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Role of CEDAW Committee

Primary Functions

The primary function of the CEDAW Committee is to monitor State implementation of the CEDAW Convention. It does this through the consideration of reports submitted by State parties. These can take the form of either initial or periodic reports, or a combination of the two. After the review of the country concerned, CEDAW Committee prepares a set of recommendations called the Concluding Observations.

The CEDAW Committee also formulates General Recommendations, which are interpretative comments on specific articles of the CEDAW Convention. These General Recommendations are one means by which the CEDAW Committee addresses contemporary issues which the CEDAW Convention does not expressly mention. There are, to date, 26 General Recommendations.

Role under the Optional Protocol

With the adoption of the Optional Protocol to CEDAW in December 2000, the CEDAW Committee has the power to receive complaints by women or on behalf of groups of women, through the communications procedure. Thus, States parties which ratify the Optional Protocol to CEDAW could be said to have granted juridical powers to the CEDAW Committee. This enables them to function like a Human Rights Court in regards to the effective implementation of the provisions contained in the CEDAW Convention.

The Optional Protocol to CEDAW also gives the Committee the power to launch an inquiry into grave and systematic violations of women's human rights on its own initiative.