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Overview of the mandate

At its fifteenth session, the Human Rights Council adopted by consensus resolution 15/23 to establish, for a period of three years, a working group of five independent experts, of balanced geographical representation, on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice.

As it is stated in this resolution, the main tasks which define the mandate are:

  • To develop a dialogue with States, the relevant United Nations entities, national human rights institutions, experts on different legal systems, and civil society organizations to identify, promote and exchange views on best practices related to the elimination of laws that discriminate against women or are discriminatory to women in terms of implementation or impact and, in that regard, to prepare a compendium of best practices;
  • To undertake a study, in cooperation with and reflecting the views of States and relevant United Nations entities, national human rights institutions and civil society organizations, on the ways and means in which the working group can cooperate with States to fulfil their commitments to eliminate discrimination against women in law and in practice;
  • To make recommendations on the improvement of legislation and the implementation of the law, to contribute to the realization of the Millennium Development Goals, in particular goal 3 on the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women;
  • To work in close coordination, in the context of the fulfilment of its mandate, with other special procedures and subsidiary organs of the Council, relevant United Nations entities, including the Commission on the Status of Women and UN Women and, in particular, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and other treaty bodies, within their respective mandates, with a view to avoiding unnecessary duplication;
  • To take into account the views of other stakeholders, including relevant regional human rights mechanisms, national human rights institutions and civil society organizations;
  • To submit an annual report to the Council, starting at its twentieth session, on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice, and on good practices in eliminating such discrimination, drawing upon the findings of the United Nations human
    rights machinery and the broader United Nations system;

The five member of the working group, appointed by the Human Rights Council at its sixteenth session in March 2011, assumed their functions on 1st May 2011.

The Working Group is due to report at the twentieth session in June 2012.