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Comments on legislation and policy

Working Group on discrimination against women and girls

Special procedures mandates of the Human Rights Council, such as the Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women and girls, can intervene directly with Governments on allegations of violations of human rights and concerns about legislation and policies that fall under their mandates by means of letters which include urgent appeals, allegation letters and other letters, referred to as “communications”. Learn more about the communications process of the Special Procedures, including on how to submit information to the Working Group.

Interventions of the Working Group via communications deal with allegations related to laws, policies or practices that discriminate against women and girls in general, and allegations of human rights violations on cases involving an individual woman or girl, or a particular group of women and girls.

The totality of the letters sent by the Working Group since its establishment in 2011 and replies received from Governments can be accessed on the following link.

Communications by the mandate to States on national laws, regulations, policies, and practices (known as ‘other letters’) are made available below.

Communications on national laws, regulations, policies and practices

Argentina

  • 10 Dec 2020 - Bill on regulation of termination of pregnancy - OL ARG 4/2020
  • 13 June 2018 - Bill on the legalization of abortion - OL ARG 3/2018

Armenia

Bangladesh

  • 23 December 2016 - Revision bill of the Child Marriage Restraint Act 1929 which contains provisions which would violate the rights of the child, and particularly the rights of the girl child – OL BGD 8/2016v

Brazil

  • 19 October 2021 - Bill introduced to provide menstrual hygiene products to low-income women and girls, as well as those deprived of liberty, which was passed in Congress but vetoed by the President – OL BRA 12/2021
  • 16 September 2020 - Retrogressions with regard to women’s and girl’s legal access to termination of pregnancy – OL BRA 9/2020
  • 18 May 2018 - Negative impacts of budget cuts, structural adjustment and austerity measures implemented since 2014, on several human rights, notably the rights to health, education, social security, food, as well as on gender equality, and in particular the negative impacts linked to the Constitutional Amendment No 95, also known as “Expenditure Ceiling” – OL BRA 4/2018

Canada

  • Changes to the sexuality education curriculum of the Province of Ontario - OL CAN 4/2018
  • 25 September 2017 - 119 women victims in relation to alleged sexual violence and excessive use of force by mine security and police guarding the Porgera Joint Venture (PJV) gold mine and a failure to provide effective remedy for the women victims – OL CAN 3/2017

Chile

  • 28 July 2017- Bill on the decriminalization of abortion under certain circumstances - OL CHL 1/2017

Criminalisation of adultery in 33 countries

Dominican Republic

  • 25 July 2016 - Reform of the penal code adopted by the Chamber of Deputies of the Dominican Congress – OL DOM 3/2016

El Salvador

  • 12 October 2022 - Legislative decrees nos. 333, 358, 396, 427, 459, 476 and 503 through which His Excellency's Government declared and has been extending the exception regime in force in the country – OL SLV 4/2022
  • 12 December 2016 - Draft Decree to decriminalize abortion on certain grounds – OL SLV 3/2016

Greece

  • 17 May 2021 - Provisions contained in the Draft Law of the Ministry of Justice on "'Reforms relating to parent-child relationships and other matters of family law' (hereafter the Bill) amending the Greek’s Civil Code concerning child custody in case of a separation or divorce of the parents which is currently being discussed in Parliament. This Bill, if enacted, could facilitate the exposure to heightened risks for victims of domestic violence in the context of shared custody – OL GRC 2/2021

Ghana

  • 9 August 2021 - Tabling of a bill entitled “Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill, 2021” before the Parliament of Ghana – OL GHA 3/2021

Guatemala

  • 31 August 2018 - Bill 5272: serious inconsistencies with human rights standards, affecting in particular the rights of women, girls and LGBTI people - OL Guatemala 12/2018
  • 02 February 2017 – Constitutional reforms proposed by the State in the justice sector – OL GTM 1/2017

Honduras

  • 25 April 2017 - Draft reform of the Penal Code and the total prohibition of abortion that should be debated soon in Congress – OL HND 1/2017

Hungary

  • 15 December 2020 - Proposed bills restricting the notion of family to opposite-sex couples; excluding same-sex couples, single persons and non-married opposite-sex couples from adoption; and restricting children’s identity to their sex assigned at birth and ensuring an upbringing that “reflects the values based on Hungary’s constitutional identity and Christian culture” – OL HUN 3/2020
  • 12 September 2018 - Decertification and defunding of gender studies programmes -
    OL HUN 6/2018

India

  • 16 December 2021 - Trafficking in Persons (Prevention, Care and Rehabilitation) Bill 2021 and its compliance with the State’s obligations under international law to prevent trafficking in persons, assist and protect trafficked persons without discrimination, ensuring gender equality and promoting the human rights of trafficked persons – OL IND 20/2021

Indonesia

  • 25 November 2022 - Proposed amendments to the Indonesian Criminal Code, Rivisi Kitab Undang-undang Hukum Pidana (RKUHP) that would further criminalize abortion, discriminate against women and girls, religious or belief minorities and LGBT persons, punish extramarital sex and live-in relationships and hamper the freedoms of expression, religion or belief and association – OL IDN 2/2022

International Association of Athletics Federations

  • 18 September 2018 - Regulations regarding eligibility for the female classification (athletes with differences of sex development)
    OL OTH 62/2018

International Monetary Fund

  • 2 March 2022 - International Monetary Fund (IMF) 's development of an institutional strategy on gender, and the information made public on the Consultation Concept Note dated 10 February 2022 – OTH 16/2022

Italy

  • 22 October 2018 - The "Pillon decree" and spaces for women in Rome - OL ITA 5/2018

Ireland

  • 5 November 2021 - General Scheme of the Birth Information and Tracing Bill, the General Scheme of a Certain Institutional Burials (Authorised Interventions) Bill and the proposed Restorative Recognition Scheme – OL IRL 2/2021

Israel

  • 5 May 2022 - Counter-Terrorism Law 5776-2016 and related regulations and orders – OL ISR 6/2022

Japan

  • 23 August 2021 - Lack of necessary legislation to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and gender diverse (LGBT) persons from discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity – OL JPN 4/2021

Malaysia

  • 21 September 2021 - Retrogressive steps taken by the Government of Malaysia concerning a ground-breaking ruling from the Kuala Lumpur High Court which granted women equal nationality rights – OL MYS 6/2021
  • 16 November 2018 - Criminalization of consensual sexual relations between adults and the application of punishments for such acts that are contrary to the absolute prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment – OL MYS 5/2018
  • 13 June 2016 - Amendment to the 2001 Child Act which does not explicitly include child pornography offences and subsisting legislation which permits child and forced marriage – OL MYS 6/2016

Morocco

Nepal

  • 21 September 2020 - amendments to the Citizenship Act – OL NPL 2020

Netherlands

  • 9 March 2021 - Situation of refugee and asylum-seeking children, including unaccompanied and separated children, among whom child sexual abuse survivors, who continue to be at a heightened risk of abuse and exploitation including extortion, sale, child force labour, trafficking, sexual exploitation, child marriage and other gender-based violence upon arrival in Malaysia, and when apprehended and detained at Immigration Detention Centres (IDCs) – NLD OL 2/2021

North Macedonia

  • 25 April 2018 - Practice of removing Roma children from their families on poverty-related grounds and their placement in state care institutions where they experience violence, including sexual violence OL MKD 1/2018

Participation and Justice in Environmental Matters in Latin America and the Caribbean (Escazú Agreement) in 32 countries

Permanent Delegation of the European Union

  • 20 October 2022 - Draft proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on combating violence against women and domestic violence – OL OTH 97/2022
  • 26 October 2017 - Discriminatory measures allegedly suffered by rural Abbeys women in two villages in southern Côte d'Ivoire (Offa and Gouabo) in relation to their right to land ownership under a project funded by the European Union – OTH 26/2017

Pakistan

  • 19 July 2022 - Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Bill, 2021 that has been tabled before Parliament and is now under consideration of the Council of Islamic Ideology – OL PAK 4/2022

Paraguay

  • 4 September 2018 - Initiative to reform the law on domestic workers, currently under review before the Chamber of Deputies - OL PRY 2/2018

Peru

  • 15 August 2018 - Supreme Court decision on the inclusion of gender equality in school curricula OL Peru 2/2018
  • 1 Jun 2016 – Penal Code project – OL Peru 3/2016

Poland

  • 30 January 2018- Bill on the restriction to safe abortion services - OL POL 1/2018

Republic of Korea

  • 29 December 2020 - Legislative revisions proposed by the Government regarding the criminalization of termination of pregnancy – OL KOR 8/2020

Romania

  • 11 September 2020 - proposed bills that reportedly (i) prohibit sexual education unless there is parental written consent, and (ii) impose a blanket ban on a discussion regarding “gender theory or opinion” in Romanian educational establishments – OL ROU 3/2020

Slovakia

Somalia

  • 1 September 2020 - draft bill on “Sexual Intercourse Related Crimes” – OL SOM 1/2020

Sudan

  • 30 April 2021 - Reservations to article 16 of the Convention, which provides for the elimination of discrimination against women at the inception of marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution by divorce or death – OL SDN 3/2021

Syrian Democratic Republic

  • 27 July 2018 - Detention of Emilie König and her three children in the Roj camp in the Northeast of Syria – OTH 44/2018

Tunisia

  • 18 January 2019 - Bill on equality in inheritance rights - OL TUN 1/2019

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

  • 22 August 2022 - Decision to ratify the Istanbul Convention while entering a reservation to its Article 59 on migrant women, which infringes their commitments to CEDAW – OL GBR 11/2022
  • 11 February 2022 - Nationality and Borders Bill and, specifically, the recently introduced Clause 9 on notice of decision to deprive a person of citizenship. – OL GBR 3/2022

United States of America

  • 16 May 2018 - Immigration detention of pregnant women - OL USA 8/2018
  • 1 May 2018 - Availability of asylum for survivors of domestic abuse and other forms of violence - OL USA 5/2018
  • 19 October 2017 - Implementation of the Executive Order on Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements and the Executive Order on Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States, raising particular concerns over increased and expedited deportations, including a disproportionate impact on women, in possible violations of the non-refoulement principle, infringing migrants’ rights to a due process and lacking proper individual assessment, the increased use of immigration detention, the lack of access to services for migrants, regardless of their status and the stigmatisation of migrants as criminals – OL USA 23/2017
  • 20 June 2017 - Draft Reproductive Health Act introduced in the New York State Senate on 17 January 2017 - OL USA 8/2017
    Government reply 29 August 2017