Choosing a Procedure Inquiry or Communication

Although one does not preclude the other, in some cases it may be necessary to choose between the Communication Procedure and the Inquiry Procedure. One procedure may be more appropriate than the other in facilitating the overall aim, depending on the:

- Facts specific to the violation(s);

- Result which is hoped to be achieved from the procedure; or

- Resources available - financial and/or administrative.

Certain violations while impacting victims as individuals, may also give rise to wide-scale violations of a pattern that will be better understood and addressed by the CEDAW Committee under the inquiry mechanism. In some scenarios, cases brought under the Inquiry Procedure may provide a better forum for the CEDAW Committee to effectively challenge the socio-cultural patterns leading to the violations and formulate recommendations that are holistic and address cross-cutting issues in the case.

Similarly, where the facts reveal violations which affect more than one victim but may not reveal a pattern of violations, or where individuals are seeking personal redress specific to their own circumstances, the Communications Procedure may be the more appropriate route.

Case Studies

The following section is meant to illustrate the ways in which the OP-CEDAW can be applied to actual circumstances. Since the thematic focus and approach to each case study is different, advocates at the national level may find these useful.The case studies are also meant to show the different ways the inquiry and communications procedures can be used.

Case Study


Women in a public mental health institution: This is an example of a situation that could be considered under either the inquiry or communications procedures set forth in the OP-CEDAW.

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Continuing violations of women’s reproductive rights: This is an example of a situation that could be considered under the Communications Procedure of the OP-CEDAW.

Read (pdf)