6 February 2014
Committee to Consider Situation in Bahrain, Cameroon, Qatar, Kazakhstan, Iraq, Sierra Leone and Finland
The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women will hold its fifty-seventh session at the Palais des Nations in Geneva from 10 to 28 February 2014 during which it will review reports presented by Bahrain, Cameroon, Qatar, Kazakhstan, Iraq, Sierra Leone and Finland on how they implement the provisions of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
States parties to the Convention commit themselves to ending all political, economic, social, cultural, civil or other forms of discrimination against women. The Committee, a 23-person expert body, monitors compliance with the treaty. It assesses to what extent each State party is meeting its obligations, and makes recommendations for the implementation of the Convention.
At the opening meeting on Monday, 10 February, the Committee will adopt its agenda. The Chairperson of the Committee, Nicole Ameline, will brief the Committee on activities and events occurring since the previous session that had a bearing on the work of the Committee.
In addition to considering the reports of seven States parties, the Committee will hold public informal meetings with non-governmental organizations and national human rights institutions to discuss the situation in the countries whose reports will be considered. It will also consider individual complaints as well as inquiries under the Optional Protocol to the Convention, in closed meeting. The Committee will discuss matters relating to follow-up to concluding observations and its methods of work.
Qatar is presenting its initial report (CEDAW/C/QAT/1).
Bahrain is presenting its third periodic report (CEDAW/C/BHR/3) and the Committee’s concluding observations and recommendations on the combined initial and second periodic report of Bahrain, which was considered in 2008, can be found in (CEDAW/C/BHR/CO/2).
Cameroon is presenting its combined fourth and fifth periodic report (CEDAW/C/CMR/4-5) and the Committee’s concluding observations on the combined second and third period report of Cameroon, which was considered in 2009, can be found in (CEDAW/C/CMR/CO/3).
Kazakhstan is presenting its combined third and fourth periodic report (CEDAW/C/KAZ/3-4) and the Committee’s concluding observations and recommendations on the second periodic report of Kazakhstan, which was considered in 2007, can be found in (CEDAW/C/KAZ/CO/2). Iraq is presenting its combined fourth to sixth periodic report (CEDAW/C/IRQ/4-6), and the Committee’s concluding observations and recommendations on the combined second and third periodic report, which was considered in 2000, can be found in (A/55/38 paras.166-210).
Sierra Leone is presenting its sixth periodic report (CEDAW/C/SLE/6) and the Committee’s concluding observations and recommendations on the combined initial to fifth periodic report, considered in 2007, can be found in (CEDAW/C/SLE/CO/5). Finland is presenting its seventh periodic report (CEDAW/C/FIN/7) and the Committee’s concluding observations and recommendations on the combined fifth and sixth periodic report of Finland, considered in 2008, can be found in (CEDAW/C/FIN/CO/6).
The reports that the Committee will review during the session as well as other documentation can be found on the webpage of the Committee.
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 18 December 1979, and entered into force on 3 September 1981. Often described as an international bill of rights for women, the Convention both defines discrimination against women and sets an agenda for national action to end such discrimination. Since its entry into force, the Convention has achieved near-universal acceptance, with 187 States parties.
The Convention defines discrimination against women as "... any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field".
By accepting the Convention, States parties commit themselves to undertake a series of measures to end discrimination against women in all forms, including: incorporating the principle of equality of men and women in their legal system; abolishing all discriminatory laws and adopting appropriate ones prohibiting discrimination against women; establishing public institutions to ensure the effective protection of women against discrimination; and ensuring elimination of all acts of discrimination against women by persons, organizations or enterprises.
Optional Protocol to the Convention
On 22 December 2000, the Optional Protocol to the Convention entered into force, by which States parties recognize the competence of the Committee to receive and consider communications submitted by individuals or groups of individuals claiming to be victims of a violation of their rights under the Convention.
To date, 104 of the Convention's 187 States parties have accepted the Optional Protocol. Before the Committee will consider a complaint, it first must establish its admissibility under the terms of the Optional Protocol. The Optional Protocol also enables the Committee, upon the fulfilment of certain criteria, to undertake inquiries into possible grave or systematic violations of women's rights.
The Committee is made up of 23 experts of high moral standing and recognized competence in the field of women's rights. Members are nominated and elected by the States parties and serve in their personal capacity.
The Committee Members are: Ayse Feride Acar (Turkey); Noor Al-Jehani (Qatar);
Nicole Ameline (France); Barbara Evelyn Bailey (Jamaica); Olindia Bareiro-Bobadilla (Paraguay); Meriem Belmihoub-Zerdani (Algeria); Niklas Bruun (Finland); Naela Mohamed Gabr (Egypt); Hilary Gbedemah (Ghana); Nahla Haidar (Lebanon); Ruth Halperin-Kaddari (Israel); Yoko Hayashi (Japan); Ismat Jahan (Bangladesh); Dalia Leinarte (Lithuania); Violeta Neubauer (Slovenia); Theodora Oby Nwankwo (Nigeria); Pramila Patten (Mauritius); Silvia Pimentel (Brazil); Maria Helena Lopes de Jesus Pires (Timor-Leste); Biancamaria Pomeranzi (Italy); Patricia Schulz (Switzerland); Dubravka Šimonović (Croatia) and Xiaoqiao Zou (China).
Ms. Ameline is the Chairperson. The Vice-Chairpersons are Ms. Jahan, Ms. Neubauer and Ms. Patten, and the Rapporteur is Ms. Bailey.
Proposed Programme of Work
Monday, 10 February
10 a.m. Opening of session, adoption of agenda
3 p.m. Informal meeting with non-governmental organizations
4:30 p.m. Informal meeting with national human rights institutions
Tuesday, 11 February
10 a.m. Bahrain third periodic report (CEDAW/C/BHR/3)
3 p.m. Bahrain (continued)
Wednesday, 12 February
10 a.m. Cameroon combined fourth and fifth periodic report (CEDAW/C/CMR/4-5)
3 p.m. Cameroon (continued)
Thursday, 13 February
10 a.m. Qatar initial report (CEDAW/C/QAT/1)
3 p.m. Qatar (continued)
Friday, 14 February
10 a.m. Kazakhstan combined third and fourth periodic report (CEDAW/C/KAZ/3-4)
3 p.m. Kazakhstan (continued)
Monday, 17 February
10 a.m. Closed meeting
4 p.m. Informal meeting with non-governmental organizations
5 p.m. Informal meeting with national human rights institutions
Tuesday, 18 February
10 a.m. Iraq combined fourth to sixth periodic report (CEDAW/C/IRQ/4-6)
3 p.m. Iraq (continued)
Wednesday, 19 February
10 a.m. Sierra Leone sixth periodic report (CEDAW/C/SLE/6)
3 p.m. Sierra Leone (continued)
Thursday, 20 February
10 a.m. Finland seventh periodic report (CEDAW/C/FIN/7)
3 p.m. Finland (continued)
Friday, 28 February
5 p.m. Closing of the session
Live webcasts of the session can be viewed on http://www.treatybodywebcast.org/.
For use of the information media; not an official record