United Nations

CEDAW/C/BEN/Q/4

Convention on the Elimination of A ll Forms of Discrimination against Women

Distr.: General

19 March 2013

Original: English

Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women

Fifty-sixth session

30 September – 18 October 2013

Item 4 of the provisional agenda

Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under

article 18 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms

of Discrimination against Women

List of issues in relation to the fourth periodic report of Benin

Note by the Committee

Thepre-sessionworkinggroupconsideredthefourthperiodicreportofBenin(CEDAW/C/BEN/4).

General

Pleaseprovideinformationontheprocessofpreparationandadoptionofthereportandindicateifanyconsultationswereundertakenwithnon-governmentalorganizationsandotherstakeholdersinthisrespect,includingwomen’srightsorganizations.Pleaseelaborateonanyadvancementinthedevelopmentofaspecificsystemforthecollectionandanalysisofsex-disaggregateddatapertainingtoallareasoftheConvention,includingthenationalcensus.

Constitutional,legislativeandinstitutionalframework

PleaseinformtheCommitteeonthestatusofthedraftlawongenderequalityandonthetimeframeforitsadoption.GiventheStateparty’smonistlegalsystem,pleaseindicateifthecurrentdraftreflectsthedefinitionofdiscriminationagainstwomenasenshrinedinarticles1and2oftheConvention.PleasealsoprovideinformationonthestatusofthedraftCriminalCode(CEDAW/C/BEN/4,para.44)andontheamendmentofthelawregardingtheestablishmentofthenewnationalhumanrightsinstitution.Further,inlightoftherevivalofjudicialinstitutions,suchastheConstitutionalcourtin2008andtheHighCourtofJusticein2009(para.11),pleaseindicateifmeasureshavebeentakentoenhanceknowledgeabouttherightsofwomenundertheConvention,itsOptionalProtocolandrelateddomesticlegislationandiftheyformanintegralpartofthelegaleducationandthetrainingofjudges,lawyers,prosecutorsandallotherrelevantlawenforcementofficers.

Nationalmachineryfortheadvancementofwomen

PleaseprovidedetailedinformationabouttheCouncilforGenderEquality(para.47),includingtheroleofitstechnicalcommitteeanditsfamily,womenandchildrenmonitoringcentreinthedesignandimplementationofpolicies,inmonitoringthesituationofwomencomprehensively,aswellascarryingoutstrategiesandmeasurestoeliminatediscrimination.Pleasealsoprovidedetailedinformationonthehumanandfinancialresourcesallocatedtoittoeffectivelydischargeitsmandate.PleaseclarifythecoordinationbetweenexistingbodiesandtheMinistryfortheFamilyandNationalSolidarity,whichaccordingtothereport(para.41),isresponsibleforthepromotionofwomenandgenderequality,andexplaintheroleandmandateoftheInstituteforWomenestablishedbythePresidentinMarch2009(para.47).

Please provide information on the National Policy on Gender Equality adopted on 18 March 2009 and indicate which programmes and projects, referred to in paragraph 46, were implemented as part of the 2010 action plan.

Stereotypesandharmfulpractices

Thereportacknowledgesthatwomenarenarrowlycastintheroleofdaughters,wivesandmothersbyculture,educationandreligion(paras.4,21and22)andthatcustomary,traditionalandreligiouspracticescontinuetodominatesociallifeandperpetuatediscriminatorypracticesagainstwomen(para21)andgirls.AsrecommendedbytheCommitteeinitspreviousconcludingobservations(CEDAW/C/BEN/CO/1-3,para.148),pleaseprovideinformationonconcretemeasurestakenbytheStateparty,includingthroughcollaborationwithtraditionalandcommunityleadersandwomen’sorganisations,tochangethepublicattitudeandsocialandculturalpatternsthatleadtogenderstereotypinginrelationtotherolesofwomenandmeninthefamily,thecommunityandthesocietyatlarge.

ThereportsetsoutanextensivelistofharmfulpracticeswhichcontinuetobeprevalentintheStateparty.Pleaseindicatewhichmeasureshavebeentaken,includingcomprehensiveeducationalmeasuresandawareness-raisingcampaignsaboutrelevantprovisionsinthePersonalandFamilyCodeandcriminalprovisions,targetingruralareasinparticular,topreventandaddressharmfulpracticessuchasearlyandforcedmarriages,polygamy,widowhoodpractices,levirateandsororate,purificationritesforadulterouswomenandkillingsofso-calledchildrenwitches.Further,despitetheexistenceofActNo.2003-03onthesuppressionoffemalegenitalmutilation,thispracticeremainswidespreadintheStateparty,asmentionedinthereport(para.35).Pleaseprovideinformationontheenforcementofthelegislationprohibitingfemalegenitalmutilation,aswellasoninvestigations,prosecutionsandconvictionsofperpetratorsofthispractice,includingpenaltiesissuedduringtheperiodunderreview.

Violenceagainstwomen

InformationbeforetheCommitteereferstotherecentadoptionofalawonpreventionandpunishmentofviolenceagainstwomen.PleaseinformtheCommitteeontheformsofviolencecoveredbythelaw,inparticularifitprohibitsdomesticviolenceandmaritalrapeasseparatecriminaloffencesandiftheycanbeprosecutedexofficio,aswellasifitsprovisionsareinlinewiththeConventionandtheCommittee’sgeneralrecommendationNo.19(1992)onviolenceagainstwomen.Pleasedescribestepstakentodevelopacomprehensivestrategytocombatallformsofviolenceagainstwomentosupporttheimplementationofthenewlegislationandtodevelopcapacity-buildingandawareness-raisingprogrammesonitscontentforallrelevantprofessionalgroups,suchasthepolice,lawyers,thejudiciary,healthandsocialworkers,,aswellasthepublicatlarge.Pleasealsoelaborateontheprevalenceofinformaldisputeresolutionmechanismsincasesofviolenceagainstwomenandonmeasurestakentoimprovewomen’saccesstojusticeandtoencouragethemtoreportactsofviolence,especiallyvulnerablegroupsofwomen,suchasilliteratewomen,ruralwomen,refugeewomen,aswellasthoselivinginpolygamousmarriages.

Pleaseprovideupdatedanddetailedinformationonthecurrentsituationandtrendswithrespecttoviolenceagainstwomenandgirls,suchascorporalpunishment,domesticviolence,rape,incest,maritalrape,andotherformsofsexualabuse.Pleaseprovideinformationonthenumberofprosecutions,convictionsandsentencesimposedinallcasesofviolenceagainstwomen.Pleaseindicatewhetherstepshavebeentakentoensurethatwomenandgirlvictimsofviolence,includingsexualanddomesticviolence,areadequatelyprotectedandreceivesupportandassistance,suchasaccesstosheltersandrehabilitationservices.

Traffickingandexploitationofprostitution

ThereportindicatesthattheStatepartyhasenactedanti-traffickinglegislationregardingchildren,butthatithascurrentlynosuchlegislationregardingwomen(para.56),whereaswomenandgirlsareincreasinglytraffickedfromandwithintheStatepartyforthepurposeofdomesticworkasvidomegons,aswellasintheagricultureandtradesector.AsrecommendedbytheCommitteeinitspreviousconcludingobservations(CEDAW/C/BEN/CO/1-3,para.152)andasacceptedbytheStatepartyduringitsexaminationundertheuniversalperiodicreview(A/HRC/22/9),pleaseindicateatimeframefortheadoptionofacomprehensivelawontraffickingwhichfullycomplieswitharticle6oftheConvention,andwhethertheStatepartyhasestablishedmechanismsfortheinvestigation,prosecutionandpunishmentoftraffickingoffendersundertheexistinglegislativeframeworkandfortheassistanceandsupportofvictims.

ThereportissilentonthephenomenonofexploitationofprostitutionofwomenandgirlsintheStateparty.Pleaseprovideinformationonitsprevalence,aswellasmeasuresinplacetocombatit,includingdataoninvestigations,prosecutionsandconvictionsofthosewhoexploitprostitution.InlightofthependingdraftCriminalCode(para.44),pleasealsoindicateifandhowtheStatepartyintendstoreviewitslegislationtoensurethatitsprovisionsonprostitutiondonotdiscriminateagainstwomenandifitconsiderssanctioningthemaledemandside.Further,pleasealsoindicateifmeasuresareinplacetoaddresstherootcausesthatleadwomenintoprostitution,todiscouragemaledemandforprostitution,aswellastoassistwomenwhowishtoleaveprostitutionandtofacilitatetheirreintegrationintosociety.

Participationinpublicandpoliticallife

Pleaseprovideupdateddataonthenumberofwomencivilservice,thejudiciaryandindiplomaticservice,includingatdecision-makinglevel.Inlightofthelegislativeelectionsheldin2011,whereonlysevenwomenwereelected,pleaseexplainwhytheStatepartyhasnotadoptedanytemporaryspecialmeasurestoincreasetheparticipationofwomeninpoliticaldecision-makingpositions,asrecommendedbytheCommitteeinitspreviousconcludingobservations(CEDAW/C/BEN/CO/1-3,para.154).Further,inlightoftheupcomingmunicipalandlocalelectionsthisyear,pleaseprovideinformationonconcretemeasuresplannedtoincreasewomen’sfullandequalparticipationandrepresentation.PleaseindicatewhatmeasureshavebeentakenbytheStatepartytoencouragepoliticalpartiestoincreasethepercentageoffemalecandidatesandtoconductawareness-raisingandcapacity-buildingactivitiestoencouragetheinvolvementofwomeninelections.

Nationality

PleaseindicateiftheStateparty’slegislationisinlinewiththeprovisionsoftheConventionregardingequalityofwomenwithmenintheacquisition,changeandretentionofnationality,particularlywithrespecttoprovisionsonwomenpassingtheirnationalitytotheirspousesofforeignnationality.

Education

Pleaseprovide(a)updatedanddetailedsex-disaggregateddataontheenrolmentratesatalllevelsoftheeducationsystem,(b)informationonexpulsionsofgirlsduetopregnancy,and(c)dropoutratesattheprimaryandsecondarylevels,andpleaseclarifywhetherfreeeducationextendstogirlsbelow11andabove13(paras51and81-85).Pleaseprovideinformationonactionstakentoovercomestereotypicalattitudesthatdiscriminateagainstgirlswithregardtoaccesstoeducationandincludeinformationoneffortsdevelopedtoraiseawarenessontheimportanceofgirls’education,withaviewtoensuretheirequalaccesstoeducationandimprovetheirliteracyrates,especiallyinruralareas.PleaseinformtheCommitteeontheprogressofthereviewofschooltextbooksundertakenbytheStatepartytoeliminategender-basedstereotypes(para.54).Pleasedescribestepstakentoaddresstheexclusionofpregnantteenagegirlsfromschoolandthehighdropoutrateofgirls,owingtopregnancy,earlyandforcedmarriage,corporalpunishments,aswellassexualviolenceatschool,includingbyteachers.

Employment

Pleaseprovideinformationonemploymentandunemployment’srateofwomen,aswellasonthewagegapbetweenwomenandmenintheprivateandpublicsectors,andindicatewhichmeansandmethodsareusedbytheStatepartytoenforceitsexistinglegislation(article208oftheLabourCode)establishingtheprincipleofequalpayforworkofequalvalue(para.94).PleasealsoinformtheCommitteeofmeasurestakenbytheStatepartytomonitortheworkingconditionsofgirlsemployedasvidomegons,regularlysubjectedtoverbal,physicalandsexualviolence.Pleaseindicateifmeasureshavebeentakentoprotectwomenworkingintheinformalsector,particularlytoprovidethemwithsocialbenefits,includingmaternityleaveprovisions,andtopromotetheirintegrationintotheformallabourforce.

Health

Thereportstatesthathighmaternalmortalityrateistheresultofearlyandlatepregnancies,multiplepregnanciesandpregnanciestoocloselyspaced,aswellasclandestineabortionsfollowingunwantedpregnancies(para.104).Pleasedescribethemeasurestaken(a)toraisewomenandgirls’awarenessofsexualandreproductivehealthandrightsissues,includingintheschoolcurriculaandthroughtheuseofmassmedia;(b)toenhancetheuse,availabilityandaffordabilityofcontraceptivesandfamilyplanninginformation,particularlyinruralareas;(c)toincreasethenumberoftrainedhealth-carepersonnelintheStateparty.Haveanymeasuresbeentakentoeducatewomenandtheirspousesontherightsofwomentoindependentdecision-makingontheirhealthandwell-being?Further,referringtoparagraph112ofthereportontheprevalenceofHIV/AIDS,pleaseindicateiftheStatepartyhastakenstepstoaddresstheapparentfeminizationofHIV/AIDSandreducewomen’svulnerabilitytothisdisease.

DoestheStatepartyenvisagedecriminalizingabortiononothergroundssuchaspregnanciesduetorapeandincest?PleasereportonmeasuresinplacetoaddresstheissueofunsafeabortionsintheStatepartyandprovidedataonthenumberofdeathsandhealth-relatedcomplicationsduetounsafeabortions.

Ruralwomen

Accordingtothereport(para.121),ruralwomenconstitute50to60percentoftheagriculturallabourforce.PleaseelaborateonthemeasuresundertakenorenvisagedbytheStatepartytoimprovethesituationofruralwomen,includingtheiraccesstojustice,standardofliving,education,healthandtheirparticipationindecision-makingprocess.Giventhatthereportstatesthatwomencontinuetofacedifficultiesinaccessinglandandcredit(para.122)andthatthepracticeofexcludingwomenfrominheritingpersists(para.123),pleaseinformtheCommitteeonmeasurestakentoensurethestrictenforcementofitslegislativeframeworkenablingwomentoinheritlandfromtheireldersandspousesandonwhetherinterventionmechanismssupportingwomen’saccesstolandtenure,asstatedinparagraph124,havebeenintroduced.Pleasealsoindicateifpovertyalleviationstrategiesreferredtoinparagraphs13and14ofthereporthaveincludedprogrammestoimprovethesituationofruralwomenandgirls,includingtheirlandandcreditaccess.

Womenindetention

Pleaseprovideupdatedinformationonthesituationandconditionsofwomenindetentionfacilities.Inparticular,pleaseindicatewhetherfemaledetaineesareheldseparatelyfrommendetainees,whetherfemaleguardsareinchargeoftheirsupervision,andwhethergender-sensitivemeasuresareinplacetoensureappropriatetreatmentofadolescentdetainees,pregnantwomenaswellaswomendetainedwiththeirchildren,includingtheprovisionofsufficientfoodandadequatehealthfacilities.PleasealsoinformtheCommitteeonmeasuresaimedatfacilitatingwomen’saccesstojusticeandensuringcompliancewiththeirfairtrialguarantees.

Marriageandfamilyrelations

FollowingtheadoptionofthePersonalandFamilyCode,marriageandfamilyrelationsarenolongergovernedbycoexistingcustomarylaws,thelegalageofmarriageis18,levirateandbridepriceareabolished,andonlymonogamousmarriagesarelegallyrecognized(paras20and135).However,thereportconfirmsthatpracticessuchaspolygamy,earlyandforcedmarriage,levirateandsororatearestillprevalentintheStateparty.Pleaseindicatewhichmeasureshavebeentakentostrictlyenforceitsexistinglegislativeframeworktocombatthesepractices.PleasealsoclarifythestatusofpolygamousmarriagesconcludedpriortotheentryintoforceoftheCodeandindicateiftheyenjoythesamerightsandbenefitsprovidedforinthePersonalandFamilyCode,asrecommendedinthepreviousconcludingobservations(CEDAW/C/BEN/CO/1-3,para.148).InformationbeforetheCommitteeindicatesthatchildrenbornoutofwedlockcanonlyenjoythesamerightsaschildrenborninwedlockiftheyarerecognizedbytheirfather.Pleaseexplainthelegalsituationofsinglewomenwithchildrenbornoutofwedlockanddescribemeasurestakentoensurethattheirrightsareprotected.PleaseindicateifpracticalstepshavebeentakentoimprovebirthregistrationintheStateparty,especiallyinruralareas.

Amendmenttoarticle20,paragraph1

PleasealsoindicatewhentheStatepartyintendstoaccepttheamendmenttoarticle20,paragraph1,oftheConventionpertainingtotheCommittee’smeetingtime.