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International conference "On women's rights: between violence and exploitation"

University of Padova, November 11-12, 2019

>> Enrollment closed - maximum number of participants reached

The assumption of this International Conference is that gender-based violence (GBV) perpetrated by males against women, women’s vulnerability, and women’s exploitation are inextricably linked phenomena.

To deal with worldwide violence and exploitation, largely means to tackle occurrences of violence and exploitation that affect women. Against this background some target of migrant women may be a special case.

On the one hand, GBV is one of the root causes of women’s vulnerability in that it directly contributes to it and explains some of its specific features; on the other hand, male violence is a crucial mechanism through which women’s vulnerability and subjugation are maintained, reproduced and reinforced. Both male perpetrators of violence against women and exploiters use similar power control tactics to dominate their victims.

For example, in the realm of trafficking in human beings and severe forms of exploitation at national and global levels (including in the EU), recent observations confirm that family members and other male people in intimate relationship with the concerned women play a crucial role in forcing them to migrate and expose themselves to extremely harmful situations. Indeed, the reason why young women leave their countries (in Africa, South-East Asia, Central America, etc) and enter or are driven into exploitation circuits is often because they are mandated to economically support their male partner or male components of their families. Violence by the intimate partner or other multiple forms of family violence against women and girls are not simply a by-product of poverty and labour exploitation. As fully recognized today, violence is related to the structural differences in terms of power between women and men, reproduced through a gender-based division of roles and reinforced by the persistence of stereotypes rooted in many social norms. For migrant women, in particular, involved in such dynamics, the outcome can be prostitution (irrespective of the policies of toleration or repression adopted at the national levels) or severe forms of exploitation in labour, or a variety of different forms of severe abuse, where gender plays a prominent role.

A correlation between GBV, migration and women’s severe exploitation is nowadays largely reported by any agencies dealing with victims of trafficking in human beings and more in general with the intersectional dimension of discriminations. Intersectorial analysis of violence and exploitation may indeed shed light on a variety of situations, only partially the object of public awareness and ad hoc policies. Violence erupts “unexpectedly” in the grey zones where public/private, identity/difference, material/cultural layers overlap and slip almost irretrievably.

In the 40th anniversary of the CEDAW, and the 30th of the CRC, the Conference holds to a human rights based approach to the issue of violence and exploitation, also in the light of the CEDAW General Recommendation n. 35 (2017), that sets new standards in combating male violence against women and in protecting the dignity and human rights of women and their children.

Adopting a human rights based approach implies that not only rights holders and honored, but also that duty bearers are identified and prompted to comply with their obligations. States, in particular, have to discharge their international obligations in good faith and with due diligence. The due diligence standard is particularly relevant – as the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human rights, the American Court of human Rights and other quasi-judicial bodies have largely proved – in cases of widespread situations of disregard and belittlement of gender-based discriminations and abuse. It is however important to reflect on how far can realistically be pushed the responsibility of States in connection with systemic injustice, and how such forms and accountability can be operationalized in order to enforce a substantial and not just cosmetic change. In this framework, normative reforms and judicial responses are crucially important. Trends in this connections are inconsistent. An increasing awareness of gender discriminations and gaps, is accompanied by tight measures on migrants, minorities, marginalized people.

These issues will be addressed in the key-note speeches that will introduce the conference: “On the struggle against male violence today: state accountability and the due diligence” and “Male violence against women: the challenge of intersectionality”. The final session will be devoted to the operationalization of anti-violence and anti-exploitation policies: contributions will be offered by representative of international bodies and organizations.


The International Conference is organized by the Department of Political Science, Law and International Studies and the Human Rights Centre “Antonio Papisca” of the University of Padova, in the framework of the project “Migrant Women at the Margin: Addressing Vulnerabilities in Intersectionality between Violence and Exploitation/Mwm”, funded by the Cariparo Foundation, Padova/Visiting Programme 2018.

The MwM Project is realized with the University of Wrocław, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of International Studies as leading foreign partner. The Conference is organised in cooperation with the Bachelor Degree Programme in "Political Science, International Relations, Human Rights" and the Master's Degree Programme in "Human Rights and Multi-level Governance".

Loghi International Conference

Conference Programme

Monday, 11th November 2019

Venue: Sala delle Edicole, Palazzo del Capitanio, Piazza Capitaniato, 3, University of Padova

8.45 Registration of participants


Welcome Addresses

Annalisa Oboe, Vice Rector for Cultural, Social and Gender Relations, University of Padova,

Gabriella Salviulo, Director, Human Rights Centre "Antonio Papisca", University of Padova,

Magdalena Ratajczak, Deputy Director, Institute of International Studies, University of Wrocław

9.30 - 11.30 Session

Addressing violence and exploitation: due diligence and intesersectorial analysis

Chair: Elena Pariotti, Director, Department of Political Science, Law, and International Studies, University of Padova.

9.30 - 9.40 Paola Degani, Department of Political Science, Law and International Studies and Human Rights Centre, University of Padova. Introduction.

9.40 - 10.20 Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, UN Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons especially women and children. Gender violence and exploitation: state accountability and the due diligence standard.

10.20 - 11.00 Rosa Logar, Co-Founder of WAVE, former member of GREVIO and director of the Domestic Violence Intervention Center Vienna. Male violence against women: the challenge of intersectionality.

11.00 - 11.30 Break

Panel 1. 11.30 - 13.00

Migrant women at the margin

Chairs: Magdalena Ratajczak and Katarzyna Jedrzejczyk-Kuliniak, Institute of International Studies, University of Wrocław

Rafaela Pascoal, University of Palermo, Italy.Between vulnerability and agency. Motherhood of Nigerian and Romanian women in sexual exploitation.

Lorenza Perini and Claudia do Campos, University of Padova, Italy. Syrian and Syrian Palestinian women refugee in Lebanon: Vulnerabilities, coping mechanisms and challenges

Nicoletta Policek, University of Cumbria, United Kingdom. Gender based violence and vulnerability of stateless identity.

Clara Rigoni, Max Planck Institute, Halle and Freiburg, Germany.Inter-normative approaches to intersectional violence. The case of honor-based violence and forced marriages.

13.00 - 14.30 Lunch

Panel 2.  14.30 - 16

Concepts and practices in intersectionality: human rights protection vs violence and exploitation

Chairs: Paola Degani and Pietro de Perini, Department of Political Science, Law, and International Studies and Human Rights Centre, University of Padua

Francesca Cimino, University of Padova, Italy. I don’t have a choice and I know: the intersectional dimension of women trafficking and the failure of HR protection.

Gianfranco Della Valle Municipality of Venice, Social Protection and Anti-Violence Service, Italy. Homicide of female prostitutes in Italy (1988-2018). Between vulnerability, violence and exploitation.

Kerttuli Lingenfelter, European University Institute, Firenze, Italy. Human trafficking and vulnerability at the crossroads of human rights protection and criminal law.

Stoppioni Chiara, University of Firenze, Italy. Dignity and liberty: a complementary couple in the definition of “vulnerability” offered by trafficking in human beings documents

16.00 - 16.30 Break

Panel 3. 16.30 - 18.00

Justiciability of violence and exploiation

Chair: Claudia Pividori, Anti-Violence Centre Padova, and Human Rights Centre, University of Padova

Carletti Cristiana, University of Roma Tre, Italy. Tackling gender based violence and exploitation. A comparative overview among UNECE states after 25 years from the Beijing Declaration and Program for action.

Ino Kehrer, University of Padova, Italy. Universality for whom? A comparison of the global responses to non-necessary genital modifications on female and intersex children.

Jelena Ristik, University American College, Skopje, Republic of North Macedonia. Developments Regarding Domestic Violence in the Case-Law of the European Court of Human Rights: Kurt v. Austria.

Sofia Sutera, University of Padova, Italy. Sexual exploitation and abuse in peacekeeping: Making human rights obligations universal.


Tuesday, 12th November 2019

Venue: Aula Ippolito Nievo Cortile Antico - Palazzo Bo - via 8 Febbraio 2

9.00 - 11.00 Session

Operationalising the fight against violence and exploitation 

Chair: Paolo De Stefani, Department of Political Science, Law, and International Studies and Human Rights Centre, University of Padova

9.00 - 9.30 Paola Degani. Migrant Women at the Margin: Addressing Vulnerabilities in Intersectionality between Violence and Exploitation / Mwm: the Cariparo Project

9.30 - 10.00 Christina Olsen, Council of Europe, Member of GREVIO’s secretariat. The Istanbul Convention and beyond

10.00 - 10.30 Eleonora Lozzi, Centro Veneto Progetti Donna, Centro Anti-Violenza Padova, The challenge of intersectionality: the experience of Padua’s antiviolence center

10.30 - 11.00 Maura Misiti, Institute for Research on Population and Social Policies, National Research Council IRPPS-CNR. The multi-agency approach to tackle violence against women: the Anti-Violence Italian Plan 2017-2020

11.00 - 11.30 Break

11.30 - 12.30 Discussion and conclusion

To participate in the conference, please register using the link provided at the bottom of this page.


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