GENEVA (15 November) — The UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) today issued its findings on Ecuador, Egypt, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Russia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sweden and Yemen, the States parties that it reviewed during its latest session.
The findings contain positive aspects of each country's implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, as well as the Committee's main concerns and recommendations. Some of the key highlights include:
CEDAW called on Ecuador to strictly enforce its laws to prohibit sexual reorientation programmes and homosexual conversion therapies, and to ensure that women and girls victims of such harmful practices have access to protection including shelters and support services. It asked the State party to strengthen measures to prevent, combat and punish all forms of gender-based violence against women.
CEDAW called on Egypt to accelerate the process to repeal all provisions in its legislation that discriminate against women and girls. It also urged the State party to respect its obligations under international human rights treaties to protect the rights of women human rights defenders and to systematically investigate cases of reprisal and harassment against them, including gender-based violence and ill-treatment in detention.
The Committee asked Indonesia to criminalize all forms of female genital mutilation, and to ensure that such criminalization cannot be overruled by fatwas or other rulings by religious authorities. It also recommended that the State party amend its legislation to prohibit polygamy, to guarantee equal inheritance rights for women and men, and to make civil marriage and divorce accessible to all women.
The Committee recommended that Kyrgyzstan develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to eliminate discriminatory stereotypes on the roles and responsibilities of women and men in the family and in society. It called on the State party to pursue its efforts to tackle bride kidnapping of women and girls for child or forced marriage, and to take effective measures to protect and assist the victims.
The Committee recommended that Maldives take measures to prevent reprisals against women human rights defenders, as well as investigate and punish all threats and harassment against them. It also requested the State party to expedite the adoption of the Gender Equality Action Plan and relevant bills to criminalize hate speech against women.
The Russian Federation:
CEDAW asked the State party to repeal all provisions in its Federal Law that discriminate against women based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. It recommended that Russia conduct public awareness-raising campaigns in all regions, particularly in the North Caucasus, to address hate speech and stigmatization of lesbian, bisexual and transgender women and intersex persons in the society. It called on the State party to provide systematic capacity-building for the police and other law enforcement officials to fulfil their duty to investigate, prosecute and adequately punish all acts of gender-based violence and hate crimes against women.
Concerning the systemic failures to address gender-based violence, CEDAW called on South Africa to provide comprehensive training for judges, prosecutors, and law enforcement officers on the strict application of criminal law provisions against gender-based violence against women and on gender-sensitive investigation and interrogation methods. In the absence of a specific criminal offense of domestic violence, the Committee asked the State party to take legislative measures to specifically criminalize and publicly prosecute domestic violence.
The Committee observed that corruption in the extraction of oil and gas leads to significant losses of revenue that could have been utilized for public services for women. It recommended that South Sudan earmark an adequate portion of the revenues from the exploitation of all natural resources for programmes to empower women and girls. In addition, the Committee recommended that the State party ensure that transitional justice processes effectively address consequences of the conflict on women and girls.
On the country’s serious gender imbalance in ownership of forest, land and real estate, the Committee suggested that Sweden adopt legislation to protect women’s rights in these areas. It also encouraged the State party to continue its pioneering role and innovative approaches in addressing trafficking in women for sexual exploitation.
Women’s rights in Yemen have been regressing since the outbreak of conflict in 2014. The Committee urged Yemen to cooperate fully with the UN to facilitate rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian access throughout the country. It also requested the State party to ensure meaningful and inclusive participation of women from diverse backgrounds at all stages of the peace process.
The above Concluding Observations of the Committee are now available online on the session webpage.
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The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women monitors States parties’ compliance with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, which to date has 189 States parties. The Committee is made up of 23 members who are independent human rights experts from around the world elected by the States parties, who serve in their personal capacity and not as representatives of States parties.
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