OP CEDAW Campaign

IWRAW Asia Pacific played a key role in the creation of the Optional Protocol to CEDAW through active lobbying and participation in the drafting process. Then immediately prior to the adoption of the OP-CEDAW, IWRAW Asia Pacific along with other NGOs and individuals, created the global campaign for the ratification and use of the OP-CEDAW, called “Our Rights Are Not Optional!”. This campaign is an international initiative seeking to enhance the domestic implementation of standards contained in the CEDAW Convention through advocacy towards the ratification and use of the Optional Protocol to CEDAW. Specifically the objectives of the campaign are to:

- Create a global network of women’s groups that mobilise in favour of domestic implementation of the standards contained in the CEDAW Convention and other major human rights treaties;

- Build capacity for women lawyers, women’s organizations and human rights advocates on the normative and procedural content of CEDAW, the OP and other international human rights instruments;

- Strengthen a knowledge base on the Optional Protocol to CEDAW to support legal initiatives and advocacy efforts at the national, regional and international level; and

- Undertake advocacy and establishing partnerships around standard setting on international human rights standards. The campaign may undertake international advocacy initiatives.

IWRAW Asia Pacific is the secretariat of this campaign, guided by a group of international expert advisors known as the "advisory group" to the global campaign. The advisory group comprises of five regional representatives, three independent experts, the executive director of IWRAW Asia Pacific and the IWRAW Asia Pacific programme officer who also acts as coordinator of the project.

Activities under Regional and National Campaigns


South-East Asia Consultation on the OP to CEDAW (May 2008);

South Asia Dialogue on OP to CEDAW through work on SATAC/SALI (July 2008 and November 2008);

Eastern-Europe/CIS Strategic Planning Meeting with KARAT to plan the implementation of an OP CEDAW programme in the region (March 2008) followed by 8 national training (1st in June 2008);

MENA - country visit to Morocco as regional coordinator of the MENA campaign to gauge their current work and identify specific areas that IWRAW Asia Pacific can provide support on (mid- 2008);

Africa – regional meeting in November (tentatively back-to-back with AWID) to re-invigorate the campaign and come up with a plan of action.


Technical assistance to the development of communications and inquiry in Philippines, Maldives and East Timor (throughout 2008-2010).

Identification and support to other countries ready to file a communication or inquiry.


OP CEDAW Workshop at the Association for the Advancement of Women in Development (AWID) Conference scheduled in November 2008