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COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION OF DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN

General Discussion on "access to justice", 18 February 2013

On the occasion of its 54th session, to be held in Geneva from 11 February to 1 March 2013, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women will hold a half-day general discussion on access to justice in the context of the following provisions of the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW Convention):

  • Article 2, and in particular:
    • Article 2 (b) providing that States parties undertake to adopt appropriate legislative and other measures, including sanctions where appropriate, prohibiting all discrimination against women;
    • Article 2 (c) providing that States parties undertake to establish legal protection of the rights of women on an equal basis with men and ensure through competent national tribunals and other public institutions the effective protection of women against any act of discrimination;
  • Article 15 (1) providing that States Parties shall accord to women equality with men before the law; and
  • Article 15 (2) providing that States parties shall accord to women in civil matters, a legal capacity identical to that of men and the same opportunities to exercise that capacity. In particular, they shall give women equal rights to conclude contracts and to administer property and shall treat them equally in all stages of procedure in courts and tribunals.

The purpose of the half-day general discussion is to commence the Committee’s process of elaborating a "General Recommendation on access to justice". The purpose of the general recommendation is to provide appropriate and authoritative guidance to States Parties on the measures to be adopted to ensure full compliance with their obligations to protect, respect and fulfil women’s human rights to access to justice.

Date and Venue

The general discussion will take place at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Conference Room XVI, on Monday, 18 February 2013, from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm.

Participation

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women invites States Parties to the CEDAW Convention, United Nations specialized agencies and entities, United Nations human rights mechanisms, non-governmental organizations and other interested organizations and individuals to participate in the general discussion and to provide written submissions.

Written contributions

Written contributions on the theme of the general discussion should be sent electronically in Word format to Ms. Régine Gachoud (email: rgachoud@ohchr.org) indicating "General discussion on access to justice" in the subject. Submissions must not exceed 10 pages and must also be transmitted by 1 February 2013 at the latest. Written contributions will not be translated and should therefore be submitted in English or French, the working languages of the Secretariat.

Oral Interventions

It is envisaged that during the half-day general discussion, time will be allocated for oral statements. Representatives of States Parties to the CEDAW Convention, United Nations specialized agencies and entities, non-governmental organizations and other interested organizations wishing to make a statement on access to justice in the context of the CEDAW Convention must also indicate their intention to do so and must also send their statement electronically in Word format to Ms. Régine Gachoud (email: rgachoud@ohchr.org) by 1 February 2013 at the latest. Statements must not exceed 3 minutes. Speakers must also provide 8 hard copies of their statements for interpretation purposes to Irene del Pilar Sandoval (Room A-541) on the day of the general discussion prior to 9:30 am. Although the Committee will try to accommodate all requests to make an oral intervention, it cannot guarantee that all speakers will be able to do so given the time constraints and depending upon the number of requests. The Committee also reserves the right to organize the speakers list at its discretion.

How to register

In order to register, all individuals must fill-out and submit the “Conference Registration Form” (http://goo.gl/261iF). This form must include the full title of the institution, school or other relevant affiliation (under “Delegation/Participant of Country/Organization or Agency”), the name of the applicant and date of birth; the country of origin of the passport or national identity document, including the passport or document number and date of validity; address, telephone number, and e-mail, as well as address in Geneva and official occupation. The form, which also must be dated, should be submitted by e-mail to cedaw@ohchr.org no later than 1 February 2013 so that arrangements can be made for the issuance of United Nations ground passes to enter United Nations premises. Representatives who submit forms that are illegible, incomplete or after the deadline may not be registered.

To receive the ground pass, all applicants, in addition to sending the form by e-mail to cedaw@ohchr.org, are required to bring the signed original of the Conference Registration Form, a valid national passport or government issued ID bearing a photograph, and appear in person at United Nations Pass and Identification Unit, located at Pregny Gate, United Nations Office at Geneva, Avenue de la Paix 8-14, Geneva, Switzerland. The office hours are 8.00 am to 5.00 pm, Monday through Friday.

Please note that confirmation of registration will be provided by e-mail just prior to 8 February 2013.

Further information

For further information on the general discussion, kindly contact the Secretariat of the Committee by e-mail at: rgachoud@ohchr.org.

Documentation:

Country-specific information