholar
  23. Delaney, David. 2010. The spatial, the legal and the pragmatics of world-making: Nomospheric investigations. Oxonbridge: Routledge.Google Scholar
  24. Drakopoulou, Maria. 2008. Feminism, governmentality and the politics of legal reform. Griffith Law Review 17: 330–356.Google Scholar
  25. Farran, Sue. 2010. Law, land, development and narrative: A case study from the South Pacific. International Journal of Law in Context 6(1): 1–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Farran, Sue, and Don Paterson. 2004. South Pacific law. London: Cavendish.Google Scholar
  27. Fineman, Martha Albertson (ed.). 2011. Transcending the boundaries of law: Generations of feminism and legal theory. London: Cavendish-Routledge.Google Scholar
  28. Forsyth, Miranda. 2009. A bird that flies with two wings: The Kastom and state justice system in Vanuatu. Canberra: ANU Press.Google Scholar
  29. Freeman, Marsha. 1994. Women, law and land at the local level: Claiming women’s human rights in domestic legal systems. Human Rights Quarterly 16: 559–575.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Gaer, Felice. 2009. Women, international law and international institutions: The case of the United Nations. Women’s Studies International Forum 32: 60–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Grosz, Elizabeth. 1999. Becoming: An introduction. In Becomings: Explorations in time, memory and futures, ed. Elizabeth Grosz, 1–14. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  32. Haccius, Justin. 2009. Coercion to conversion: Push and pull pressures on custom land in Vanuatu. Jastis Blong Evriwan 3(1): 2.Google Scholar
  33. Harvey, David. 2006. Space as a key word. In David Harvey: A critical reader, ed. Noel Castree and Derek Gregory, 279. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  34. Harvey, David. 2009. Social justice and the city. Georgia: University of Georgia Press.Google Scholar
  35. Jivan, Vedna, and Christine Forster. 2007. Translating CEDAW into law, United Nations Development Program, Suva: Pacific Centre 2007.Google Scholar
  36. Johns, Fleur, Richard Joyce, and Sundhya Pajuha. 2011. Introduction. In Events: The force of international law, ed. Fleur Johns, Joyce Richard, and Sundhya Pajuha, 1–16. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  37. Keenan, Sarah. 2010. Subversive property: Reshaping malleable spaces of belonging. Social and Legal Studies 19: 423–439.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Kelsall, Michelle Staggs, and Shanee Stepakoff. 2007. When we wanted to talk about rape: Silencing sexual violence at the Special Court for Sierra Leone. International Journal of Transitional Justice 1(3): 355–374.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Koskenniemi, Martti. 2007. The fate of public international law: Between technique and politics. Modern Law Review 70: 1–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Lefebvre, Henri. 1991. The production of space. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  41. Lunnay, Chris, Jim Fingleton, Michael Mangawa, Edward Nalyal, and Joel Simo. 2007. Vanuatu review of national land legislation, policy and land administration. Canberra: AusAid.Google Scholar
  42. Manji, Ambreena. 2003a. Remortgaging women’s lives: The World Bank’s land policy in Africa. Feminist Legal Studies 11: 139–162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Manji, Ambreena. 2003b. Commodifying land, fetishising law: Women’s struggles to claim land rights in Uganda. Australian Feminist Law Journal 19: 81–92.Google Scholar
  44. Massey, Doreen. 1994. Space, place and gender. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  45. Massey, Doreen. 2005. For space. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  46. McAuslan, Patrick. 2007. Law and the poor: The case of Dar es Salaam. In Law and the city, ed. Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos, Andreas. Routledge-Cavendish, Oxon.Google Scholar
  47. Moss, Pamela, and Karen Falconer Al-Hindi (eds.). 2008. Feminisms in geography: Rethinking space, place and knowledges. Plymouth: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers.Google Scholar
  48. Naffine, Ngaire (ed.). 2002. Gender and justice. Aldershot: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  49. Pajuha, Sundhya. 2007. Rights as Regulation: The integration of development and human rights. In The intersection of rights and regulation: New directions in socio-legal scholarship, ed. Bronwen Morgan, 167–193. Aldershot: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  50. Patterson, Don. 2001. Some thoughts about customary land. Journal of South Pacific Law 5: 5–7.Google Scholar
  51. Pearson, Zoe. 2008. Spaces of international law. Griffith Law Review 17: 489–514.Google Scholar
  52. Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos, Andreas (ed.). 2007. Law and the city. Oxon: Routledge-Cavendish.Google Scholar
  53. Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos, Andreas. 2010a. Law’s spatial turn: Geography, justice and a certain fear of space. Law, Culture and the Humanities 7(2): 187–202.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos, Andreas. 2010b. Spatial justice: Law and the geography of withdrawal. International Journal of Law in Context 6(3): 201–216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos, Andreas, and Sharron FitzGerald. 2008. From space immaterial: The invisibility of lawscape. Griffith Law Review 17(2): 348–453.Google Scholar
  56. Razack, Sherene. 1998. Race, space and prostitution: The making of the bourgeois subject. Canadian Journal of Women and the Law 10: 338–376.Google Scholar
  57. Richardson, J., and R. Sandland (eds.). 2000. Feminist perspectives on law and theory. London: Cavendish Press.Google Scholar
  58. Rodman, Margaret. 1987. Masters of tradition: Consequences of customary land tenure in Longana, Vanuatu. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press.Google Scholar
  59. Santos, Boaventura De Sousa. 1987. ‘Law’ a map of misreadings: Towards a postmodern conception of law. Journal of Law and Society 14(3): 297–302.Google Scholar
  60. Storey, Donovan. 2006. Urbanisation in the Pacific. State, society and governance in Melanesia. Canberra: AusAid.Google Scholar
  61. The World Bank. 2006. Gender and economic growth in Uganda: Unleashing the power of women. By Amanda Ellis, Claire Manuel and Mark Blackden. Washington: The World Bank.Google Scholar
  62. Thornton, Margaret. 1996. Dissonance and distrust: Women in the legal profession. Melbourne: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  63. Varley, Ann. 2007. Gender and property formalization: Conventional and alternative approaches. World Development 35(10): 1739–1753.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Cases

  1. Awop v Lepenmal (2007) VUIC. 2.Google Scholar
  2. Bue Manie and Kenneth Kaltabang v Sato Kilman (1983) Supreme Court Vanuatu Land Case. L5.Google Scholar
  3. Haitong v Tavuli (2007) VUIC 3.Google Scholar
  4. Joli v Joli (2004) VUSU 57.Google Scholar
  5. Noel and others v Toto (1995) VUSC. 3.Google Scholar

Legislation

  1. Constitution of the Republic of Vanuatu. Google Scholar
  2. Land Reform Act 1980 (VU).Google Scholar
  3. Alienated Land Act 1982 (VU).Google Scholar
  4. Land Leases Act 1984 (VU).Google Scholar

International Law

  1. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, opened for signature 1 March 1980, 1249 UNTS 13 (entered into force 3 September 1981).Google Scholar
  2. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (opened for signature 16 December 1966, entered into force 23 March 1976 and in particular Article 3.Google Scholar
  3. International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (opened for signature 16 December 1966, entered into force 3 January 1976).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Macquarie Law SchoolMacquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia

Personalised recommendations