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Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women concludes forty-seventh session

ROUND-UP

22 October 2010

Committee Adopts Conclusions on the Periodic Reports of Burkina Faso, Czech Republic, Malta, Tunisia and Uganda as well as on an Exceptional Report by India

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women this morning concluded its forty-seventh session, adopting concluding observations and recommendations on the periodic reports of Burkina Faso, Czech Republic, Malta, Tunisia and Uganda, which it examined at this session, as well as concluding observations on an exceptional report submitted by India regarding the impact of the Gujarat massacres of 2002 on women. The Committee also adopted a general recommendation on the rights of older women and a general recommendation on Article 2 of the Convention.

The six countries whose reports were examined at the present session are among the 186 States parties to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. In ratifying the Convention, these States commit to submitting regular reports to the Committee on how they are implementing the Convention’s provisions. Following an examination of those reports, in the presence of delegations from the States parties, the Committee adopted, in private session, concluding observations and recommendations for each report, contained in the following documents: for Burkina Faso, CEDAW/C/BFA/CO/6; for the Czech Republic CEDAW/C/CZE/CO/5; for India CEDAW/C/IND/CO/SP.1; for Malta CEDAW/C/MLT/CO/4; for Tunisia CEDAW/C/TUN/CO/6; and for Uganda CEDAW/C/UGA/CO/7. These documents will be available on the Committee’s Web page next week at the following link: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cedaw/cedaws47.htm.

In her closing statement, Zou Xiaoqiao, acting Chairperson of the Committee, said that during this session, the Committee had considered the reports of six States parties and had held informal meetings with entities of the United Nations System, national human rights institutions and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Committee members had also attended several lunchtime briefings organized by non-governmental organizations, and they were very pleased by the high level of attendance of NGOs, which once again made a significant contribution to the work of the Committee. The Committee was thankful to those entities which had provided it with detailed information and encouraged them to deepen their advocacy for the promotion and protection of women’s human rights and the implementation of the Convention.

In addition, the Committee adopted a general recommendation on the rights of older women, a comprehensive interpretation of human rights and States parties’ obligations as they apply in the context of aging. The Committee said it was concerned about the multiple forms of discrimination experienced by older women on the grounds of age and sex which was often a result of unfair resource allocation, maltreatment, neglect and limited access to basic services. The Committee recognized the need for statistical data disaggregated by age and sex as a way to better assess the situation of older women. The Committee also recognized that older women were not a homogeneous group. They had a great diversity of experience, knowledge, ability and skills. Their economic and social situation, however, was dependent on a range of demographic, political, environmental, cultural, employment, individual and family factors. The general recommendation on older women and the recognition of their rights explored the relationship between all the articles of the Convention and ageing. It identified the multiple forms of discrimination that women faced as they aged; outlined the content of the obligations assumed by States as parties to the Convention, from the perspectives of ageing with dignity and older women’s rights; and, included policy recommendations to mainstream the responses to the concerns of older women into national strategies, development initiatives and positive action so that older women could participate fully without discrimination and on the basis of equality with men in the political , social, economic, cultural, civil and any other field in their society.

The Committee also adopted a detailed general recommendation on Article 2 of the Convention in which it reaffirmed that discrimination of women based on sex and gender was inextricably linked with other factors that affected women, such as race, ethnicity, religion or belief, sexual orientation and gender identity. The Committee further emphasized that States parties were obligated to proclaim their total opposition to all forms of discrimination against women and that they should pursue their policies in this regard by all appropriate means and without delay. Where a State party was facing resource constraints or other obstacles, it had to seek international cooperation to overcome such difficulties. The Committee finally repeated its call on States parties to consider withdrawing reservations to the Convention, in particular those relating to article 2, as soon as possible.

Ms. Zou said the constructive dialogue the Committee had had with the States parties that had presented their reports had allowed identifying gaps and challenges and Committee Experts together with State representatives had sought to identify strategies for further action and to find solutions to the challenges of persistent discrimination. These dialogues confirmed the importance of regular and timely reporting and consideration so as to ensure consistent monitoring of progress. In all cases, the Committee recommended that the Convention form the basis for States parties’ efforts aimed at achieving gender equality.

In concluding, Ms. Zou thanked four Experts who would be leaving the Committee: Ferdous Ara Begum, Saisuree Chutikul, Dorcas Coker-Appiah and Cornelis Flinterman. Ms. Zou recognized the departing Committee members for their significant contributions to the work of the Committee, and thanked them for their relentless efforts on behalf of women and girls everywhere.

The Committee members are: Nicole Ameline (France); Ferdous Ara Begum (Bangladesh); Magalys Arocha Dominguez (Cuba); Violet Tsisiga Awori (Kenya); Barbara Evelyn Bailey (Jamaica); Meriem Belmihoub-Zerdani (Algeria); Niklas Bruun (Finland); Saisuree Chutikul (Thailand); Dorcas Coker-Appiah (Ghana); Cornelis Flinterman (Netherlands); Naela Mohamed Gabr (Egypt); Ruth Halperin-Kaddari (Israel); Yoko Hayashi (Japan); Indira Jaising (India); Soledad Murillo de la Vega (Spain); Violeta Neubauer (Slovenia); Pramila Patten (Mauritius); Silvia Pimentel (Brazil); Victoria Popescu (Romania); Zohra Rasekh (Afghanistan); Dubravka Šimonoviæ (Croatia); and Zou Xiaoqiao (China). Ms. Gabr is the Chairperson; Ms. Halperin-Kaddari, Ms. Pimentel and Ms. Zou are Vice Chairpersons; and Ms. Neubauer is Rapporteur.

The next session of the Committee will be held in Geneva from 17 January to 4 February 2011, during which it will consider the reports of Algeria, Bangladesh, Belarus, Israel, Kenya, Lichtenstein, Sri Lanka and South Africa.
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For use of the information media; not an official record