Topic: Health, Women & Gender Region: Africa, Asia & Pacific, Latin America & Caribbean Resource Type: Case Study Author: UNFPA Country: Colombia, Ecuador, Nepal, Philippines, Tanzania, Turkey Year: 2008 Language: English
|Resources||Human Rights Standards||Case Studies||Consolidated Replies||Related Links|
|Topic:||Health, Women & Gender|
|Region:||Africa, Asia & Pacific, Latin America & Caribbean|
|Resource Type:||Case Study|
|Country:||Colombia, Ecuador, Nepal, Philippines, Tanzania, Turkey|
The Convention on the elimination of discrimination against women, adopted on 18 December 1979 by the UN General Assembly, is often described as an international bill of rights for women. Consisting of a preamble and 30 articles, it defines discrimination against women and sets up an agenda for national action to end such discrimination.
The Convention defines discrimination against women as “…any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field.”
By accepting the Convention, States commit themselves to undertake a series of measures to end discrimination against women in all forms, including:
View: Full text of convention
The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) is the body of independent experts that monitors implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. The CEDAW Committee consists of 23 experts on women’s rights from around the world.
Countries who have become party to the treaty (States parties) are obliged to submit regular reports to the Committee on how the rights of the Convention are implemented. During its sessions the Committee considers each State party report and addresses its concerns and recommendations to the State party in the form of concluding observations.
In accordance with the Optional Protocol to the Convention, the Committee is mandated to:
(1) receive communications from individuals or groups of individuals submitting claims of violations of rights protected under the Convention to the Committee and
(2) initiate inquiries into situations of grave or systematic violations of women’s rights. These procedures are optional and are only available where the State concerned has accepted them.
The Committee also formulates general recommendations and suggestions. General recommendations are directed to States and concern articles or themes in the Conventions.
The Committee makes recommendations on any issue affecting women to which it believes the States parties should devote more attention. For example, at the 1989 session, the Committee discussed the high incidence of violence against women, requesting information on this problem from all countries. In 1992, the Committee adopted on general recommendation 19, which requires national reports to the Committee to include statistical data on the incidence of violence against women, information on the provision of services for victims, and legislative and other measures taken to protect women against violence in their everyday lives C such as harassment at the workplace, abuse in the family and sexual violence.
As of January 2008, the Committee has made 25 general recommendations as follow:
The General recommendations are available in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish. View text of General Recommendations
The Commission on the Status of Women is a functional commission of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), dedicated exclusively to gender equality and advancement of women. It is the principal global policy-making body. Every year, representatives of Member States gather at United Nations Headquarters in New York to evaluate progress on gender equality, identify challenges, set global standards and formulate concrete policies to promote gender equality and advancement of women worldwide.
The United Nations Commission on Human Rights appointed a Special Rapporteur on violence against women, including its causes and consequences, with the following mandate:
(a) Seek and receive information on violence against women, its causes and consequences from Governments, treaty bodies, specialized agencies, other special rapporteurs responsible for various human rights questions and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, including women’s organizations, and to respond effectively to such information;
(b) Recommend measures, ways and means, at the national, regional and international levels, to eliminate violence against women and its causes, and to remedy its consequences;
(c) Work closely with other special rapporteurs, special representatives, working groups and independent experts of the Commission on Human Rights – and since March 2006 of the Human Rights Council – and with the treaty bodies, taking into account the Commission’s request that they all regularly and systematically include in their reports available information on human rights violations affecting women; and cooperate closely with the Commission on the Status of Women in the discharge of its functions.
In the discharge of the mandate the Special Rapporteur:
Transmits urgent appeals and communications to States regarding alleged cases of violence against women. See Individual Complaints
Undertakes fact-finding country visits. See Country Visits
Submits annual thematic reports. See Annual Reports
Using rights-based processes towards building gender-sensitive responses for women living with HIV/AIDS: the UNIFEM South Asia partnership with the positive women Network, India and centre for advocacy and research in India