Learning From Cases of Girls Rights.pdf
I. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
dolescent girls are disproportionately vulnerable to human rights
abuses that can have severe and long lasting consequences. At the same time, girls
generally lack a support system through which they can protest abuses and attempt
to access justice. Equality Now established the Adolescent Girls Legal Defense Fund
(AGLDF) to support and publicize strategically selected legal cases addressing the
most common and significant human rights abuses of adolescent girls.
In order to access the justice system and claim their
rights, girls need:
i. knowledge of their rights;
ii. a supportive environment where they can
voice their concerns without fear of stigma or
Since its inception in 2008, the AGLDF has taken up
nine cases involving various forms of sexual violence,
the most common abuse suffered by girls, in seven
countries. These include cases of rape, abduction
and forced marriage (Ethiopia), rape by teacher
(Zambia), incest (Pakistan), female genital mutilation
(FGM) (Kenya), child marriage (Yemen), sex tourism
(Brazil), gang rape (Kenya), rape of disabled girl
(Uganda) and gang rape by police officers (Pakistan).
This paper consolidates and aggregates the learning
from these cases.
In helping girls seek justice and navigate complex legal
systems, we found common obstacles to justice faced
by them, including lack of knowledge of rights and how
to access them; fear of stigma, not being believed and
being blamed; re-victimization through the justice
system; and lack of girl-friendly services.
iii. assurance that they will not be re-victimized
through the legal system and that access to
justice will be swift; and
iv. support services that are girl centered and
sensitive to their specific needs with a focus on
empowering the victim and giving her agency.
Recommendations emanating from this learning
include focusing on prevention of violations by
providing girls with rights education and support
networks; challenging gender stereotypes and
attitudes through creative use of media, positive role
models, voices of girl leaders and awareness raising
in communities; and providing a better response
to violations by equipping legal systems to address
the needs of adolescent girls and ensuring that
girl-centered support services are available.