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UN women’s rights committee publishes findings on Central African Republic, Djibouti, Greece, Italy, Niger, Oman, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan

19 February 2024

GENEVA (19 February 2024) - The UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) today issued its findings on the Central African Republic, Djibouti, Greece, Italy, Niger, Oman, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, after reviewing these eight States parties 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 issues include:

Central African Republic
The Committee welcomed the establishment of the Special Criminal Court and convictions of perpetrators of gender-based violence against women, including former armed group members. However, the Committee was concerned about the persistence of gender-based violence against women, including rape and trafficking. It also raised concern about the disproportionate risk of violence, extrajudicial killings, internal displacement, and forced disappearance by non-State actors for rural and conflict-affected women. The Committee called upon the Central African Republic to develop a comprehensive national strategy to prevent gender-based violence against women, in particular, sexual violence by all parties to the conflict. It also urged the State party to take measures to protect women and girls in rural or conflict-affected areas controlled by non-state armed groups.

The Committee noted with concern that conflict-related gender-based violence and internal displacement had exacerbated food insecurity and deprivation for women and girls and weakened their economic empowerment. It recommended that the Central African Republic integrate a gender perspective in its national development plan and poverty eradication strategy. It also asked the State party to promote women’s economic empowerment by strengthening their access to land, providing unsecured low-interest loans, training on managerial and financial skills, and ensuring food security.

The Committee noted with concern the high risk of trafficking and sexual exploitation for women and girls in Djibouti, in particular for refugee and migrant women and girls, those living in poverty as well as LBTI women, due to the State party’s geographic location, socio-economic challenges and the presence of foreign military bases. It asked Djibouti to ensure that military personnel and contractors on foreign military bases receive training on the criminal responsibility for purchasing sex from victims of forced prostitution and/or victims of trafficking, and to guarantee accountability in cases of sexual exploitation and trafficking by private military, security companies or foreign troops.

The Committee expressed concern about the real and potential impact of military bases in rural areas, including women’s increased risk of gender-based violence and sexual exploitation, as well as the potential impact of testing of armed drones and other remote warfare equipment on the safety and livelihoods of women and girls in the State party. It called on the State party to evaluate the impact of military bases hosted within its territory, including women’s increased risk of gender-based violence and sexual exploitation, as well as collateral damage resulting from the testing of armed drones and other remote warfare equipment.

The Committee commended the State party for its efforts to strengthen its legal and policy framework to combat trafficking in women and girls. However, the Committee remained concerned that Greece continues to be a country of origin and destination for women and girls trafficked for sexual and labour exploitation and that a large number of girls in the country are exploited in prostitution. The Committee recommended that Greece provide capacity-building for judges, prosecutors, police officers and other law enforcement officials to ensure the early identification of victims of trafficking and their timely referral to appropriate protection and rehabilitation services. It also called on Greece to promptly investigate, prosecute and adequately sentence those responsible for trafficking.

Regarding refugee, asylum-seeking and migrant women and girls, the Committee expressed concern about the intersecting forms of discrimination and disproportionate levels of gender-based violence they face in Greece, particularly in border areas, and the fact that undocumented migrant women are exposed to a high risk of sexual exploitation and forced labour by human trafficking networks. It called upon Greece to address intersecting forms of discrimination against refugee, asylum-seeking and migrant women, as well as to protect them from gender-based violence, particularly in border areas.

While welcoming Italy’s measures to eliminate gender stereotypes in information and entertainment programmes on television, the Committee, however, was concerned about the persistence of sexism and gender stereotypes at the societal and institutional levels. The Committee was also disturbed by hate speech against LBGTI women and girls and women and girls with disabilities. It called on Italy to expedite the adoption of a comprehensive strategy to eliminate stereotypes on the roles and responsibilities of women and men in the family and society, and to ensure sanctions imposed by the Italian Communications Regulatory Authority (AGCOM) in cases involving the use of discriminatory language against women and hate speech.

The Committee appreciated the appointment of the first woman Prime Minister and Italy’s efforts to increase women’s representation on boards of directors of public companies. However, it was concerned that women’s representation in both the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies has decreased after the 2022 elections and that women continue to be significantly underrepresented as parliamentary committee chairs and as Ministers. It recommended that Italy define a strategy to ensure gender parity between women and men in all areas of political and public life, and provide training for women on leadership skills, campaigning and constituency-building to prepare them as candidates at all governance levels.

The Committee noted that national legal and policy frameworks, including those related to women’s human rights, have been maintained during the current transitional period since the Constitution was suspended in 2023. The Committee, however, raised concern about the urgent need for a new Constitution in Niger to protect women and girls’ human rights and gender equality effectively and prohibits discrimination against women and girls. It called for consolidating the rule of law, constitutional order, and implementation of the Convention to safeguard women’s human rights.

While appreciating Niger’s initiatives to reduce child marriage and early pregnancy, the Committee, however, remained concerned about the lack of progress in amending the Civil Code, which currently sets the minimum legal age of marriage for girls at 15 and allows parents to give their consent to marriage in lieu of their daughter’s. The Committee recommended that Niger amend the Civil Code to set the legal minimum age of marriage at 18 years for both women and men, without exceptions, and other measures to combat child marriage, especially in rural areas.

The Committee was concerned that the current Labour Law does not apply to migrant domestic workers, most of whom are migrant women, thereby exposing them to the risk of economic and physical abuse and exploitation. It urged Oman to urgently extend the application of the Labour Law to migrant domestic workers, and to adopt a specific law regulating domestic employment, which includes provisions regarding the effective protection of domestic workers, particularly women migrant domestic workers, from abuse, exploitation and violence. It also asked Oman to coordinate with relevant foreign Embassies to amend and formalise the Standard Domestic Work Contract to specify maximum working hours, minimum wages, overtime compensation, rest periods and mandatory healthcare provisions.

The Committee was concerned about the limited collaboration between the National Commission for Family Affairs and other national machinery for the advancement of women, and about the absence of a robust civil society in the country. The Committee recommended that Oman ensure that different national entities coordinate policies for the advancement of women. It also asked Oman to ensure that women’s rights organisations can be established and carry out their activities freely and independently.

The Committee noted with concern that the employment of women and girls in “underground works and in harmful conditions” is prohibited by the Constitution and that the Labour Code still bans women from 150 professions. The Committee noted that these overprotective provisions were rooted in gender stereotypes. It recommended that Tajikistan harmonise the Labour Code with the new law on equality and non-discrimination and repeal the categorical ban on women practising 150 professions without delay. It also suggested that the State party review the existing restrictions considering technological development and adopt corresponding safeguards against hazardous working conditions for both women and men.

The Committee expressed concern that the continued detention and deportation of male asylum-seekers from Afghanistan has compelled many women to return to Afghanistan owing to their lack of means to sustain their children on their own in Tajikistan. It was concerned that compelling women to return to a country where the de facto authorities had developed a system that might be characterised as a gender persecution system may violate their rights under the Convention. It recommended that Tajikistan implement a gender-sensitive asylum policy and legislative framework to guarantee the security and protection of refugee and asylum-seeking women, particularly Afghan women, and to establish the necessary safeguards to avoid the separation of families of asylum seekers and refugees and ensure their provision with the necessary social protection.

Concerning gender-based violence against women, the Committee highlighted the absence of legislation, criminalisation, and a comprehensive preventive strategy. It called on Turkmenistan to adopt, without further delay, legislation specifically defining and criminalising all forms of gender-based violence against women, including domestic violence. It also asked the State party to develop a comprehensive strategy to eliminate all forms of gender-based violence against women, including domestic violence, and to ensure the provision of free legal aid and medical assistance for victims of violence.

The Committee noted with concern that women represent only 24.8 per cent of deputies in the Mejlis (lower chamber) and 27 per cent of deputies of the Halk Maslahaty (higher chamber) of Parliament. It also noted that there is only one woman in the Cabinet of Ministers, and that women remain underrepresented in municipal councils and leadership positions within political parties. It recommended that Turkmenistan amend electoral legislation to establish quotas for women candidates on electoral lists of political parties in order to reach gender parity by 2030 and supply financial incentives for political parties to provide campaign funding and training to women candidates.

The above findings, officially named Concluding Observations, are now available online on the session webpage.

For more information and media requests in Geneva, please contact
Vivian Kwok at [email protected] 
UN Human Rights Office Media Section at [email protected]

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.