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Tell us how you did it! Ratification Strategies on OP CEDAW

We really need your help in compiling information on ratification strategies on OP CEDAW, whether they are success stories or cautionary tales. Your contribution will help support the work of hundreds of women’s groups advocating for ratification of the OP CEDAW globally. Your assistance will of course be acknowledged in the document to be published later this year.

Find out how you can help here

April 2010

CEDAW ELECTIONS 2010

This is the second alert we are sending to update you on the CEDAW Committee elections process. As you may already know, the CEDAW Convention is the only UN human rights treaty that focuses on gender issues. In this regard, it is important that the all twenty-three experts of the CEDAW Committee have an understanding of the realities of women's lives.

We urge you to get involved in the election process in order to ensure that candidates with feminist principles, a strong grounding in the issues and contexts related to women's lives, who will work towards the greater accountability of state parties to women's human rights and who recognise the role for civil society in the implementation of CEDAW are represented on the Committee.   

THIS YEAR'S ELECTIONS:
As of March 9th the nomination list has closed. 24 States have nominated men and women to fill 11 vacancies in the Committee. Of the 11 members of the Committee whose terms are expiring in 2010, three are from Asia-Pacific, two are from Western Europe, two from Eastern Europe and four are from Africa. This will give you a rough idea as to the distribution of vacancies, and how, in this regard, more advocacy will be required in some regions.

On June 28, 2010, official representatives of all the States parties to CEDAW will be electing 11 members of the Committee that will serve from January 2011 to December 2014.

The 24 nominees are: Ms. Ayse Feride ACAR (Turkey), Ms. Fadheela AL-MAHROOS (Bahrain), Mr. Ahmed AL MUKHAINI (Oman), Ms. Olinda BAREIRO-BOBADILLA (Paraguay), Ms. Joyce BAYANDE MBONGO ENDELEY (Cameroon),  Ms. Meriem BELMIHOUB-ZERDANI (Algeria) Ms. Valentina BODRUG-LUNGU (Moldova), Ms. Dorcas COKER-APPIAH (Ghana) Ms. Mary Shanthi DAIRIAM, (Malaysia), Ms. Julia Lorena FRIES MONLEÓN (Chile), Ms. Naela Mohamed GABR  (Egypt) ; Ms. Ruth HALPERIN-KADDARI (Israel) ,Ms. Yoko HAYASHI (Japan), Ms. Samith HOU  (Cambodia) Ms. Rassolguessida Clémence ILBOUDO SAWADOGO (Burkina Faso), Ms. Grace KYOMUHENDO-BANTEBYA (Uganda), Ms. Violeta NEUBAUER (Slovenia) Ms. Pramila PATTEN (Mauritius) Ms. Maria Helena Lopes de Jesus PIRES (Timor-Leste) , Ms. Sapana PRADHAN-MALLA (Nepal) , Ms. Patricia SCHULZ (Switzerland), Ms. Dubravka ŠIMONOVIC (Croatia) , Ms. Amaryllis TORRES (Philippines) and Ms. Judit WIRTH (Hungary).

Further information on all candidates to be considered this year (CVs) can be found at:
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cedaw/elections2010.htm

For further information about the election process, go to:
http://www.iwraw-ap.org/committee/election.htm

For general information on the CEDAW Committee go to:
http://www.iwraw-ap.org/committee.htm

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

Now that the nomination list has closed, the next stage is to ensure that candidates that fulfill the criteria will be elected by the States parties. You can help with this by contacting progressive representatives of your government in your home country or in New York (UN Mission representative/Ministry of Foreign Affairs), and let them know that women's groups and women's rights advocates globally want independent experts from all over the world to be elected to the Committee. Please let them know that they are responsible for ensuring that the CEDAW Committee process continues to strengthen national efforts towards the realisation of women's rights. In some cases, it would be useful to send a letter stating what you know of the existing nominees and give reasons as to why you are recommending specific names to be considered (both in your region and in others).


 

UPDATES ON THE WORK OF THE COMMITTEE

Source: "Results of the 44th and 45th CEDAW sessions" http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cedaw/docs/E-CN6-2010-CRP-2.pdf

New Followup procedure adopted by the Committee

[Excerpt from Results of the 44th and 45th CEDAW sessions] http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cedaw/docs/E-CN6-2010-CRP-2.pdf  or document E/CN.6/2010/CRP.2

Page 7:   "Follow-up procedure

13. At its forty-first session, the Committee decided to introduce a follow-up procedure whereby it would include a request to individual States parties in the concluding observations on their reports for information on steps taken to implement specific recommendations contained in those concluding observations. The request would call on States parties to provide such information to the Committee within two years. The Committee decided to assess the experience of its follow-up procedure in 2011.

14. At its forty-fourth session, the Committee appointed a rapporteur on follow-up to concluding observations and an alternate: Dubravka Simonovic and Barbara Bailey respectively. The follow-up rapporteur should report to the Committee at each session.

15. At its forty-fifth session, the Committee adopted a methodology to assess States parties reports received under its follow-up procedure (Decision 45/II). At its forty-fifth session, the Committee also adopted the report presented by the Rapporteur on follow-up. "

In their latest statement on the role of NGOs, the Committee has also elaborated on the role of NGOs in this followup process: "...11. The Committee adopted a follow-up procedure to its concluding observations at its forty-first session and decided on its methodology at its forty-fifth session, whereby a State party is requested to submit information within one or two years on action taken to implement the recommendations selected under the follow up procedure. Usually two recommendations are selected for the procedure. NGOs are encouraged to submit alternative information for the attention of the Committee by the same deadline as the State party. All information received under this procedure is made available on the Committee’s website." http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cedaw/docs/statements/NGO.pdf

Drafting General Recomendations
(see pages 4-6 of Results of the 44th and 45th Sessions of the CEDAW Committee E/CN.6/2010/CRP.2)

a. General recommendation on article 2
The Committee is looking to discuss a revised draft at the next session with a view to finalising it in the 47th session.

b. General Recommendation on older women
The Committee is looking to discuss a revised draft at the next session with a view to finalising it at the same session.

c. General recommendation on the economic consequences of marriage and its dissolution
The Committee asked for a revised draft for discussion at the 46th session with a view to adoption at the 47th session.

New Working groups
Two new Working groups were maintained: joint CEDAW/CRC WG and WG on women of concern to UNHCR.

State Reports asked to adhere to new format for states report (of core document and treaty specific document) under harmonised guidelines (Decision 45/I)

States were asked to use the new format for state reports which includes the core document with a page limit of 60-80 pages) and the treaty specific (CEDAW specific) document of a limit of 60 pages.

 

CEDAW COMMITTEE STATEMENT ON BEIJING+15

At the recent 45th session of CEDAW review, the Committee on Elimination of Discrimination Against Women notes some progress in implementation of Beijing PFA especially in changing the legal environment for promotion and protection of women's right to equality but calls for more concerted efforts to ensure actual achievement of equality between men and women.

 

ONCLUDING OBSERVATIONS: 45th CEDAW SESSION
Botswana, Egypt, Malawi, Netherlands, Panama, Ukraine, UAE, Uzbekistan

The Concluding Observations for the 45th CEDAW session are now available.

They can be downloaded at the website of the OHCHR at: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cedaw/cedaws45.htm.

The Concluding Observations are divided according to themes / issues so it is easy to see how the Committee has dealt with each issue. The document is only available in English now, but will soon be available in French and Spanish as well. Please note also that the Concluding Observations are currently provided in the original language of adoption and unedited version. Please do check the OHCHR website from time to time to see if the translations have been completed, and for the final versions of the Concluding Observations.

Direct links to the Concluding Observations:

BOTSWANA:  http://www2.ohchr.org/tbru/cedaw/CEDAW-C-BOT-CO-3.pdf         
EGYPT:  http://www2.ohchr.org/tbru/cedaw/CEDAW-C-EGY-CO-7.pdf        
MALAWI:  http://www2.ohchr.org/tbru/cedaw/CEDAW-C-MWI-CO-6.pdf         
NETHERLANDS:  http://www2.ohchr.org/tbru/cedaw/CEDAW-C-NLD-CO-5.pdf        
PANAMA:  http://www2.ohchr.org/tbru/cedaw/CEDAW-C-PAN-CO-7.pdf         
UKRAINE:  http://www2.ohchr.org/tbru/cedaw/CEDAW-C-UKR-CO-7.pdf         
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES:  http://www2.ohchr.org/tbru/cedaw/CEDAW-C-ARE-CO-1.pdf        
UZBEKISTAN:  http://www2.ohchr.org/tbru/cedaw/CEDAW-C-UZB-CO-4.pdf        

The next official document from the review is the Summary Records of the CEDAW Committee, which will be released a few months later. The Summary Records is an official record or minutes of the entire day of review between the CEDAW Committee and the Stae under review. This can be found at the website of the 45th CEDAW session in the first column "States examined, schedule and summary records" at: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cedaw/cedaws45.htm

March 2010
CEDAW REPORTING SCHEDULE

Note 1: number in (brackets) denote whether it is an initial / periodic report (whether 4th report or 5th report etc)
Note 2: the schedule is tentative and may change. Check the OHCHR website regularly for the most recent schedule.

Countries that have been invited to submit long overdue reports by 2010 and may to be scheduled in 2011

More than 5 years
Afghanistan
Solomon Islands

More that 10 years
Bulgaria
Saint Vincent
The Grenadines
Senegal

Others
Iraq

Future Sessions (State report submitted)

50th Session
Date: 9 - 23 October 2011
Venue: Geneva, Switzerland
Pre session: 48th session in Feb 2011
8 countries

49th Session
Date: 11 - 29 July 2011
Venue: New York, USA
Pre session: 47th session in Oct / Nov 2010
8 Countries: Costa Rica (6), Djibouti (1-3), Ethiopia (6-7), Italy (6), Nepal (4-5), Republic of Korea (7), Singapore (4), Zambia (5-6)

48th Session
Date: 17 January - 4 February 2011
Venue: Geneva, Switzerland
Pre session: 46th session in July 2010
8 countries: Algeria (3-4), Bangladesh (6-7), Belarus (7), Israel (4-5), Kenya (7), Liechtenstein (4), Sri Lanka (5-7), South Africa (2-4)

47th Session
Date: 4 - 22 October 2010
Venue: Geneva, Switzerland
Pre session: 8 - 12 February 2010
9 countries: Burkina Faso (6), Czech Republic (4-5), Malta (4), Tunisia {5-6), Uganda (4-7), Initial reports - Bahamas (1), Chad (1), Comoros (1), Lesotho (1)

46th Session
Date: 12 -30 July 2010
Venue: New York, USA
Pre session: 10 - 14 August 2009
11 countries: Albania (3), Argentina (6), Australia (7), Fiji (4), Papua New Guinea (3), Russian Federation (7), Turkey (6), Initial reports - Central African Republic (1), Grenada (1), Seychelles (1), Exception report - India

45th Session
Date: 18 January - 5 February 2010
Venue: Geneva, Switzerland
Pre session: 9 - 13 February 2009
8 countries: Botswana (3), Malawi (6), Netherlands (5), Panama (7), Uzbekistan (4) Initial reports - United Arab Emirates (1), Ukraine (1)

January 2010

CEDAW Committee Elections 2010:Time to take action!
It is time to think about nominating and re-electing members to the CEDAW Committee. As you know, the term of 11 CEDAW members will be expiring on 31 December 2010.

This email is to alert you that the elections will be held on 28 June 2010 in New York, at the 16th meeting of States parties to the Convention and to  urge you to take action now.   (Source: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cedaw/elections2010.htm)

!!March 9 is the deadline for submission of nominees by our governments to the OHCHR for consideration in June!!

About the elections

Members of the CEDAW Committee are elected pursuant to article 17 of the CEDAW Convention by States parties from among nationals of that country. However, it is important to note that these members serve in their personal capacity and not as representatives of that States party. Members are elected for a term of four years.

Why should you take action?
There is still a need for women's groups and women's rights advocates to continue advocating for the inclusion of independent feminist experts in the CEDAW Committee. The CEDAW Convention is the only UN human rights treaty that focuses on gender issues. In this regard, it is important that the twenty-three experts of the CEDAW Committee have an understanding of the realities of women's lives, is of high moral standing and has competence in the field of women's human rights, as required by the Convention.

Thus, each CEDAW Committee member has the potential of advocating for women's rights at many levels, including:
1) To uphold the notion that States are accountable to women;
2) To continuously expand and further rights contained in the CEDAW Convention along feminist principles;
3) To ensure that women's NGOs are included in CEDAW-related processes.
4) Additionally, with the existence of OP CEDAW, which creates a complaints mechanism through which
violations of the treaty can be adjudicated by the Committee, we need Committee members who have an understanding of the realities of women's lives in order that women can use the mechanism and obtain redress for
violations to their rights under CEDAW

What can NGOs do?
1. Identify women and feminist experts with a strong understanding and experience in promoting and protecting women's rights and who are willing and able to be Committee members
2. Start lobbying your government to nominate these women for the post.
3. Share these names with us so that we can coordinate lobbying our governments for their election onto the Committee at the elections in June 2010.

The Timeline for this process is:
1. Now until 9 March 2010: Time for women's groups to lobby their governments and suggest names of good candidates from their own country to be elected to the Committee. You may also wish to facilitate this process by reminding the relevant office in your government of the deadline, and forwarding the form and contact details for nomination which can be downloaded here:
 http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cerd/docs/elections2010/BioDataForm.doc )
2. 9 March 2010: Nomination list closes.

3. Between 9 March - 28 June 2010: Women's groups lobby  governments and missions to vote for their candidate and candidates that best fulfill the criteria. CVs and bio details will be made available on the OHCHR website so you find out more about the other nominees. http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cedaw/elections2010.htm.

4. 28 June 2010: CEDAW States Parties Meeting: Where states parties will vote through secret ballot to either re-elect committee members whose terms expire in 2008 or elect new members.

5. New members take office on 1 Jan 2011

Who are the 11 CEDAW members whose term are expiring?

1.   Ms. Ferdous Ara Begum (Bangladesh)
2.    Ms. Meriem Belmihoub-Zerdani(Algeria) - Renominated
3.    Ms. Saisuree Chutikul(Thailand)
4.    Ms. Dorcas Coker-Appiah (Ghana)
5.   Mr. Cornelis Flinterman (Netherlands)
6.   Ms. Naela Mohamed Gabr (Egypt)
7.   Ms. Ruth Halperin-Kaddari(Israel)
8.   Ms. Yoko Hayashi (Japan) -Renominated
9.   Ms. Violeta Neubauer(Slovenia)
10.  Ms. Pramila Patten(Mauritius)
11.  Ms. Dubravka Šimonović (Croatia) -Renominated

Some outgoing members have already been re-nominated by their governments.

Other Nominees are:
Ms. Ayse Feride ACAR  - Turkey
Ms. Joyce Bayande Mbongo Endeley -Cameroun
Ms. Julia Lorena Fries Monleón Chile

April 2009
Updated information for 44th Session

The provisional agenda for the 44th CEDAW session is now available on the website of the OHCHR. It is attached here.

The dates of the informal meeting between CEDAW and stakeholders to discuss the proposed General Recommendations on the economic consequences of divorce and on older women are as follows:

21 July 2009, Wednesday, 3-5pm: older women
4 August 2009, Tuesday, 10am - 12noon: economic consequences of divorce

The reporting schedule for Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bhutan, Denmark, Guinea-Bissau, Japan, Laos, Liberia, Spain, Switzerland, Timor Leste, and Tuvalu are also set out in the agenda.

NGOs wishing to make statements on the reporting states can do so at the Informal meeting with NGOs on 20 July (Monday, 3 - 4.15pm) and 28 July (Tuesday, 3 - 4.30pm).

March 2008
NGOS submit proposal and background paper to CEDAW Committee on developing a General Comment on Aging Women.


The Background paper can be downloaded here

March 2008
New information and updates on the work of the CEDAW Committee

We are sending you an update on the work of the CEDAW Committee. At the recent session of the CSW, the Committee presented a list of decisions it made within October 2008 - February 2009, in the implementation of its functions.

Here are some decisions to note [a full list and description is in the document attached]:

1. Rotation of CEDAW Chair
The rotation of the chair will be Africa (now) followed by Latin America and Carribean (2011 - 2012). The rotation after this will be Western European and Others, Asian Group, Eastern European Group, African Group and Latin American and Caribbean Group.

[NGOs should consider lobbying their states with feminist candidates for the 2010 CEDAW elections.]

2. The General Comment on state obligation is to be finalised at the 44th session!

3. Consideration of 2 new General Comments on Older Women and economic consequences of divorce on women
The committee will hold a day of open discussion for BOTH the GR on older women and on the economic consequences of divorce on women at the 44th session.

4. Follow-up procedure on elimination of discriminatory laws being considered
The committee talked about the procedure for follow up but have not decide which procedure to adopt (standing working group or independent special mechanism).

5. Follow up procedure to Concluding Observations being considered

6. Consideration of setting up working groups to discuss role of Parliaments and NGOs in CEDAW and the Optional Protocol

7. Other important statements: on equality and non discrimination as customary law
The committee made statements on the global financial crisis (annex 3) and 60 years of UDHR (annex 2). In the statement on UDHR the committee said that equality and non discrimination are emerging customary law since 185 countries have ratified CEDAW.

"In 2008 this Convention has been ratified by 185 States parties. The CEDAW Committee is entrusted with the supervision of the implementation of the Convention by the States Parties. There is no doubt that also in 2008 full equality, both formal and substantive, of women and men around the world has not yet been achieved. Nevertheless, the CEDAW Committee is convinced that the principle of equality of women and men in the enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms does not only constitute a crucial treaty obligation, but is also emerging as a principle of customary international law."

March 2008

Following our last alert regarding States that recently submitted reports to CEDAW, the following States have subsequently been scheduled to report at the 46th CEDAW session, in July 2010:

Albania
Australia
Fiji
Papua New Guinea
Russian Federation
Turkey

The reports can be found here:
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cedaw/cedaws46.htm

The Pre-Session Working Group for this session will meet from 10 to 14 August 2009 to consider the reports and prepare a List of Issues and Question. NGOs wishing to submit information for the Pre-Session, must do to 2 weeks before the Pre Session, and should send them directly to: cedaw@ohchr.org. Please cc your email to IWRAW Asia Pacific so we can follow up with the secretariat.

IWRAW Asia Pacific conducts a programme called "From Global to Local" which aims to facilitate alternative information to the CEDAW Committee, and assist women's groups in engaging and participating in the process.

If you know of groups which are interested or already preparing alternative information, please let us know.

Kindly circulate this information widely to your networks.

Feb 2008
States recently submitted their report to CEDAW and may be reviewed soon

The following States have submitted their reports and will be scheduled to report to the CEDAW Committee soon:

Albania
Australia
Israel
Russian Federation
Turkey

We are already in contact with some groups in Israel and Turkey about submitting NGO information. If you know of any groups from the above countries which have prepared or wishes to prepare alternative information, please do let us know.

The State reports can be downloaded at: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cedaw/cedaws_future.htm

Feb 2009
43rd Session Concluding Observations Now Available

The Concluding Observations for the 43rd CEDAW session are now available. They can be downloaded at the website of the OHCHR at: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cedaw/cedaws43.htm.

The Concluding Observations are divided according to themes / issues so it is easy to see how the Committee has dealt with each issue. The document is only available in English now, but will soon be available in French and Spanish as well. Please do check the OHCHR website from time to time to see if the translations have been completed.

The next official document from the review is the Summary Records of the CEDAW Committee, which will be released a few months later. The Summary Records if an official record or minutes of the entire day of review between the CEDAW Committee and the reporting State.

November 2008

Countries reporting at the 45th CEDAW Session Scheduled

We are writing to alert you that the following countries have been tentatively scheduled to report to the CEDAW Committee at the 45th CEDAW session, which will be held in January 2010.

Countries reporting the 45th CEDAW session, in 2010:

Egypt
Panama
Uzbekistan
United Arab Emirates
Netherlands
Malawi
Botswana
Ukraine

-->Request: If you know of women’s groups in these countries who are interested in engaging with the CEDAW review process and submitting an alternative report, please let us know as soon as possible.

The “From Global to Local” programme:

IWRAW Asia Pacific facilitates the participation of women in the CEDAW review process through the programme “From Global to Local”. This is done by :
(1) Assisting women’s organisations in preparing shadow / alternative reports that touches on all of the Articles of the CEDAW Convention and in using the CEDAW reporting process to frame their advocacy efforts; and
(2) Facilitating the presence and effective intervention by NGOs at the CEDAW session, by monitoring the review of their government and impacting on the outcome of the review (the Concluding Comments) through raising pertinent issues and information with the CEDAW Committee.

Alert regarding the Pre-Session:

You should note in particular, that NGOs have the opportunity to submit information for the upcoming Pre-Session, which is being held from 9 – 13 February 2009. NGOs can submit their alternative report or a list of critical issues and questions they want to CEDAW Committee to raise with their government – submissions must be made by 26 January 2009 to the CEDAW secretariat (the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights) at cedaw@ohchr.org (with a cc to iwraw-ap@iwraw-ap.org).

Please do share this with your networks, and let us know if you know of any groups interested in participating in the CEDAW review process.

We hope that you will be able to assist us with this request. Many thanks in advance for your time and assistance.

November 2008

41st session Concluding Observations released

The Concluding Observations for the 41st CEDAW session are now available on the website of the OHCHR at: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cedaw/cedaws42.htm. If you need an emailed copy please let us know and we'll send it to you directly.

The Concluding Observations are divided according to themes / issues so it is easy to see how the Committee has dealt with each issue. The document is only available in English now, but will soon be available in French and Spanish as well. Please do check the OHCHR website from time to time to see if the translations have been completed.

The next official document from the review is the Summary Records of the CEDAW Committee, which will be released a few months later. The Summary Records if an official record or minutes of the entire day of review between the CEDAW Committee and the reporting state.

October 2008
42nd CEDAW Session commences & New ratifications of OP CEDAW

The 42nd CEDAW Session began yesterday on 20th October and is scheduled to run until 7 November. The official session page is: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cedaw/cedaws42.htm

Countries scheduled for review this time are: Bahrain, Belgium, Cameroon (review postponed) Canada, Equador, El Salvador, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar, Mongolia, Myanmar, Portugal, Slovenia and Uruguay.

In addition,on 28 and 29 September 2008, Tunisia and Switzerland respectively ratified the OP CEDAW,bringing the number of ratifications to 92.
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/ratification/8_b.htm

August 2008
44th CEDAW Session Countries Scheduled

List of countries tentatively scheduled to report to the CEDAW Committee at the 44th CEDAW session (22 June - 24 July 2009).

Countries reporting the 44th CEDAW session, in 2009:

• Timor Leste
• Tuvalu
• Switzerland
• Argentina
• Spain
• Japan
• Denmark
• Lao People’s Democratic Republic
• Egypt

-->Request: If you know of women’s groups in these countries who are interested in engaging with the CEDAW review process and submitting an alternative report, please let us know as soon as possible.

The “From Global to Local” programme:

IWRAW Asia Pacific facilitates the participation of women in the CEDAW review process through the programme “From Global to Local”. This is done by :
(1) Assisting women’s organisations in preparing shadow / alternative reports that touches on all of the Articles of the CEDAW Convention and in using the CEDAW reporting process to frame their advocacy efforts; and
(2) Facilitating the presence and effective intervention by NGOs at the CEDAW session, by monitoring the review of their government and impacting on the outcome of the review (the Concluding Comments) through raising pertinent issues and information with the CEDAW Committee.

-->Alert regarding the Pre-Session: You should note in particular, that NGOs have the opportunity to submit information for the upcoming Pre-Session, which is being held from 10 – 14 November 2008. NGOs can submit their alternative report or a list of critical issues and questions they want to CEDAW Committee to raise with their government – submissions must be made by 20 October 2008 to iwraw-ap@iwraw-ap.org and iwraw_ap@yahoo.com.

We hope that you will be able to help us with this request. Many thanks in advance for your time and assistance.

July 2008
Question of reservations in the context of individual communications to OP CEDAW

At the 41st CEDAW session the Committee made a decision about the permissibility of reservations both in relation to the reporting procedure and OP procedures (both individual communications and inquires). Basically says the Committee will determine the permissibility of reservations. This decision can be found in the 2008 Annual CEDAW report. It say:

41 CEDAW Session 2008 "Decision 41/I : The Committee discussed the issue of the compatibility of reservations with the object and purpose of the Convention (vide article 28, paragraph 2 of the Convention). It decided that the determination of this issue, and thus of the permissibility of reservations, not only falls within its function in relation to the reporting procedure under article 18 of the Convention, but also in relation to the individual communication and inquiry procedures under the Optional Protocol."

This is based on a working paper on the effect of reservations in the context of individual communications under the Optional Protocol to CEDAW.

Under the communications procedure of the Optional Protocol to CEDAW, individuals may file petitions against state parties for violations of the CEDAW Convention. However if the individual’s claim under the communications procedure is based on a specific article which the state party has a reservation against then it is unclear whether or not the CEDAW Committee can consider the matter. For example, when an individual’s complaint involves provisions of the CEDAW Convention to which the State party has entered reservations - such as Article 16 - does the communication then become inadmissible?

In considering the legal ramifications of reservations in relation to the filing of individual complaints, the paper reviews the practice and jurisprudence of the Human Rights Committee (“HRC”, which is the Committee monitoring the ICCPR) under the Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, including the landmark case of Kennedy v. Trinidad and Tobago, in which the HRC applied the "object and purpose" test to set aside a State party's reservation (i.e the HRC held that the state party’s reservation on communications relating to death row was incompatible with the object and purpose of the Optional Protocol and therefore the committee was not precluded from considering the communication).

The paper also discusses HRC's General Comment No. 24 (establishing that it is the HRC's role to determine whether a specific reservation is compatible with the object and purpose of the Covenant and that reservations that violate customary international law are therefore invalid) as well as the International Law Commission’s position on the role of the monitoring bodies in determining the validity of reservations.

As the CEDAW Committee has not yet considered the effect of reservations in its decisions under the Optional Protocol, it will therefore draw upon the practice and interpretation of the HRC and other international law bodies which will also ensure a uniform approach to reservations across the human rights treaty bodies.

While the question remains whether the CEDAW Committee can rule on the validity of a reservation in the individual communications procedure under the Optional Protocol the CEDAW Committee has expressed grave concerns about reservations, especially in regards to the core articles 2 and 16, which weaken efforts to fulfill the Convention's purpose of achieving substantive equality for women. In light of the approach taken by the HRC and the CEDAW Committee’s own pronouncements on reservations against core articles, it seems likely that the Committee will not allow a reservation against core articles to preclude a communication under the Optional Protocol.

July 2008
Possible Countries Reviewed at 43rd Session

We are writing to alert you that the following countries have submitted their State reports for the consideration of the CEDAW Committee and therefore may be scheduled to report within the next 2 CEDAW sessions in October 2008 and January 2009:

Initial Reports
Timor-Leste

Periodic Reports
Egypt
Japan
Spain
Switzerland

For information on the dates when the State report was submitted, see Annex 2 of the "Ways and means of expediting the work of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women" which can be found on the website of the OHCHR in these languages:
English
French
Spanish

In particular, you should note that only 13 States have been tentatively scheduled to report this October 2008 at the 42nd CEDAW session, and therefore 2 more States may be slotted for review. For information on the 42nd CEDAW session, see the website of the OHCHR at: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cedaw/cedaws42.htm

As for the 43rd CEDAW session in January 2009, 11 States have been tentatively scheduled, and therefore 4 more States may be slotted for review. For further information, see the website of the OHCHR at:
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cedaw/cedaws43.htm

Please share this information with your networks in the above countries

June 2008
Take action to support election of CEDAW Committee members

On 30 July 2008, official representatives of States parties to CEDAW will be electing 11 members of the Committee that will serve from January 2009 to December 2012.

We have compiled information on the nominees into a table form for your easy reference.

We would like to call to your attention the need for women's groups and women's rights advocates to advocate for the inclusion of independent feminist experts in the CEDAW Committee.

It is important that women's groups get involved; otherwise conservative states might do their best to ensure that partial experts are elected to the Committee.

This year there are 19 persons nominated and 11 vacancies.

Of the 11 members of the Committee whose terms are expiring in 2008, 4 are from Asia-Pacific, 4 are from Europe, and 3 are from Latin America and the Caribbean. This will give you a rough idea as to the distribution of vacancies, and how, in this regard, more advocacy will be required in some regions.

Further information on all other candidates to be considered this year can be found at:
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cedaw/elections.htm

For general information on the CEDAW Committee go to:
http://www.iwraw-ap.org/committee.htm

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

You can send via email or fax, an expression of support to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Women's institute in your country, as well as to your country’s mission in New York.

Let them know that women's groups and women's rights advocates globally want independent experts from all over the world to be elected to the Committee. Remind them that they are responsible for ensuring that the CEDAW Committee process continues to strengthen national efforts towards the realisation of women's rights. In some cases, it would be useful to send a letter stating what you know of the existing nominees and give reasons as to why you are recommending specific names to be considered (both in your region and in others).

If possible, you should copy your letter to the missions of Brazil, Malaysia and India in New York.

The contacts of the UN Permanent Missions in New York can be found at:
http://www.un.org/members/missions.shtml

April 2008
Lobbying for CEDAW Committee Members

The elections for the CEDAW Committee nominations will be held on 30 July 2008, not 30 July 2008,which is the date of the CEDAW States Parties Meeting. The deadline for the Nominations is 30 April 2008.

The term of 11 CEDAW members will be expiring on 31 December 2008.

This email is to alert you that the elections will be held on 30 June 2008, at the fifteenth meeting of States parties to the Convention.

It is vital that you lobby your governments to nominate women’s human rights experts who are feminists in orientation and who welcome NGO inputs at the review sessions.

Who are the 11 CEDAW members whose term are expiring?
The members are:
- Magalys Arocha Dominguez (Cuba)
- Mary Shanthi Dairiam (Malaysia)
- Françoise Gaspard (France)
- Tiziana Maiolo (Italy)
- Silvia Pimentel (Brazil)
- Hanna Beate Schöpp-Schilling (Germany)
- Heisoo Shin (Republic of Korea)
- Glenda P. Simms (Jamaica)
- Anamah Tan (Singapore)
- Maria Regina Tavares da Silva (Portugal)
- Xiaoqiao Zou (China).

When is the deadline for nominations?
Nominations for new members are due on 30 April 2008. States wishing to nominate a candidate should send the relevant form (which can be downloaded on the website of the OHCHR at: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cedaw/docs/CVForm.doc) and submit it to Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, United Nations Office at Geneva, CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland and in electronic version to jconnors@ohchr.org, copy to stolainimolatte@ohchr.org.

You may wish to facilitate this process by reminding the relevant office in your government of the deadline, and forwarding the form and contact details.

More information about the elections can be found on the website of the OHCHR at: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cedaw/elections.htm.

April 2008
Lobbying our states for the Amendment to Article 20(1) to the CEDAW Convention

Art 20(1) determines the meeting time of the CEDAW Committee. As you know, there are now 185 states parties of the Convention; which means that the task of reviewing States parties reports requires more time and resources for the Committee.

What is the Amendment to Article 20(1)?
The Meeting time of the CEDAW Committee is governed by Article 20(1) of the Convention. That article currently allows the Committee to meet "normally... for a period of not more than 2 weeks annually ...to consider the reports submitted..."

In 1995, a resolution was passed by the General Assembly for an amendment to this article. The text of this resolution (enclosed) reads:

1. Decide to replace article 20, paragraph 1, of the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women with the following text: "The Committee shall normally meet annually in order to consider the reports submitted in accordance with article 18 of the present Convention. The duration of the meetings of the Committee shall be determined by a meeting of the States parties to the present Convention, subject to the approval of the General Assembly.";
2. Recommend that the General Assembly, at its fiftieth session, take note with approval of the amendment.
3. Decide that the amendment shall enter into force following consideration by the General Assembly and when it has been accepted by a two thirds majority of States parties which shall have so notified the Secretary-General as depositary of the Convention.


How has the Committee been extending its meeting time in the interim?
In the interim, pending the coming into force of this amendment, the Committee has been requesting for additional extensions to the review sessions and pre-session working groups to handle the backlog of reports. There has been many additional or exceptional sessions and additional weeks added to the sessions, including the recent extensions granted to the Committee for the period of 2008-2009.

In 2007 the General Assembly reminded member states that they should ratify the amendment of 1995 and also recognised the Committee's need for more time and thus allowed for a one time allowance during the 2008-2009 sessions for increased sessions and dual chamber sessions. (document A/RES/62/218 and enclosed) The relevant texts are here:

9. Also recalls its resolution 50/202 of 22 December 1995, in which it took note with approval of the amendment to article 20, paragraph 1, of the Convention, which has yet to enter into force;
10. Strongly urges States parties to the Convention to take appropriate measures so that acceptance of the amendment to article 20, paragraph 1, of the Convention by a two-thirds majority of States parties can be reached as soon as possible and the amendment can enter into force;
12. Notes decision 39/I of the Committee,16 in which it requested the General Assembly to authorize an extension of its meeting time;
13. Also notes that a backlog of reports of thirty-four States parties to be considered by the Committee persists;
14. Decides to authorize the Committee to hold three annual sessions of three weeks each, with a one-week pre-sessional working group for each session, for an interim period effective from January 2010, pending the entry into force of the amendment to article 20, paragraph 1, of the Convention, and to authorize three annual sessions of the Working Group on Communications under the Optional Protocol to the Convention;
15. Also decides to authorize the Committee to meet on an exceptional and temporary basis in the biennium 2008–2009 in a total of five sessions, of which three would occur in parallel chambers, taking due account of equitable geographical distribution, for the purpose of considering reports of States parties submitted under article 18 of the Convention; and further decides that two of the five sessions shall be held at United Nations Headquarters in New York;

16. Urges the Committee to evaluate progress, and decides to assess the situation with regard to the location of the sessions of the Committee after two years, also taking into account the wider context of treaty body reform;

Status of ratification of the amendment
So far, there has been only 52 ratifications as of March 2008. There needs to be 2/3 ratification of all member states or 123 ratifications before the amendment can come into force and be legally binding. The status of ratification of this 1995 proposed amendment can be found here.

The full list of states parties to this amendment are: Andorra Australia Austria Bahamas Bangladesh Brazil Canada Chile China Cook Islands Croatia Cuba Cyprus Denmark Egypt Finland France Georgia Germany Grenada Guatemala Iceland Ireland Italy Japan Jordan Lesotho Liberia Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Madagascar Maldives Mali Malta Mauritius Mexico Mongolia Netherlands New Zealand Niger Norway Panama Philippines Portugal Republic of Korea Republic of Moldova Slovenia Sweden Switzerland Turkey United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland Uruguay.

If your country is not on this list, please take action.

Why Take Action now?
States parties to the CEDAW Convention will be meeting this 30th June 2008. We urge you to remind your governments that they should ratify this amendment. Acceptance of this amendment will demonstrate their political will on promoting and protecting women's human rights and give the Committee more freedom and flexibility to do their job, that is to monitor implementation of the treaty and to help our governments clarify their duties & obligations under the Convention.

You should also note that the election of eleven CEDAW Committee members (to fill the vacancies that will expire on 31 December 2008) will be held at the States parties meeting on 30 June 2008. Nominations are due by 30 April 2008. For more information, see the website of the OHCHR at: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cedaw/elections.htm. A separate action alert on this is forthcoming.

With best regards,
Audrey and Wei San