18 January-5 February 2010
Concluding observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women
1.The Committee considered the combined initial, second and third periodic report of Botswana (CEDAW/C/BOT/3) at its 920th and 921st meetings, on 29 January 2010 (see CEDAW/C/SR.920 and 921). The Committee’s list of issues and questions is contained in CEDAW/C/BOT/Q/3 and the responses of the Government of Botswana are contained in CEDAW/C/BOT/Q/3/Add.1.
2.The Committee expresses its appreciation to the State party for its combined initial, second and third periodic report, which followed the Committee’s former guidelines for preparation of reports, but which was long overdue. The Committee also expresses its appreciation to the State party for the written replies to the list of issues and questions raised by the pre-session working group.
3.The Committee expresses its appreciation to the State party for the constructive dialogue and the efforts made by the delegation, headed by the Permanent Representative of Botswana to the United Nations, to respond to the questions raised by the Committee. It notes that, except for the Acting Director of the Women’s Affairs Department within the Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs, the delegation did not include any representatives from other relevant ministries or offices, which limited the ability of the delegation to provide succinct, clear and direct answers and left some of the questions raised by the Committee during the dialogue unanswered.
4.The Committee commends the State party for having acceded to the Convention without reservations in 1996 and for having acceded to its Optional Protocol in 2007.
5.The Committee notes with appreciation the review by the State party in 1997 of existing legislation and the passing of new legislation affecting the status of women with the view to align them with the provisions of the Convention. It particularly welcomes the amendments made to the Citizenship Act of 1995 and 2003, the Mines and Quarries Act of 1996, the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act of 1997, the Deeds Registry Act of 1996, the Penal Code of 1998 and 2004, the Affiliation Proceedings Act of 1999, the Public Service Act of 2000, the Marriage Act of 2001 and the Employment Act of 1996. It takes note with appreciation of the enactment of the Abolition of Marital Power Act in 2004 and the subsequent amendments to a number of statute laws to align them with the Abolition of Marital Power Act.
6.The Committee welcomes the fact that the Convention has been translated into Tswana language.
Principal areas of concern and recommendations
7.The Committee recalls the State party’s obligation to implement, systematically and continuously, all the provisions of the Convention, and views the concerns and recommendations identified in the present concluding observations as requiring the State party’s priority attention between now and the submission of its next periodic report. Consequently, the Committee urges the State party to focus on those areas in its implementation activities and to report on actions taken and results achieved in its next periodic report. It calls upon the State party to submit the present concluding observations to all relevant ministries, to the Parliament and to the judiciary, so as to ensure their full implementation.
While reaffirming that the Government has the primary responsibility, and is accountable in particular, for the full implementation of the State party’s obligations under the Convention, the Committee, stressing that the Convention is binding on all branches of Government, invites the State party to encourage its national Parliament, in line with its procedures, where appropriate, to take the necessary steps with regard to the implementation of the present concluding observations and the Government’s next reporting process under the Convention.
Legal status of the Convention, definition and prohibition of discrimination
9.The Committee is concerned that, although Botswana ratified the Convention in 1996 without reservations, the Convention still has not been domesticated as part of Botswana law. It notes with concern that, short of such full domestication, the relevance of the Convention has not yet been established in the State party. However, the Committee welcomes that fact that despite the non-domestication of the Convention, the judiciary is of the opinion that Botswana laws should be interpreted in line with international instruments, including the Convention. The Committee is further concerned that, although section 3 of the Constitution affirms the principle of non-discrimination on the basis of sex among other grounds, neither the Constitution nor other laws include a definition of discrimination against women in accordance with article 1 of the Convention, which prohibits direct and indirect discrimination.
The Committee urges the State party to place high priority on completing the process of full domestication of the Convention and to reaffirm that the judiciary is obliged to interpret the laws of Botswana in line with the provisions of the Convention. The Committee calls on the State party to include in the Constitution or other appropriate legislation a definition of discrimination against women that encompasses both direct and indirect discrimination in line with article 1 of the Convention.
11.The Committee is deeply concerned that section 15 (4) of the Constitution exempts adoption, marriage, divorce, burial and devolution of property on death and other matters of personal law from the constitutional provision of non‑discrimination, indicating violations by the State party of rights set forth in the Convention, in particular articles 2 and 16 of the Convention.
The Committee urges the State party to repeal urgently and without delay section 15 (4) of the Constitution, in order to end violations of women’s rights with respect to adoption, marriage, divorce, burial and devolution of property on death and other matters of personal law in line with articles 2 and 16 of the Convention.
Customary discriminatory laws
13.The Committee is concerned about the existence of the dual legal system of Roman-Dutch law and customary law, which results in continuing discrimination against women, particularly in the field of marriage and family relations. The Committee reiterates the concern expressed in the concluding observations of the Human Rights Committee (CCPR/C/BWA/CO/1) regarding the fact that the precedence of constitutional law over customary law is not always ensured in practice. The Committee is further concerned that most women lack the necessary information and resources to gain access to the civil courts and are still subject to the jurisdiction of traditional courts that apply customary law.
The Committee urges the State party to increase its efforts to raise awareness of the precedence of constitutional law over customary laws and practices, of the entitlement to request the transfer of a case to constitutional law courts, and of appeal before constitutional law courts. It also urges the State party to ensure that the procedures of customary courts are brought in line with statutory courts and that their decisions are appealable to statutory courts.
Visibility of the Convention and the Optional Protocol
15.The Committee is concerned about the general lack of awareness of the Convention and its Optional Protocol in Botswana, in particular among the judiciary and other law enforcement officials. It is concerned that women themselves are not aware of their rights under the Convention or of the complaints procedure under the Optional Protocol, and thus lack the capacity to claim their rights.
The Committee urges the State party to take the necessary steps to ensure the adequate dissemination of the Convention, the Optional Protocol and the Committee’s general recommendations among all stakeholders, including Government ministries, parliamentarians, members of the Ntlo ya Dikgosi(House of Chiefs), the judiciary, law enforcement officers and religious and community leaders, so as to create awareness of women’s human rights. The Committee further urges the State party to put in place measures to ensure women’s access to the civil courts, including raising awareness of available legal remedies and the provision of legal aid.
Access to justice and legal complaints mechanisms, including a national human rights institution
17.The Committee is concerned that, while women’s access to justice is provided for by legislation, their ability in practice to exercise that right and to bring cases of discrimination before courts is limited by such factors as legal costs, the persistence of traditional justice systems, illiteracy, lack of information about their rights and other practical difficulties in accessing courts. The Committee notes that, although Botswana accepted the recommendation to establish an independent national human rights institution made during the universal periodic review of Botswana (see A/HRC/10/69/Add.1), it has yet to establish such an institution.
The Committee requests the State party to take all appropriate measures to remove impediments women may face in gaining access to justice, and to ensure that the judiciary is familiar with the Convention and the State party’s obligations. It urges the State party to provide legal aid services, implement legal literacy programmes and disseminate knowledge of ways to utilize available legal remedies against discrimination, as well as to monitor the results of such efforts. It recommends that the State party undertake, in consultation with a broad base of civil society representatives and with the support of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the necessary steps to establish an independent national human rights institution in accordance with the Paris Principles.
19.The Committee notes with concern that the Women’s Affairs Department located within the Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs is severely under-resourced and understaffed and does not have the authority or capacity to effectively promote implementation of the Convention, and to support gender mainstreaming across all sectors and levels of Government to bring about equality for women and men in all fields. The Committee also notes with concern a lack of awareness on the part of the State party about the importance of a strong and well-resourced national machinery for the practical realization of equality between women and men at all levels and a lack of political will to develop the necessary institutional capacity of such a national machinery in accordance with its obligations under the Convention.
The Committee calls on the State party to give urgent priority to the strengthening of the national machinery for the advancement of women, and provide it with the authority, decision-making power and human and financial resources that are necessary to work effectively for the promotion of equality of women and the enjoyment of their human rights. The Committee recommends that the State party institute or revitalize a system of focal points with sufficient expertise in gender equality issues in all sectoral ministries to strengthen the implementation of the gender mainstreaming strategy to ensure the realization of equality of women with men in all policies and programmes. It also recommends that the State party institute a system of collaboration and networking between the national machinery and the focal points.
Temporary special measures
21.The Committee notes the State party’s insufficient understanding of the purpose of and need for temporary special measures in accordance with article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention.
The Committee recommends that the State party use temporary special measures, in accordance with article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention and the Committee’s general recommendation No. 25, as part of a necessary strategy to accelerate the achievement of substantive equality for women. It requests that the Government include information on the use of such temporary special measures, in relation to the various provisions of the Convention, and the impact of such measures, in its next periodic report.
Stereotypes and cultural practices
23.The Committee is concerned about the persistence of patriarchal attitudes and deep-rooted stereotypes concerning women’s roles and responsibilities that discriminate against women and perpetuate their subordination within the family and society. It notes that such discriminatory attitudes and stereotypes constitute serious obstacles to women’s enjoyment of their human rights and the fulfilment of the rights enshrined in the Convention. The Committee is thus concerned by the lack of information in the State party’s report on the measures taken and programmes or strategies in place to combat and address such discriminatory attitudes and stereotypes. The Committee also expresses serious concern about the persistence of entrenched harmful traditional and cultural norms and practices, including widowhood rites and practices, the payment of bogadi (dowry) and customs and privileges in favour of men, such as their customary right to treat their wives in the same way as minor children.
The Committee urges the State party to view culture as a dynamic dimension of the country’s life and social fabric, subject to many influences over time and therefore subject to change. It urges the State party to be more proactive and to put in place without delay a comprehensive strategy, including clear goals and timetables, to modify or eliminate negative cultural practices and stereotypes that are harmful to and discriminate against women, and to promote women’s full enjoyment of their human rights, in conformity with articles 2, subparagraph f and 5, subparagraph a of the Convention. Such measures should include awareness-raising and educational campaigns addressing women and men, girls and boys, religious and community leaders, parents, teachers and officials. It further urges the State party to undertake these efforts in collaboration with civil society organizations, women’s groups and community and religious leaders and, whenever necessary, to take a clear stand on the issue of negative traditional practices, explicitly recognizing that such practices should not violate human rights under any circumstances.The Committee also encourages the State party to effectively use innovative measures to strengthen understanding of the equality of women and men and to work with the media to enhance a positive and non-stereotypical portrayal of women and, in particular, to develop outreach programmes to connect with rural women. It further calls on the State party to periodically review the measures taken in order to assess their impact, to take appropriate action and to report thereon to the Committee in its next report.
Violence against women
25.The Committee is concerned about the prevalence of violence against women and girls, including domestic violence, which appears to be tolerated by society. While noting with appreciation the enactment of the Domestic Violence Act in 2008 which provides civil remedies to victims, including protection orders, the Committee is concerned about the legislative gaps in this area, including the lack of specific legislation on domestic violence, including marital rape. It is also concerned that there is no specific legislation to address sexual harassment.
The Committee urges the State party to accord priority attention to the adoption of comprehensive measures to address violence against women and girls in accordance with its general recommendation No. 19 on violence against women. The Committee calls on the State party to enact legislation on domestic violence, including marital rape, sexual harassment and on all forms of sexual abuse as soon as possible. Such legislation should ensure that violence against women and girls constitutes a criminal offence; that women and girls who are victims of violence have access to immediate means of redress and protection; and that perpetrators are prosecuted and adequately punished. The Committee recommends the implementation of training for parliamentarians, the judiciary and public officials, in particular law enforcement personnel, and health-service providers so as to ensure that they are sensitized to all forms of violence against women and can provide adequate support to victims. It also recommends the establishment ofshelters and the provision of counselling services for victims of violence as well as the organization of public awareness-raising campaigns on the fact that all forms of violence against women are considered discrimination under the Convention and, therefore in violation of women’s rights.
Trafficking and exploitation of prostitution
27.The Committee is concerned about the exploitation of prostitutes, the lack of information about the efforts to combat this phenomenon and the lack of information about the extent of trafficking in women and measures taken to address this issue. The Committee is also concerned that women and girls are entering prostitution to support themselves and their families as a result of poverty.
The Committee requests the State party to carry out a study in order to assess the prevalence of trafficking in women and girls in the country and to include in its next periodic report a comprehensive assessment of the extent of trafficking and its root causes, and measures taken to eliminate the vulnerability of women and girls to trafficking, including legislation on trafficking. Such information should be disaggregated by age and geographical areas and should also include information on the impact of measures taken and of results achieved. The Committee further requests the State party to include in its next report sex-disaggregated data and information on the exploitation of prostitution. The Committee urges the State party to pursue a holistic approach that aims at providing women and girls with educational and economic alternatives to prostitution, to facilitate the reintegration of prostitutes into society and to provide rehabilitation and economic empowerment programmes to women and girls exploited in prostitution. The Committee further calls on the State party to take appropriate measures to suppress the exploitation of prostitution of women, including through the discouragement of the demand for prostitution. The Committee requests that the State party provide information and data on measures taken to combat this phenomenon in its next report.
Political participation and participation in public life
29.While welcoming some recent progress, such as the election in October 2009 of the first woman Speaker of the National Assembly and the appointment of women as Governor of the Bank of Botswana and as Attorney-General, the Committee is concerned about the underrepresentation of women in political and public life, in particular in Parliament (where women represent 7.9 per cent), in the Ntlo ya Dikgosi (House of Chiefs), in local authorities and in appointed decision-making bodies.
The Committee encourages the State party to implement measures to increase the number of women in decision-making positions, in particular at the local level, in Parliament and in the Ntlo ya Dikgosi (House of Chiefs). It recommends that the State party establish concrete goals and timetables to accelerate women’s equal participation in public and political life at all levels. The State party should introduce temporary special measures, in accordance with article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention and the Committee’s general recommendation No. 25 on temporary special measures, and take into account the Committee’s general recommendation No. 23 on women in political and public life. The Committee urges the State party to implement awareness-raising programmes, including with traditional chiefs, to encourage women to participate in public life. It calls on the State party to highlight the importance to society as a whole of women’s full and equal participation in leadership positions, at all levels of decision-making, for the development of the country.
31.While appreciating the State party’s efforts in achieving parity in primary education and designing re-entry policies enabling young women to return to school after pregnancy, the Committee is concerned at the low enrolment rate of girls in secondary and higher education, and by high dropout rates among girls. The Committee is further concerned that traditional attitudes, early pregnancies and early marriages are among the causes of girls dropping out. The Committee is alarmed at the high number of girls who suffer sexual abuse and harassment by teachers, as well as the high number of girls who suffer sexual harassment and violence while on their way to school. It is also concerned that corporal punishment is accepted in both school and home settings and constitutes a form of violence against children, including the girl child.
The Committee recommends that the State party take steps to ensure defacto equal access of girls and young women to all levels of education, overcome traditional attitudes hampering women and girls in their full enjoyment of their right to education and retain girls in schools and strengthen the implementation of re-entry policies enabling young women to return to school after pregnancy in all districts. The Committee further urges the State party to take measures to increase the enrolment of girls in secondary and higher education and recommends the introduction of temporary special measures, in accordance with article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention and its general recommendation No. 25. The Committee recommends that the State party encourage the collaboration of parents in the implementation of such measures. The Committee calls upon the State party to provide safe transportation to and from schools, as well as safe educational environments free from discrimination and violence. It calls on the State party to strengthen awareness-raising and training of school officials and students and the sensitization of children through the media; and to establish reporting and accountability mechanisms to ensure that perpetrators of sexual abuse and harassment are prosecuted. The Committee recommends that the State party explicitly prohibit corporal punishment in all settings, including through awareness-raising campaigns aimed at families, the school system and other educational settings.
33.The Committee is concerned that, although Botswana has ratified various International Labour Organization conventions, and in particular Convention No. 100 on equal pay and Convention No. 111 on discrimination, the principle of equal remuneration for work of equal value has yet to be reflected in the Employment Act and that its non-discrimination clause applies only with respect to termination of employment. The Committee regrets that the report did not provide sufficient information, including data disaggregated by sex, which prevented the Committee from gaining a clear understanding of women’s enjoyment of the rights enshrined under article 11 of the Convention. In particular, the report does not give a clear picture of women’s participation in the labour force in urban and rural areas and in the informal sector, where the vast majority of women work; their unemployment rates; vertical and horizontal labour-force segregation; women’s ability to benefit from new economic opportunities; and the State party’s efforts to ensure their rights and social benefits, including maternity protection. It is concerned that legal provisions governing maternity benefits in the public sector do not apply in the private sector and that there are no laws dealing with sexual harassment.
The Committee calls on the State party to take the opportunity that the review of the Employment Act offers to include the principle of equal remuneration for work of equal value and to extend the prohibition of discrimination so as to cover access to vocational training, employment, promotion and terms and conditions of employment. The Committee invites the State party to provide in its next report detailed information, including trends over time, about the situation of women in the field of employment, in both the formal and informal sectors, and about measures taken and their effectiveness in creating equal opportunities for women through the generation of new economic activities. The Committee further recommends that the State party pay particular attention to the condition of women workers in the informal sector and invites the State party to provide, in its next report, information regarding credit, training, technology and their access to markets, as well as to social benefits and maternity protection. The Committee further urges the State party to establish an effective monitoring and regulatory mechanism on employment issues and practices in the private sector. It also urges the State party to ensure that the private sector apply legal provisions governing maternity benefits and adopt legislation on sexual harassment applicable in both the public and private sectors.
35.While noting with appreciation the availability in the State party of comprehensive health coverage, the Committee is nonetheless concerned that the maternal mortality rate remains high with a projection from the World Health Organization estimating between 200 and 300 per 100,000. The Committee is also concerned that no strategies for the reduction of maternal mortality have been developed. The Committee is also concerned at the lack of statistical information provided by the State party about the access for vulnerable groups of women, in particular in rural areas, to reproductive health-care services, about the extent and consequences of illegal and unsafe abortions and about the rate of teenage pregnancy. The Committee is further concerned about the lack of information on services and counselling available for women suffering from mental health problems.
The Committee calls on the State party to put in place a system of data collection so as to strengthen the knowledge base for effective policy development and implementation on all aspects of women’s health, including monitoring of impact. It encourages the State party to conduct a thorough study aimed at identifying the reasons for the persistence of a high maternal mortality rate in Botswana. The Committee requests the State party to conduct a study to determine the main causes of maternal mortality, including the impact of clandestine and unsafe abortions on maternal mortality, and provide detailed information on measures taken to reduce it and the impact of such measures in its next periodic report to the Committee. The Committee further urges the State party to improve the provision of information on reproductive health and contraception to women and girls and to promote widely sex education targeted at girls and boys, with special attention to the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases and teenage pregnancy. It also calls upon the State party to carry out measures in order to effectively implement the provisions that regulate legal abortion.
37.While noting the recent decline in HIV prevalence and appreciating the existing programmes and the State party’s priority attention to addressing the HIV/AIDS pandemic, the Committee is concerned that the State party still faces a serious epidemic, especially among young women. It is concerned that current policies and legislation do not adequately take into account gender-specific vulnerabilities and do not protect the rights of women and girls affected by HIV/AIDS. The Committee is especially concerned that the persistence of unequal power relations between women and men and the inferior status of girls and women hamper their ability to negotiate safe sexual practices and increases their vulnerability to infection. The Committee is further concerned about the number of child-headed households of orphans of the HIV/AIDS crisis, where girls have disproportionate responsibilities that make them vulnerable to HIV/AIDS and prostitution.
The Committee recommends continued and sustained efforts to address the impact of HIV/AIDS on women and girls, as well as its social and family consequences. It urges the State party to enhance its focus on women’s empowerment and to include clearly and visibly a gender perspective in its policies and programmes on HIV/AIDS. The Committee further urges the State party to take measures to address the situation of child-headed households and to report on measures taken and results achieved in its next report.
Economic empowerment of women
39.The Committee is concerned that widespread poverty among women and poor socio-economic conditions are among the causes of discrimination against women and violation of women’s human rights. The Committee is especially concerned about the situation of rural women and women heads of households, particularly in view of their precarious living conditions and lack of access to justice, health care, ownership of land, inheritance, education, credit facilities and community services. It notes the State party’s efforts to develop strategies for poverty reduction and promotion of income-generating activities but regrets that those efforts, including the Rural Development Policy, do not focus on women and rural women. It also expresses concern at the indirect discrimination against women because they have limited access to credit, owing to their lack of collateral.
The Committee urges the State party to make the promotion of gender equality an explicit component of its national development plans and policies, in particular those aimed at poverty alleviation and sustainable development. It urges the State party to pay special attention to the needs of rural women and women heads of households, ensuring that they participate in decision-making processes and have full access to justice, education, health services and credit facilities. It recommends that the State party increase its efforts at encouraging and supporting women’s entrepreneurship, especially among rural women, including by providing training and access to credit. The Committee also urges the State party to take appropriate measures to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women with respect to ownership and inheritance of land. The Committee recommends that the State party collect data on the situation of rural women and include such data and analysis in its next periodic report.
Family relations and equality before the law
41.While welcoming the important legal reforms and progress that have taken place in the area of family relations, the Committee is concerned at the unequal status of women in marriage and family owing to customary and traditional practices. The Committee notes with concern that the Abolition of Marital Power Act, which gives both partners in common-law marriage equal powers in the family, and the amendment to the Deeds Registry Act, which enables women to register immovable property in their own names, do not apply to customary and religious marriages. The Committee expresses the same concern that the Matrimonial Causes Act Cap 29:6 regulating matters pertaining to divorce, judicial separation and other incidental matters, and the Marriage Act Cap 29:01 regulating the registration of marriage and setting 18 years as minimum age for both boys and girls to marry do not apply to customary and religious marriages. The Committee notes that the existence of section 15 (4) in the Constitution is the main reason why the above-named acts are not applicable to customary or religious marriages.
The Committee urges the State party to repeal section 15 (4) in the Constitution and to extend the above-mentioned laws to customary and religious marriages, so as to address entrenched customary laws which impair gender equality and lead to gender discrimination in the family. It calls upon the State party to develop and implement comprehensive educational measures and awareness-raising campaigns aimed at publicizing statutory legislation that ensures gender equality in marriage and family relations with regard to all sectors of the society, including the judiciary, the legal profession, law enforcement agents, public officials and community and civil society organizations, with the involvement of and in cooperation with the media.
Data collection and analysis
43.The Committee regrets that the State party’s reports did not provide sufficient statistical data disaggregated by sex on all areas covered by the Convention or information on the impact and results of measures taken to achieve equality between women and men, thereby making it difficult for the Committee to assess progress in the implementation of the Convention in the State party.
The Committee calls upon the State party to put in place a comprehensive system of data collection, including measurable indicators to assess trends in the situation of women and progress towards women’s de facto equality over time. It invites the State party to seek regional and international assistance, as necessary, for the development of such data collection and analysis efforts. The Committee requests the State party to include in its next report statistical data and analysis, disaggregated by sex, age and by rural and urban areas, indicating the impact of measures taken and the results achieved, in order to illustrate more comprehensively the situation of women in all areas covered by the Convention, in particular in the fields of education, health and employment. The Committee invites the State party to give special attention to the collection of data in respect of the most vulnerable groups of women, including rural women and disabled women.
Article 20, paragraph 1, of the Convention
45.The Committee encourages the State party to accept, as soon as possible, the amendment to article 20, paragraph 1, of the Convention concerning the meeting time of the Committee.
Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action
46.The Committee urges the State party to continue to utilize, in implementing its obligations under the Convention, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, which reinforce the provisions of the Convention, and requests the State party to include information thereon in its next periodic report.
Millennium Development Goals
47.The Committee emphasizes that full and effective implementation of the Convention is indispensable for achieving the Millennium Development Goals. It calls for the integration of a gender perspective and explicit reflection of the provisions of the Convention in all efforts aimed at the achievement of the Goals and requests the State party to include information thereon in its next periodic report.
Ratification of other treaties
48.The Committee notes that adherence by States to the nine major international human rights instruments would enhance the enjoyment by women of their human rights and fundamental freedoms in all aspects of life. The Committee therefore encourages the Government of Botswana to consider ratifying the instruments to which it is not yet a party, namely, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Dissemination of concluding observations
49.The Committee requests the wide dissemination in Botswana of the present concluding observations in order to make the people, including Government officials, politicians, parliamentarians and women’s and human rights organizations, aware of the steps that have been taken to ensure de jure and de facto equality of women and the further steps that are required in that regard. The Committee requests the State party to strengthen the dissemination, in particular to women’s and human rights organizations, of the Convention, its Optional Protocol, the Committee’s general recommendations, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the outcome of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, entitled “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century”.
50.The Committee recommends that the State party avail itself of technical and financial assistance in the development and implementation of a comprehensive programme aimed at the implementation of the recommendations set out above as well as the Convention as a whole. The Committee expresses its willingness to continue the dialogue with the State party, including through a country visit by Committee members to provide further guidance on the implementation of the recommendations and the State party’s obligations under the Convention. The Committee also calls upon the State party to strengthen further its cooperation with specialized agencies and programmes of the United Nations system, including the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Development Fund for Women, the United Nations Children’s Fund, the United Nations Population Fund, the World Health Organization, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Statistics Division and the Division for the Advancement of Women of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the Secretariat.
Follow-up to concluding observations
51.The Committee requests the State party to provide, within two years, detailed written information on the implementation of the recommendations contained in paragraphs 10 and 12 above.
Date of next report
52.The Committee requests the State party to respond to the concerns expressed in the present concluding observations in its next periodic report under article 18 of the Convention. The Committee invites the State party to submit its next periodic report in February 2014. The Committee calls upon the State party to include in its delegation for consideration of that report, representatives who have expertise in the broad range of areas covered by the Convention so as to ensure a constructive and fruitful dialogue.
53.The Committee invites the State party to follow the “Harmonized guidelines on reporting under the international human rights treaties, including guidelines on a common core document and treaty-specific documents”, approved at the fifth Inter‑committee meeting of the human rights treaty bodies in June 2006 (see HRI/MC/2006/3 and Corr.1). The treaty-specific reporting guidelines, adopted by the Committee at its fortieth session in January 2008, must be applied in conjunction with the harmonized reporting guidelines on a common core document. Together they constitute the harmonized guidelines on reporting under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. The treaty-specific document should be limited to 40 pages, while the updated common core document should not exceed 60 to 80 pages.