Chapter

Paragraphs

Page

Part oneReport of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women on its twenty-fourth session*

Letter of transmittal

2

Matters brought to the attention of States parties

3

Decisions

3

Organizational and other matters

1–23

3

States parties to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

1–2

3

Opening of the session

3–11

3

Attendance

12–13

4

Solemn declaration

14

4

Election of officers

15

5

* Originally issued as document A/56/38 (Part I).

Statement by the new Chairperson

16–17

5

Adoption of the agenda and organization of work

18

5

Report of the pre-sessional working group

19–22

6

Organization of work

23

6

Report of the Chairperson on the activities undertaken between the twenty-third and twenty-fourth sessions of the Committee

24–29

6

Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 18 of the Convention

30–358

7

Introduction

30–31

7

Consideration of reports of States parties

32–38

7

Initial reports

32–194

7

Burundi

32–67

7

Kazakhstan

68–113

10

Maldives

114–146

15

Uzbekistan

147–194

18

Combined second, third and fourth periodic reports of States parties

22

Jamaica

195–233

22

Combined third and fourth periodic reports of States parties

26

Mongolia

234–278

26

Third and fourth periodic reports of States parties

29

Finland

279–311

29

Third and combined fourth and fifth periodic reports of States parties

33

Egypt

312–358

33

Ways and means of expediting the work of the Committee

359–369

37

Implementation of article 21 of the Convention

370–385

39

Provisional agenda for the twenty-fifth session

386

41

Adoption of the report

387

41

Part twoReport of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women on its twenty-fifth session

Letter of transmittal

44

Matters brought to the attention of States parties

45

A.Decisions

45

B.Suggestions

45

Organizational and other matters

1–18

46

A.States parties to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

1–2

46

B.Opening of the session

3–11

46

C.Attendance

12

47

D.Adoption of the agenda and organization of work

13

47

E.Report of the pre-sessional working group

14–17

47

F.Organization of work

18

48

III.Report of the Chairperson on the activities undertaken between the twenty-fourth and twenty-fifth sessions of the Committee

19–20

48

IV.Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 18 of the Convention

21–360

48

A.Introduction

21–22

48

B.Consideration of reports of States parties

23–360

49

1.Initial reports

49

Andorra

23–53

49

2.Initial and second periodic reports

51

Singapore

54–96

51

3.Combined initial, second and third periodic reports

55

Guinea

97–144

55

4.Second periodic reports

60

Guyana

145–184

60

5.Second and third periodic reports

63

Netherlands

185–231

63

6.Second and combined third and fourth periodic reports

68

Viet Nam

232–276

68

7.Fourth and fifth periodic reports

277–360

72

Nicaragua

277–318

72

Sweden

319–360

76

V.Activities under the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

361–366

80

VI.Ways and means of expediting the work of the Committee

367–375

81

VII.Implementation of article 21 of the Convention

376–395

82

VIII.Provisional agenda for the twenty-sixth session

396

85

IX.Adoption of the report

397

85

Annexes

I.Rules of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women

86

II.States parties to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, as at 1 August 2001

116

III.States parties which have deposited with the Secretary-General instruments of acceptance of the amendment to article 20, paragraph 1, of the Convention

123

IV.States parties which have signed, ratified or acceded to the Optional Protocol to the Convention

124

V.Documents before the Committee at its twenty-fourth and twenty-fifth sessions

126

VI.Membership of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women

129

VII.Programme budget implications of draft decision 25/I: statement submitted by the Secretary-General in accordance with rule 23 of the rules of procedure of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women

130

VIII.Status of submission and consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 18 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, as at 1 August 2001

133

Part oneReport of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women on its twenty-fourth session

Letter of transmittal

19 April 2001

Sir,

I have the honour to refer to article 21 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, according to which the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, established pursuant to the Convention, “shall, through the Economic and Social Council, report annually to the General Assembly of the United Nations on its activities”.

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women held its twenty-fourth session at United Nations Headquarters from 15 January to 2 February 2001. It adopted its report on the session at the 508th meeting, on 2 February 2001. The report of the Committee is herewith submitted to you for transmission to the General Assembly at its fifty-sixth session.

Accept, Sir, the assurances of my highest consideration.

(Signed) Charlotte AbakaChairpersonCommittee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women

His Excellency Mr. Kofi AnnanSecretary-General of the United NationsNew York

Chapter IMatters brought to the attention of States parties

Decisions

Decision 24/I

Rules of procedure of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women

The Committee decided to adopt its rules of procedure, contained in document CEDAW/C/ROP. The text of the rules is contained in annex I to the present report.

Decision 24/II

Gender and racial discrimination

The Committee decided to adopt a statement on gender and racial discrimination, to be forwarded to the Preparatory Committee for the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance at its second session, to be held at Geneva from 21 May to 1 June 2001 (see para. 384 below). It also decided, subject to the availability of resources, to nominate the Chairperson and two other Committee members, as well as the two members resident in South Africa, to attend, on its behalf, the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, to be held at Durban, South Africa, from 31 August to 7 September 2001.

Decision 24/III

Links with the Commission on the Status of Women

The Committee decided to develop closer links with the Commission on the Status of Women. In that regard, it drew attention to the willingness of members of the Committee to serve as experts in expert group meetings convened to prepare for sessions of the Commission and as panellists during Commission sessions.

Chapter IIOrganizational and other matters

A.States parties to the Convention onthe Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

1.As at 2 February 2001, the closing date of the twenty-fourth session of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, there were 166 States parties to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, which was adopted by the General Assembly in its resolution 34/180 of 18 December 1979 and opened for signature, ratification and accession in New York in March 1980. In accordance with article 27, the Convention entered into force on 3 September 1981.

2.A list of States parties to the Convention is contained in annex II to the present report. A list of States parties that have accepted the amendment to article 20, paragraph 1, of the Convention is contained in annex III. A list of States parties that have signed, ratified or acceded to the Optional Protocol to the Convention is contained in annex IV.

B.Opening of the session

3.The Committee held its twenty-fourth session at United Nations Headquarters, from 15 January to 2 February 2001. The Committee held 23 plenary meetings (486th to 508th) and its two working groups held 13 meetings. A list of the documents before the Committee is contained in section A of annex V to the present report.

4.The session was opened by the chairperson of the Committee, Aída González Martínez (Mexico), who had been elected at the twentieth session of the Committee, in January 1999.

5.In addressing the Committee at its 487th meeting, on 16 January 2001, the Assistant Secretary-General and Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women welcomed the new members of the Committee who had been elected at the eleventh meeting of the States parties to the Convention on 31 August 2000 and congratulated the four members who had been re-elected at that meeting. She also welcomed the member who had been nominated by her Government and accepted by the Committee to complete the term of a former member who had resigned. She expressed her gratitude to the experts whose terms had expired on 31 December 2000.

6.She said that 2000 had been a difficult but exciting year and that her Office and the Division for the Advancement of Women had been intensely involved in the preparations for the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, entitled “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century”, as well as the session itself, during which Governments had reaffirmed their commitment to the goals and objectives of the Beijing Platform for Action adopted by the Fourth World Conference on Women1 and agreed on further actions to ensure its full implementation.

7.She informed the Committee that, on 22 December 2000, the Optional Protocol2 to the Convention had entered into force, and that there were 15 States parties to the Optional Protocol and 65 States signatories. There would be many more ratifications to the Optional Protocol as its procedures became more widely known.

8.The Special Adviser stated that, as the Optional Protocol entered into force, the Committee would be faced with a large number of petitions from individuals and groups alleging violations of the Convention. She noted that the Committee was prepared for its new responsibilities under the Protocol, particularly as a result of the expert meeting that had taken place in Berlin in November 2000.

9.She informed the Committee that the Secretariat had been putting measures in place in order to ensure full support for the Committee in its mandate. In its resolution 55/70 of 4 December 2000, the General Assembly had requested the Secretary-General to provide the resources, including staff and facilities, necessary for the effective functioning of the Committee.

10.The Special Adviser said that, on 7 September 2000, Saudi Arabia had become the one hundred and sixty-sixth State to ratify the Convention. Noting that 26 States had yet to ratify or accede to the Convention, she emphasized that efforts to encourage ratification of the Convention and the Optional Protocol, reporting and acceptance of the amendment to article 20, paragraph 1, of the Convention on the Committee’s meeting time, had included bilateral meetings between her, as well as the Director of the Division for the Advancement of Women, and representatives of States. Future activities would include a seminar to be held at Auckland, New Zealand, from 13 to 15 February 2001 for States from the Pacific region.

11.She indicated that the Committee’s work during the current session would include the adoption of rules of procedure for the Optional Protocol, agreed upon at Berlin, and the revised draft rules of procedure relating to the balance of the Committee’s work. She reminded the Committee of the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, which would be held at Durban, South Africa, from 31 August to 7 September 2001. She recalled that the Committee had drawn attention to the links between discrimination on the basis of sex and race and the particular disadvantages that women affected by racial discrimination could face. Several human rights treaty bodies had made contributions to the first session of the Preparatory Committee for the Conference in 2000. She welcomed the fact that the Committee had decided to prepare a contribution to the second session of the Preparatory Committee for the Conference, which would meet from 21 May to 1 June 2001.

C.Attendance

12.All members of the Committee attended the twenty-fourth session. Mavivi Myakayaka-Manzini attended from 17 January to 2 February; Emma Aouij from 15 to 23 January; Naela Gabr from 15 to 26 January; Rosario Manalo from 15 to 19 January; and Asha Rose Mtengeti-Migiro from 15 to 19 January.

13.A list of the members of the Committee, indicating the duration of their terms of office appear in annex VI to the present report.

D.Solemn declaration

14.At the opening (486th) meeting of the twenty-fourth session of the Committee and prior to assuming their functions, the members elected at the 11th meeting of States parties to the Convention on 31 August 2000, made the solemn declaration provided for under rule 18 of the Committee’s rules of procedure. They were Ayse Feride Acar (Turkey), Sjamsiah Achmad (Indonesia), Yolanda Ferrer Gómez (Cuba), Françoise Gaspard (France), Aída González Martínez (Mexico), Fatima Kwaku (Nigeria), Göran Melander (Sweden), Asha Rose Mtengeti-Migiro (United Republic of Tanzania), Hanna Beate Schöpp-Schilling (Germany), Heisoo Shin (Republic of Korea) and Maria Regina Tavares da Silva (Portugal). Frances Livingstone Raday (Israel), who had been nominated by her Government and accepted by the Committee to complete the remaining period of the term of Carmel Shalev, also made the solemn declaration.

E.Election of officers

15.At its 486th meeting, on 15 January 2001, the Committee, in accordance with article 19 of the Convention, elected by acclamation the following officers to serve for a term of two years, from l January 2001 to 31 December 2002: Charlotte Abaka (Ghana), Chairperson; Ayse Feride Acar (Turkey), Rosario Manalo (Philippines) and Zelmira Regazzoli (Argentina), Vice-Chairpersons; and Rosalyn Hazelle (Saint Kitts and Nevis), Rapporteur.

F.Statement by the new Chairperson

16.The newly elected Chairperson stated that it was a great honour to take up the chairpersonship at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Women and men, governmental and non-governmental organizations, academics and individual women’s groups had struggled for over 20 years to get such a unique Convention on women’s rights into force, and States parties had used it to ensure that the principle of gender equality was integrated into their national systems, including constitutions. It was important to make a renewed commitment to the Convention. The coming into force of the Optional Protocol had made everyone very proud, and she complimented the entire Committee for its work on the Optional Protocol, making particular reference to Silvia Cartwright (New Zealand), an immediate past member of the Committee. She also commended the entire United Nations system and civil society, including non-governmental organizations, for that achievement.

17.The Chairperson indicated that she would prioritize several issues during her term, including the Committee’s working methods. She expressed deep concern about a number of substantive issues that had become apparent during her time as a Committee member. They included: the high rate of maternal mortality in most of the States parties of the developing world, as well as countries in transition that were experiencing privatization of the health sector; the “invasion” of the human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) pandemic in many developing countries, in particular, sub-Saharan Africa; the continued under-representation of women in decision-making, including in national parliaments; the status of elderly women; and the problem of growing poverty associated with structural adjustment programmes that had been introduced in many developing countries.

G.Adoption of the agenda and organization of work

18.The Committee considered the provisional agenda and organization of work (CEDAW/C/2001/I/1) at its 486th meeting. The agenda, as adopted, was as follows:

1.Opening of the session.

2.Solemn declaration by the new members of the Committee.

3.Election of officers.

4.Adoption of the agenda and organization of work.

5.Report of the Chairperson on activities undertaken between the twenty-third and twenty-fourth sessions of the Committee.

6.Consideration of the reports submitted by States parties under article 18 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

7.Implementation of article 21 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

8.Ways and means of expediting the work of the Committee.

9.Provisional agenda for the twenty-fifth session.

10.Adoption of the report of the Committee on its twenty-fourth session.

H.Report of the pre-sessional working group

19.At its ninth session, the Committee had decided to convene a pre-sessional working group for five days before each session to prepare lists of issues and questions relating to the periodic reports that would be considered by the Committee at the following session. The pre-sessional working group for the twenty-fourth session of the Committee met from 3 to 7 July 2000.

20.The following members representing different regional groups participated in the working group: Mavivi Myakayaka-Manzini (Africa), Rosario Manalo (Asia), Ayse Feride Acar (Europe) and Yolanda Ferrer Gómez (Latin America and the Caribbean).

21.The working group prepared lists of issues and questions relating to the reports of four States parties, namely: Egypt, Finland, Jamaica and Mongolia.

22.At its 487th meeting, the Chairperson ofthe pre-session working group, Rosario Manalo, introduced the report of the working group (CEDAW/PSWG/2001/I/CRP.1 and Add.1-4).

I.Organization of work

23.At its 486th meeting, the Committee decidedto take up issues under agenda item 7, on implementation of article 21 of the Convention, and agenda item 8, on ways and means of expediting the work of the Committee, as a working group of the whole. The issues that it decided to consider were the revised draft rules of the Committee (CEDAW/C/2001/I/WG.1/WP.1); working methods, including the content of concluding comments and the function of the country rapporteur; and the Committee’s contribution to the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance.

Chapter IIIReport of the Chairperson on the activities undertaken between the twenty-third and twenty-fourth sessions of the Committee

24.At the 486th meeting, the Chairperson of the Committee, Aída González Martínez, drew attention to the entry into force of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on 22 December 2000, which would entail new responsibilities for the Committee. In June 2000, the Committee had started work on the procedures to govern the Optional Protocol. She said that Silvia Cartwright had collaborated with the Division for the Advancement of Women on the preparation of rules of procedure for the Optional Protocol and, with the financial support of the Government of Germany, the Committee had been able to finalize those rules during an expert meeting held at Berlin, from 27 to 30 November 2000.

25.She had attended several events of importance, including a seminar in Chile, organized by the non-governmental organization La Morada, the Association of Female Magistrates and the Association of Female Judges of Chile, on the implementation of the Convention. She had attended a working meeting with the members of the Chilean Congress on the implementation of the Convention and the possibility of Chile ratifying the Optional Protocol.

26.In October 2000, she had participated in the general debate of the Third Committee of the General Assembly. Many delegations had expressed support for the Convention and satisfaction at the imminent entry into force of the Optional Protocol. In her statement, she had said that the Committee had initiated work on the rules of procedure for the Optional Protocol and she had asked for support and additional resources so that the Committee could effectively fulfil its new responsibilities.

27.In November 2000, the Chairperson had attended the inauguration of a course on the rights of women in Costa Rica, organized by the Inter-American Institute for Human Rights. She said that Yolanda Ferrer Gómez had attended the Regional Latin-American Conference, which had taken place in Chile in December 2000. Zelmira Regazzoli had attended a seminar on international norms for the protection of women’s human rights in Chile in December 2000, which had been organized by the Andean Federation of Jurists.

28.The Chairperson said that she had been invited to participate in other events that she had been unable to attend, including an international conference on statistics, development and human rights at Montreux, Switzerland, in September 2000. The outcome of that conference would be of particular interest to the Committee.

29.In conclusion, the Chairperson said that the twenty-fourth session of the Committee would include the formal adoption of the rules of procedure relating to the Optional Protocol and the balance of the Committee’s work. It would also see the beginning of preparations for a general recommendation on article 4 of the Convention, concerning temporary special measures aimed at accelerating de facto equality between men and women.

Chapter IVConsideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 18 of the Convention

A.Introduction

30.At its twenty-fourth session, the Committee considered the reports of eight States parties submitted under article 18 of the Convention: the initial reports of four States parties; the combined second, third and fourth periodic reports of one State party; the combined third and fourth periodic reports of one State party; the third and fourth periodic reports of one State party; and the third and combined fourth and fifth periodic reports of one State party.

31.The Committee prepared concluding comments on each of the States parties considered. The Committee’s concluding comments, as prepared by members of the Committee, and a summary of the introductory presentations by the representatives of the States parties are provided below.

B.Consideration of reports of States parties

1.Initial reports

Burundi

32.The Committee considered the initial report of Burundi (CEDAW/C/BDI/1) at its 488th, 489th and 496th meetings, on 17 and 23 January 2001 (see CEDAW/C/SR.488, 489 and 496).

(a)Introduction by the State party

33.In introducing the report, the representative of Burundi informed the Committee that the socio-political crisis of 1993 and the economic embargo imposed by Burundi’s neighbouring countries in 1996 had severely impeded national development and had in particular affected the situation of women. A fifth of the population lived below the poverty level, including many women heads of household who took care of a large number of orphans.

34.The representative reiterated the Government’s firm commitment to the Convention, which was exemplified by the preparation of the initial report, despite the continuing socio-political crisis in the country. The Government of Burundi had adopted certain measures to ensure the advancement of women by guaranteeing their fundamental freedoms and individual rights based on equality. The Government also encouraged the establishment of women’s associations and development projects for women. The Ministry of Social Action and the Advancement of Women and the Ministry of Human Rights, Institutional Reforms and Relations with the National Assembly had been entrusted with the implementation of the Convention.

35.Since the ratification of the Convention in 1991, the Government had adopted two decree laws to change the legal situation of women. The decree law adopted in 1993 reformed the Code of the Person and the Family and contained a number of measures eliminating discrimination against women, including the abolition of polygamy and unilateral repudiation of marriage, and introducing legal divorce and regulation of age at marriage. Another decree law in 1993 revised the Labour Code and was aimed at achieving social and economic justice. Chapter V of the Code addressed women and labour, including women’s rights during pregnancy and maternity.

36.The representative stated that the Transitional Constitution endorsed respect for the rights and obligations proclaimed and guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other relevant regional and national legal instruments. Notably, the Transitional Constitution declared that all persons were equal before the law, without distinction as to sex, origin, ethnic group, religion or opinion.

37.In the field of education, the representative deplored the high drop-out rate of girls in the transition from primary to secondary education, which had been accessible to only 10 per cent of children. The practice of giving preferential treatment to girls with lower grades than boys in admission to the secondary level, introduced in the 1970s, had been stopped owing to a concern that it would foster an inferiority complex among female students. The Government was aware that other corrective measures needed to be taken in regions with low levels of schooling, such as public awareness campaigns, incentives and coercion towards parents. She stated that, until recently, a girl would be expelled from school if she were pregnant. Such girls were now able to resume their education in another institution after the birth of their children.

38.The representative informed the Committee that there was a paucity of health care, particularly in the rural areas. More than 66 per cent of medical personnel remained concentrated in urban areas, where only 4 per cent of the population lived. Rural women, already burdened with an excessive domestic workload, had to travel long distances to receive basic social services. For that reason, 80 per cent of women gave birth at home, often under precarious sanitary conditions, and the maternal mortality rate was 826 per 100,000 live births. The Government had tried to redeploy medical personnel to the rural areas and to set up a public medical system. However, the task was immense and much more needed to be done, particularly since 30 per cent of the health-care infrastructure had been destroyed or impaired during the crisis. Assisted by the United Nations Population Fund, the Government had launched programmes on reproductive health for rural women.

39.Because the majority of women lived in rural areas, their livelihood was based on agricultural products. The Government had made great efforts to address their situation since, economically, rural women depended totally on male family members and had no inheritance rights and no economic control over the goods they produced. The Government promoted anti-poverty programmes through income-generating activities carried out by women’s associations. Since 1996, the Ministry of Social Action and the Advancement of Women had established family development centres all over the country to assist women in managing their own income.

40.The representative observed that, through the creation of the Union of Burundi Women, women had become aware of the important role they could play in all spheres of society. However, traditional attitudes still prevailed and very few women occupied decision-making positions in the National Assembly, judiciary, public administration, or public or private institutions.

41.The representative informed the Committee that the current crisis, extreme poverty and crowded living conditions in camps had given rise to prostitution. The Government had adopted legal measures to punish trafficking of women, exploitation of prostitution, violation of public decency and rape.

42.Women had played a key role in the peace process. From the outset, women had organized and gained observer status at the peace negotiations. The Arusha Accords formed the basis for building lasting peace and granted equal status to women and men, in accordance with the Convention. The Accords recognized the role of women in reconstruction and rehabilitation, and suggested the inclusion of women in all management structures related to reconstruction, the mobilization of women as peace mediators for national reconciliation, the adoption of laws on inheritance rights of women and the rebuilding of houses for homeless women. Reintegration or post-trauma counselling for women victims of violence or those forced into marriage was also considered necessary.

(b)Concluding comments of the Committee

Introduction

43.The Committee commends the Government of Burundi for ratifying the Convention without reservations in 1991 and for preparing and presenting its initial report in a time of socio-political crisis, civil unrest and economic hardship. It welcomes the Government’s efforts to comply with the Committee’s reporting guidelines.

44.The Committee commends the Government for sending a high-level delegation headed by the Minister on the Status of Women. It appreciates the frankness with which the report was prepared and its sincere presentation by the State party, which allowed the Committee to engage in a constructive dialogue.

Positive aspects

45.The Committee welcomes the State party’s efforts to implement the Convention despite the difficult socio-political and economic situation. In particular, the Committee welcomes the creation of a national plan of action in follow-up to the Fourth World Conference on Women, which is testimony to the importance given to the advancement of women.

46.The Committee welcomes the establishment of the Ministry of Social Action and the Advancement of Women and the Ministry of Human Rights, Institutional Reforms and Relations with the National Assembly, which are jointly responsible for the implementation of the Convention.

47.The Committee commends the Government for the legal reforms introduced since the ratification of the Convention in 1991, in particular the reform of the Code of the Person and the Family and the Labour Code.

Factors and difficulties affecting the implementation of the Convention

48.The Committee recognizes that the civil war and the economic crisis in Burundi pose serious challenges to the full implementation of the Convention. It also notes that deep-seated prejudice and stereotypical perceptions of the role of women and some customary and traditional practices pose significant obstacles to implementation.

Principal areas of concern and recommendations

49.The Committee considers the absence of peace to be the most serious obstacle to the full implementation of the Convention. It also expresses its concern about the number of women who have been affected by violence during conflict.

50.The Committee recommends that, in the implementation of the Arusha Accords and in accordance with those Accords, emphasis be placed on the role of women in reconstruction and that the acceleration of women’s equality be integrated in all its aspects. It urges that special efforts be made to include women in national reconciliation and peace-building initiatives. It recommends that the Government encourage women from all ethnic groups and women who are victims of violence and armed conflict to become advocates for peace.

51.The Committee recommends that, when introducing quotas for ethnic groups, the Government also consider introducing measures, as permitted under article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention and outlined in the Committee’s general recommendation 23 on women in public life, to increase the participation of women in decision-making at all levels. It emphasizes the importance of strict adherence to principles of gender equality in all reconstruction efforts.

52.The Committee expresses its concern about the situation of displaced women and girls and their living conditions, including those in refugee camps.

53.The Committee recommends that the Government give greater assistance to refugee and displaced women and girls and carry out rehabilitative efforts directed at such women and girls. It stresses the importance of mainstreaming a gender perspective in all policies and programmes of national and international assistance for displaced people.

54.The Committee also recommends the provision of post-trauma counselling, as stipulated in the Arusha Accords, for women who are victims of gender-based violence. It calls upon the Government to ensure that relevant personnel are trained to give such assistance.

55.The Committee notes with concern the existence of legislative provisions that discriminate against women. It also expresses its concern at the existing gap between de jure and de facto equality.

56.The Committee recommends that the State party take steps to bring discriminatory legislative provisions from, inter alia, the Code of the Person and the Family and the Penal Code into line with the Convention. It recommends review of provisions that predicate differential ages of marriage for women (article 88 of the Code of the Person and the Family), indicate that the man is head of the household (article 122 of the Code of the Person and the Family) and establish discriminatory provisions with regard to adultery (article 3 of the Penal Code). In addition, the Committee encourages the Government to ensure the implementation of laws and policies that provide for de jure equality and seek to eliminate discrimination against women. It recommends that the Government ensure that those charged with responsibility for the implementation of laws and policies be made fully aware of their contents and that public education and legal literacy campaigns be put in place to ensure wide knowledge of law and policy reform.

57.The Committee expresses its concern about the high prevalence of illiteracy among women and the low level of schooling of girls, especially in rural areas. It notes that education is a key to the empowerment of women, and low levels of education of women remain one of the most serious impediments to national development.

58.The Committee urges the Government to continue its efforts to improve the access of girls to all levels of education and to prevent their dropping out of school. It encourages the Government to introduce corrective measures that address all stakeholders involved, including incentives for parents, and to consider requesting international assistance to improve women’s and girls’ education.

59.The Committee is alarmed by the increasing rate of HIV/AIDS, which has eroded earlier gains in the country. It expresses its concern about the absence of facilities for the care of those infected and affected.

60.The Committee urges the Government to take a multifaceted and holistic approach to combating the HIV/AIDS pandemic, one which not only incorporates broad-based educational strategies but also includes practical prevention efforts, such as increased access to both male and female condoms. It encourages the Government to consider requesting international assistance for this purpose. The Committee underlines the fact that the collection of reliable data on the incidence of HIV/AIDS is critical to gaining an understanding of the pandemic and to informing policies and programmes.

61.The Committee expresses its concern about the high rate of maternal mortality, especially in rural areas, including deaths as a result of illegal abortions.

62.The Committee recommends that the State party make every effort to increase access to health-care facilities and medical assistance by trained personnel in all areas, including rural areas, so as to increase, in particular, the number of births assisted by qualified personnel. It recommends the introduction of effective measures, such as sex education and information campaigns and the provision of effective contraception, to reduce the number of clandestine abortions. The Committee emphasizes that abortion should not be used as a method of family planning.

63.The Committee expresses its concern about the persistence of stereotypes that confine women and girls to traditional roles.

64.The Committee invites the Government to take concrete steps, including sector-specific and general awareness campaigns, to eliminate deep-rooted prejudice and stereotypes in order to achieve de facto equality.

65.The Committee encourages the Government to consider ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention and acceptance of the amendment to article 20, paragraph 1, of the Convention, concerning the meeting time of the Committee.

66.The Committee urges the Government to respond in its next periodic report to the specific issues raised in the present concluding comments. It also urges the Government to improve the collection and analysis of statistical data, disaggegrated by gender and age, and to submit such data to the Committee in its next report.

67.The Committee requests that the text of the present concluding comments be widely disseminated in Burundi so as to inform the public, in particular administrators, officials and politicians, of the measures taken to guarantee equality de jure and de facto between men and women and of the further measures to be adopted in that area. The Committee urges the Government to continue to give broad publicity to the Convention and its Optional Protocol, the general recommendations of the Committee, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the results of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, entitled “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century”, particularly among women’s associations and human rights organizations.

Kazakhstan

68.The Committee considered the initial report of Kazakhstan (CEDAW/C/KAZ/1) at its 490th, 491st and 497th meetings, on 18 and 23 January 2001 (see CEDAW/C/SR.490, 491 and 497).

(a)Introduction by the State party

69.In introducing the report, the representative of Kazakhstan highlighted recent political, social and legal developments in Kazakhstan, noting that 2000 had been marked by an increase of productivity in the main sectors of economy that would allow increasing expenditure on social needs of the population, especially women and children. She indicated that Kazakhstan had acceded to 30 international human rights treaties, and that the ratification of the Convention in 1998 without reservations was an expression of the country’s commitment to the advancement of women and achieving goals of gender equality. She drew attention to the fact that the Optional Protocol had been signed by President N. A. Nazarbayev in September 2000 and was currently going through the ratification process in Parliament.

70.The representative said that the Constitution did not contain a reference to “discrimination against women”. However, international treaties ratified by Kazakhstan, including the Convention, took precedence over national laws. The principle of equality between men and women was the foundation of the legislation of Kazakhstan as well as the draft law on equal rights and equal opportunities.

71.By an order of the President, the National Commission for Family and Women had been established in 1998 to ensure the necessary conditions for the participation of women in the political, social, economic and cultural life of the country. The Commission had developed, in accordance with the recommendations of the Beijing Platform for Action, a national plan of action for the improvement of the status of women in Kazakhstan. Cooperation between governmental bodies and non-governmental organizations in the development of policies and programmes for women was increasing, and Kazakhstan had benefited from cooperation with and technical assistance from international organizations, especially the United Nations Population Fund, the United Nations Development Fund for Women and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

72.The representative informed the Committee that a special parliamentary group on the family and a special subcommittee of the lower chamber of the Parliament on the issues of women, family, youth, tourism and sport had been created since the submission of the initial report. A section entitled “Women in development” had been included in the indicative plan for social and economic development of the country for 2000-2005. From 2000, national legislation had been subject to gender analysis and amendments on violence against women had been introduced into the Criminal Code. The Government had also started to collect statistical data disaggregated by sex and had published a statistical handbook entitled “Women and men in Kazakhstan”.

73.The changes currently taking place in the economy had negatively affected the situation of women in the labour market. Women represented two thirds of the unemployed, and the Government had recently adopted a new programme on combating poverty and unemployment for 2000-2002. The Government planned to decrease the level of unemployment by 4.5 per cent to approximately 9 per cent by 2002, and it was envisaged that over 400,000 new jobs would be created as a result of that programme. The Government was also promoting industries in which women were traditionally highly represented. The National Commission for Family and Women had initiated a special credit line to support women entrepreneurs working in the production sector. A State programme of microcredit targeting the rural population, including women, had been successfully implemented during the period 1998-2000, and would be strengthened over the period 2000-2003.

74.The representative emphasized the educational achievements of women, noting in particular that women constituted 62 per cent of specialists with higher and secondary levels of education. In the course of the 1999 election campaign, non-governmental organizations had united and registered the first women’s party in Kazakhstan — the Political Alliance of Women’s Organizations. The participation of women in public and political life remained a concern, with women constituting only 11 per cent of the total number of members of Parliament. Kazakhstan intended to implement the recommendations of the Beijing Platform for Action regarding quotas of 30 per cent for women at the decision-making level.

75.Efforts to change traditional stereotypes and attitudes regarding the role of women in society included the drafting of a law on advertising, which would prohibit the sexual exploitation of women, and, from 2001, the introduction of gender studies in higher and secondary education. The representative informed the Committee that the Government was paying serious attention to the issue of violence against women, especially domestic violence, and that the conclusions and recommendations of the comprehensive study conducted by the Government on the issues of violence against women would constitute the framework for a draft law on domestic violence. A network of crisis centres had been established in various cities of the country. The Government had also reinforced legislation and measures against trafficking in women and girls.

76.The representative said that Kazakhstan had implemented the “Health of the nation” programme in order to combat tuberculosis and other diseases and to improve reproductive health care and family planning. Maternal and child mortality had declined. The Government was addressing the negative impact of environmental degradation on the population, especially on women and children.

77.In closing, the representative informed the Committee that her Government fully understood that much more needed to be done in order to achieve equality between women and men. She emphasized the Government’s full commitment to continuing its work in that regard and to overcoming obstacles that the women of Kazakhstan still encountered.

(b)Concluding comments of the Committee

Introduction

78.The Committee expresses its appreciation to the Government of Kazakhstan for the timely submission of its initial report. It commends the Government on its comprehensive oral presentation, which updated the developments in the country since the submission of the report in December 1999 and further clarified the current status of implementation of the Convention. The Committee welcomes the high-quality statistical data disaggregated by sex contained in the report.

79.The Committee commends the Government of Kazakhstan for sending a high-level delegation headed by the Minister and Chairperson of the National Commission for Family and Women, who provided valuable information and established a constructive dialogue with the members of the Committee. The Committee welcomes the fact that the Government of Kazakhstan has a national plan of action for the advancement of women.

80.The Committee welcomes the fact that Kazakhstan has ratified the Convention without reservations and has signed the Optional Protocol, and intends to ratify it as soon as possible.

Positive aspects

81.The Committee commends the Government for its political will to implement the Convention. It notes with appreciation the incremental establishment of comprehensive national mechanisms for the advancement of women and the efforts of the Government to conduct gender assessment of its legislation. The Committee welcomes the efforts to elaborate a law on equal opportunities and to establish the office of ombudsman.

82.The Committee also commends the Government for the high levels of education among women. The Committee notes with appreciation the measures taken by the Government to provide credit to women entrepreneurs.

83.The Committee welcomes the increasing cooperation between governmental bodies and non-governmental organizations working on women’s issues.

84.The Committee also welcomes the decision of the Government to disseminate the report and the concluding comments widely in the country.

Factors and difficulties affecting the implementation of the Convention

85.The Committee considers that the country’s ongoing transformation has had a negative impact on women.

86.The persistence of traditional stereotypes of women and men in society also constitutes a major impediment to the full implementation of the Convention.

Principal areas of concern and recommendations

87.The Committee is concerned that although the Constitution provides for the equality of all citizens, it does not contain a definition of discrimination against women in accordance with article 1 of the Convention, which prohibits both direct and indirect discrimination. The Committee is also concerned about the status of the Convention and whether its provisions can be directly invoked before the courts.

88.The Committee urges the Government to adopt as soon as possible the draft law on equal opportunities, which includes a definition of discrimination against women modelled on article 1 of the Convention. It requests that information be provided in the next report on the law’s adoption and implementation and that additional information be provided in the next report on remedies available to women for violation of their rights protected by the Convention.

89.The Committee expresses its concern that there is a lack of clear understanding of the temporary special measures provided for in article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention. It also expresses its concern that stereotypical attitudes regarding the role of women and men in society are reflected in the low representation of women in decision-making bodies, and the fact that women hold only 11 per cent of the seats in Parliament. It notes that traditional attitudes towards women are also reflected in the lack of sharing of family responsibilities by men and there is no legislative provision for parental leave. It expresses further concern about the lack of targeted educational programmes and mass media campaigns to eliminate those stereotypes.

90.The Committee recommends that the Government take urgent measures to overcome traditional stereotypes of women and men in society. It recommends that the Government take steps to create an understanding of the temporary special measures provided for in article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention, and implement such measures to increase the number of women in decision-making at all levels and in all areas. It recommends that the Government strengthen efforts to promote women to positions of power by organizing special training programmes for women and conducting awareness-raising campaigns on the importance of women’s participation in decision-making at all levels.

91.The Committee expresses its concern that the Government lacks an integrated policy and institutional approach to achieving women’s equality with men, including the aspect of gender mainstreaming.

92.The Committee recommends that the Government integrate a holistic approach to women’s equality with men in all fields of its activities. The Committee notes that a shift from a focus on women solely as wives and mothers, to individuals and actors equal to men in society is required for the full implementation of the Convention. The Committee also recommends a review of and subsequent shift from a welfare approach directed at women to a human rights approach in which women are perceived as being entitled to their rights.

93.The Committee expresses its concern about the adequacy of the financial and human resources of the national machinery for the advancement of women.

94.The Committee recommends that the Government assess the resources of the national machinery and provide it with the necessary human and financial resources to allow it to provide leadership in the implementation of policy to ensure the advancement of women. It also recommends the strengthening of existing national governmental mechanisms for women by establishing gender focal points in all governmental bodies. It further recommends the creation of an ombudsman’s office to address issues of women’s advancement and gender equality.

95.The Committee expresses its concern at the prevalence of violence against women and girls, including domestic violence.

96.The Committee urges the Government to make the issue of violence against women a high priority and to recognize that such violence, including domestic violence, constitutes a violation of human rights of women under the Convention. In the light of its general recommendation 19, the Committee requests the Government to enact legislation on domestic violence as soon as possible, and to ensure that violence against women and girls constitutes a criminal offence and that women and girl victims of violence have immediate means of redress and protection. It recommends gender training for all public officials, in particular law-enforcement officials and the judiciary, as well as health workers, to educate them about all forms of violence against women and girls. The Committee also recommends that the Government organize awareness-raising campaigns through the media and public education programmes to address all forms of violence against women and girls, including domestic violence.

97.The Committee expresses its concern that the Government has not made sufficient effort to address the issue of trafficking in women and girls.

98.The Committee requests the Government to provide, in its next report, comprehensive information on trafficking of women and girls, and on female migration. It recommends the formulation of a comprehensive strategy to combat trafficking of women, which should include the prosecution and punishment of offenders and increased international, regional and bilateral cooperation. It also recommends the introduction of measures aimed at improving the economic situation of women so as to reduce their vulnerability to traffickers, and rehabilitation and reintegration measures for women and girls who have been victims of trafficking.

99.While noting with appreciation the high level of education among women in a wide range of disciplines, the Committee expresses its concern about the low representation of women in senior decision-making positions, as well as in highly paid jobs.

100.The Committee encourages the Government to analyse the correlation between the high level of educational attainments of women and their income levels. It recommends the introduction of measures to accelerate the representation of women at all levels of decision-making. It urges the Government to implement the planned curriculum reform and revision of textbooks in order to combat the traditional attitudes towards women and to help to create an enabling environment for promoting women’s presence in high-level and well-paid positions.

101.The Committee expresses its concern with the situation of women in the labour market, in particular the high level of women’s unemployment and discrimination in recruitment and dismissal. The Committee also expresses its concern that the present structuring of the social benefits system and the protective labour legislation might create additional obstacles to the employment of women in the labour market, especially in the process of transition to a market economy.

102.The Committee urges the Government to enforce appropriate legislation and to ensure equal opportunities for women and men in the public and private sectors of the labour market. It recommends that the Government review the structuring of the social benefits system and of protective legislation with a view to reducing the barriers against the participation of women in the labour market. It also recommends that the Government design and implement special training and retraining programmes for different groups of unemployed women according to their percentage of the unemployed population and their skills and education. It further recommends wage increases in female-dominated sectors in order to decrease the wage differentials between those and male-dominated sectors.

103.The Committee expresses its concern about the high increase in poverty among women compared with men, in particular among households headed by females and older rural women.

104.The Committee recommends the specific targeting of poor women and, in particular, those who are heads of household and older and rural women, with poverty alleviation programmes.

105.While noting a decline in the mortality rate of women, the Committee expresses its concern about the status of women’s health, especially their reproductive health. It is alarmed that free access to health care appears to be no longer available to all women. It also expresses its concern that abortion continues to be used as a means of birth control. The large number of women suffering from anaemia and the incidence of infectious diseases alarms the Committee. It further expresses its concern about the increase in the use of alcohol and tobacco among women. The Committee expresses concern about the degree of environmental degradation in the country and its extremely negative impact on the health of the whole population, in particular women and children.

106.The Committee urges the Government to maintain free access to adequate health care and to improve its family planning and reproductive health policy, including availability of and accessibility to modern contraceptive means. It encourages the Government to promote sex education for both girls and boys, as well as educational programmes to combat alcohol and drug abuse among women. The Committee also urges the Government to design and implement a sound environmental policy aimed at protecting the health of women and children.

107.The Committee notes with concern the insufficient capacity and resources of women’s non-governmental organizations, making it difficult for them to implement various projects and programmes in support of human rights of women.

108.The Committee recommends that the Government provide support for the work of women’s non-governmental organizations by, inter alia, encouraging greater cooperation between them and the specialized agencies of the United Nations system and by increasing the awareness of the private sector and individuals regarding possible donations to women’s organizations.

109.The Committee expresses its concern with the situation of rural women, including their access to health-care services, education and income-generating activities.

110.The Committee recommends that the Government pay greater attention to the situation of rural women and develop special policies and programmes aimed at their economic empowerment, ensuring their access to capital and productive resources as well as to health-care services and educational and social opportunities.

111.The Committee urges the Government to approve the amendment to article 20, paragraph 1, of the Convention, concerning the meeting time of the Committee.

112.The Committee also urges the Government to respond in its next periodic report to the specific issues raised in the present concluding comments.

113.The Committee requests that the text of the present concluding comments be widely disseminated in Kazakhstan so as to inform the public, in particular administrators, officials and politicians, of the measures taken to guarantee de jure and de facto equality between women and men and of the further measures that need to be adopted in this area. The Committee urges the Government to continue to give wide publicity to the Convention and its Optional Protocol, the general recommendations of the Committee, the Beijing Declaration3 and Platform for Action and the results of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, entitled “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century”,4 particularly among women’s groups and human rights associations.

Maldives

114.The Committee considered the initial report of Maldives (CEDAW/C/MDV/1) at its 498th, 499th and 506th meetings, on 24 and 30 January 2001 (see CEDAW/C/SR.498, 499 and 506).

(a)Introduction by the State party

115.In introducing the report, the representative of Maldives informed the Committee that there had been several positive developments since the submission of the initial report in 1998. She noted that the existing laws and policies did not discriminate against women in the areas of access to health services, education and employment, but socio-cultural factors restricted women’s de facto enjoyment of rights in these areas. The fifth national development plan period was almost over and the sixth national development plan currently being drawn up would incorporate a separate section on gender as a cross-cutting policy issue to ensure that gender concerns were addressed in development planning.

116.The representative said that measures, including public awareness-raising campaigns and the promotion of family life education, had been taken to eliminate traditional stereotypical attitudes with regard to the roles of women, and were reinforced by images in textbooks and the media. Although domestic violence was still largely considered to be a private matter, the Government had initiated public awareness campaigns to address such violence. Women who were victims of domestic violence could now report to the National Security System, which dealt with the issue through the criminal law. Trafficking of women and girls was not considered to be a problem in Maldives but, with the growing expatriate population, it was believed there would be a need to introduce anti-trafficking measures in the future. Prostitution was illegal and subject to strong religious and social sanctions, but it was thought to exist.

117.The representative informed the Committee that although the Constitution indicated that the Head of State of Maldives should be male, the political participation of women, as both voters and candidates, was encouraged. Despite public awareness and legal literacy campaigns aimed at increasing women’s political participation, few women candidates presented themselves for election and only 10 per cent of the Majlis were women. In 2000, two women had been appointed to the post of Assistant Island Chief, the second highest-ranking island official, while one woman had been appointed acting Atoll Chief. There were no legal barriers to women participating in the foreign service or in international organizations, but only one female diplomat was currently working abroad.

118.The representative said that there was no discrimination with regard to nationality and that women had equal rights with men to acquire, retain or change their nationality. Marriage to a foreigner did not change a woman’s nationality, and the 1998 Constitution had conferred Maldivian citizenship on children born to Maldivian mothers and foreign fathers. Women could obtain a passport and travel without the permission of their spouses or other male relatives.

119.The representative informed the Committee that no affirmative action policies to ensure gender equality existed. There was no disparity in the enrolment of girls and boys up to grade 10, which resulted in a very high rate of literacy among girls until secondary school. Only a limited number of students gained access to higher education because of the absence of a university in the country and transportation difficulties. There were no quotas for scholarships, including in traditionally male-dominated disciplines, such as engineering and law. Although there was no discrimination between women and men insofar as access to employment or remuneration, cultural practices promoted gender segregation in employment, with traditional views on the division of labour dictating that women’s primary responsibility was with regard to childcare, the household and agricultural activities.

120.The representative noted that women and men had equal access to health care and that the overall health situation had improved as a result of better access to health and medical services. There was no disparity in the health status of girls and boys and no substantial difference in infant mortality and growth rates. A number of governmental initiatives had been introduced to address persisting disparities between the nutritional and health status of women and men during the reproductive years, and the media had launched public awareness campaigns on reproductive health.

121.The representative said that a new family law had been enacted by the Majlis in December 2000 and would enter into force on 1 July 2001. The law would include provisions on conditions for prenuptial agreements, polygamy and divorce. The new law would terminate the husband’s right to non-judicial unilateral divorce and require court proceedings. It would also provide for the equal division of joint property on divorce and financial provision from the former husband for children and former wives. Eighteen years would be established as the minimum legal age of marriage for both women and men, unless the marriage registrar determined that there were special circumstances, despite the fact that the sharia provided that an individual could enter into marriage upon puberty. In that regard, the Government had implemented a programme to discourage and prevent early marriages.

(b)Concluding comments of the Committee

Introduction

122.The Committee expresses its satisfaction at the submission of the initial report of the Government of Maldives and the frank and constructive dialogue with the delegation. The Committee notes that the report did not provide specific and adequate information on national plans and laws in conformity with the Committee’s guidelines, but expresses its appreciation for additional information given in the documents provided during the session and oral responses.

Positive aspects

123.The Committee commends the political will expressed in the Maldives “Vision 20/20” to work towards women’s human rights as an integral dimension of national development. It welcomes the efforts made in regard to gender mainstreaming in the national plan of action and the national development plan.

124.The Committee also commends the recent measures taken to increase the participation of women as atoll chiefs and in island women’s committees and atoll development committees.

125.The Committee welcomes the progress achieved and reflected in a very high adult literacy rate for women, and parity among boys and girls in primary and secondary education. It commends the improved indicators on life expectancy for women.

126.The Committee commends the efforts made to appraise laws for discrimination against women. The Committee welcomes, in particular, the ongoing efforts to bring the law on family relations into harmony with the Convention through the adoption of a new family law.

127.The Committee commends the Government for amending its nationality law and for granting women equal rights with men to acquire, change or retain their nationality, and also to transfer their nationality to their children.

128.The Committee also commends the Government for its progressive development of the national machinery and the establishment in 1998 of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and Social Security. It welcomes the initiative to reconstitute the National Women’s Council as a Gender Equality Council chaired by the President of Maldives.

Factors and difficulties affecting the implementation of the Convention

129.The Committee notes that geographical distances between islands and atolls as well as stereotypes constitute impediments to the full implementation of the Convention.

Principal areas of concern and recommendations

130.The Committee expresses its concern with the reservations entered by the State party to articles 7 (a) and 16 of the Convention. It is concerned that the reservation to article 7 (a) on political participation supports the retention of legislative provisions that exclude women from the office of President and Vice-President of the country.

131.The Committee urges the Government to withdraw these reservations and to repeal legislation limiting women’s political participation in public life.

132.The Committee expresses its regret that there is an absence of an effective machinery to enforce the rights recognized by the Constitution and to claim remedies. The Committee expresses its concern that the constitutional provisions on fundamental rights do not include non-discrimination on the ground of sex.

133.The Committee urges the Government to incorporate in the Constitution a provision against sexual discrimination and to provide for the effective enforcement of fundamental rights.

134.The Committee notes that the Government has not yet introduced temporary special measures, in accordance with article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention, to improve women’s access to higher education, decision-making positions and legislative bodies at the national and local levels.

135.The Committee urges the Government to introduce temporary special measures in a short-term and long-term framework. It requests the Government to combine them with public awareness and legal literacy programmes that challenge sexual stereotypes and recognize the right of women to equality. The Committee urges the Government to give priority to developing such programmes in areas of the country with high literacy levels.

136.The Committee notes with concern that early marriage and domestic responsibilities contribute to high dropout rates for girls. The Committee urges the Government to introduce minimum age of marriage laws and other programmes to prevent early marriage, in line with the obligations of the Convention.

137.The Committee notes with concern the under-reporting of violence against women, including domestic violence, and the absence of effective laws and law enforcement and a support system for women who are victims of violence. It expresses particular concern that violence against women is understood in the community and in the legal system to be a private matter rather than an infringement of human rights and a violation of the Convention.

138.The Committee urges the Government to improve law-enforcement measures, enact laws on domestic violence, including domestic violence and marital rape, in accordance with general recommendation 19, on violence against women,5 and work with women’s groups to obtain reliable data and provide relief to victims of violence. The Committee requests the Government to respond to this issue in national plans, based on the Beijing Platform for Action and the Commonwealth Plan of Action on Gender and Development. It calls upon the Government to create public awareness on violence against women as an infringement of human rights that has grave social costs for the whole community.

139.The Committee expresses its concern that family laws discriminate against women and notes with concern the high divorce rates, which have an adverse impact on women and children.

140.The Committee urges the Government to enforce the new family law, which tries to address this problem, and to continue its efforts to reform all areas of family law so as to protect the human rights of women.

141.The Committee calls upon the Government to obtain information on comparative jurisprudence seeking to interpret Islamic law in harmony with international human rights standards and the Beijing Platform for Action.

142.The Committee notes with concern that the health and nutrition of girls suffer after puberty and that maternal mortality and morbidity rates and the mortality rate of girls under the age of 5 years remain at unsatisfactory levels. The Committee is also concerned that patriarchal and stereotypical attitudes have a negative impact on women’s health and nutrition.

143.The Committee calls upon the Government to obtain information on the causes of maternal mortality, malnutrition and morbidity and the mortality rate of girls under the age of 5 years, and to develop programmes to address those problems.

144.The Committee urges the Government to sign and ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention and to deposit as soon as possible its instrument of acceptance of the amendment of article 20, paragraph 1, of the Convention, concerning the meeting time of the Committee.

145.The Committee requests the Government to respond in its next periodic report to the specific issues raised in the present concluding comments. It also requests the Government to provide in its next report an assessment of the impact of measures taken to implement the Convention.

146.The Committee requests the wide dissemination in Maldives of the present concluding comments in order to make the people of Maldives, in particular governmental administrators and politicians, aware of the steps that have been taken with regard to de jure and de facto equality for women and of the future steps that are required in that regard. It requests the Government to continue to disseminate widely, and in particular to women’s and human rights organizations, the Convention and its Optional Protocol, the general recommendations of the Committee, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the results of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, entitled “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century”.

Uzbekistan

147.The Committee considered the initial report of Uzbekistan (CEDAW/C/UZB/1) at its 500th, 501st and 507th meetings, on 25 and 30 January 2001 (see CEDAW/C/SR.500, 501 and 507).

(a)Introduction by the State party

148.In introducing the report, the representative of Uzbekistan highlighted the recent political, social and legal developments in that country, noting that the advancement of women was among the highest priorities of the Government and the President. He indicated that the ratification of the Convention in 1995 without reservation, as well as the ratification of other international human rights instruments, were an expression of the country’s commitment to the advancement of women and to achievement of the goal of gender equality. He emphasized that the Government of Uzbekistan was also seriously considering signing and ratifying the Optional Protocol.

149.The representative said that the Constitution did not contain a reference to “discrimination against women”. However, the principle of equality between men and women was the foundation of the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan, adopted in 1992.

150.The representative said that the Government had identified six main directions of work for the advancement of women. The first direction was the creation of a gender-sensitive system of laws and regulations to ensure the conditions necessary for the participation of women in the political, social, economic and cultural life of the country. The Government had published a compilation survey that included about 70 laws and regulations directly addressing the situation of women.

151.The second task was the establishment of national mechanisms for the advancement of women. The Parliament Committee on Social and Employment Issues and the Special Commission on the Issues of Women and Family were entrusted with the responsibility of elaborating new legislation that would protect the interests of women in various areas, as well as conducting a gender assessment of the existing rules and regulations. Both the Committee and the Commission monitored the implementation of State policies and programmes aimed at improvement of the status of women in society and at implementation of the Convention. The representative informed the Committee that a new position of Vice-Prime Minister, Minister for the issues of social protection of the family, motherhood and childhood, had been established. The respective positions had been established at the local level.

152.The representative informed the Committee of the establishment of a wide network of national human rights institutions, including the Office of the Ombudsman, the Institute for Monitoring Enforced Legislation and the National Human Rights Centre. To develop policies and programmes to improve the situation of women, governmental and non-governmental human rights institutions had, in 1999 and 2000, conducted a review and analysis of existing laws, focusing on those articles that directly provided for the legal protection of women and ensured their interests in a wide variety of areas.

153.The representative informed the Committee of the considerable increase in the number of non‑governmental organizations dealing with women’s issues. At the beginning of 2001 there were more than 100 such organizations. Cooperation between governmental bodies and non-governmental organizations in the development of policies and programmes for women was increasing, and Uzbekistan had benefited from cooperation with and technical assistance provided by international organizations, especially the United Nations Development Fund for Women and the United Nations Development Programme. With the help of the latter, the Committee of Uzbek Women had set up, in 1997, the Gender in Development Bureau to develop and implement programmes aimed at the economic empowerment of women in the country’s transition to a market economy. National women’s non-governmental organizations had established close contacts with similar organizations in other countries. Together with an American organization they had established a network of information centres on women’s issues.

154.The representative informed the Committee that, in accordance with the recommendations of the United Nations Decade on Human Rights Education, the Government had developed a national programme of action in the area of human rights, including the human rights of women. Within the framework of the programme of action, special courses on human rights had been introduced in schools and universities. In addition, pursuant to the recommendations of the Beijing Platform for Action, 36,000 seminars, in which 1.5 million women had participated, had been organized to address various issues of women’s advancement and gender equality.

155.The representative emphasized women’s educational achievements, stating that women constituted 37 per cent of students in higher education. Almost 50 per cent of economically active women were employed in the national economy. The majority of working women were employed in industry (48 per cent), agriculture (40 per cent), health and social security (70 per cent), education and science (47-60 per cent) and trade, public catering and social services (50‑52 per cent). According to estimates, in 2000 about 70 per cent of women had been employed in the private sector.

156.The changes currently taking place in the economy had negatively affected the situation of women in the labour market, especially increasing unemployment among them. To decrease the level of unemployment, the Government had been creating 280,000 to 300,000 new jobs annually, 40 per cent of which were given to women. The Government, together with business organizations, was also promoting the development of entrepreneurship among women. Of 64,000 entrepreneurs 20,000 were women.

157.The representative informed the Committee that the Government and the President were paying serious attention to the health of the population, in particular that of women and children. Taking into account the high birth rate in the country, the Government had developed a series of State programmes to improve the reproductive health of women and to decrease maternal and child mortality.

158.In closing, the representative informed the Committee that his Government fully understood that much more needed to be done to achieve equality between women and men. He emphasized the Government’s full commitment to continuing its work in that regard and to overcoming the obstacles that the women of Uzbekistan continued to encounter.

(b)Concluding comments of the Committee

Introduction

159.The Committee expresses its appreciation to the Government of Uzbekistan for the submission of its initial report. It commends the Government on its informative oral presentation, in which it updated the developments in the country since the submission of the report in early 2000, as it provided new information and further clarified the current status of implementation of the Convention. The Committee notes with appreciation that the report contains statistical data disaggregated by sex.

160.The Committee commends the Government of Uzbekistan for sending the delegation which had established a frank and constructive dialogue with the members of the Committee. The Committee welcomes the political will and the efforts of the Government of Uzbekistan to implement the recommendations of the Beijing Platform for Action and articles of the Convention.

161.The Committee welcomes the fact that Uzbekistan ratified the Convention without reservation and is considering signing its Optional Protocol.

Positive aspects

162.The Committee commends the Government for its political will to implement the Convention. It notes with appreciation the development of national mechanisms for monitoring the protection of human rights, including the human rights of women. It welcomes the efforts of the Government to establish a national machinery for the advancement of women and to conduct a review of legislation, especially those laws that directly address the status of women in various areas. The Committee welcomes the establishment of the Office of the Ombudsman within the Parliament.

163.The Committee commends the Government for its efforts to maintain a high level of education and for its policies concerning the employment of women. The Committee notes with appreciation the measures of the Government to promote women entrepreneurs.

164.The Committee welcomes the partnership of governmental agencies with women’s non-governmental organizations in the promotion of women’s human rights and welcomes the emergence of women’s non-governmental organizations.

Factors and difficulties affecting the implementation of the Convention

165.The Committee considers that the negative effects of the ongoing economic and political transformation and the ecological degradation in the country are major impediments to the full implementation of the Convention.

Principal areas of concern and recommendations

166.The Committee expresses its concern that, although the Constitution and the domestic laws provide for the equality of all citizens, they do not contain a definition of discrimination against women modelled on article 1 of the Convention, which prohibits both direct and indirect discrimination. The Committee also expresses its concern about the status of the Convention, and whether its provisions can be directly invoked before the courts.

167.The Committee calls upon the Government to include the definition of discrimination against women in article 1 of the Convention in its Constitution and national legislation. It also recommends that the Government draft a comprehensive law on equal opportunities for women and men, containing provisions to allow the adoption of temporary special measures in accordance with article 4, paragraph 1 of the Convention. It requests the Government to provide in its next report relevant information on this law, as well as the remedies available to women for redress for violations of their rights protected under the Constitution and the Convention.

168.The Committee expresses its concern that there is a very strong prevalence and significant resurgence of patriarchal attitudes and behaviour. Such traditional attitudes towards women are reflected in the lack of sharing of responsibility by men for household and family duties. The Committee also expresses concern about the lack of targeted educational programmes, revision of curricula and textbooks, and mass media campaigns to eliminate those stereotypes.

169.The Committee recommends that the Government take urgent measures to overcome traditional stereotypes regarding the role of women and men in society. The Committee emphasizes that a policy of gender equality in compliance with the Convention will require the reconceptualization of the role of women in society from that of mother and wife, exclusively responsible for children and the family, to that of individual person and actor in society. It recommends an increase in the number of women in decision-making bodies at all levels and in all areas. It also recommends that the Government strengthen its efforts to organize special training programmes for women and to conduct on a regular basis awareness-raising campaigns in this regard.

170.The Committee is concerned about the low representation of women in decision-making bodies because of a number of factors, including traditional sex roles.

171.The Committee recommends that the Government utilize temporary special measures in accordance with article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention to increase the number of women in decision-making levels in government, governmental bodies, public administration and State-owned enterprises.

172.The Committee notes with concern that the Government has not made sufficient effort to ensure de jure equality between women and men and regards such efforts as particularly urgent in view of the increasing de facto inequality in the society.

173.The Committee recommends that the Government take a comprehensive and holistic approach to promoting equality between women and men in all areas, including the economic, social, political, cultural and family domains. It also recommends a shift from a welfare approach towards a human rights approach, whereby women are claimants of their rights.

174.The Committee expresses its concern that the existing national mechanism for the advancement of women does not have sufficient strength and visibility or funding to promote effectively the advancement of women and gender equality. The Committee also expresses its concern about the lack of an overall, integrated policy of gender mainstreaming.

175.The Committee recommends that the Government restructure the existing national machinery in order to give it more visibility and strength, as well as review its mandate to carry out effectively the mainstreaming of a gender perspective in all policies and programmes and to promote the advancement of women. It also recommends that the Government assess the capacity of the national machinery and provide it with the necessary human and financial resources, and that it strengthen the existing governmental national mechanisms for women at all levels. It urges the Government to consider fostering more effective coordination among the existing mechanisms for women’s issues and gender equality and to ensure that they have sufficient financial and human resources.

176.The Committee expresses its concern about the prevalence of all forms of violence against women, including domestic violence.

177.The Committee requests the Government to pass a law against violence, especially against domestic violence, including marital rape, as soon as possible and to ensure that violence against women and girls constitutes a crime punishable under criminal law and that women and girls victims of violence have immediate means of redress and protection. It recommends that the Government organize training on gender issues for all public officials, in particular law enforcement officials and the judiciary, as well as for members of khokims’ offices at all levels and the local mahalas, to educate them about all forms of violence against women and girls in accordance with general recommendation 19 of the Committee, on violence against women.5 The Committee also recommends that the Government organize awareness-raising campaigns to address all forms of violence against women and girls, including domestic violence.

178.The Committee recognizes the efforts made by the Government to address the issue of trafficking of women and girls, which has increased in the region following the opening of the borders. It notes with concern that there is still not enough information on the subject or a comprehensive policy to address the problem.

179.The Committee urges the Government to include in its next report more information and data on the situation of trafficking of women and girls and on progress made in that area. The Committee considers that comprehensive measures should be developed and introduced in order to address the problem effectively, including prevention and reintegration and the prosecution of those responsible for trafficking.

180.The Committee, while noting with appreciation the high level of education among women, expresses its concern about the recent decline in the number of women students.

181.The Committee urges the Government to take urgent measures to prevent the decline in the number of women in higher education. The Committee recommends raising awareness and providing incentives to encourage young women to enter male-dominated fields of study.

182.The Committee recognizes the efforts of the Government to keep women in the labour market, but it notes with concern the existing occupational segregation in the labour market and the considerable wage differential between men and women, especially the gap between female- and male-dominated sectors of employment. It expresses serious concern about the high level of unemployment. It also expresses concern at indirect discrimination in the recruitment, promotion and dismissal of women. The Committee notes the absence of statistical data on wages disaggregated by sex.

183.The Committee urges the Government to ensure equal opportunities for women and men in the labour market, including through the use of temporary special measures. It recommends that the Government conduct regular reviews of legislation with a view to reducing the barriers for women in the labour market. It also recommends that the Government design and implement special training and retraining programmes for different groups of unemployed women.

184.The Committee urges the Government to address the problem of occupational segregation and to start implementing the principle of equal pay for work of equal value. It requests the Government to collect data disaggregated by sex and economic sector and provide them in the next report.

185.The Committee, while noting a decline in the maternal mortality rate, expresses its concern with the status of women’s health, especially their reproductive health, and the high birth rate. It also expresses its concern that abortion remains a primary means of birth control, and its concern about the increase in the use of tobacco by women. The Committee expresses its concern about the degree of environmental degradation in the country and its extremely negative impact on the health of the whole population, in particular women and children.

186.The Committee urges the Government to maintain free access to basic health care and to improve its family planning and reproductive health policy, including the availability and accessibility of modern contraceptive means. It encourages the Government to promote sex education during the compulsory school years. The Committee urges the Government to design and implement a sound environmental policy aimed at protecting the health of women and children.

187.The Committee expresses its concern about the high rates of suicide among women. It is also concerned at the cases of polygamy.

188.The Committee recommends that the Government establish structures aimed at addressing mental health problems faced by women. It also recommends undertaking measures to eliminate polygamy and early marriage.

189.The Committee expresses its concern about the situation of rural women, who comprise 60 per cent of all women in Uzbekistan, including their access to health-care services, education and income-generating activities.

190.The Committee recommends that the Government pay attention to the specific situation of rural women and develop special strategies, policies and programmes aimed at the economic empowerment of rural women, ensuring their access to capital and productive resources, as well as to health-care services and educational and social opportunities. It calls for more qualitative and quantitative data on this subject to be presented in the next report.

191.The Committee urges the Government to approve the amendment to article 20, paragraph 1, of the Convention, concerning the meeting time of the Committee.

192.The Committee also urges the Government to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention.

193.The Committee requests the Government to respond in its next periodic report to the specific issues raised in the present concluding comments.

194.The Committee requests the wide dissemination in Uzbekistan of the present concluding comments in order to make the people of Uzbekistan, in particular governmental administrators and politicians, aware of the steps that have been taken to ensure the de jure and de facto equality of men and women and of the future steps that are required in that regard.

2.Combined second, third and fourth periodic reports of States parties

Jamaica

195.The Committee considered the combined second, third and fourth periodic reports of Jamaica (CEDAW/C/JAM/2-4) at its 502nd and 503rd meetings, on 26 January 2001 (see CEDAW/C/SR.502 and 503).

(a)Introduction by the State party

196.In introducing the report, the representative of Jamaica informed the Committee of some of the legal, political, social and economic challenges facing her country in the implementation of the Convention. National and global developments were far-ranging, and the situation of women had been influenced in different ways by the many contemporary realities that faced the population as a whole.

197.The representative recognized the importance of national legislation and the protection of women’s rights, and noted that, with regard to the implementation of those rights, her country’s legal system operated against a background of traditional attitudes to women. To overcome existing stereotypes, redress imbalances and inequalities and ensure harmonization of laws with international norms and standards, a comprehensive legislative review of laws affecting women and children had been commissioned.

198.Despite the fact that many women had high academic qualifications, they remained largely under‑represented in positions of influence, power and decision-making. Although some women held important senior positions in Government, equitable representation of women in politics had yet to be achieved. Similarly, women tended to be under‑represented in decision-making positions in the private sector. The representative indicated that education was the primary tool for reversing stereotypical attitudes towards gender roles and that there had been an improvement in the retention rates of women, particularly at the tertiary level. However, women still encountered difficulties in finding employment commensurate with the level of their qualifications.

199.The representative described her Government’s programmes to address poverty, violence against women, prostitution and the spread of HIV/AIDS, pointing out particular progress in the areas of education and health. However, all of those efforts were affected by structural adjustment policies, globalization and a growing debt burden. She contended that, to implement new policies, the Government needed the support of civil society, and she noted that an increased number of non-governmental organizations, including the National Women’s Political Caucus, participated in public life.

200.Noting that poverty continued to affect all aspects of women’s lives, the representative stated that poverty eradication programmes were a national priority. Several programmes on rural, inner-city women and domestic workers, whom the representative described as the most marginalized in the economy, had been initiated by the Bureau of Women’s Affairs. The Government was seeking to ensure the wider integration of women in the tourism field, although the negative aspects associated with that sector, such as sex tourism, prostitution and sexual exploitation of young girls, would be monitored.

201.Within the health sector, there had been a significant reduction in the rates of maternal and infant mortality and the implementation of policies designed for cancer prevention. Prevention of sexually transmitted diseases had been integrated into family planning services, and a helpline had been instituted to provide counselling and support. The representative noted that, despite the significant achievements in the area of women’s health, HIV/AIDS had become an issue requiring urgent national attention. Women were contracting the virus at a faster rate than men, and young people were in the age group that seemed to be at highest risk.

202.The representative explained that achievements had been made in addressing the issues of domestic violence and other forms of gender-based violence. She noted that statistics indicated a close relationship between the incidence of murder and domestic violence. Many institutional measures had been implemented to counteract domestic and other forms of gender-based violence, including sexual abuse and incest, and the Government had granted financial subventions to non-governmental organizations providing services in that area. Public education and awareness-raising were seen as vital tools in combating violence, and several of the existing laws and acts that targeted gender-based violence were being reviewed. That legislation included the Domestic Violence Act, the Offences Against the Persons Act and the Incest Punishment Act. In addition, a sexual harassment bill was under consideration.

203.In conclusion, the representative informed the Committee that developments in the country continued to be affected by structural adjustment programmes, globalization and the increasing debt burden. The goals of justice and equity faced challenges because of joblessness, lack of growth and the feminization of poverty. It was a priority for the Government to target the most marginalized and poorest in the society, especially women and children, to give them autonomy and choice. She noted that Jamaica was in a transitional period and was searching for new strategies to overcome current challenges. She reaffirmed her Government’s commitment to live up to its obligations under the Convention and emphasized its intention to ratify the Optional Protocol.

(b)Concluding comments of the Committee

Introduction

204.The Committee commends the Government of Jamaica on its combined second, third and fourth periodic reports which is in accordance with the Committee’s guidelines for the preparation of periodic reports. It also commends the Government for the comprehensive written replies to the questions of the Committee’s pre-sessional working group and the oral presentation of the delegation, which sought to clarify the current situation of women in Jamaica and provided additional information on the implementation of the Convention.

205.The Committee expresses its appreciation of the open dialogue that took place between the delegation and the members of the Committee.

Positive aspects

206.The Committee conveys its compliments to the Government of Jamaica on its work with the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations in defining national and international plans of action on women. It also welcomes the consistent political will of Jamaica in regard to the implementation, at the national and regional levels, of programmes to strengthen action plans to improve the status of women.

207.The Committee commends the Government for its expressed political will to implement the Convention. It welcomes the Government’s efforts to review and amend its legislation to comply with its obligations under the Convention.

208.The Committee congratulates the Government on its intention to sign and ratify, as soon as possible, the Optional Protocol to the Convention.

209.The Committee expresses its appreciation for the withdrawal of the reservation to article 9, paragraph 2, of the Convention, which the Government had made upon ratification.

Factors and difficulties affecting the implementation of the Convention

210.The Committee notes that the entrenched stereotypical attitudes with regard to the role of women and men and the persistence of gender-based violence within the society constitute obstacles to the full implementation of the Convention.

Principal areas of concern and recommendation

211.The Committee expresses its concern at the slowness of legal reform relating to anti-discriminatory legislation. The Committee also expresses its concern that, although the Constitution provides for the equality of all citizens, there are no constitutional remedies available to women.

212.The Committee recommends that the Constitution be amended to allow women to have access to constitutional remedies of redress. The Committee urges the Government to make the necessary legislative reforms to the Constitution in order to create an appropriate legal framework that would ensure that the law is consistent with the provisions of the Convention. The Committee urges the Government to reform existing legislation and to create new legislation to protect the equal rights of women and men in regard to labour, social, family and property.

213.The Committee expresses its concern that Jamaica’s passport law provides that a married woman may keep her maiden name on her passport only if she insists or for professional reasons and that, in those cases, a note would be entered in her passport with the name of her husband and the fact of her marriage.

214.The Committee calls upon the Government to bring the passport law into line with article 16 (g) of the Convention.

215.The Committee expresses its concern that the Maternity Leave with Pay Act of 1979 does not cover domestic workers. It also expresses its concern with the disparity of eligibility and benefits to domestic workers under the National Insurance Scheme and other female workers covered under the Maternity Leave with Pay Act.

216.The Committee calls upon the State party to revise the Maternity Leave with Pay Act 1979 so as to ensure that, in accordance with international standards, all mothers receive leave with pay. It also calls upon the State party to review the Maternity Leave with Pay Act and the National Insurance Scheme with a view to removing any disparity as regards the eligibility of domestic workers and other female workers to benefits.

217.The Committee expresses its concern that stereotypical attitudes and behavioural patterns about the roles of women and men in the family and in society persist.

218.The Committee urges the Government to implement awareness-raising campaigns to change stereotypical and discriminatory attitudes concerning the roles of women and girls.

219.The Committee expresses its concern that the Government lacks a clear understanding of the full range of the temporary special measures provided for article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention.

220.The Committee urges the Government to implement the full range of temporary special measures aimed at increasing the number of women in decision-making at all levels, as well as in the public and private sectors. It recommends that the Government sensitize the social partners about the importance of these measures.

221.The Committee expresses its concern that the current system of monitoring gender impact through focal points is not effective and that the necessary structure is not in place.

222.The Committee urges the Government to introduce gender mainstreaming measures in all governmental ministries, institutions and departments, and notes that the responsibility should not fall exclusively under the purview of the Bureau of Women’s Affairs. The Committee recommends that the Bureau of Women’s Affairs should have the role of monitoring gender mainstreaming in all governmental activities. The Committee requests that further information on the gender monitoring checklist be provided in the next report.

223.The Committee expresses its concern about the high rate of teenage pregnancies.

224.The Committee calls upon the State party to improve its family planning and reproductive health policy and programmes, including availability and accessibility to affordable modern contraceptive means for both women and men. It encourages the Government to promote educational programmes on reproductive rights and responsible sexual behaviour for both women and men, particularly young people.

225.The Committee expresses its concern about the persistence of gender-based violence and domestic violence, including marital rape. The Committee also expresses its concern about the high incidence of incest and rape, and the lack of a holistic governmental strategy to identify and eradicate gender-based violence.

226.The Committee urges the Government to place a high priority on measures to address violence against women in the family and in society, in accordance with general recommendation 19 of the Committee and the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women. The Committee recommends that the Government raise public awareness about violence against women and urges the Government to strengthen its activities and programmes to focus on sexual violence, sexual crimes, incest and prostitution, especially prostitution associated with tourism. The Committee urges the Government to ratify the Inter-American Convention for the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women in order to strengthen the Government’s programmes in that area.

227.The Committee expresses its concern at the high incidence of poverty among various groups of women, in particular in households headed by females. The Committee recognizes that those households have been negatively affected by structural adjustment programmes and the changing global situation.

228.The Committee requests the Government to provide additional information on programmes and projects implemented to combat the negative impact of structural adjustment programmes on women and to ensure that the Government’s policies to eradicate poverty are continuous and do not further marginalize women.

229.The Committee expresses its concern about the working conditions of female labourers in the free-trade zone areas.

230.The Committee urges the Government to enact legislation to protect the labour rights of workers in the free-trade zone areas.

231.The Committee also urges the Government to sign and ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention. It further urges the Government to deposit its instrument of acceptance of the amendment to article 20, paragraph 1, of the Convention, concerning the meeting time of the Committee.

232.The Committee requests that the Government provide in its next report more detailed data, statistics and information about all aspects of women in Jamaica and respond to the concerns expressed in the present concluding comments in its next periodic report submitted under article 18 of the Convention.

233.The Committee requests the wide dissemination in Jamaica of the present concluding comments in order to make the people of Jamaica, in particular governmental administrators and politicians, aware of the steps that have been taken to ensure the de jure and de facto equality of women and of the future steps that are required in this regard. It requests the Government to continue to disseminate widely, in particular to women’s and human rights organizations, the Convention and its Optional Protocol, the Committee’s general recommendations, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the results of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, entitled “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century”.

3.Combined third and fourth periodic reportsof States parties

Mongolia

234.The Committee considered the combined third and fourth periodic reports of Mongolia (CEDAW/C/MNG/3-4) at its 504th and 505th meetings, on 29 January 2001 (see CEDAW/C/SR.504 and 505).

(a)Introduction by the State party

235.In introducing the report, the representative of Mongolia informed the Committee that Mongolia had been one of the first countries to ratify the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, in 1981. She also informed the Committee that, in 1998, the Parliament of Mongolia had accepted the amendment to article 20, paragraph 1, of the Convention. Mongolia had signed the Optional Protocol to the Convention in September 2000, and the procedures towards ratification were under way in Parliament.

236.The representative emphasized that, during the 10 years since the submission of its second report, Mongolia had seen radical changes in its political, economic and social life. Mongolia had become a country with a parliamentary Government and a multi-party system. Mongolia had become party to 30 international human rights treaties and had adopted relevant policies and enacted or amended legislation in accordance with its treaty obligations.

237.The representative informed the Committee that the Mongolian Constitution prohibited discrimination on the basis of sex. The rights of women to education and employment, as well as to participate in politics, were also protected by the Constitution and other legislation.

238.Reporting on action taken pursuant to the Convention, the representative informed the Committee that legislation had been amended and new legislation introduced to integrate the basic tenets of the Convention into the legislative framework and governmental policies and programmes. National programmes had been implemented to address the special needs of rural women, and initiatives to introduce advanced technology and create more job opportunities had been taken.

239.The representative highlighted the Health Law, which had come into force in 1998, and the new Labour Code, which contained specific provisions prohibiting discrimination in the workplace. The Family Law had come into force in 1999 and provided for women’s equal rights to inheritance, land use and ownership of livestock and other property. The representative said that the State Great Hural (Parliament) had recently adopted the Law on the National Human Rights Commission and that, in collaboration with international organizations, the Government had launched a process of a nationwide discussion to develop a national programme on human rights.

240.The representative informed the Committee of some of the achievements in implementing the Convention in Mongolia. These included the creation of an appropriate legal environment, an increase of the participation of non-governmental organizations, the development and implementation of gender policies and the high level of education among women. Factors that had hindered the full implementation of the Convention included the lack of a specific national machinery, the high maternal mortality rate, the low participation of women in political decision-making, the discrepancies between various geographical areas and social groups, the rise in domestic violence against women and the lack of legal literacy among women.

241.The representative concluded by reporting on the Government’s strategies for future implementation of the Convention. These were the improvement of the national coordination and integrating mechanism, the establishment of an integrated database, ongoing analysis of existing laws, a comprehensive review of the rural sector and the strengthening of cooperation between governmental and non-governmental organizations to promote the legal literacy of women.

(b)Concluding comments of the Committee

Introduction

242.The Committee expresses its satisfaction at the submission of the combined third and fourth periodic reports of Mongolia and the answers to the questions of the pre-sessional working group. It welcomes the oral updating statement, in particular the various strategies envisaged for the future implementation of the Convention.

Positive aspects

243.The Committee commends the Government for ratifying the amendment to article 20, paragraph 1, of the Convention and for taking steps to ratify the Optional Protocol.

244.The Committee notes that some legislative reforms regarding women have been undertaken, namely, provisions prohibiting discrimination in the workplace and provisions that allow for women’s equal rights to inheritance, land use and ownership of livestock and other property. It also notes the Government’s recognition of women’s non-governmental organizations.

245.The Committee commends the progress made in providing women with access to education and the achievement of high levels of participation at the tertiary level.

246.The Committee welcomes the efforts made to undertake a situation analysis of women in Mongolia and to develop a national programme of action for the advancement of women, with technical support from international organizations.

Factors and difficulties affecting the implementation of the Convention

247.The Committee notes that the persistence of stereotypical and patriarchal attitudes to the role of women in the family and the community prevents the enjoyment by women of human rights and denies them the opportunity to participate fully in national development.

248.The Committee considers that the negative effects of the country’s ongoing transition to a market economy are major impediments to the full implementation of the Convention.

Principal areas of concern and recommendations

249.The Committee notes with deep concern the deteriorating situation of women in Mongolia in a period of economic transformation. It expresses its particular concern that the Government has failed to prevent the erosion of women’s rights to economic advancement, health, education, political participation and personal security.

250.The Committee urges the Government to protect and promote women’s human rights and to utilize the development and technical resources available as well as the human resources of the country, including civil society and women’s groups, so as to reverse this trend.

251.The Committee expresses concern that poverty is widespread among women as a consequence of privatization and other factors linked to the transition to a market economy.

252.The Committee calls upon the Government to collect data and information on women living in poverty, disaggregated by age and according to urban and rural areas; to develop targeted policies and support services; to make efforts to prevent more women from falling below the poverty line; and in particular to address the situation of households headed by women.

253.The Committee expresses its concern that, although the Constitution provides for the equality of all citizens before the law, it does not reflect the definition of discrimination in article 1 of the Convention, which prohibits both direct and indirect discrimination. It also expresses its concern that there are no remedies available to women to redress violations of their rights.

254.The Committee calls upon the Government to undertake legal reforms so as to ensure that the full meaning of article 1 of the Convention is reflected in the country’s Constitution and legislation, and that constitutional rights are enforceable.

255.The Committee notes that a series of laws have been enacted but have not been analysed for their potentially discriminatory impact on women. It expresses its concern that laws are not effectively enforced so as to protect women’s human rights.

256.The Committee calls upon the Government to review and reform all gender discriminatory laws, in consultation with professional and women’s groups. It urges the Government to strengthen law enforcement and to provide effective remedies through the courts. The Committee requests the Government to develop legal literacy programmes for the community and gender-sensitization programmes for judges and law-enforcement officials.

257.The Committee notes with concern that Mongolia has not yet specifically developed gender-sensitization and legal literacy programmes for its large population of young people.

258.The Committee calls upon the Government to extend its distance education programmes for young people so as to include programmes on gender education as soon as possible. The Committee considers that the young people can be an important resource in changing stereotypical and patriarchal attitudes in society.

259.The Committee expresses its concern that the high achievement levels of women in education are not reflected in their participation in national and local legislative bodies, and in decision-making posts in administration.

260.The Committee urges the Government to introduce temporary special measures, in conformity with the Convention, and programmes on public awareness and human rights education that will create a supportive environment for women’s greater participation in public life.

261.The Committee expresses its deep concern that the phenomenon of violence against women has not been adequately addressed in laws, policies and programmes. It expresses particular concern at the long delay in enacting the proposed legislation on domestic violence.

262.The Committee urges the Government to enact the proposed domestic violence law, including marital rape provisions, to strengthen law enforcement and to develop a holistic range of initiatives to respond to violence against women in the light of general recommendation 19 of the Committee and the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women.

263.The Committee notes that a range of institutions and agencies deal with gender issues in an ad hoc manner and do not coordinate their work. The Committee expresses its concern that, although the Government has recognized the weakness of the national machinery, it has not provided information on new initiatives to address this problem.

264.The Committee urges the Government to establish strong and effective national machinery so that the Convention and the Beijing Platform for Action can be integrated into development plans. It considers that gender mainstreaming must be effectively coordinated and monitored. The Committee recommends that gender concerns be integrated into the work of the Commission on Human Rights and that women be appointed as members of this body.

265.The Committee expresses its concern that limited steps have been taken to combat prostitution and trafficking of women.

266.The Committee urges the Government to take steps to prosecute persons engaged in organizing prostitution and to adopt effective measures to combat trafficking of women.

267.The Committee expresses its deep concern at the negative impact of privatization on women’s access to adequate health care and education.

268.The Committee calls upon the Government to ensure that these services are not reduced and that, in particular, the areas of health and education do not suffer as a result of privatization.

269.The Committee expresses its concern that Mongolia places the responsibility of family and childcare exclusively on women, particularly as the population policy encourages women to have large families. It notes that this situation encourages their marginalization in the economy and exacerbates poverty.

270.The Committee urges the Government to develop laws, policies and educational programmes that support and promote the idea of joint parental responsibility and prevent discrimination against women because of their family responsibilities.

271.The Committee expresses its concern about the high level of unemployment of women.

272.The Committee urges the Government to establish a legislative basis that will ensure women equal access to the labour market and equal opportunities to work and prevent direct and indirect discrimination in employment. It calls upon the Government to implement unemployment policies aimed at reducing the level of unemployment of women.

273.The Committee expresses its concern with regard to women’s health throughout their life cycle. The Committee also expresses its concern that economic hardship impacts negatively on women’s reproductive and mental health. In particular, the Committee notes with concern the acute problem of maternal mortality, owing in part to abortions performed under unsafe conditions and the non-availability of family planning services.

274.The Committee urges the Government to maintain adequate safe, affordable and accessible physical and mental health services for women throughout their life cycle. It also urges the Government to increase access, particularly in the rural areas, to affordable contraceptives for women and men, and to provide sex education to girls and boys.

275.The Committee expresses its concern that much of the information provided in the oral and written responses was not related to the current situation of women in Mongolia.

276.The Committee requests that the Government provide pertinent information on the situation of women in its next report, as well as information on the other concerns raised in the present concluding comments.

277.The Committee encourages the Government to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention.

278.The Committee requests the wide dissemination in Mongolia of the present concluding comments in order to make the people, in particular governmental administrators and politicians, aware of the steps that have been taken to ensure the de jure and de facto equality of women and of the further steps that are required in this regard. It requests the Government to continue to disseminate widely, in particular to women’s and human rights organizations, the Convention and its Optional Protocol, the Committee’s general recommendations, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the results of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, entitled “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century”.

4.Third and fourth periodic reports ofStates parties

Finland

279.The Committee considered the third and fourth periodic reports of Finland (CEDAW/C/FIN/3 and CEDAW/C/FIN/4) at its 494th and 495th meetings, on 22 January 2001 (see CEDAW/C/SR.494 and 495).

(a)Introduction by the State party

280.In introducing the third and fourth periodic reports, the representative of Finland expressed her appreciation to Finnish non-governmental organizations for their contributions to the preparation of the reports, and expressed the Government’s commitment to open dialogue with non-governmental organizations. She informed the Committee that the Finland of today represented a modern and equality-based gender model, and emphasized the significant impact of the Convention on the development of national legislation and measures to promote the status of women. Finland was committed to strengthening the Convention and, accordingly, had signed its Optional Protocol on 10 December 1999, the date it had been opened for signature, and had ratified it in December 2000.

281.The representative indicated that Finland had been the first country in the world to give women full political rights, that is, the first country that gave simultaneously both the right to stand for elections and the right to all women to vote. Women were currently represented at all levels of political life, with 37 per cent of members of Parliament and 34 per cent of counsellors being women while, for the first time, a woman had been elected President. Thanks to a legislative provision requiring a minimum quota of 40 per cent of both men and women in governmental and municipal bodies, the participation of women had dramatically increased in appointed bodies, especially at the local level.

282.The representative informed the Committee that the economic independence of women was one of the cornerstones of the Nordic idea of equality, and that the participation of women in the labour market was almost as high as that of men, with women being highly educated and generally employed. Women constituted the majority of top professionals in some areas, such as the media and biotechnology, and there were a large number of female university professors. However, gender segregation persisted in other areas of employment, with only 16 per cent of the labour force working in occupations in which there was a balanced participation of women and men, and few women occupying higher level public sector posts. Finland had launched a wide-scale strategic project in order to address gender segregation in employment.

283.The representative informed the Committee that the removal of pay inequality was one of the challenges facing the Government, because although preconditions for equality in working life existed, women’s wages remained at 81 to 85 per cent of those of men. The wage gap had resulted from sex-based job segregation in the labour market, the larger amount of paid overtime work carried out by men and women’s greater use of non-paid leave, which had led to a reduction in employment seniority. The representative said that gender wage differentials had narrowed during the 1990s, including as a result of the development and implementation of job-evaluation systems that establish wages in an objective and gender-sensitive manner.

284.The representative noted that the economic recession of the early 1990s had proved the vital importance of the Nordic welfare system by providing a safety net and ensuring basic protection and services for citizens. The adequate and comprehensive social security system had maintained society’s internal cohesion during the difficult employment situation.

285.Turning to violence against women, which was described as a very serious problem of human rights, the representative drew attention to steps taken by Finland at both the national and international levels to address that issue. Pursuant to the Beijing Platform for Action, Finland had addressed violence against women through a project for the prevention of violence against women, a multi-media “zero tolerance” campaign and various studies, including an extensive survey on women victims of violence, a study of the costs of violence against women in Finland and a survey of the violence experienced by immigrant women. Several legislative measures to address violence against women had been introduced, including the introduction of the Act on Restraining Orders, which had entered into force in 1999, and the 1997 Criminal Procedure Act, which provided victims of sexual and domestic violence offences with the right to a legal assistant or support person free of charge during the pre-trial investigation and trial stage. An extension to the scope of the Act on Restraining Orders had been proposed under which a family member acting violently towards his or her family members could be evicted from the family home. Steps had also been taken to address trafficking of women and prostitution. A project for the prevention of prostitution had been initiated and the buying of sexual services from persons under 18 years of age had been criminalized. An amendment to the Penal Code allowed for the prosecution of Finnish citizens for sexual offences committed abroad, and in December 2000 Finland had signed the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children.6 An interesting example of the positive change of atmosphere was that the oldest and largest evening paper in Finland had decided not to publish advertisements for sex phone lines.

286.The representative informed the Committee that the number of immigrants was growing rapidly and that the Act on the Integration of Immigrants had entered into force in 1999. The Act harmonized measures taken by authorities and strengthened their mutual cooperation at all levels, including the local level, and aimed to improve and accelerate the integration and employment of immigrants.

287.The representative underlined that the achievement of equality between women and men called for men to participate in the promotion of equality, and that the Government of Finland aimed to provide parents with more opportunities to share parental leave. In that regard, she noted that, in 2000, the Prime Minister of Finland had taken parental leave.

288.In concluding her presentation, the representative of Finland emphasized that mainstreaming a gender perspective in all policies and programmes, a philosophy that underpinned the Beijing Platform for Action, was vital for the achievement of gender equality. She indicated that the tools that had been developed to measure equality, including comparative statistics, indicators and benchmarking, were critical, as they provided new opportunities to choose the right policy tools and make the right political commitments. She noted that the Finnish Act on Equality between Men and Women had been in force for slightly more than 13 years and that its impact was currently being assessed and proposals for its amendment were being made. It was hoped that those proposals, which included the extension of provisions on expanding the notion of sexual harassment to encompass educational institutions, would result in legislation that would prevent discrimination on the basis of sex and provide stronger remedies and protection to those who had suffered from its effects.

(b)Concluding comments of the Committee

Introduction

289.The Committee expresses its appreciation to the Government of Finland on its third and fourth periodic reports, which comply with the guidelines for the preparation of periodic reports. It commends the Government for involving non-governmental organizations in the preparation of the reports. The Committee also expresses its appreciation for the extensive information provided in response to the issues raised by the pre-sessional working group and in the oral presentation.

290.The Committee commends the Government of Finland for its large delegation, which enabled a constructive and frank dialogue with the members of the Committee.

Positive aspects

291.The Committee commends the Government of Finland for having been one of the first States parties to the Convention to sign and ratify its Optional Protocol, and to accept the amendment to article 20, paragraph 1.

292.The Committee also commends the Government for placing objections to those reservations that are incompatible with the object and purpose of the Convention.

293.The Committee congratulates the Government of Finland for its important achievements in the promotion of equality between women and men.

294.The Committee commends the Government of Finland for the positive changes in the Finnish Constitution that entered into force on 1 March 2000, which, inter alia, provide that, in case of conflicting legislation, fundamental rights, including women’s right to equality, shall prevail, and explicitly provide for temporary special measures.

295.The Committee also commends the Government for its ongoing efforts to combat violence against women, in particular domestic violence. It welcomes the Act on Restraining Orders, which entered into force in 1999.

Factors and difficulties affecting implementation of the Convention

296.The Committee notes that there are no significant factors or difficulties that prevent the effective implementation of the Convention in Finland.

Principal areas of concerns and recommendations

297.While acknowledging the efforts undertaken by the Government in solving the problem of discrimination faced by women in the workplace through the Equality Act, the Committee expresses its concern over continuing discrimination in employment. In particular, the Committee is concerned about the wage gap that exists between women and men owing primarily to the “horizontal” and “vertical” gender segregation of the labour market.

298.The Committee urges the Government to increase its efforts to eliminate stereotypes in women’s education as well as biased perceptions in job evaluations and pay relating to traditional areas of employment for women. In particular, it recommends efforts to encourage cross-vocational training in typical female and male-dominated areas, and to address the issue of the negative impact on women of policies of time-fixed contracts. The Committee also urges the Government to increase incentives for men to use their rights to parental leave and to set up stronger monitoring mechanisms for the plans under the Equality Act.

299.The Committee expresses its concern about the low percentage of women in high-ranking posts in many areas, particularly in academia, where the presence of women has been declining as they move up the academic ladder and where they currently hold only 18.4 per cent of professorships. The Committee is concerned that the current system of hiring professors by invitation instead of open competition places women at a disadvantage.

300.The Committee urges the Government to make efforts to facilitate an increase in the number of women in high-ranking posts. It recommends the adoption of proactive measures to encourage more women to apply for high-ranking posts and to implement temporary special measures, such as quotas, where necessary. The Committee also urges the mainstreaming of gender studies in all areas of education as a way to raise the awareness of students of all disciplines to gender issues. Such mainstreaming should be in addition to promotion of specific gender study and research programmes.

301.The Committee expresses its concern about the high incidence of violence against women in Finland. It notes that a recent survey conducted by Statistics Finland in cooperation with the Council for Equality revealed that 40 per cent of women had experienced physical or sexual violence or the threat thereof. The Committee also expresses its concern about the high level of sexual harassment in the workplace.

302.The Committee urges the Government to increase its efforts to implement effectively the current policies aimed at combating violence, to pay more attention to prevention efforts and to take steps to turn the “zero tolerance” campaign into a legally binding State policy. The Committee also urges the Government to implement all necessary measures in order to empower individuals and non-governmental organizations to take action with regard to sexual harassment.

303.Notwithstanding the extensive measures already undertaken by the Government, the Committee expresses its concern at the increased incidence of trafficking of women and exploitation of prostitution of women.

304.The Committee urges the Government to intensify its efforts to increase cooperation between national and international authorities, particularly from the Russian Federation and the Baltic States, in order to encourage common action to prevent and combat trafficking and to use the Internet in order to disseminate information on the Government’s actions to combat trafficking. The Committee also urges the Government to encourage a positive change of atmosphere regarding sex phone lines as they run counter to the efforts being made to portray women positively, and not as “sex objects”, in the media.

305.The Committee expresses its concern at the continuing discrimination against immigrant and minority women living in Finland, particularly Roma and Sami women, who suffer from double discrimination, based on both their sex and ethnic background.

306.The Committee urges the Government to undertake studies on the participation of minority women in society and to take effective measures to eliminate discrimination against them and strengthen efforts to combat racism and xenophobia in Finland.

307.The Committee expresses its concern that the policy of decentralization may have a more negative impact on women than men.

308.The Committee recommends that the Government introduce a gender-impact analysis as well as gender-sensitive training in all its decentralization efforts, while strengthening the links between the central authority and the municipalities so that gains made through centrally administered programmes will not be lost during the transition to decentralization.

309.The Committee expresses its concern about the increase in smoking and in the use of drugs among young people, particularly girls, and urges the Government to intensify its efforts aimed at combating the use and supply of drugs and smoking.

310.The Committee requests the Government to respond to the specific issues raised in the present concluding comments in its next periodic report.

311.The Committee also requests the Government to disseminate widely in Finland the present concluding comments and to support their public discussion, in order to make politicians and governmental administrators, women’s non-governmental organizations and the public at large aware of the steps required to ensure de jure and de facto equality for women. It further requests the Government to continue to disseminate widely, in particular to women’s and human rights organizations, the Convention and its Optional Protocol, the Committee’s general recommendations, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the results of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, entitled “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century”.

5.Third and combined fourth and fifth periodic reports of States parties

Egypt

312.The Committee considered the third report and the combined fourth and fifth periodic reports of Egypt (CEDAW/C/EGY/3 and CEDAW/C/EGY/4-5) at its 492nd and 493rd meetings, on 19 January 2001 (see CEDAW/C/SR.492 and 493).

(a)Introduction by the State party

313.In introducing the reports, the representative of Egypt emphasized the improvement in favour of women in the legal, institutional and practical domains. In the legal domain, many laws, such as family laws, had been amended in favour of women. The National Council for Women had been created in February 2000 by Presidential decree as the first political institution focusing on the empowerment of women, monitoring of implementation of the Convention and laws and policies affecting women’s lives. The Council reported directly to the President, and its 30 members had been selected from different disciplines and sectors, including the academic community and non-governmental organizations. The representative stressed the importance of collaboration between non-governmental organizations, and the Council, particularly with regard to the implementation of programmes aimed at the reduction of poverty resulting from privatization and structural adjustment programmes, particularly among female heads of household in both rural and urban poor areas.

314.The representative informed the Committee that, during the 2000 elections, the National Council for Women had supported the participation of women both as candidates and as voters. Women’s awareness of the importance of political participation had consequently increased, and the number of female candidates had increased from 87 in 1995 to 120 in 2000, with 7 candidates being elected in 2000, compared to 5 in 1995.

315.The legislative committee of the National Council for Women had reviewed the current nationality law and recommended that it be amended to entitle Egyptian women married to foreigners the right to confer their nationality on their children. It had reviewed the draft labour law, recommending amendments to ensure that existing benefits, including maternity leave and leave to care for children, remained available for all working women, including those in the governmental, public and private sectors. In addition, the legislative committee was reviewing the draft law on passports, which had been formulated in response to the ruling of the Supreme Constitutional Court that a ministerial decree requiring the husband’s consent to the issue of a wife’s passport was unconstitutional. The legislative committee within the National Council for Women would initiate a campaign to raise awareness of the draft law, and had formed a committee to elaborate a new family code.

316.The representative informed the Committee of recent laws and regulations that sought to eliminate discrimination between women and men. These included Law No. 12 of 1996, passed in compliance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child7 to provide protective measures for mothers and children and to guarantee the rights of women as mothers and working women, and Law No. 1 of 2000, enacted after a 10-year period of consultation. Law No. 1, which entered into force on 1 March 2000, grants women the right to “khul”, or unilateral divorce by repudiation without the need to prove damage. Executive decrees issued as a result of Law No. 1 of 2000 included a new marriage contract, which came into effect on 16 August 2000, elaborating protective provisions relating to finances and polygamy. In addition, article 291 of the Penal Code, which provided a defence in cases of kidnap and rape where the defendant marries the victim, was repealed.

317.The representative noted that, despite the progress that had been made in implementing the Convention, there were a number of areas that required attention. They included discrimination against women with regard to the nationality of their children, the low number of women in many areas of decision-making, including the Parliament, the absence of women in the judiciary, the high levels of illiteracy among women and girls and violence against women. In order to overcome these obstacles, human rights education was important. The National Council for Women was pursuing an awareness campaign with the aid of the concerned authority. Human rights education had been included in law courses taught at the Police Academy. She referred to the ongoing awareness campaign and training courses on human rights for law-enforcement and legal personnel.

318.The representative said that the Government intended to enhance efforts towards the achievement of equality between women and men and the elimination of discrimination against women. She noted that cultural constraints and traditions sometimes impeded change and obstructed implementation of the law. In this context, she said that the Government, through the National Council for Women and in collaboration with the Egyptian intelligentsia, both men and women would seek to use indigenous formulations, which were deeply rooted in Egyptian and Islamic culture and which asserted the equality between women and men. With the aid of all concerned, governmental and non-governmental organizations, the National Council for Women would participate in campaigns to raise awareness and ensure proper interpretations, clarify misinterpretations of religious concepts and demonstrate that the principles of sharia provide for the full equality of women with men, and respect for women’s human dignity.

319.In conclusion, the representative informed the Committee that efforts were under way to address the reservations entered by the Government of Egypt upon ratification of the Convention. It had recommended the withdrawal of the reservation to article 2 of the Convention and those to article 9, paragraph 2, and article 16 were actively under review.

(b)Concluding comments of the Committee

Introduction

320.The Committee commends the Government of Egypt on its third and combined fourth and fifth periodic reports, which are in accordance with the Committee’s guidelines for the preparation of periodic reports. It also commends the Government for the comprehensive written replies to the questions of the Committee’s pre-session working group, and the oral presentation of the delegation, who sought to clarify the current situation of women in Egypt and provided additional information on the implementation of the Convention.

321.The Committee congratulates the Government for its high-level and large delegation, headed by the Secretary-General of the National Council for Women. The Committee appreciates the open dialogue that took place between the delegation and the members of the Committee.

Positive aspects

322.The Committee welcomes the establishment of the National Council for Women, which was created by Presidential decree, reports directly to the President and is mandated to monitor laws and policies affecting women’s lives, raise awareness and monitor the implementation of the Convention. The Committee considers that the establishment of the Council reflects strong political will and the Government’s commitment to enhancing the status of women in compliance with the Convention. The Committee commends the fact that non-governmental organizations are represented in the Council and that they participated in the preparation of the reports.

323.The Committee notes the introduction of legal reforms aimed at the elimination of discrimination against women, particularly Law No. 1 of 2000, which, inter alia, gives women a right to terminate a marriage unilaterally (khul).

324.The Committee takes note with appreciation of the important reduction of female illiteracy rates obtained by Egypt by implementing special programmes and specific budgetary allocations.

Factors and difficulties affecting the implementation of the Convention

325.The Committee notes that, although the Constitution guarantees equality of men and women and the Convention prevails over national legislation, the persistence of patriarchal attitudes and stereotypical behaviour with respect to the role of women and men in the family and society limit the full implementation of the Convention.

Principal areas of concern and recommendations

326.While appreciating the efforts of the National Council for Women to encourage the Government to withdraw its reservations to articles 2 and 9, paragraph 2, and article 16 of the Convention, the Committee expresses its concern that these reservations entered by the State party upon ratification have been retained.

327.The Committee urges the State party to expedite the steps necessary for the withdrawal of its reservations and in that regard draws its attention to the Committee’s statement on reservations in its report on its nineteenth session8 and, in particular, its view that articles 2 and 16 are central to the object and purpose of the Convention and that, in accordance with article 28, paragraph 2, they should be withdrawn.

328.The Committee notes with concern that women who seek divorce by unilateral termination of their marriage contract under Law No. 1 of 2000 (khul) must in all cases forego their rights to financial provision, including the dower.

329.The Committee recommends that the Government consider a revision of Law No. 1 of 2000, in order to eliminate this financial discrimination against women.

330.The Committee expresses its concern that the Egyptian nationality law prevents an Egyptian woman from passing on her nationality to her children if her husband is not Egyptian, while Egyptian men married to non-Egyptians may do so. It is concerned by the hardship faced by the children of Egyptian women married to non-Egyptian men, including financial hardship with regard to education. The Committee considers this limitation on the rights of women to be inconsistent with the Convention.

331.The Committee calls upon the State party to revise the legislation governing nationality in order to make it consistent with the provisions of the Convention.

332.The Committee notes with concern that the persistence of cultural stereotypes and patriarchal attitudes impedes progress in the implementation of the Convention and the full enjoyment of their human rights. In this regard, the Committee is concerned that article 11 of the Egyptian Constitution, which states that the State shall enable a woman to reconcile her duties towards her family with her work in society and guarantee her equality with men in the sphere of political, social, cultural and economic life, appears to entrench the woman’s primary role as mother and homemaker.

333.The Committee urges the Government to increase awareness-raising programmes, including those specifically directed towards men, and to take measures to change stereotypical attitudes and perceptions about the roles and responsibilities of women and men.

334.The Committee expresses its concern at the continuing stereotypical portrayal of women in the media, which encourages discrimination and undermines equality between men and women.

335.The Committee urges the Government, including the National Council for Women, to support the important role of the media in changing stereotypical attitudes towards women and in promoting equality between men and women as prescribed by the Constitution and international standards. It recommends that opportunities be created for the portrayal of positive, non-traditional images of women and that the number of women in decision-making positions in the media be increased. It also recommends that the Government establish, within the Council, a monitoring body on the representation of women in the media.

336.The Committee expresses its concern that the Government has addressed HIV/AIDS only as a health issue.

337.The Committee urges the Government of Egypt to address the multidimensional and cross-cutting nature of HIV/AIDS, including its human rights, economic, social, development and security dimensions.

338.Taking note of the successful efforts by the Government to reduce the drop-out rate for girls in primary education, the Committee notes with concern the remaining high level of illiteracy among women, and the rate at which girls and young women drop out of secondary school and university.

339.The Committee calls upon the Government to continue to strengthen its efforts to eradicate female illiteracy, in particular in the rural areas. It urges the Government to continue its programmes to prevent drop-outs by girls in primary education, and to reduce the drop-out rate of girls and young women at secondary school and university, including through the use of incentives for parents, so as to provide young women with the necessary skills and knowledge to participate on the basis of equality with men in the labour market.

340.The Committee expresses its concern that stereotypical attitudes about the roles of women and men in the family and society are reflected in the low level of representation of women in decision-making at all levels and in all areas. The Committee expresses its concern in particular that, although there is no law that prohibits the appointment of women as judges, no woman has ever been so appointed.

341.The Committee calls upon the Government to increase the number of women at all levels of decision-making, including in government and Parliament. It urges the Government to implement temporary special measures, such as numerical goals and quotas connected to time frames, in accordance with article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention, in order to increase the representation of women at decision-making levels in all areas.

342.The Committee expresses its concern at the lack of information on the participation and conditions of women in the labour market, including in the private and informal sectors, and that there is little information and data on the impact of the recent privatization measures taken by the Government.

343.The Committee calls upon the Government to provide more information on this area in its next periodic report.

344.The Committee expresses its concern that, although efforts have been made, there is no holistic approach to the prevention and elimination of violence against women, including domestic violence, marital rape, violence against women in detention centres and crimes committed in the name of honour or the punishment of perpetrators. The Committee is also concerned at the high level of violence against adolescent girls and young married women.

345.The Committee urges the Government to conduct a national survey of the extent of violence against women, including rural women. It calls upon the Government to assess the impact of existing measures to address the various forms of violence against women. It recommends that the root causes of violence against women, especially domestic violence, be investigated so as to improve the effectiveness of legislation, policies and programmes aimed at combating such violence. It also recommends that the Government implement training and sensitization programmes for the judiciary, law-enforcement officials and members of the legal and health professions, as well as awareness-raising measures to create zero tolerance in society with regard to violence against women.

346.The Committee expresses its concern that several provisions of the Penal Code discriminate against women. In particular, in case of murder following the crime of adultery, men and women are not treated equally. In addition, prostitutes are penalized, while their clients are not.

347.The Committee urges the Government to eliminate any discriminatory penal provisions, in accordance with the Constitution and the Convention.

348.While welcoming the Minister of Health’s Decree of 1996 on female genital mutilation, the Committee expresses its concern at the lack of information on the implementation of this Decree.

349.The Committee requests the Government to provide full details on the implementation of this Decree in its next report, including on public awareness-raising campaigns run by all actors (ministries, the National Council for Women and non-governmental organizations) and on measures that have been taken to educate those whose livelihood depends on performing such procedures.

350.The Committee expresses its concern at the lack of information on rural women, especially in the informal sector.

351.The Committee calls upon the Government to provide in its next periodic report a comprehensive picture of the situation of rural women, in particular with regard to education, health and employment. The Committee recommends that the Government monitor existing programmes and develop additional policies and programmes aimed at the economic empowerment of rural women, ensuring their access to productive resources and capital as well as to health-care services and to social and cultural opportunities.

352.The Committee expresses its concern about the high number of early marriages of girls, especially in rural areas.

353.The Committee recommends that the Government amend the law on the legal age of marriage to prevent early marriage, in line with its obligations as a State party to the Convention.

354.The Committee expresses its concern regarding the continued legal authorization of polygamy.

355.The Committee urges the Government to take measures to prevent the practice of polygamy in accordance with the provisions of the Convention and the Committee’s general recommendation 21.9

356.The Committee urges the Government to sign and ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention and to deposit, as soon as possible, its instrument of acceptance of the amendment to article 20, paragraph 1, of the Convention, concerning the meeting time of the Committee.

357.The Committee requests the Government to respond to the concerns expressed in the present concluding comments in its next periodic report submitted under article 18 of the Convention.

358.The Committee requests the wide dissemination in Egypt of the present concluding comments in order to make the people of Egypt, in particular governmental administrators and politicians, aware of the steps that have been taken to ensure de jure and de facto equality for women and of the future steps that are required in this regard. It requests the Government to continue to disseminate widely, in particular to women’s and human rights organizations, the Convention and its Optional Protocol, the Committee’s general recommendations, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the results of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, entitled “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century”.

Chapter VWays and means of expediting the work of the Committee

359.The Committee considered agenda item 8, on ways and means of expediting its work, at its 486th and 508th meetings, on 15 January and 2 February 2001 (see CEDAW/C/SR.486 and 508).

360.The item was introduced by the Chief of the Women’s Rights Unit of the Division for the Advancement of Women, who drew attention to the report of the Secretariat (CEDAW/C/2001/I/4) and the revised rules of procedure of the Committee (CEDAW/C/2001/I/WG.I/WP.I).

Action taken by the Committee under agenda item 8

1.Concluding comments of the Committee

361.In the light of its discussion of its current pattern of concluding comments and their means of formulation, the Committee requested the Secretariat to prepare an analysis of the concluding comments it had adopted since its fifteenth session, including those with respect to length, balance and reflection of the concluding observations of other human rights treaty bodies, for the Committee’s consideration at its twenty-fifth session. The Committee also requested the Secretariat to compile and index its concluding comments, for use as reference material.

2.Decisions on working methods

362.The Committee requested the Secretariat to compile the decisions and suggestions on the working methods it had adopted since its first session, in 1982.

3.Reservations

363.The Committee requested the Secretariat to prepare for its consideration at its twenty-fifth session an analysis of the approach of other human rights treaty bodies to reservations to human rights treaties in the consideration of reports and communications of States parties.

4.Reports of States parties

364.The Committee requested the Chairperson to inform States parties of its decision 23/II,10 in which it decided, on an exceptional basis and as a temporary measure, to invite States parties with overdue reports to combine them in a single document. It also requested the Chairperson to draw that decision to the attention of relevant States parties whose reports had been considered by the Committee, in a letter transmitting the concluding comments on the reports of those States parties.

5.Members of the pre-sessional working group for the twenty-fifth session

365.The Committee decided that the members of the pre-sessional working group for the twenty-fifth session and their alternates should be as follows:

MembersNaela Gabr (Africa)Heisoo Shin (Asia)Frances Livingstone Raday (Europe)Zelmira Regazzoli (Latin America and theCaribbean)

AlternatesMavivi Myakayaka-Manzini (Africa)Sjamsiah Achmad (Asia)Ayse Feride Acar (Europe)Yolanda Ferrer Gómez (Latin America and theCaribbean).

6.Members of the Working Group on the Optional Protocol

366.In accordance with rule 62 of its rules of procedure, the Committee decided to establish a working group on the Optional Protocol and appointed the following as the five members of the Working Group: Hanna Beate Schöpp-Schilling (Chairperson), Aída González Martinez, Savitri Goonesekere, Fatima Kwaku and Chikako Taya.

7.Dates of the twenty-fifth session of the Committee

367.Consistent with the calendar of conferences for 2001, the twenty-fifth session should be held from 2 to 20 July 2001. The pre-sessional working group for the twenty-sixth session would meet from 23 to 28 July 2001. The Optional Protocol Working Group would meet from 23 to 28 July 2001.

8.Reports to be considered at future sessions

368.The Committee decided that it would consider the following reports at its twenty-fifth, twenty-sixth and twenty-seventh sessions:

Twenty-fifth session

Initial reportsAndorraGuineaSingapore

Second periodic reportsGuyana

Second and third periodic reportsNetherlands

Second and combined third and fourth periodic reportsViet Nam

Fourth and fifth periodic reportsNicaraguaSweden

Twenty-sixth session

(Subject to the implementation of suggestion 23/I of the Committee, which concerns the possibility of convening the twenty-sixth session outside United Nations Headquarters)

Initial reportsTrinidad and Tobago

Combined second and third periodic reportsEquatorial GuineaUruguay

Combined third and fourth periodic reportsIcelandSri Lanka

Fourth periodic reportsPortugal

Fifth periodic reportsRussian Federation

In the event that one of the above-mentioned States parties should be unable to present its report, the Committee would consider the third and fourth periodic reports of Zambia; the combined fourth and fifth periodic reports of Ukraine; or the fifth periodic report of Denmark.

Twenty-seventh session

Initial reportsNone

Combined third and fourth periodic reportsZambia

Fourth periodic reportsJapan

Combined fourth and fifth periodic reportsUkraine

Fourth and fifth periodic reportsDenmark

In the event that one of the above-mentioned States parties should be unable to present its report, the Committee would consider the third and fourth periodic reports of Belgium, the third and fourth periodic reports of Kenya or the fourth periodic report of Tunisia.

9.United Nations meetings to be attended by the Chairperson or members of the Committee in 2001

369.The Committee recommended that the Chairperson or an alternate attend the following meetings in 2001:

(a)The forty-fifth session of the Commission on the Status of Women;

(b)The fifty-seventh session of the Commission on Human Rights;

(c)The thirteenth meeting of persons chairing the human rights treaty bodies;

(d)The fifty-sixth session of the General Assembly (Third Committee).

Chapter VIImplementation of article 21 of the Convention

370.The Committee considered agenda item 7, on the implementation of article 21 of the Convention, at its 486th and 508th meetings (see CEDAW/C/SR.486 and 508).

371.The item was introduced by the Chief of the Women’s Rights Unit of the Division for the Advancement of Women, Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat, who drew attention to a note by the Secretary-General on the reports of specialized agencies (CEDAW/C/2001/I/3) and the reports of specialized agencies on the implementation of the Convention in areas falling within the scope of their activity (CEDAW/C/2001/I/3/Add.1-4).

Action taken by the Committee under agenda item 7

1.General recommendation on article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention

372.The Committee began its discussion of a general recommendation on article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention, concerning temporary special measures aimed at accelerating de facto equality between men and women. It requested the Secretariat to provide, at its twenty-fifth session, an analysis of the Committee’s approach to article 4, paragraph 1, in its consideration of reports of States parties.

2.Contribution of the Committee to the preparatory process for and the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance

373.The Committee recognizes the close links between discrimination against women and racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, and endorses fully General Assembly resolution 52/111 of 12 December 1997, by which the Assembly decided to convene a World Conference on these themes.

374.The Committee welcomes Assembly resolution 54/154 of 17 December 1999 and Commission on Human Rights resolution 1999/78 of 28 April 1999,11 in which they invited United Nations bodies and mechanisms dealing with the question of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance to participate actively in the preparatory process for the World Conference and to undertake reviews and submit recommendations concerning the World Conference.

375.The Committee, as well as other United Nations bodies, mechanisms and programmes, has undertaken important efforts to promote, respect and protect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all women, irrespective of race, descent or national or ethnic origin.

376.The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women obliges States parties to work towards the realization of the human rights of women in all fields throughout their life cycle, such rights being an inalienable, integral and indivisible part of universal human rights. This commitment also requires active intervention to prevent all forms of discrimination against women, including prevention of such discrimination in the context of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.

377.The reports submitted to the Committee by States parties demonstrate that women all over the world continue to suffer multiple discrimination because of their sex and other factors of social exclusion. This multiple discrimination is often suffered by women migrant workers, women asylum seekers and women of diverse race, ethnicity, caste and nationality.

378.The Committee has frequently expressed its concern regarding the situation of women during armed conflict, particularly conflicts that have their origin in race and ethnicity. It has noted that discrimination against women of diverse ethnic and racial origins is often manifested in extreme forms of gender-based violence.

379.Too often the disempowerment resulting from discrimination against women is reinforced by abuse of power perpetrated against women with diverse racial identities and other identities that result in social exclusion. The discrimination that these women suffer is frequently the result of traditional, patriarchal and historical prejudices. However, the Committee has also noted that economic deprivation and poverty make these women more vulnerable to exploitation.

380.Contemporary phenomena, such as neo-nazism and neo-fascism, the resurgence of religious fundamentalism, selective immigration controls and commercial sexual exploitation of women and girls in cross-border trafficking also intensify discrimination against women, as well as racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. Violence against women and denial or limitation of their access to health, education, economic opportunity and political participation are major problems in many countries.

381.Taking the above-mentioned factors into consideration, the Committee has frequently requested data disaggregated by both sex and other factors in order to facilitate the formulation and implementation by States parties of laws, policies and programmes to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women, where necessary.

382.The Committee considers that the realization of gender equality and the human rights of women as envisaged in the Convention will contribute significantly to eliminating racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. In particular, its general recommendations 19, on violence against women,5 and 24, on health,12 provide a holistic range of legal, policy and programmatic interventions. Such interventions will create a supportive environment for protecting women victims of discrimination, provide effective remedies and compensation and eventually eliminate all forms of discrimination.

383.The Committee has decided to prepare a general recommendation on temporary special measures that will encourage the adoption of legal and policy initiatives as well as goals and targets within a time frame for eliminating discrimination and accelerating de facto equality. In this context, the Committee is considering making an analysis of the interface of gender and racial discrimination through a study of the reports of States parties with a view to compiling best practice in addressing the phenomenon of racial discrimination against women.

384.The Committee proposes to the Preparatory Committee and to the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance that:

(a)A gender perspective be integrated into all themes of the Conference agenda;

(b)The declaration and the plan of action of the Conference recognize the gender dimension of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance and promote gender equality;

(c)The plan of action of the Conference contain special measures to protect women and girls from all forms of discrimination, including:

(i)Protection against gender-based violence, rape in situations of armed conflict, trafficking of women and violence against migrant workers;

(ii)Initiatives to strengthen the implementing mechanisms of international humanitarian law with a view to preventing violence and multiple discrimination against women during armed conflict;

(iii)Development of broad-based human rights education for all segments of the population in the spirit of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women with a view to creating a value system that is supportive of gender equality. The creation of such a value system would undoubtedly encourage peaceful conflict resolution and contribute to creating societies based on gender equality, respect for human rights, tolerance and racial and ethnic harmony;

(iv)Introduction of supportive measures to strengthen national institutions and mechanisms dealing with women’s rights with the aim of promoting their role in combating intolerance and building racial reconciliation;

(v)Integration of a gender perspective in the efforts of national institutions for the protection of human rights to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance;

(vi)Development of programmes that will promote the civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights of women, irrespective of their race, descent or national or ethnic origin;

(vii)Measures to implement the recommendations of the expert group meeting on gender and racial discrimination, held at Zagreb from 21 to 24 November 2000, in preparation for the forty-fifth session of the Commission on the Status of Women.

385.The Committee calls for the universal ratification of the Convention and its Optional Protocol as a critical strategy for the elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, as well as the revision of the substantive reservations to the Convention with the aim of their possible withdrawal. The Committee calls upon all countries to ratify the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families,13 the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court,14 the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime,15 and its Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children.

Chapter VIIProvisional agenda for the twenty-fifth session

386.The Committee considered the draft provisional agenda for its twenty-fifth session at its 508th meeting (see CEDAW/C/SR.508). The Committee decided to approve the following provisional agenda for the session:

1.Opening of the session.

2.Adoption of the agenda and organization of work.

3.Report of the Chairperson on activities undertaken between the twenty-fourth and twenty-fifth sessions of the Committee.

4.Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 18 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

5.Implementation of article 21 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

6.Ways and means of expediting the work of the Committee.

7.Provisional agenda for the twenty-sixth session.

8.Adoption of the report of the Committee on its twenty-fifth session.

Chapter VIIIAdoption of the report

387.The Committee considered the draft report on its twenty-fourth session (CEDAW/C/2001/I/L.1 and CEDAW/C/2001/I/CRP.3 and Add.1-9) at its 508th meeting (see CEDAW/C/SR.508), and adopted it, as orally revised during the discussion.

Notes

1Report of the Fourth World Conference on Women, Beijing, 4-15 September 1995 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.96.IV.13), chap. I, resolution 1, annex II.

2General Assembly resolution 54/4, annex.

3Report of the Fourth World Conference ..., annex I.

4General Assembly resolutions S-23/2 and 23/3.

5Official Records of the General Assembly, Forty-seventh Session, Supplement No. 38 (A/47/38), chap. I.

6General Assembly resolution 55/25, annex II.

7General Assembly resolution 44/25, annex.

8Official Records of the General Assembly, Fifty-third Session, Supplement No. 38 (A/53/38/Rev.1), part two, chap. I.

9Official Records of the General Assembly, Forty-ninth Session, Supplement No. 38 (A/49/38), chap. I, sect. A.

10See ibid., Fifty-fifth Session, Supplement No. 38 (A/55/38), part two, chap. I, sect. B.

11Official Records of the Economic and Social Council, 1999, Supplement No. 3 (E/1999/23), chap. II, sect. A.

12Official Records of the General Assembly, Fifty-fourth Session, Supplement No. 38 (A/54/38/Rev.1), chap. I, sect A.

13General Assembly resolution 45/158, annex.

14A/CONF.183/9.

15General Assembly resolution 55/25, annex I.

Part twoReport of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women on its twenty-fifth session

Letter of transmittal

29 August 2001

Sir,

I have the honour to refer to article 21 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, according to which the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, established pursuant to the Convention, “shall, through the Economic and Social Council, report annually to the General Assembly of the United Nations on its activities”.

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women held its twenty-fifth session at United Nations Headquarters from 2 to 20 June 2001. It adopted its report on the session at the 528th meeting, on 20 July 2001. The report of the Committee is herewith submitted to you for transmission to the General Assembly at its fifty-sixth session.

(Signed) Charlotte AbakaChairpersonCommittee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women

His Excellency Mr. Kofi AnnanSecretary-General of the United NationsNew York

Chapter IMatters brought to the attention of States parties

A.Decisions

Decision 25/IProposed exceptional session 1

Bearing in mind that, as at 20 July 2001, 168 States had ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and that 23 States parties had ratified or acceded to the Optional Protocol to the Convention, and taking into account that there are a significant number of reports of States parties awaiting consideration and that the Committee is concerned that the information contained therein will become obsolete, the Committee requests the General Assembly to:

(a)Approve on an exceptional basis, a session of three weeks’ duration in August 2002, consisting of 30 meetings of the Committee to be used entirely for the consideration of the reports of the States parties in order to reduce the backlog of reports;

(b)Approve an enlargement of the pre-sessional working group scheduled to meet from 4 to 8 February 2002 in order to prepare issues and questions relating to reports to be considered at the exceptional session of the Committee in August 2002.

Decision 25/IIPre-sessional working group

Recalling its decision 22/IV, the Committee decided that, in drawing up the list of issues and questions with regard to periodic reports, the pre-sessional working group should normally formulate a short list of issues and questions, focusing on themes addressed by the Convention.

Decision 25/IIISpecial session of the General Assemblyon children

The Committee decided to adopt a statement to be forwarded to the special session of the General Assembly on children (see paras. 379-391 below). It also decided, subject to the availability of resources, to nominate one member to participate in the special session on its behalf.

B.Suggestions

Suggestion 25/1Communications submitted under the Optional Protocol

The Committee suggests that the Division for the Advancement of Women of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations Secretariat, establish a confidential electronic database for the registration of communications submitted under the Optional Protocol to the Convention, similar to that established by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and that steps be taken to ensure an information flow between the proposed database of the Division and the existing database of the Office of the High Commissioner. The Committee requests the Division to report to it at its twenty-sixth session, on the progress made in this regard.

Suggestion 25/2Guidelines for the reports of United Nations bodies and specialized agencies

Recalling its decisions 18/I and 18/II on the reports of United Nations bodies and specialized agencies on States parties whose reports are before the Committee, the Committee emphasized that such reports should contain country-specific information, as well as information on the efforts made by the body or agency concerned to promote the provisions of the Convention at the national and regional levels through its own policies and programmes. Noting that these reports and the dialogue between the Committee and the representations of those entities have contributed significantly to the Committee’s work in monitoring the implementation of the Convention, the Committee adopted guidelines for the reports of United Nations bodies and specialized agencies in order to enhance its cooperation with them (see paras. 329-395 below).

Chapter IIOrganizational and other matters

A.States parties to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

1.As at 20 July 2001, the closing date of the twenty-fifth session of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, there were 168 States parties to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, which was adopted by the General Assembly in its resolution 34/180 of 18 December 1979 and opened for signature, ratification and accession in New York in March 1980. In accordance with its article 27, the Convention entered into force on 3 September 1981.

2.A list of States parties to the Convention is contained in annex II to the present report. A list of States parties that have accepted the amendment to article 20, paragraph 1, of the Convention is contained in annex III. A list of States parties that have signed, ratified or acceded to the Optional Protocol to the Convention is contained in annex 1V.

B.Opening of the session

3.The Committee held its twenty-fifth session at United Nations Headquarters, from 2 to 20 July 2001. The Committee held 20 plenary meetings (509th to 528th) and its two working groups held 18 meetings. A list of documents before the Committee is contained in section B of annex V to the present report.

4.The session was opened by the Chairperson of the Committee, Charlotte Abaka (Ghana), who had been elected at the twenty-fourth session of the Committee, in January 2001.

5.Addressing the Committee at its 509th meeting, on 2 July 2001, the Assistant Secretary-General and Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women welcomed all members of the Committee to New York and provided information on United Nations events which had taken place since the twenty-fourth session.

6.She informed the Committee that the Commission on the Status of Women had focused on two thematic issues: women, the girl child and HIV/AIDS; and gender and all forms of discrimination, in particular racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. She stated that the Commission had adopted two sets of agreed conclusions on those issues, and that the Commission had had the benefit of the Committee’s statement on racism, which it had adopted at its twenty-fourth session.

7.The Special Adviser also informed the members of the Committee of her recent activities, which included a workshop on building capacity for mainstreaming gender in development strategies, held at Capetown, South Africa; the 105th Conference of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, held at Havana; the joint meeting of the Inter-Agency Meeting on Women and Gender Equality and the Development Assistance Committee of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development; a workshop on governance, poverty reduction and gender equality, held at Vienna; and the International Symposium on the Impact of Women’s Training on Socio-economic Development, held at Haifa, Israel. She had also participated in a round-table meeting on human rights and HIV/AIDS convened during the recent special session of the General Assembly on HIV/AIDS.

8.The Special Adviser highlighted some of the activities organized by the Division for the Advancement of Women since the twenty-fourth session of the Committee, which included a subregional training workshop held at Auckland, New Zealand, in support of the preparation of the States party reports to be submitted to the Committee; a regional meeting to discuss needs assessment in regard to national machinery for gender equality in African countries, as well as a consultative meeting on enhancing the participation of women in peace-building activities, both of which had been held at Addis Ababa in April; and an expert group meeting held at Ulaanbaatar, on the situation of rural women within the context of globalization.

9.The Special Adviser informed the Committee that, since the closure of the twenty-fourth session, two additional States, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Mauritania, had become parties to the Convention, respectively on 27 February and 10 May 2001, bringing the number of States parties to the Convention to 168. She also informed the Committee that, on 1 June 2001, Azerbaijan had ratified the Optional Protocol, bringing the number of States that had ratified or acceded to the Protocol to 22.

10.She stated that she and the Director of the Division for the Advancement of Women had taken every possible opportunity to encourage ratification of the Convention and its Optional Protocol, as well as acceptance of the amendment to article 20, paragraph 1, of the Convention, which had so far been accepted by only 24 States. In that regard, she reminded all members of the panel discussion to be held during the first week of the current session which had been organized by the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender and Advancement of Women, the Division for the Advancement of Women and the Office of Legal Affairs, on the theme “Advancing the rights of women and children through treaties: a multilateral treaty framework”.

11.The Special Adviser indicated that the work of the Committee during its current session would include the consideration of the reports of eight States parties; the continuation of discussion of the general recommendation of the Committee on article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention, concerning temporary special measures aimed at accelerating de facto equality between men and women; and consideration of issues discussed at the twenty-fourth session, including the practice of human rights treaty bodies with regard to reservations and the Committee’s concluding comments. She urged the Committee also to consider the input of members who would be attending the upcoming World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance.

C.Attendance

12.Twenty-one members of the Committee attended the twenty-fifth session. Emna Aouij attended from 2 to 10 July; Göran Melander from 3 to 9 July and from 16 to 20 July; and Savitri Goonesekere from 9 to 20 July. Asha Rose Mtengeti-Migiro and Regina Tavares da Silva did not attend the session. A list of the members of the Committee indicating their terms of office is contained in annex VI to the present report.

D.Adoption of the agenda and organization of work

13.The Committee considered the provisional agenda and organization of work (CEDAW/C/2001/II/1) at its 509th meeting. The agenda, as adopted, was as follows:

1.Opening of the session.

2.Adoption of the agenda and organization of work.

3.Report of the Chairperson on activities undertaken between the twenty-fourth and twenty-fifth sessions of the Committee.

4.Consideration of the reports submitted by States parties under article 18 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

5.Implementation of article 21 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

6.Ways and means of expediting the work of the Committee.

7.Provisional agenda for the twenty-sixth session.

8.Adoption of the report of the Committee on its twenty-fifth session.

E.Report of the pre-sessional working group

14.At its ninth session, the Committee had decided to convene a pre-sessional working group for five days before each session to prepare lists of issues and questions relating to the periodic reports that would be considered by the Committee at the following session. The pre-sessional working group for the twenty-fifth session of the Committee met from 5 to 9 February 2001.

15.The following members representing different regional groups participated in the working group: Charlotte Abaka (Africa), Savitri Goonesekere (Asia), Ivanka Corti (Europe) and Rosalyn Hazelle (Latin America and the Caribbean).

16.The working group prepared lists of issues and questions relating to the reports of five States parties, namely, Guyana, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Sweden and Viet Nam.

17.At its 511th meeting, on 5 July 2001, the Chairperson of the pre-sessional working group, Ivanka Corti, introduced the report of the group (CEDAW/PSWG/2001/1/II/CRP.1 and Add.1-5).

F.Organization of work

18.At its 509th meeting, the Committee decided to take up issues under agenda items 5, on the implementation of article 21 of the Convention, and 6, on ways and means of expediting the work of the Committee, as a working group of the whole. The issues that it decided to consider were working methods, including concluding comments, the working methods of the pre-sessional working group, and the Committee’s contribution to the special session of the General Assembly on children.

Chapter IIIReport of the Chairperson on the activities undertaken between the twenty-fourth and twenty-fifth sessions of the Committee

19.At the 509th meeting, the Chairperson of the Committee, Charlotte Abaka, informed the Committee that she and another member, Ivanka Corti, had met with the Secretary-General on 9 February 2001 to discuss where the responsibility for the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women should be placed. During the meeting, she had emphasized the importance of close links between the Committee and the Commission on the Status of Women, and the identification, in the Beijing Platform for Action, of the Division for the Advancement as the Secretariat entity responsible for servicing the Committee. The Chairperson informed the Committee that the Secretary-General had subsequently written to her, conveying his decision that the Committee should remain in New York and continue to be serviced by the Division for the Advancement of Women. Noting that, in his letter, the Secretary-General had pointed to the views of those most involved or affected, including Member States and the Committee, in addition to the Beijing Platform for Action, as informing his decision, she expressed her satisfaction with the decision.

20.The Chairperson briefed the Committee on her attendance at the sessions of the Commission on the Status of Women and the Commission on Human Rights, drawing attention to a panel discussion organized by non-governmental organizations as a side event to the latter. She also informed the Committee that she had attended a regional meeting of representatives from national machineries in Africa and selected national machineries from other regions, held at Addis Ababa from 16 to 18 April 2001. She had come directly from Geneva, where she had participated in the meeting of human rights chairpersons and in a round-table meeting on women’s reproductive and sexual health organized by United Nations Population Fund and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. She also indicated that she would inform members of the decisions reached at those meetings in the course of the current session.

Chapter IVConsideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 18 of the Convention

A.Introduction

21.At its twenty-fifth session, the Committee considered the reports of eight States parties submitted under article 18 of the Convention: the initial report of one State party; the initial and second periodic reports of one State party; the combined initial, second and third periodic reports of one State party; the second periodic report of one State party; the second and third periodic reports of one State party; the second and combined third and fourth periodic reports of one State party; and the fourth and fifth periodic reports of two States parties.

22.The Committee prepared concluding comments on each of the reports considered. The Committee’s concluding comments and a summary of the introductory presentations of the States parties are provided below.

B.Consideration of reports of States parties

Initial reports

Andorra

23.The Committee considered the initial report of Andorra (CEDAW/C/AND/1) at its 516th, 517th and 523rd meetings, on 10 and 13 July 2001 (see CEDAW/C/SR.516, 517 and 523).

(a)Introduction by the State party

24.In introducing the report, the representative of Andorra informed the Committee that Andorra had signed the Optional Protocol to the Convention on 9 July 2001. He reaffirmed his country’s commitment to the Convention, to which it had acceded in 1997.

25.The representative pointed out that the transformation of women’s status in Andorra over the past 50 years had constituted a peaceful revolution. Previously, women had held only decision-making power in the family and had been traditionally excluded from political life. Andorra had accepted a number of international treaties and was committed to the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome document of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly on the five-year follow-up to the Fourth World Conference on Women, which constituted the framework for the empowerment of women and the integration of a gender dimension in the administration of the Principality.

26.The Secretariat of State for Family Affairs had been created to address the consequences of social, political, cultural and economic pressures on the family and, in particular, their impact on women. The 1993 Constitution prohibited discrimination against women in the enjoyment of civil and political rights and there was no discrimination against women in Andorran legislation. Widowed and divorced women were, however, required by the marriage law to wait 300 days before remarriage in order to protect the succession rights of descendants. This provision was currently being studied by the Government, with a view to its revision.

27.The representative indicated that since women had gained the right to vote in 1970, and to be elected in 1973, there had been a significant increase in the number of women in positions of leadership in the Government, Parliament and local administration. Three of the nine governmental ministers were women, while, at the most recent municipal elections held in December 1999, three women had been elected mayors and twelve commune councillors.

28.Women’s role in economic life was also considerable; however, although legislation provided for equality between women and men in employment, inequalities still existed, in particular as women were concentrated in such sectors as education, health care, administration and tourism. Legislation had been introduced to preclude dismissal on the grounds of pregnancy, to provide for maternity leave and to allow women to reconcile work and family responsibilities. Women and men in Andorra had equal access to education and women outnumbered men in tertiary education. However, female students predominated in the humanities and male students in technical fields of study.

29.The Constitution granted comprehensive health and social security rights. Women were well-informed with regard to contraception, but abortion was not allowed under the Penal Code. Information and counselling programmes on HIV/AIDS had been carried out by the Government since 1993.

30.The representative indicated that the Constitution affirmed the right of every individual to physical integrity, and accordingly guaranteed protection from gender-based violence. Data gathered over the past four years indicated that incidents of abuse and aggression against women had increased annually. The Government was considering the introduction of measures, including the creation of women’s shelters, to address that problem. It had signed an action protocol prepared by the Ministry of Health and Welfare, which contained guidelines to improve the response of the social, health, law-enforcement and judicial sectors to victims. A 24-hour hotline had been established and the Government was implementing the actions agreed upon in the Beijing Platform for Action to address violence against women.

(b)Concluding comments of the Committee

Introduction

31.The Committee expresses its appreciation to the Government of Andorra for submitting its initial report after its accession to the Convention in 1997. It also commends the State party for its frank and substantive oral presentation, which describes developments that have taken place since the submission of the report in July 2000, further clarifies the current situation of women in Andorra and provides additional information on the present status of implementation of the Convention.

32.The Committee commends the State party on the large, high-level delegation, headed by the Secretary of State for Family Affairs, which presented its report. The Committee appreciates the frank and open dialogue that took place between the delegation and the members of the Committee.

33.The Committee commends the State party for its political will and the efforts made to ensure the implementation of the Convention and other international human rights instruments. It also commends the Government for its efforts to comply with the recommendations of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and its expressed intention to integrate the results of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly into its national policy on women.

Positive aspects

34.The Committee welcomes the fact that human rights treaties are directly applicable in the national legal system and that the specific elements of some treaties have been reflected in legislation.

35.The Committee welcomes the fact that Andorra acceded to the Convention in 1997 without reservations and signed the Optional Protocol to the Convention in 2001.

36.The Committee notes with satisfaction the establishment of the Secretariat for Family Affairs as the machinery to deal with women’s issues and to ensure the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action. It commends the Government for its commitment to include the recommendations of the Committee in the next four-year programme of the Secretariat for Family Affairs.

Factors and difficulties affecting the implementation of the Convention

37.The Committee notes that there are no significant factors or difficulties that prevent the effective implementation of the Convention in Andorra.

Principal areas of concern and recommendations

38.The Committee expresses its concern at the persistence of patriarchal patterns of behaviour in Andorra, as well as at the existence of negative stereotypes relating to the roles of women and men in the home, the workplace and society. The Committee expresses its particular concern that, while women are rapidly becoming integrated into the world of paid employment, men are not becoming involved in parental and household tasks at a comparable rate.

39.The Committee recommends that high priority be given to efforts to eradicate traditional stereotypes that perpetuate direct and indirect discrimination against women. It encourages the State party to strengthen educational measures, beginning at a very early age, and to increase collaboration with civil society organizations, the media and the private sector in order to achieve a greater balance in the roles and responsibilities of women and men, in particular in the sharing of family duties.

40.While taking into consideration the fact that Andorran society is experiencing important economic, social, cultural and demographic change, the Committee encourages the Government to take a gender perspective into consideration in the design of future policies and programmes.

41.While welcoming the commitment of the State party to collect data disaggregated by sex, the Committee is concerned by the absence, in both the report and in the answers to the questions posed by the Committee, of statistical information disaggregated by sex on the areas covered by the Convention.

42.The Committee urges the Government to collect data disaggregated by sex in order to provide information on the situation of women in all areas covered by the Convention and on the progress made in its implementation. Such information will provide the basis for the design of appropriate policies and programmes to accelerate the achievement of equality.

43.The Committee expresses its concern about the situation of women migrant workers, in particular those who work in the tourist industry.

44.The Committee urges the State party to provide full details on the situation of women migrant workers in its next report and on the enjoyment by women working in the tourist industry of the rights established by the Convention.

45.The Committee expresses concern about the situation of women in employment. It also expresses concern about the highly segregated labour market, the large percentage of women in low-paid jobs and in unpaid family labour. It further expresses concern at the wide gap in pay between women and men, that women may not receive equal pay for work of equal value, and the fact that there is no specific legislation which prohibits discrimination in employment in general, and which guarantees equal pay for work of equal value, in particular.

46.The Committee urges the State party to monitor consistently the situation of women with respect to paid employment and unpaid family labour. It recommends that the State party consider the introduction of legislation on equal employment opportunities and for positive action as provided in article 4.1 of the Convention. It also recommends that the State party avail itself of existing research and practice with regard to equal pay for work of equal and comparable value in order to overcome pay inequity.

47.The Committee expresses concern at the existence of several discriminatory laws, including the provision of the Marriage Law that requires widowed or divorced women to wait 300 days before remarriage. The Committee urges the State party to review existing legislation, including the Marriage Law, to comply with the Convention.

48.The Committee expresses concern about the punitive abortion laws that could cause women to seek unsafe and clandestine abortion. The Committee suggests that the State party consider the revision of such punitive laws according to general recommendation 24 of the Committee.2

49.The Committee expresses concern that the State party’s efforts to eliminate de jure inequality between women and men have not been matched by efforts to eliminate inequality de facto.

50.The Committee encourages the State party to monitor carefully the impact of legislation, policies and programmes to eliminate inequality between women and men and to take steps to ensure that equal rights are enjoyed de facto. It requests the State party to include in its next report detailed information on the impact on women’s lives of legislation, policies and programmes aimed at the implementation of the Convention.

51.The Committee urges the State party to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention as soon as possible, and to submit its instrument of acceptance to article 20, paragraph 1, concerning the meeting time of the Committee.

52.The Committee requests the State party to respond in its next report to the outstanding issues raised by the Committee in constructive dialogue, as well as to the specific issues raised in the present concluding comments. It further requests the State party to provide in its next report an assessment of the impact of measures taken to implement the Convention.

53.The Committee requests the wide dissemination in Andorra of the present concluding comments in order to make the people of Andorra and, in particular, governmental administrators and politicians aware of the steps that have been taken de jure and de facto to achieve equality for women and of the further steps that are required in this regard. It requests the Government to continue to disseminate widely, in particular to women’s and human rights organizations, the Convention and its Optional Protocol, the Committee’s general recommendations, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action3 and the outcome document of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, entitled “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century”.4

2.Initial and second periodic reports

Singapore

54.The Committee considered the initial and second periodic reports of Singapore (CEDAW/C/SGP/1 and CEDAW/C/SGP/2) at its 514th, 515th and 522nd meetings, on 9 and 13 July 2001 (see CEDAW/C/SR.514, 515 and 522).

(a)Introduction by the State party

55.In introducing the reports, the representative of Singapore informed the Committee that, following the ratification of the Convention, an inter-ministerial Committee had been formed to monitor the country’s obligations under the Convention. The preparation of the report had also involved dialogue with women’s groups in Singapore.

56.The representative indicated that Singapore had made tremendous progress in reducing the infant mortality rate, and in increasing the literacy rate and life expectancy of women in the 36 years since its independence. At present, women made up 42.4 per cent of the total workforce and outnumbered men as new graduates from local universities. Despite that progress, there was room for improvement.

57.The guiding principles that had shaped Singapore’s policies on gender equality were meritocracy on the basis of equal opportunities, people development, treating women as part of the mainstream and not as a special interest group, and building social capital with a special focus on strengthening the family.

58.The representative explained that, while there were no specific anti-discrimination laws, the Constitution guaranteed equality of all persons before the law. The Women’s Charter of 1961 was a landmark piece of legislation that safeguarded women’s rights in matters relating to marriage, divorce, matrimonial assets, maintenance and custody of children. In 1996, the Women’s Charter had been amended to include provisions on domestic violence, division of matrimonial assets, enforcement of maintenance orders and the validity of marriages. Courts and tribunals treated women equally at all levels of proceedings and legal aid was provided to those who were unable to afford a lawyer. In 1995, family courts had been established to address family-related disputes. The Administration of Muslim Law Act governed matters relating to Muslim religious affairs, Muslim marriage, divorce and property. With regard to family violence, the Government had taken a multidisciplinary and inter-agency approach, which included an island-wide networking system involving the courts, police, hospitals and social service agencies, mandatory and non-mandatory counselling programmes for perpetrators and victims and concerted public education programmes. The Penal Code was strictly enforced with regard to such crimes as rape and outraging the modesty of a woman. In addition, pornography was prohibited and advertising codes prohibited the portrayal of women as sex objects.

59.The representative noted that there had been vast improvements in health indicators, in particular for women. In 1999, the maternal mortality rate was 0.1 per 1,000 live and still births, one of the lowest in the world. The National Committee on Women’s Health had been established in 1997. Health care of the ageing population was a major concern, which affected women in particular, given their higher life expectancy.

60.The representative noted that, in the previous 35 years, general literacy standards had increased by 20 per cent for males and 46 per cent for females. Females now made up over 50 per cent of local university graduates. Education, training and life-long learning were critical to preparing Singapore’s citizens for a knowledge-based economy. Although the general drop-out rate was only 3 per cent for primary and secondary school, with females constituting 45 per cent of this group, the Parliament had recently passed the Compulsory Education Bill which would take effect in January 2003, making a six-year primary education in national schools compulsory.

61.The participation of women in the labour force was increasing and, in 2000, the wage gap had narrowed to 78 per cent. Singapore was also preparing to ratify the International Labour Organization Convention No. 100, concerning equal remuneration.

62.The representative explained that the Government’s strong commitment to meritocracy was the reason for not introducing any quota for women’s representation in Parliament, which remained low, at 6.5 per cent. In the judiciary, 42 per cent of judges in the subordinate courts and 11 per cent of judges in the High Court were women.

63.The representative emphasized the fact that, in Singapore, the family was valued as the basic social unit and that during the previous year, a number of pro‑family measures had been introduced and implemented. To assist working mothers, the Government had introduced tax incentives for working women and subsidies for childcare centres.

64.The representative addressed the issue of Singapore’s reservations to the Convention, which the Government, after careful consideration, found necessary to retain in view of the country’s existing laws, values and practices in a multiracial and multicultural society. Its reservations to articles 2 and 16 of the Convention were linked to the administration of the Muslim Law Act, which preserved the freedom of Muslims in Singapore to practise their personal and religious laws. With regard to the reservation to article 9, the representative explained that the Constitution of Singapore provided that Singaporean citizenship by descent was accorded to a child born outside the country if the father held Singaporean citizenship. In the case of a child born outside the country of a Singaporean mother married to a foreigner, an application for citizenship by registration had to be made. Singapore had entered a reservation to article 11 of the Convention because its Employment Act excluded persons in managerial, executive and confidential positions, as well as seamen and domestic workers, from its coverage. This was not based on gender, and was therefore not discriminatory against women. In order to maintain Singapore’s right to domestic policies, it had entered a reservation to article 29, paragraph 1, of the Convention, which was expressly permitted by article 29, paragraph 2. Singapore had made similar reservations to other treaties to which it had acceded.

65.In conclusion, the representative noted that those reservations had not hindered the overall advancement of women in Singapore. Nevertheless, Singapore would review them periodically. Singapore’s laws and policies were, on the whole, gender neutral and were evolving in response to society’s needs. She expressed the hope that more women would participate in community and political life in the future and that men would become more involved in sharing household responsibilities. She expressed confidence that the ideal of equality for men and women would increasingly be a reality in the lives of Singaporeans.

(b)Concluding comments of the Committee

Introduction

66.The Committee expresses its appreciation to the Government of Singapore for its initial and second periodic reports, which comply with the Committee’s guidelines for the preparation of reports. The Committee notes, however, that the reports do not contain sufficient statistical data disaggregated by sex.

67.The Committee commends the Government for its large, high-level delegation, headed by the Senior Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Community Development and Sports. It also commends the Government on its audio-visual and informative oral presentation of the reports, and on the comprehensive and highly professional replies to the Committee’s questions that sought to clarify the situation of women in Singapore.

Positive aspects

68.The Committee commends the Government of Singapore on its success in combining economic growth with impressive social indicators for women in the short period since gaining independence.

69.The Committee commends the State party for having achieved low rates of maternity and infant mortality, long life expectancy and high literacy rates for women and for providing them access to all levels of education.

70.The Committee notes with satisfaction that the Government of Singapore intends to extend the child sick leave provision to fathers working in the civil service.

71.The Committee notes with appreciation the efforts made to combat violence against women, including the criminal and evidentiary procedures protecting the privacy of victims, the 1997 amendment to the Women’s Charter broadening the definition of violence and the Government’s multidisciplinary and inter-agency approach to victims of family violence involving the courts, police, hospitals and social service agencies.

Factors and difficulties affecting the implementation of the Convention

72.The Committee considers that the State party’s reservations impede full implementation of the Convention.

Principal areas of concern and recommendations

73.The Committee expresses deep concern regarding the reservations made by the Government of Singapore to articles 2, 9, 11, paragraph 1, and 16 of the Convention.

74.Recognizing that the pluralistic nature of Singapore society and its history call for sensitivity to the cultural and religious values of different communities, the Committee nevertheless wishes to clarify the fact that articles 2 and 16 are the very essence of obligations under the Convention. Since some reforms have already been introduced in Muslim personal law, the Committee urges the State party to continue this process of reform in consultation with members of different ethnic and religious groups, including women. It recommends that the State party study reforms in other countries with similar legal traditions with a view to reviewing and reforming personal laws so that they conform with the Convention, and withdrawing these reservations.

75.The Committee urges the State party to further amend the nationality law so as to eliminate discrimination against women, and withdraw its reservation to article 9. The explanation that a Singaporean woman cannot transfer nationality to her child when a marries a foreigner and the child is born overseas, since dual nationality is not recognized, is unconvincing. The Committee wishes to point out that since both mother and father can transfer nationality to children born within the country in many countries, including Singapore, the same problem can arise with respect to the children born of Singaporean men and foreign women.

76.The Committee recommends that persons in confidential, managerial and executive posts be brought within the coverage of the Employment Act. The Committee considers that the capacity for individual bargaining, and the existence of better working conditions in these sectors do not justify the absence of legal protection and the reservation to article 11.

77.The Committee expresses concern that the failure to extend the Employment Act to domestic workers results in discrimination against women domestic workers and denial of legal protection. It is also concerned that the requirement of their current employer’s consent to transfer employment deters such workers from reporting grievances to governmental authorities.

78.The Committee urges the Government of Singapore to amend the Employment Act so that it covers these sectors and to withdraw its reservation to article 11.

79.While the Committee recognizes the importance of the family as the basic social unit, it expresses concern that the concept of Asian values regarding the family, including that of the husband having the legal status of head of household, might be interpreted so as to perpetuate stereotyped gender roles in the family and reinforce discrimination against women.

80.The Committee urges the Government to ensure that laws, policies and programmes with regard to the family incorporate the principle of equality between women and men in all spheres, including the family, and the full realization of women’s human rights.

81.The Committee expresses concern that foreign domestic workers are prohibited from working during criminal proceedings against their employers, and that this forces such workers to leave Singapore without waiting to receive compensation from them. It also expresses concern that this may reduce the chances of conviction because evidence from these workers will not be available.

82.The Committee urges the Government of Singapore to lift the above-mentioned prohibition and to take appropriate measures to enable domestic workers to give evidence against their employers before leaving Singapore.

83.The Committee expresses concern about the lack of clear understanding by the Government of Singapore regarding gender mainstreaming with respect to legislation, policies and programmes.

84.The Committee urges the Government of Singapore to review all policies with a view to preventing direct and indirect discrimination and achieving de facto gender equality.

85.The Committee expresses concern that disparities between women’s and men’s wages may be due to discriminatory attitudes of employers and to gender-stereotyped job and workplace evaluation.

86.The Committee urges the Government to review the issue of wage differentials between women and men, including through consideration of existing research on the concept of equal pay for work of equal value, both in the public and private employment sectors. It also urges the Government to remedy the situation in the public employment sector where applicable and to initiate sensitization campaigns to encourage social partners to address this issue.

87.The Committee expresses concern about the very low level of representation of women in politics and decision-making.

88.The Committee urges the Government of Singapore to enhance its efforts to increase women’s representation in politics and decision-making through a gender-sensitive application of the meritocracy principle and by taking measures to guarantee the equal opportunity of women to participate in these areas. Such measures may include the imposition of minimum quotas for women political candidates.

89.The Committee requests the Government to improve its complaints procedure with respect to violations of the constitutionally guaranteed rights to equality so that acts of discrimination can be challenged by women.

90.The Committee expresses considerable concern about the possible occurrence of crimes in relation to the trafficking of women, taking into account Singapore’s geographical situation as a favourable transit point for such trafficking. It also expresses concern that weak law enforcement can undermine the Government’s efforts to eradicate trafficking.

91.The Committee urges the Government of Singapore continually to monitor the situation with respect to trafficking and to enforce strictly its criminal law against traffickers. It calls upon the State party to include information on trafficking in its next periodic report.

92.The Committee expresses concern about the imposition of a maximum quota on the number of women medical students.

93.The Committee urges the Government to remove this quota and provide childcare arrangements and flexible working hours so as to encourage and enable women doctors to pursue their profession.

94.The Committee urges the Government to sign and ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention and to deposit, as soon as possible, its instrument of acceptance of the amendment of article 20, paragraph 1, of the Convention, concerning the meeting time of the Committee.

95.The Committee requests the Government to respond to the concerns expressed in the present concluding comments in its next periodic report submitted under article 18 of the Convention. It also urges the Government to improve the collection and analysis of statistical data, disaggregated by sex, age and minority, ethnic or religious group, and to submit such data to the Committee in its next report.

96.The Committee requests the wide dissemination in Singapore of the present concluding comments in order to make the people of Singapore, in particular governmental administrators and politicians, aware of the steps that have been taken to ensure the de jure and de facto equality of women and of the further steps that are required in this regard. It requests the Government to disseminate widely, in particular to women’s and human rights organizations, the Convention and its Optional Protocol, the Committee’s general recommendations, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the results of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, entitled “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century”.

3.Combined initial, second and third periodic reports

Guinea

97.The Committee considered the combined initial, second and third periodic reports of the Republic of Guinea (CEDAW/C/GIN/1-3 and Corr.1) at its 520th, 521st and 524th meetings, on 12 and 16 July 2001 (CEDAW/SR.520, 521 and 524).

(a)Introduction by the State party

98.In introducing the combined initial, second and third periodic reports, the representative of Guinea informed the Committee that she had provided additional information to the Committee, covering the period from 1998 to 2001, that Guinea had gained independence in 1958, and that the Constitution of the Second Republic of Guinea had been adopted on 23 December 1990. The Preamble of the Constitution, which had been inspired by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, proclaimed the equality of men and women before the law. The Constitution protected the rights of all Guineans, and women were entitled to bring claims of discrimination on the basis of sex before the civil, penal and administrative courts, as well as the Supreme Court. The Constitution also guaranteed the right to work, and provided that the State was to establish the necessary conditions in which to exercise that right. An ordinance also provided for equal pay for equal work and work of equal value, regardless of origin, sex or age.

99.The representative informed the Committee that, although the definition of discrimination against women stipulated in article 1 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women was not explicitly integrated into any law of the country, the principle of equality between women and men by itself was not sufficient to change the behaviour and attitudes acquired through centuries of tradition, taking into account the coexistence of written law and customs in the Guinean legal framework. Discrimination still existed in many provisions of the civil code: the husband was considered to be the head of the family and was able to determine the location of the family domicile; the birth of a child had to be declared by the father if not by the doctors and nurses or others present during the childbirth; and children after seven years were in the custody of the father unless there was a special agreement between the parties. She also indicated that widows without children were subject to discrimination, and that preference was given to an uncle of a child over the mother if the father were incapacitated and unable to exercise his parental authority.

100.The representative indicated that although articles 285 to 287 of the penal code provided for severe punishment for sexually violent crimes, sexual harassment had not yet been addressed in legislation. She noted that despite certain advancements in this context, the enjoyment of rights by women continued to be constrained by a number of factors, including complicated administrative procedures, lack of knowledge of judicial procedures, insufficient information and statistical data and the persistence of negative attitudes towards women. She indicated that the Government was aware of discriminatory practices and was taking ameliorative measures to combat them, including through the creation of a structural framework of women focal points in numerous ministries and institutions throughout the country.

101.The representative indicated that the Ministry of Social Affairs, the Promotion of Women and Childhood had been established in 1996 to coordinate national policies for the advancement of women, social protection, pre-school education and the protection of children. She stated that the goals of the Government’s Gender and Development Framework Programme included a participatory, equitable and human development approach aimed at reducing differences in the enjoyment of rights and strengthening social justice.

102.The representative indicated that violence against women within the family took many forms, such as psychological violence, beating, repudiation, levirate, sororate, forced and early marriages, and female genital mutilation. The Government had undertaken awareness-raising campaigns to combat all forms of violence against women. Since 1985, 27 August had been celebrated as the National Day of Guinean Women. This day was the focus of many activities to promote the advancement of women, and had been an occasion for evaluation by the Government of the progress made in the previous year with regard to women’s rights.

103.The representative indicated that one of the social scourges in the country was prostitution, to which the problems of poverty and the degradation of moral values contributed. Prostitution was illegal, and was rejected and condemned by society.

104.The representative stated that after the elections in 1995, women deputies held 10 of the 114 seats in the National Assembly. She also indicated that, of the 25 ministers and 3 secretaries of State, 4 were women, and that, of the 14 judges of the Supreme Court, 3 were women. The representative stated that the low number of women in Government testified to the marginalization of women in the public decision-making process.

105.The representative informed the Committee that 85 per cent of women were illiterate, compared with 62 per cent of men. The Government had introduced special measures to combat the illiteracy of women and girls, including through the creation of special bodies and programmes, such as the Equity Committee of the Department of Education for the advancement of young women.

106.The representative pointed out that the Labour Code regulated women’s work, and that issues relating to maternity, health and security were addressed in various regulations. The goal of those regulations was to allow women to reconcile their various roles as mothers, spouses and workers.

107.The representative indicated that the situation of women with HIV/AIDS was a significant cause for concern. In 1987, eight men were infected with HIV/AIDS, compared with one woman; in 1996, the ratio of infection was three men per woman and, in 1997, two men were infected for each woman. She added that there was no gender-based discrimination with respect to health care and access to health services but, in practice, there were gender disparities in this area.

108.The representative stated that a National Social Security Fund had been created for wage earners, and social services and security were provided to people on a non-discriminatory basis. However, the law currently provided that family allowances were payable to male heads of the family rather than to women. Discrimination also limited the access of women to credit, and was manifested in the refusal of employers to recruit women because they might become pregnant and in the preference for educating sons rather than daughters.

109.In concluding, the representative informed the Committee that several factors impeded the Government’s desire to implement the Convention fully: low allocation of funds to social sectors and, in particular, for the advancement of women; heavy foreign debts and servicing of such debts; and the recent influx of refugees from Liberia and Sierra Leone. She indicated that her Government would welcome international support for its efforts to implement the Convention and to advance the position of women in Guinea.

(b)Concluding comments of the Committee

Introduction

110.The Committee expresses its appreciation to the Government of Guinea for its combined initial, second and third periodic reports which, although delayed, complied with the Committee’s reporting guidelines. It commends the Government on its comprehensive oral presentation and written background material, which updated the developments in the country since the submission of the reports in 1997, and further clarified the implementation of the Convention.

111.The Committee commends the Government for sending a large and high-level delegation headed by the Minister for Social Affairs, the Promotion of Women and Childhood. It appreciates the frankness with which the report was prepared and the open presentation by the State party, which allowed the Committee to engage in a constructive dialogue, and welcomes the delegation’s willingness to engage in follow-up activities to the present session.

Positive aspects

112.The Committee welcomes the fact that Guinea ratified the Convention without reservations and welcomes the efforts made by the Government to implement the Convention.

113.The Committee also welcomes the adoption of the Gender and Development Framework Programme for 1997 to 2001, which integrates gender perspectives into legislation, policy, power structures, economy and poverty alleviation, education and literacy, and health and institutional mechanisms. The Committee welcomes in particular the State party’s creation of the Ministry for Social Affairs, the Promotion of Women and Childhood, which is responsible for the implementation and monitoring of governmental policy on women and children.

114.The Committee commends the Government for the number of legal reforms introduced since the ratification of the Convention in 1982, in particular the reform of the Constitution, the penal code, the civil code and the code of personal status and family law, which is currently in the process of being further amended to support women’s rights.

115.The Committee commends the Government for its efforts to implement legislation penalizing the practice of female genital mutilation, as well as its actions to enable practitioners to obtain alternative ways of earning their livelihoods. It also welcomes the establishment of legal aid centres to disseminate information about women’s rights.

Factors and difficulties affecting the implementation of the Convention

116.The Committee notes that the persistence of prejudices and stereotypical attitudes regarding the role of women in the family and society, based on the idea of male superiority and the consequent subordination of women to men, and of discriminatory customs and traditional practices and a high rate of illiteracy for women, are serious obstacles to the implementation of the Convention and to the enjoyment by women of their rights.

117.The Committee recognizes that the difficult economic situation, the high level of poverty, the presence of one million refugees and displaced persons and armed conflict in the neighbouring countries have a negative impact on the State party’s efforts to implement the Convention.

Principal areas of concern and recommendations

118.The Committee expresses concern that, although the Constitution provides for the equality of all citizens, it does not contain a definition of what constitutes discrimination against women in accordance with article 1 of the Convention, which prohibits both direct and indirect discrimination. The Committee notes with concern that although the Convention, which guarantees the right to equality, is deemed to prevail over domestic law, there are many discriminatory provisions in the general law, and practices reinforce discrimination against women in Guinea.

119.The Committee urges the Government to amend the Constitution to include a definition of discrimination against women modelled on article 1 of the Convention. It requests that the State party take steps to eliminate the contradiction between constitutional guarantees on the one hand, and remaining discriminatory civil laws on the other, by initiating a comprehensive action plan for legal reform and by adopting a mechanism that enables women to challenge discrimination and effectively enforce the rights guaranteed by the Constitution in the courts.

120.The Committee expresses concern about the existing gap between the de jure and de facto equality of women and men and the persistence of customary practices that continue to discriminate against women.

121.The Committee encourages the Government to ensure full implementation of laws and policies that provide for de jure equality and seek to eliminate discrimination against women, and to establish a monitoring mechanism to ensure the implementation of those laws. It recommends that the Government ensure that those charged with responsibility for the implementation of such laws and policies at all levels are fully aware of their content and that it introduce public education and legal literacy campaigns to ensure wide knowledge of these laws and policies.

122.The Committee notes with concern that, despite prohibitions in statutory law, there is wide social acceptance and lack of sanctions for such practices as female genital mutilation, polygamy and forced marriage, including levirate and sororate, and discrimination in regard to child custody and inheritance. It expresses concern that the civil code contains provisions in family law that discriminate against women and that reinforce discriminatory social practices. The Committee also expresses concern that the Government uses social practices and customs to justify the non-enforcement of the civil code.

123.The Committee recommends that the Government develop an action plan, including a public-awareness campaign targeted at both women and men, with the support of civil society and social partners, to eliminate the gap between statutory law and social customs and practices, especially with regard to family law. It encourages the State party to work with relevant ministries and non-governmental organizations, including lawyers’ associations and women’s groups, to create an enabling environment for legal reform and effective law enforcement. The Committee calls upon the Government to ensure women’s awareness of their rights and to explore and apply innovative methods to reach illiterate women.

124.The Committee is concerned that the concept of male preference continues to be entrenched in some provisions of nationality law.

125.The Committee recommends that female and male spouses who marry foreigners be treated equally in regulations governing nationality. The Committee urges the Government to ensure that the concept of jus sanguinis is applied to ensure that children of mixed parentage born outside the country can acquire nationality through their Guinean mother.

126.The Committee expresses its concern about the high prevalence of illiteracy among women and girls and the low level of schooling of girls, especially in rural areas. It notes that education is a key to the empowerment of women and that the low level of education of women and girls remains one of the most serious impediments to their full enjoyment of their human rights and to sustainable national development.

127.The Committee urges the Government to strengthen its efforts to improve the literacy level of girls and women, to improve the access of girls and young women to all levels of education and to prevent girls dropping out of school. It encourages the Government to introduce further special measures in the area of education, including incentives for parents to send girls to school and the recruitment of women teachers.

128.While the Government has made progress in addressing the basic health needs of the population, the Committee expresses concern at the prevalence of maternal and infant mortality, the persistent practice and high rate of female genital mutilation, women’s lack of access to health-care facilities and the lack of access to family-planning services.

129.The Committee recommends that the Government focus its policies and resources on improving the status of women’s health, in particular with regard to maternal and infant mortality. It urges the Government to increase women’s access to health-care and family-planning services.

130.The Committee expresses alarm at the increasing rate of HIV/AIDS and the absence of measures for the care of women and girls infected and affected by HIV/AIDS.

131.The Committee urges the Government to take holistic measures to combat the HIV/AIDS pandemic and to take further practical preventive measures by providing access to condoms for women and men. It also urges the Government to ensure that women and girls infected by HIV/AIDS are not discriminated against and are given appropriate assistance. The Committee emphasizes that the collection of reliable data on HIV/AIDS is critical to gaining an understanding of the pandemic.

132.The Committee expresses concern that stereotypical attitudes regarding the role of women and men in society are reflected in the low representation of women in decision-making bodies, including the National Assembly, the Government and the judiciary. The Committee notes that the Government has not applied the temporary special measures provided for in article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention.

133.The Committee recommends that the Government apply the concept of temporary special measures to increase the number of women in decision-making at all levels and in all areas. It recommends that the Government strengthen its efforts to promote women to positions of power by organizing special training programmes for women and by conducting awareness-raising campaigns on the importance of women’s participation in decision-making at all levels.

134.The Committee expresses its concern at the prevalence of violence against women and girls, including domestic violence, beating, repudiation, early and forced marriages and abuse of widows and menopausal women.

135.The Committee urges the Government to assign the issue of violence against women a high priority and to recognize that such violence, including domestic violence, constitutes a violation of the human rights of women under the Convention. In the light of its general recommendation 19,5 the Committee requests the Government to enact legislation on domestic violence as soon as possible, and to ensure that violence against women and girls constitutes a criminal offence and that female victims of violence have immediate means of redress and protection. The Committee also recommends gender training for all public officials, in particular law-enforcement officials and the judiciary, as well as health workers, to educate them about all forms of violence against women and girls.

136.The Committee notes with concern that, despite legislative prohibition, prostitution is growing at an alarming rate and that the prevalence of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases among prostitutes is on the increase.

137.The Committee urges the Government to strictly enforce laws that prohibit the exploitation of prostitution without penalizing women who provide sexual services and, in addition, to pay full attention to the provision of health services for prostitutes so as to curb the rise in the number of HIV/AIDS cases.

138.The Committee expresses concern about the situation of rural women, who constitute the majority of the female population in the country. It also expresses concern that customs and beliefs that prevent women from inheriting or gaining ownership of land and property are most broadly accepted in rural areas.

139.The Committee urges the Government to pay the greatest attention to the needs of rural women and to ensure that they benefit from policies and programmes adopted in all spheres, as well as participate in decision-making and have full access to health services and credit facilities. It urges the elimination of discrimination with respect to the ownership and inheritance of land.

140.While the Committee commends the State party’s efforts to host refugees and displaced persons from neighbouring countries and further commends the passing of legislation to protect the rights of refugees, most of whom are women and children, the Committee expresses concern at the State party’s limited capacity to protect and guarantee the rights of refugees.

141.The Committee recommends that the Government continue to give assistance to refugees and displaced women and girls and to carry out rehabilitative efforts directed at them. The Committee recommends that the State party seek further assistance from, and continue to work in close cooperation with, international agencies qualified in the field of refugee protection, such as the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the United Nations Children’s Fund.

142.The Committee urges the Government to sign and ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention and to deposit as soon as possible its instrument of acceptance of the amendment to article 20, paragraph 1, of the Convention, concerning the meeting time of the Committee.

143.The Committee requests the Government to respond to the concerns expressed in the present concluding comments in its next periodic report submitted under article 18 of the Convention. It also urges the Government to improve the collection and analysis of statistical data, disaggregated by sex, and to submit such data to the Committee in its next report.

144.The Committee requests the wide dissemination in Guinea of the present concluding comments in order to make the people of Guinea, in particular governmental administrators and politicians, aware of the steps that have been taken to ensure the de jure and de facto equality of women and of the further steps that are required in this regard. It requests the Government to continue to disseminate widely, in particular to women’s and human rights organizations, the Convention and its Optional Protocol, the Committee’s general recommendations, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the results of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, entitled “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century”.

4.Second periodic reports

Guyana

145.The Committee considered the second periodic report of Guyana (CEDAW/C/GUY/2) at its 527th meeting, on 18 July 2001 (see CEDAW/C/SR.527).

(a)Introduction by the State party

146.In introducing the report, the representative of Guyana informed the Committee that her Government was committed to ensuring the existence of mechanisms to guarantee the full and equal participation of women and men in society. She also acknowledged that, while significant progress had been made, patriarchal norms, social and cultural attitudes and the challenging economic situation constituted obstacles to the achievement of full gender equality.

147.The representative informed the Committee that the constitutional reform process had led to the agreement that non-discrimination on the basis of sex, gender, marital status and pregnancy should be an enforceable fundamental right enshrined in the Constitution. A law passed in 2001 by the National Assembly provided for constitutional commissions, including the Women and Gender Equality Commission.

148.The representative explained that the Women’s Affairs Bureau was an agency within the Ministry of Labour, Human Services and Social Security, with the responsibility for coordinating national efforts to remove discrimination against women in society. Since its establishment in 1981, the Bureau had been responsible for policy changes and legislative and administrative measures to guarantee women equal opportunities in education, training and employment. While the Bureau’s wide range of functions had limited its capacity in the past, it would be strengthened in the near future in terms of human and financial resources.

149.The representative explained the purpose and functioning of other mechanisms and institutions to promote gender equality. The Guyana National Plan of Action for Women 2000-2004 constituted a comprehensive approach towards addressing such factors as health, education, agriculture, unemployment, violence against women and leadership issues. The Guyana Women’s Leadership Institute had been established in 1997 by the Government in cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme, with the objective of empowering women in terms of both personal and public leadership. The National Resource and Documentation Centre was responsible for the collection and dissemination of materials and information on women and gender issues. The Inter-Ministry Committee provided the Women’s Affairs Bureau with technical advice and was responsible for gender mainstreaming in governmental ministries, departments and agencies. The National Commission on Women was comprised of representatives of the political parties represented in Parliament and advised the Government on policy issues affecting women.

150.The representative explained that the Constitutional Reform Commission had made a recommendation for a mandatory representation of 33.3 per cent women in the list of candidates representing all political parties participating in general and regional elections. While no provision had been made to ensure that women were chosen from the list to represent their party in the Parliament, that provision had resulted in women comprising 30.7 per cent of members of Parliament following the most recent elections. At present, women held 21 per cent of ministerial posts, and an Amerindian woman was in charge of the portfolio of Amerindian Affairs. The representative noted that measures would be taken to strengthen the capacity of women to participate in politics, with a special focus on local elections. She also noted that, while the participation of women in the regional democratic councils had increased, all of the chairpersons of those councils were male. The representative informed the Committee that the position of Chancellor of the Judiciary was held for the first time by a woman.

151.Concerning women’s health, the representative highlighted the national concern about the increasing number of people being infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. According to recent data, Guyana had the second highest infection rate in the Caribbean region, with women representing 45 per cent of those infected. In cooperation with non-governmental organizations, the Government planned to engage in a multifaceted programme to prevent the further spread of HIV/AIDS.

152.The representative addressed the issue of education by describing programmes to provide skills training for women who had dropped out of school. She also noted that the absence of a national policy for maternity leave continued to disadvantage women in the labour force, particularly since no legal or administrative provisions existed to guarantee women maternity benefits in the private sector.

153.Since the passage of the Domestic Violence Act in 1996, counselling services and legal aid had been made available by the Ministry of Labour, Human Services and Social Security and non-governmental organizations. Members of the police force and social workers had also been trained to deal with cases of domestic violence.

154.In conclusion, the representative noted that, while the current climate of political instability was a major challenge to gender equality, she hoped that the National Plan of Action for Women’s Development would unify women despite religious, social, cultural and political differences, so that they would be able to contribute to the country’s economic and social development.

(b)Concluding comments of the Committee

Introduction

155.The Committee commends the Government of Guyana on its second report, which is in accordance with the Committee’s guidelines for the preparation of periodic reports. It also commends the Government for the comprehensive written replies to the questions of the Committee’s pre-sessional working group, and the oral presentation of the delegation that sought to clarify the current situation of women in Guyana, and provided additional information on the implementation of the Convention.

156.The Committee congratulates the Government for the high-level delegation, headed by the Minister of Labour, Human Services and Social Security. The Committee expresses its appreciation for the frank information provided and the constructive dialogue that took place between the delegation and the members of the Committee.

Positive aspects

157.The Committee welcomes the constitutional reform process which led to the recognition of non-discrimination on the basis of sex, gender, marital status and pregnancy as a fundamental human right enshrined in the Constitution. It also welcomes the passage of Bill No. 6 of 2001, which provides for the establishment of constitutional commissions, including the Women and Gender Equality Commission, which will be responsible for ensuring that women are not discriminated against in any sector of society.

158.The Committee commends the Government for achieving an impressive level of representation of women in the highest political offices of the country. The Committee welcomes the appointment of a young woman of Amerindian descent to a ministerial office, for the first time in the history of Guyana, assigned with the portfolio of Amerindian Affairs.

159.The Committee commends the Government on the mandatory representation of 33 1/3 per cent women on the lists of all political parties contesting the general elections and regional elections and a representation of a critical mass of women in a range of professions in the public sector.

160.The Committee also commends the Government on the adoption of its National Plan of Action for Women 2000-2004, which constitutes a comprehensive approach to addressing critical issues affecting women, such as employment, violence against women and women in decision-making.

Factors and difficulties affecting the implementation of the Convention

161.The Committee recognizes that the implementation of structural adjustment programmes and the increasing debt burden, as well as political instability, have impeded progress in the full realization of women’s rights.

Principal areas of concern and recommendations

162.The Committee expresses concern that, in spite of the legal measures introduced, the successful implementation of such laws and policies has yet to be achieved in many areas. The Committee expresses concern at the absence of reference to indirect discrimination in the Constitution and legislation seeking to eliminate discrimination. It further expresses concern that the Constitution does not as yet provide for a complaints procedure to enforce the guarantees on gender equality and fundamental human rights.

163.The Committee recommends that the Government give priority to constitutional and legislative reform to address these gaps and strengthen law enforcement so as to ensure that women’s de jure and de facto equality will be realized. The Committee recommends, in particular, the strengthening of civil remedies so that women can enforce their rights through litigation. The Committee encourages the Government to establish the constitutional commissions, including the Women and Gender Equality Commission, as soon as possible.

164.The Committee expresses concern about the effectiveness of the national machinery engaged with gender issues in Guyana. The Committee also expresses concern that insufficient human and financial resources have been allocated to the national machinery.

165.The Committee recommends that the Government clearly define the mandates of the various commissions and the level of interaction among them. The Committee encourages the Government to continue its process of restructuring the national machinery and to allocate the necessary human and financial resources to ensure effective implementation of governmental policies and programmes related to gender equality. It also encourages gender mainstreaming in all ministries.

166.The Committee expresses concern that women do not seek legal redress when they suffer discrimination in employment because they are deterred by the delays in litigation caused by the enormous backlog of civil cases.

167.The Committee recommends that employment arbitration be provided as an option and that measures be taken to prevent delays in litigation. It also recommends that the Government take measures to increase women’s awareness and understanding of their rights and provide legal aid facilities, where possible, in cooperation with non-governmental organizations.

168.While there seems to be a policy on maternity leave, the Committee expresses concern that women continue to be discriminated against on the grounds of pregnancy and maternity, particularly in the private sector, where contractual arrangements are also made to circumvent the existing laws. Law enforcement is dependent upon prosecution by the Chief Labour Officer; this does not appear to provide effective remedies.

169.The Committee urges the Government to bring its laws and policies on maternity in conformity with the Convention. It encourages the Government to develop a national policy for the private and public sectors that includes minimum mandatory and paid maternity and parental leave, and to provide effective sanctions and remedies for violation of laws on maternity leave. It also encourages the Government to establish training programmes for the staff of the Labour Office to facilitate prosecution and ensure the effective enforcement of existing laws for both the public and private sectors.

170.The Committee expresses concern that stereotypical attitudes and behavioural patterns owing to cultural beliefs about the roles of women and men in the family and in society persist.

171.The Committee urges the Government to implement awareness-raising campaigns to change stereotypical and discriminatory attitudes concerning the roles of women and girls, including specific programmes targeting boys and men.

172.The Committee expresses concern about the persistence of gender-based violence, in particular domestic violence.

173.The Committee urges the Government to place a high priority on measures to address violence against women in the family and in society in accordance with the Committee’s general recommendation 19.

174.The Committee expresses concern about the situation of rural women and Amerindian women, and the lack of information thereon.

175.The Committee encourages the Government to give full attention to the needs of rural women and Amerindian women and to ensure that they benefit from policies and programmes in all areas, in particular access to decision-making, health, education and social services. The Committee requests that the Government provide detailed information in that regard in its next periodic report.

176.While the Committee recognizes the negative effects of structural adjustment programmes on certain groups of women, it is concerned at the high incidence of poverty among women.

177.The Committee requests the Government to provide additional information on the programmes and projects that have been implemented to combat the negative impact of structural adjustment programmes on women and, in particular, households headed by women, and to ensure that governmental policies to eradicate poverty are continuous and do not further marginalize women.

178.The Committee notes with concern the increasing number of HIV/AIDS cases in Guyana, especially among young people.

179.The Committee strongly urges the Government to take a multifaceted and holistic approach to combating HIV/AIDS, including broad-based educational strategies and practical prevention efforts, targeted at women and adolescents.

180.The Committee expresses concern about the application of legislation on prostitution, dating from 1893, which has not been reformed and continues to penalize the prostitute but not the client or the procurer.

181.The Committee urges the Government to take effective steps to review and amend existing legislation on prostitution in conformity with the Convention, and to ensure its full implementation and compliance. Moreover, in the light of the high incidence of HIV/AIDS in Guyana, full attention must be paid to the health services available to prostitutes.

182.The Committee urges the Government to sign and ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention and to deposit, as soon as possible, its instrument of acceptance of the amendment to article 20, paragraph 1, of the Convention, concerning the meeting time of the Committee.

183.The Committee requests the Government to respond to the concerns expressed in the present concluding comments in its next periodic report submitted under article 18 of the Convention.

184.The Committee requests the wide dissemination in Guyana of the present concluding comments in order to make the people of Guyana, in particular governmental administrators and politicians, aware of the steps that have been taken to ensure de jure and de facto equality for women and of the further steps that are required in this regard. It requests the Government to continue to disseminate widely, in particular to women’s and human rights organizations, the Convention and its Optional Protocol, the Committee’s general recommendations, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the results of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, entitled “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace in the twenty-first century”.

5.Second and third periodic reports

Netherlands

185.The Committee considered the second and third periodic reports of the Netherlands (CEDAW/C/NET/2 and Add.1-2 and CEDAW/C/NET/3 and Add.1-2) at its 512th and 513th meetings, on 6 July 2001 (see CEDAW/C/SR.512 and 513).

(a)Introduction by the State party

186.In introducing the second and third periodic reports, the representative of the Netherlands indicated that the Netherlands had fully endorsed the Convention and that, during recent decades, a genuine revolution had taken place in the labour market whereby, while in 1988 only one third of women had paid employment, in 2001 the level of participation had risen to 52 per cent. There was, however, still evidence of a “male breadwinner’s model of society”, as demonstrated by the low numbers of women in senior positions and in technical professions, and the large number of women in part-time jobs which did not provide economic independence. The representative indicated that the Government would remain firm on accelerating the emancipation process.

187.The representative emphasized that paid employment was a prerequisite for economic independence and that women’s economic independence contributed to a more equal balance of power, which had proved to be the most effective instrument for preventing and combating violence against women. The participation of women in the labour force was the focus of the Government’s recent Multi-year Plan on Emancipation Policy, which involved all governmental ministries. Set targets included that 65 per cent of women would be in paid employment by 2010 and that 60 per cent of women who were currently in part-time jobs would be fully economically independent.

188.The representative indicated that labour participation by women could be increased only through a reallocation of care tasks between women and men. A number of measures had been taken in that regard, including doubling the capacity of childcare facilities; the introduction of the Work and Care Bill, which provided for four weeks’ leave for foster parents or parents of adopted children; flexible use of the provisions for three-months’ parental leave; 10 days’ leave per year to care for a sick child, partner or parent; and a law giving employees a right to work more or fewer hours per week. In addition, the project entitled “Daily routine”, which aimed at a better alignment of education, childcare and leisure facilities, had been established. The Government would be delineating a “Daily routine” policy in the near future.

189.The strategy of gender mainstreaming had been accepted by the Government and all departments had a responsibility for gender mainstreaming, with each having formulated measurable emancipation tasks. Examples in this regard included a new tax system, which promoted the economic independence of women; the preparation of a tax measure aimed at facilitating women’s re-entry into the labour market; and efforts to increase the number of black, ethnic minority and refugee women on local councils.

190.Domestic violence was still a serious problem in the Netherlands, and the Minister of Justice had submitted to the Parliament a plan of action to combat domestic violence, which included more severe punishments for the perpetrators of such violence. In accordance with European Union policy, the Netherlands had appointed a national rapporteur on trafficking of persons and was the first country of the European Union to do so.

191.The representative of the Netherlands highlighted aspects of the Multi-year Plan on Emancipation Policy, including a life-cycle project which examined diversity in lifestyles.

192.On behalf of the Government of the Netherlands Antilles, another representative explained the restructuring programme and aggressive economic policy in place, indicating that, while obstacles existed, developments in gender equality had taken place. Among these were the entry into force of the first part of a new civil code, which abolished a number of discriminatory laws and granted women equal rights in issues pertaining to marriage and the family. Irretrievable breakdown had been delineated as the only ground for divorce and either spouse could request termination of the marriage on that ground. Differences in status between children born in and out of wedlock had been eliminated; a law had been enacted which provided protection to domestic workers, most of whom were women; and termination of labour contracts on the basis of marriage and pregnancy had been prohibited. In addressing increased sexual violence against women, the penal code had been amended to increase the maximum punishment available for sexual offences and special training had been given to police officers in dealing with victims of domestic violence. Campaigns condemning violence against women had also been carried out in collaboration with local non-governmental organizations. The representative indicated that regional collaboration on gender issues between Aruba, Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles was being expanded.

193.On behalf of the Government of Aruba, the representative indicated that the National Bureau of Women’s Affairs, established in 1996, had had an important role to play in raising awareness of women’s rights, existing discriminatory laws and traditional attitudes and practices. Owing to limited resources, most of the Bureau’s projects had been carried out within the context of the regional collaboration between Aruba, Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles. The three had agreed to develop projects on job training for women, gender-awareness training for media personnel, on sexuality and reproductive health of teenage mothers and on violence against women. A regional meeting would be held on women’s participation in positions of leadership and decision-making. The Aruban parliament had approved a new civil code which eliminated existing discriminatory laws, and a medical insurance scheme aimed at providing health care for all persons had been introduced. Efforts were under way to counteract violence against women, including through the establishment of a shelter for battered women and the introduction of draft amendments to the criminal code, which included marital rape. Also of importance was the establishment of a Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS theme group for the prevention and control of HIV/AIDS in Aruba. In closing, the representative mentioned several remaining areas of concern, including sex-segregation in the labour force, with the employment of women concentrated in the lower-skilled and lower-paid occupations, and low levels of women’s participation in politics and decision-making.

(b)Concluding comments of the Committee

Introduction

194.The Committee commends the Government of the Netherlands on its second and third periodic reports, which are in accordance with the Committee’s guidelines for the preparation of periodic reports. It also commends the Government for the comprehensive written replies to the questions posed by the Committee’s pre-sessional working group, and the oral presentation of the delegation which sought to clarify the current situation of women in the Netherlands, as well as in the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba, and provided additional information on the implementation of the Convention. The Committee also welcomes the written responses to a number of additional questions posed during constructive dialogue, which were provided in the final week of the session.

195.The Committee congratulates the Government for its high-level delegation, headed by the Secretary of State for Social Affairs and Employment. The Committee expresses appreciation for the constructive and frank dialogue that took place between the delegation and the members of the Committee but expresses regret that no representatives of the Governments of Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles were able to be part of the delegation which presented the reports, since it considers that this would have enhanced that dialogue.

Positive aspects

196.The Committee commends the Government on its conceptual approach to the implementation of each article of the Convention which incorporates, wherever possible, three policy levels: achievement of complete equality for women before the law; improvement of the position of women; and efforts to confront the dominant gender-based ideology.

197.The Committee also commends the Government on its extensive programme of legislative and administrative reforms which contributes to the implementation of the Convention.

198.The Committee further commends the Government on its programme to combat trafficking, in particular the appointment of the National Rapporteur on Traffic of Persons, whose aim is to provide the Government with recommendations on how best to tackle the problem of trafficking, and for its commitment to combat this phenomenon at the level of the European Union.

199.The Committee commends the Government for its willingness to place objections to reservations entered by other States parties that it considers incompatible with the object and purpose of the Convention.

200.The Committee also commends the Government for having accepted the amendment to article 20, paragraph 1, of the Convention.

201.The Committee welcomes the establishment in Aruba in 1996, in accordance with the Committee’s recommendations, of the National Bureau of Women’s Affairs.

Factors and difficulties affecting the implementation of the Convention

202.The Committee notes that there are no significant factors or difficulties which prevent the effective implementation of the Convention in the Netherlands.

Principal areas of concern and recommendations

203.The Committee expresses concern that the policy in the Netherlands of balanced division of paid work and unpaid care has not produced the expected results, since the burden of unpaid care still falls mainly upon women. The Committee is also concerned that women who work outside the home devote twice as much time as men to unpaid work, and that there are still insufficient child-care places.

204.The Committee recommends that the policy of balanced division of paid work and unpaid care be reviewed. It also recommends that greater efforts be devoted to the development of additional programmes and policies to encourage men to share family and caring responsibilities. The Committee also recommends that the Government ensure the availability of sufficient childcare places, and an uninterrupted long school day.

205.Despite the efforts made to combat discrimination in the Netherlands, the Committee expresses concern at the continuing discrimination against immigrant refugee and minority women who suffer from multiple discrimination, based both on their sex and on their ethnic background, in society at large and within their communities, particularly with respect to education, employment and violence against women. The Committee also expresses concern about manifestations of racism and xenophobia in the Netherlands.

206.The Committee urges the Government to take effective measures to eliminate discrimination against immigrant, refugee and minority women, both in society at large and within their communities. It urges the Government to respect and promote the human rights of women over discriminatory cultural practices, and take effective and proactive measures, including awareness-raising programmes and programmes to sensitize the community to combat patriarchal attitudes and practices and stereotyping of roles and to eliminate discrimination and violence against women in immigrant and minority communities. The Committee also urges the Government to eliminate xenophobia and racism in the Netherlands by strengthening its efforts to combat the activities of racist and xenophobic groups based in the country.

207.The Committee is concerned about the lack of information in the reports on the de facto situation of women of ethnic and minority communities in respect to their access to education, employment and health services. It is also concerned at the limited information on their freedom from violence, including female genital mutilation, domestic violence and honour crimes, as well as other discriminatory practices, such as polygamy, early marriage and forced pregnancy.

208.The Committee urges the Government to provide in its next report detailed information, including statistics disaggregated by sex and ethnicity, on the implementation of the Convention with respect to different ethnic and minority groups resident in the territory of the State party.

209.Noting the recent legislation on the abolition of the ban on brothels, which came into effect in October 2000, the Committee emphasizes that prostitution poses for women risks of exploitation and violence.

210.The Committee urges the Government to begin monitoring this law immediately and provide, in its next report, an assessment of the intended as well as unintended effects of the law, including those pertaining to risk of violence and to health, in particular in regard to those women without residence permits who are engaged in prostitution. The Committee also urges the Government to increase its efforts to provide training and education to prostitutes in order to ensure that they have a full range of options for earning their livelihood.

211.The Committee expresses concern about non-European women who have been trafficked, who fear expulsion to their countries of origin and who might lack the effective protection of their Government on their return.

212.The Committee urges the Government of the Netherlands to ensure that trafficked women are provided with full protection in their countries of origin or to grant them asylum or refugee status.

213.Although acknowledging the efforts undertaken by the Government to solve the problem of discrimination faced by women at the workplace through all of the legislative measures aimed at improving women’s economic status, including, inter alia, the Work and Care Bill, the Flexibility and Security Act, the Working Conditions Act and the Working Hours (Adjustment) Act, the Committee expresses concern over continuing discrimination in employment and business enterprises. The Committee also expresses concern with the “horizontal” and “vertical” gender segregation of the labour market, and the concentration of women in part-time employment. The Committee further expresses concern that, in the private sector, women earn on average 23 per cent less than men, although when adjusted in the light of the work they do and their personal characteristics, this differential is reduced to 7 per cent.

214.The Committee urges the Government to increase its efforts to eliminate stereotypes relating to traditional areas of employment and education for women. The Committee recommends efforts to improve the conditions for working women so as to enable them to choose full-time, rather than part-time, employment in which they are currently over-represented. It also urges the Government to eliminate the discrimination that part-time workers face in relation to overtime.

215.The Committee expresses concern that elderly women may be marginalized within, as well as insufficiently covered by, the health insurance and pension systems and urges the Government to pay special attention to the needs of elderly women in “Daily routine” programmes.

216.The Committee expresses concern about the low presence of women in high-ranking posts in all areas, in particular in academia where, according to 1996 figures, women hold only 5 per cent of professorships.

217.The Committee also expresses concern about the low participation of women in political and public life. In the present Government, women hold 26.75 per cent of posts in ministries whereas, according to 1998 figures, only 7.5 per cent of posts at the level of ambassador, permanent representative and consul-general are filled by women.

218.The Committee urges the Government to make efforts to facilitate an increase in the numbers of women in high-ranking posts, including in decision-making in politics, the economy and academia. It recommends the adoption of proactive measures to encourage more women to apply for these posts and, where necessary, the implementation of temporary special measures, as provided for in article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention.

219.The Committee notes with concern that, in the Netherlands, there is a political party represented in the Parliament that excludes women from membership, which is a violation of article 7 of the Convention.

220.The Committee recommends that the State party take urgent measures to address this situation, including through the adoption of legislation that brings the membership of political parties into conformity with its obligations under article 7.

221.The Committee expresses concern that there is insufficient information on the issue of HIV/AIDS included in the reports and requests the Government to provide such information in its next periodic report, in accordance with general recommendation 15 of the Committee.6

222.The Committee also expresses concern at the absence of information in the reports on tobacco and alcohol addiction among women. It further expresses concern at the absence of information on drug addiction among women, in particular in the light of decriminalization of the use of certain drugs. The Committee requests that information on these areas be provided in the next report and, taking account of paragraph 10 of its general recommendation 24 on women and health,2 on any measures adopted to address these issues.

223.The Committee further expresses concern that the new Law on Names provides that, where the parents cannot reach an agreement as to the name of a child, the father has the ultimate decision. The Committee believes that this contravenes the basic principle of the Convention regarding equality, in particular article 16 (g) thereof.

224.The Committee recommends that the Government review the Law on Names and amend it to comply with the Convention.

225.The Committee found it difficult to evaluate the implementation of the Convention in Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles because no representatives of the Governments of those territories were part of the delegation which presented their reports.

226.The Committee urges that Government of the Netherlands to ensure that the Governments of Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles are sufficiently supported so that they can be part of the delegation of the Netherlands when it presents its next periodic report to the Committee.

227.The Committee expresses its concern about the status of women in Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles where, despite the strides that have been made towards strengthening the legal position of women, gender equality is far from being achieved and gender-based stereotypes persist. The Committee expresses particular concern about the negative effects that the structural adjustment programmes might have on women in the Netherlands Antilles and on the limited resources available to the National Bureau of Women’s Affairs in Aruba, which might prevent the effective implementation of projects aimed at empowering women.

228.The Committee urges the Government of the Netherlands to strengthen its economic support to Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles, in particular support for programmes on capacity-building to better achieve gender equality, including support for the implementation of the Convention.

229.Noting the positive contributions of the Netherlands to the process of elaboration of the Optional Protocol, the Committee urges the Government to ratify that instrument as soon as possible.

230.The Committee requests the Government to respond to the concerns expressed in the present concluding comments in its next periodic report submitted under article 18 of the Convention.

231.The Committee requests the wide dissemination in the Netherlands, including in Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles, of the present concluding comments in order to make the people of the Netherlands, in particular governmental administrators and politicians, aware of the steps that have been taken to ensure de jure and de facto equality for women and of the further steps that are required in this regard. It requests the Government to continue to disseminate widely, in particular to women’s and human rights organizations, the Convention and its Optional Protocol, the Committee’s general recommendations, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the results of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, entitled “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace in the twenty-first century”.

6.Second and combined third and fourth periodic reports

Viet Nam

232.The Committee considered the second periodic report (CEDAW/C/VNM/2) and the combined third and fourth periodic reports (CEDAW/C/VNM/3-4) of Viet Nam at its 518th and 519th meetings, on 11 July 2001 (see CEDAW/C/SR.518 and 519).

(a)Introduction by the State party

233.In introducing the reports, the representative of Viet Nam noted that they described implementation of the Convention from 1986 to 2000, during which period the country had experienced profound change as a result of the comprehensive renewal process initiated in 1986.

234.The representative informed the Committee that a 10-year strategy for economic development and stabilization to 2000, which sought to double gross domestic product by 2000, had been adopted in 1991. Implementation of the plan had had significant results in all areas; women’s lives had been improved, and their status in society and the family raised.

235.Equality and non-discrimination were enshrined in the Constitution and promoted by the legal system through legislation and concrete policies and plans of action. The right to equality before the law had been reflected in laws in respect of, inter alia, property, nationality and marriage and the family. Viet Nam had ratified many United Nations human rights treaties and several International Labour Organization conventions, including Convention No. 100, on equal pay, and Convention No. 182, on the worst forms of child labour. Women participated in all areas of the workplace, where they enjoyed equal rights with men with respect to remuneration, as well as health and safety at work.

236.A national plan for the advancement of Vietnamese women had been adopted, which had established the target of increasing the representation of women in elected bodies to between 20 to 30 per cent, and to between 15 to 20 per cent in all levels of administration, by 2000. The proportion of members of people’s councils who were women had increased, and was currently 22.5 per cent at the provincial level, 20.7 per cent at the district level, and 16.3 per cent at the communal level. A proportion of 26.22 per cent of parliamentarians in the current National Assembly were women, compared with 18.5 per cent in the previous Assembly, thereby placing Viet Nam ninth among the 135 members of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in terms of women’s representation, and second in the Asian and Pacific region. Both the Vice-President of the State and Vice-Chairperson of the National Assembly were women, and women constituted 30 per cent of the staff of the foreign service, and 25 per cent of those posted abroad.

237.The literacy rate among women and girls had reached 88 per cent, and the population of female, compared with male, students had been steadily increasing. Women had equal rights to health care, and Viet Nam had been awarded a United Nations prize for its achievements with regard to reproductive health care. The average number of children per woman of reproductive age had been reduced from 3.8 in 1989 to 2.3 in 1999, and the maternal death rate from 1.1 per cent in 1996 to 0.9 per cent in 1999.

238.The representative noted that the incorporation by the Government of gender issues into socio-economic development programmes had enhanced women’s lives through, inter alia, providing access to jobs, credits and loans. A bank for the poor had been established, and assistance provided to the Women’s Union for the development of income-generating projects, which had particularly helped rural and ethnic minority women living in mountainous and remote areas.

239.In 1993, the National Commission for the Advancement of Women had been established as the result of a decision of the Prime Minister to provide advice on gender equality and the advancement of women. The Commission had participated in the design and implementation of national action plans for the advancement of women and in the monitoring of law reform, and had elaborated policies and programmes for the improvement of women’s status. Local committees had been established throughout Viet Nam and cooperation between governmental bodies and non-governmental organizations had increased.

240.In concluding her presentation, the representative drew attention to the fact that Viet Nam was highly ranked in the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) human development index and the gender-related development index. This was significant in the light of the fact that Viet Nam continued to face difficulties, inter alia, as a result of the vestiges of feudalism, war and low economic development.

241.Despite the progress made, she indicated that there remained obstacles to implementation of the Convention, including high unemployment, polarization between rich and poor, social issues such as prostitution, as well as trafficking of women, drug abuse and sexually transmitted diseases. Domestic violence was an issue and gender-bias customs lingered, causing a negative impact on women’s advancement. She indicated that the preparation of the report had offered further opportunities to assess the progress made and to enhance awareness and implementation of the Convention.

(b)Concluding comments of the Committee

Introduction

242.The Committee commends the Government of Viet Nam on its second and combined third and fourth periodic reports, which are in accordance with the Committee’s guidelines for the preparation of periodic reports. It also commends the Government for the comprehensive written replies to the questions of the Committee’s pre-sessional working group, and the oral presentation of the delegation, which sought to clarify the current situation of women in Viet Nam and provided additional information on the implementation of the Convention.

243.The Committee expresses its congratulations to the Government for its high-level and large delegation. The Committee expresses its appreciation for the positive approach of the delegation and the frank and constructive dialogue that took place between it and the Committee.

Positive aspects

244.The Committee welcomes the recognition in Viet Nam of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and other treaties as binding legal instruments, and the adoption of a procedure to monitor legislation to ensure its conformity with international treaties. It commends the introduction of a procedure to enforce the Constitutional guarantee of equality.

245.The Committee commends the Government on the development and strengthening of national mechanisms for advancement of women, inter alia, at the local level, and the linkage of these mechanisms with the Vietnamese Women’s Union.

246.The Committee commends the Government for its allocation of resources to achieve economic growth with social equity, thus creating an enabling environment for the implementation of the Convention. The Committee notes the progress achieved and the relatively high ranking of the State party in the UNDP human development index and gender development index. The Committee notes with appreciation the measures of the Government to eliminate poverty.

247.The Committee commends the Government on the preparation of a national strategy for women (2001‑2010) and a five-year plan on the advancement of women (2001-2005), as recommended in the Beijing Platform for Action. It notes with satisfaction the inclusion of a gender perspective in the economic and social development plan for 1991-2000.

Factors and difficulties affecting the implementation of the Convention

248.The Committee considers that the country’s ongoing economic transformation poses special challenges to the realization of gender equality — in particular in the areas of women’s employment and education of girls and young women — which can undermine the progress achieved in realizing equality between women and men. The Committee also considers that the social development programme of the State party has been hampered by the 1997 economic crisis in Asia and that continuing poverty poses a significant obstacle to the implementation of the Convention.

249.The Committee notes that the persistence of a strong patriarchal culture which emphasizes the traditional roles of women and men constitutes an impediment to the full implementation of the Convention.

Principal areas of concern and recommendations

250.The Committee expresses concern that patriarchal attitudes and behaviour, reflected, inter alia, in women’s inferior role in the family, the non-recognition of women’s work, son-preference and men’s failure to share household and family responsibilities, are deeply entrenched.

251.The Committee recommends that the Government take urgent and wide-ranging measures, including targeted educational programmes, the revision of curricula and textbooks, and mass media campaigns, to overcome traditional stereotypes regarding the role of women and men in the society.

252.The Committee expresses concern about the low representation of women in decision-making bodies in political and public life at all levels.

253.The Committee recommends increasing the number of women in decision-making at all levels and in all areas, including macroeconomic policy. It also recommends that the State party introduce temporary special measures, in accordance with article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention, to strengthen its efforts to promote women to positions of power, supported by special training programmes and awareness-raising campaigns promoting the importance of women’s participation in decision-making at all levels.

254.The Committee expresses concern that the existing national machinery for the advancement of women does not have sufficient strength and visibility or the human and financial resources to sustain its efforts to ensure the advancement of women and their equality with men.

255.The Committee recommends that the State party strengthen the existing national machinery and give it more visibility and the capacity to mainstream a gender perspective into all policies and programmes and to promote the advancement of women. It recommends that the capacity of the national machinery be assessed on a continuous basis and that it be provided with the necessary human and financial resources.

256.The Committee expresses concern about the considerable gap between the State party’s effort to ensure de jure equality between women and men and the enjoyment by women of de facto equality, in particular in economic, social and political areas.

257.The Committee recommends that the State party monitor the implementation of legal provisions that guarantee women de jure equality so as to ensure that they benefit women de facto. It urges the State party to introduce gender-sensitization and training programmes for law-enforcement, judicial and health personnel and others responsible for the implementation of legislation, so that women’s de facto enjoyment of equality will be guaranteed.

258.The Committee expresses concern about the prevalence of violence against women and, in particular, domestic violence. It also expresses concern at the lack of legal and other measures to address violence against women, as well as at the failure of the State party specifically to penalize marital rape. It further expresses concern that penalties for child sex abuse are low, that there is a prevalence of forced and child marriage, and that cruelty does not constitute grounds for divorce. It expresses concern that there is an overemphasis on reconciliation in cases of marital breakdown, including those in which violence has occurred.

259.The Committee urges the State party to implement general recommendation No. 19 of the Committee, on violence against women, and to ensure that all forms of violence against women and girls constitute crimes and that victims are provided with protection and redress. The Committee urges the criminalization of marital rape and close scrutiny of requirements for reconciliation in cases of marital breakdown, in particular those in which violence is involved. It recommends organizing gender training for all public officials, in particular law-enforcement personnel, the judiciary and members of local committees, on violence against women and girls, and the launch of public awareness campaigns on all forms of violence against women and girls and the impact of such violence.

260.While recognizing the State party’s efforts to address trafficking of women and girls, the Committee expresses concern that the State party has not ensured collection of sufficient statistical data and information on this issue. It also expresses concern that the impact of existing legal provisions and other measures on the elimination of trafficking has not been assessed and that law enforcement in the area of trafficking is weak.

261.The Committee urges the State party to collect comprehensive statistics and information on trafficking of women and girls, and on the impact of the measures taken to address this problem, and to include this information in its next periodic report. It recommends that the State party collaborate in regional and international strategies to confront trafficking and monitor, and where appropriate apply, the positive experience of other countries in this context. It also recommends the adoption of measures aimed at improving the economic situation of women in order to reduce their economic vulnerability to traffickers, and the creation of comprehensive rehabilitative programmes for women and girls who have been subject to such trafficking.

262.While recognizing the efforts made by the Government to reduce disparities and improve the status of ethnic minorities, the Committee expresses concern about their situation.

263.The Committee recommends that the Government provide more statistical data and information on the situation of ethnic minority women in its next periodic report.

264.Despite the State party’s efforts and the progress made with regard to primary and secondary education, the Committee expresses concern about the high female drop-out rate from schools, and particularly higher education, in rural areas. The Committee notes that the increase in the rate has coincided with the transformation to a market economy, and expresses concern that the gains that have been made by the State party in regard to women’s and girls’ education may not be sustained.

265.The Committee encourages the State party to intensify its efforts to promote the access of women and girls to higher education and their retention in the system. It recommends that the State party provide incentives to parents in order to encourage them to ensure that their daughters attend school.

266.While noting a decline in women’s mortality rate, the Committee nevertheless expresses concern at the status of women’s health, especially women’s reproductive health, and the high rate of abortion among young unmarried women. It also expresses concern about the persistence of stereotypical attitudes with respect to women’s health concerns, especially contraception which appears to be regarded as the sole responsibility of women, as well as the increased incidence of HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis among women.

267.The Committee urges the Government to maintain free access to basic health care and to continue to improve its family planning and reproductive health policy, inter alia, through making modern contraceptive methods widely available, affordable and accessible. The Committee also urges the Government to promote sex education for both boys and girls, paying special attention to HIV/AIDS prevention.

268.Noting that 80 per cent of women in Viet Nam live in rural areas, the Committee expresses concern that they have limited access to health-care services, education and income-generating activities.

269.The Committee recommends that the State party pay greater attention to the situation of rural women and develop special policies and programmes aimed at their economic empowerment, ensuring their access to credit, health-care services, educational and social opportunities and productive resources. It also calls for more information on this subject in the next report.

270.The Committee expresses concern that the retirement ages for women and men differ and that this has negative effects on women’s economic well-being. It also expresses concern that the retirement age is negatively affecting the access of rural women to land.

271.The Committee recommends that the State party review the existing legal provisions regarding the retirement age of women and men, with a view to ensuring that women are entitled to continue productive employment on an equal basis with men. The Committee also recommends that the State party evaluate the present Land Law and eliminate any provisions which discriminate, directly or indirectly, against women.

272.The Committee notes with concern the lack of information on segregation by sex in the labour market. The Committee is also concerned that the impact of incentives to encourage the employment of women has not been assessed.

273.The Committee calls upon the State party to increase its efforts to collect statistics and information on the position of women and men in the labour market, especially in the private sector.

274.The Committee urges the Government to sign and ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention and to deposit, as soon as possible, its instrument of acceptance of the amendment to article 20, paragraph 1, of the Convention, concerning the meeting time of the Committee.

275.The Committee requests the Government to respond to the concerns expressed in the present concluding comments in its next periodic report submitted under article 18 of the Convention.

276.The Committee requests the wide dissemination in Viet Nam of the present concluding comments in order to make the people of Viet Nam, in particular governmental administrators and politicians, aware of the steps that have been taken to ensure de jure and de facto equality for women and of the further steps that are required in this regard. It requests the Government to continue to disseminate widely, in particular to women’s and human rights organizations, the Convention and its Optional Protocol, the Committee’s general recommendations, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the results of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, entitled “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace in the twenty-first century”.

7.Fourth and fifth periodic reports

Nicaragua

277.The Committee considered the fourth and fifth periodic reports of Nicaragua (CEDAW/C/NIC/4 and CEDAW/C/NIC/5) at its 525th and 526th meetings, on 17 July 2001 (see CEDAW/C/SR.525 and 526).

(a)Introduction by the State party

278.In introducing the reports, the representative of Nicaragua informed the Committee that they covered the period from 1991 to 1998, and described some important innovations during that time.

279.She informed the Committee that the Government had committed itself to the implementation of the Convention but several obstacles had impeded full implementation. Those included the persistence of stereotypical attitudes, in particular machismo, and the poverty that Nicaragua faced. The Government had implemented a reinforced strategy to reduce poverty and other programmes to improve the health and education of women, girls and boys. The law provided a general framework of human rights protection and the Constitution and the ley de amparo, which protected individuals against administrative abuse and provided for injunctions to stop administrative acts which could adversely affect the rights of citizens, ensured the implementation of those rights. A common agenda on women’s priorities had been established, in collaboration with civil society and political parties. Draft revisions to the penal and family codes and penal procedures would remove discriminatory provisions, and the Constitution and the Civil Code included provisions on nationality. The Childhood and Adolescence Code, which had been approved in 1998, established that children were entitled to know their parents and to carry a name. The Commission for Women, Childhood, Youth and Family had presented a law of equal opportunity to the National Assembly for approval.

280.The Nicaraguan Institute for Women had been established as the national machinery with the mandate to define, formulate and promote public policies and develop strategies to ensure equal opportunities for men and women, including through action to improve female living conditions on the basis of equality, development and peace. The Ministry for the Family had also been created, and aimed to promote projects and programmes relating to families, girls and boys, and teenagers in situations of social risk. The promotion of women had also been included in the Ministry’s activities with respect to domestic violence, which was addressed as a violation of the right to life and the right to security of person. A reduction in financial resources had, however, limited the impact of these projects and programmes.

281.The representative of Nicaragua indicated that, among the various policies that had been implemented by the Government to promote the advancement of women were the social policy, the national population policy, the citizen participation policy, the sex education policy and the equal opportunity policy. Other mechanisms to promote the dialogue between the Government and civil society had been implemented through the inter-institutional commissions. In addition, two positions, those of attorney for human rights and special attorney for children, youth and women, had been created.

282.The representative informed the Committee about the advancement of women in the educational sector and the positive results that had been achieved in terms of women’s access to education at all levels, and high levels of attendance at schools and universities, to which the National Plan for Education (2001-2015) had contributed. Results were particularly significant in respect of girls in rural areas. The rate of illiteracy of women was lower than that of men, and women made up the majority of the student population. The National Institute of Technology, which was responsible for professional training, had created a specific unit to develop programmes to build the capacity of women in geographical areas with high levels of unemployment, as well as programmes for rural women, single mothers and teenagers at risk. Those programmes were aimed at the creation of microenterprises for women, providing them with access to credit at low interest rates, and ensuring that they were offered jobs in non-traditional sectors.

283.The representative of Nicaragua indicated that the life expectancy for women had increased but that maternal mortality was still a critical health problem. Measures that had been taken to address the problem included the establishment of specialized hospitals, where female staff offered disease-prevention and prenatal-monitoring services.

284.The representative admitted that women tended to be concentrated in low-paid sectors of employment. In rural areas, discrimination insofar as access to opportunities and productive resources and services was still significant. In 1997, the Inter-institutional Commission for Women and Rural Development had been created to promote the interests of rural women, and had subsequently implemented a project, entitled “Women and credit”, to increase women’s access to credit.

285.The representative pointed out that domestic violence affected a large number of women in Nicaragua. The Government had created offices for women and children, as a result of the cooperative effort by the Nicaraguan Institute for Women, the Women’s Anti-violence Network, the secretariat of the National Plan to Prevent Domestic and Sexual Violence (2001-2006) and the National Commission on Violence against Women, Children and Young Persons to address the problem. The Penal Code had also been reformed to provide greater protection for victims. Trafficking in all its forms was also prohibited by article 40 of the Constitution.

286.In conclusion, the representative informed the Committee that the number of women in decision-making positions and in politics had increased significantly in recent years.

(b)Concluding comments of the Committee

Introduction

287.The Committee expresses appreciation to the Government of Nicaragua for its fourth and fifth periodic reports. The Committee notes, however, that the reports do not incorporate sufficient statistical data disaggregated by sex.

288.The Committee expresses appreciation for the information contained in the reports and the frankness with which the reports were prepared. It commends the Government on the comprehensive replies to the Committee’s questions which sought to clarify the situation of women in Nicaragua, and on the Government’s sincere oral presentation of the reports.

Positive aspects

289.The Committee welcomes the efforts made by the Government of Nicaragua to implement the Convention, as reflected in a range of laws, institutions, policies and programmes to address discrimination against women in Nicaragua. The Committee recognizes that the Nicaraguan Institute for Women was one of the first national machineries to be established in the region, in 1982. The Committee welcomes the Government’s collaboration with civil society and other actors in reaching a common agenda on women’s priorities.

290.The Committee commends the Government on the publication and dissemination of a handbook explaining the provisions of the Convention.

291.The Committee commends the Government on its efforts to include the teaching of human rights in kindergarten, primary, secondary and technical or vocational schools, and in military and police training academies, and on the integration of a gender perspective into the National Development Plan and school curricula and teacher training.

292.The Committee notes with appreciation the efforts made to combat violence against women, including the adoption of legislation against domestic violence (Act No. 230); the establishment of the National Commission on Violence against Women, Children and Young Persons; the National Plan for the Prevention of Domestic and Sexual Violence 2001-2006; and the coordination carried out with various sectors of society, including the national police force, in particular the women’s police stations (comisarías), in combating gender violence.

Factors and difficulties affecting the implementation of the Convention

293.The Committee notes that the high level of poverty in Nicaragua, aggravated by natural disasters, poses a serious obstacle to the implementation of the Convention and women’s full enjoyment of their rights.

Principal areas of concern and recommendations

294.The Committee expresses concern about the persistence of stereotypes concerning the role of women in the family and society, including the expectations of women’s subordination to men expressed by some religious communities, and attitudes and behaviour driven by machismo in public and private life. The Committee is concerned that, notwithstanding the Government’s recognition of the problem and its efforts to address the problem, including legislative change, such stereotypes continue to constitute an obstacle to the achievement of equality for women.

295.The Committee calls upon the Government to strengthen measures to change stereotypical attitudes about the roles and responsibilities of women and men, including awareness-raising and educational campaigns directed at both women and men, as well as the media, in order to achieve de facto equality between women and men. It also calls upon the Government to undertake an assessment of the impact of its measures in order to identify shortcomings, and to adjust and improve these measures accordingly.

296.The Committee expresses concern at the high incidence of poverty among women, in particular rural women and households headed by women.

297.The Committee urges the Government to give priority attention to rural women and women heads of household, including in the allocation of budgetary resources, and to monitor research into their situation, with a view to developing effective policies and programmes to strengthen their socio-economic situation and ensuring that they receive needed services and support. The Committee emphasizes that social investment in women not only ensures their enjoyment of the human rights outlined in the Convention, but also constitutes one of the most effective means of combating poverty and promoting sustainable development.

298.The Committee expresses concern at the custom, in particular in rural areas, of sexual abuse of young girls by older men. It notes that this violates the rights of girls to reproductive health, as well as other rights under the Convention.

299.The Committee urges the Government to introduce awareness-raising and penal measures to eliminate the sexual abuse of young girls.

300.The Committee expresses concern about the high infant and maternal mortality rates in Nicaragua. The Committee also expresses concern that the leading causes of mortality among women are cervical and breast cancer, and pregnancy-related problems, including post-partum haemorrhage and toxaemia. The Committee notes with concern a lack of information on abortions and on the incidence of related death or illness.

301.The Committee recommends that the Government make every effort to increase access to health-care facilities and medical assistance by trained personnel in all areas, including rural areas. The Committee also recommends the implementation of programmes to prevent cervical and breast cancer, and to ensure the availability of pregnancy-related medical care. The Committee requests the Government to include in its next report information on the number of abortions performed and related death and/or illness, within the general framework of health conditions of women.

302.The Committee expresses concern about the high fertility rate in Nicaragua.

303.The Committee calls upon the Government to improve its family planning and reproductive health policy and programmes, including the availability and accessibility of affordable modern contraceptive means to both women and men. It encourages the Government to promote educational programmes on reproductive rights and responsible sexual behaviour on the part of both women and men, in particular young people.

304.The Committee notes with concern the persistence of a high level of illiteracy among certain groups of women in Nicaragua.

305.The Committee encourages the Government to develop programmes specifically designed to reduce female illiteracy.

306.The Committee expresses concern that women workers have been replaced by men in both the formal and informal sectors of the economy, that men’s wages are three times greater than those of women and that the rates of unemployment and underemployment of women are high. It also expresses concern at the indirect discrimination against women because they have limited access to credit owing to their lack of collateral.

307.The Committee recommends that measures be taken to improve the status of working women, including the introduction of training programmes to promote the integration of women into the labour force and to diversify their participation; the establishment of childcare centres; improved access to credit, with special emphasis on rural women; and greater efforts to achieve equal pay for work of equal value.

308.While the Committee welcomes the Government’s efforts to combat domestic violence, it expresses concern at the continuing extent of domestic violence against women in Nicaragua. The Committee stresses that, since violence against women is an infringement of human rights, it is the Government’s responsibility to prevent such violence and to take measures to protect its victims.

309.The Committee calls upon the Government to take practical measures to follow up and monitor legislation, and to strengthen its policies and programmes addressing violence against women, including by assessing their effectiveness and adjusting them accordingly.

310.The Committee welcomes the establishment of the national machinery for women, the Nicaraguan Institute for Women, but is concerned at the lack of institutional support for the Institute and its dependence on international cooperation.

311.The Committee urges the Government to provide the Nicaraguan Institute for Women with the required finances, personnel and political decision-making capacity to enable it to influence effectively the promotion of gender equality in Nicaragua.

312.While the Committee welcomes the adoption of legislation to protect and promote women’s human rights, including domestic violence legislation and the Equal Opportunities Law, the Committee expresses concern that discriminatory laws continue to exist and that there is no legislation dealing with education.

313.The Committee urges the Government to reform existing legislation and enact new legislation to protect the equal rights of women and men in regard to education. It recommends the speedy adoption of a non-discriminatory family code.

314.The Committee expresses concern about the lack of information in the reports on the migration of women and girls, women working in the maquiladora factories and free trade zones, older women and minority and indigenous women, prostitution, and trafficking of women and girls.

315.The Committee requests the Government to provide in its next report information on the migration of women and girls, including why the movements are occurring, the destination points, and the extent to which these women and girls become vulnerable to sexual exploitation, including trafficking, prostitution and sex tourism; the situation of women working in the maquiladora factories and free trade zones, including the measures taken to ensure that their rights are protected; older women and minority and indigenous women, especially as regards their health, employment and educational status; prostitution, including the measures taken to protect women who are prostitutes and to reintegrate them into society, as well as the measures taken to counteract the root causes of prostitution; and the measures taken by the Government to combat trafficking, and the impact of such measures.

316.The Committee urges the Government to sign and ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention and to deposit as soon as possible its instrument of acceptance of the amendment to article 20, paragraph 1, of the Convention, concerning the meeting time of the Committee.

317.The Committee requests the Government to respond to the concerns expressed in the present concluding comments in its next periodic report submitted under article 18 of the Convention. It urges the Government to improve the collection and analysis of statistical data, disaggregated by sex, age and minority or ethnic group, and to submit such data to the Committee in its next report. The Committee invites the Government to seek international cooperation in connection with the collection and analysis of such data.

318.The Committee requests the wide dissemination in Nicaragua of the present concluding comments in order to make the people of Nicaragua, in particular governmental administrators and politicians, aware of the steps that have been taken to ensure the de jure and de facto equality of women and of the further steps that are required in this regard. It requests the Government to continue to disseminate widely, in particular to women’s and human rights organizations, the Convention and its Optional Protocol, the Committee’s general recommendations, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the results of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, entitled “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century”.

Sweden

319.The Committee considered the fourth and the fifth periodic reports of Sweden (CEDAW/C/SWE/4 and CEDAW/C/SWE/5) at its 510th and 511th meetings, on 5 July 2001 (CEDAW/C/SR.510 and 511).

(a)Introduction by the State party

320.In introducing the report, the representative of Sweden informed the Committee that non-governmental organizations, including women’s organizations, with which the Government had an open dialogue, had been given the opportunity to comment on the reports and that the Government expressed its appreciation for their contributions.

321.The representative stressed that Sweden’s vision of society was one in which women and men enjoyed equal rights, equal opportunities and equal responsibilities, and in which each individual was treated with respect, regardless of age, gender, ethnic or cultural background, disability or sexual orientation. Since 1994, the Government’s annual statement of governmental policy on mainstreaming had been adopted and, accordingly, all ministers were responsible for ensuring gender equality within their respective policy areas. She pointed out, however, that gender mainstreaming did not exclude women from measures aimed specifically at the promotion of gender equality.

322.The representative indicated that, although Sweden was generally considered to be a society in which there was a high degree of equality between women and men, there were examples of power imbalances between the sexes. An extreme example was men’s violence against women, which was frequent and widespread and which was a priority area for governmental action. While there was no evidence that violence against women had escalated, the rate of reporting had increased as a result of efforts aimed at the collection and dissemination of information and improved response by the police and social welfare authorities. Governmental efforts to address violence against women included research, the introduction of training programmes for relevant sectors and the passage of legislation, including laws concerning support for crime victims. Violence against women with disabilities was being addressed. Increased attention needed to be given to men who committed acts of violence against women, and the representative noted that Sweden supported men’s organizations working against violence against women. A special project to address violence against immigrant women had been introduced, and amendments to the Aliens Act provided for special residence permits for immigrant women and children who had been subjected to violence by their partners. The Aliens Act also restricted the capacity of Swedish residents with a history of violence to women and children to bring partners into the country.

323.The representative indicated that action to combat trafficking was also a priority for Sweden and that, in addition to regional and national efforts undertaken in that regard, the Government had, in December 2000, signed the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children. Since January 1999, with the entry into force of a law prohibiting the purchase of sexual services, the exploitation of prostitutes had been a criminal offence, and the number of street prostitutes had declined.

324.In 1999, the Aliens Act had been amended to provide for the granting of asylum on the basis of gender-based persecution. Few women had taken advantage of the provision, although the majority of all women seeking asylum had been granted permission to remain. Guidelines on refugee women had been prepared by the Migration Board, and projects to support immigrant girls and women had been introduced.

325.Although significant progress had been made with respect to representation of women in decision-making, further efforts were required. Representation was strong in the public sector, but only 5.2 per cent of those on boards of directors in the private sector were women. The starting point in Swedish efforts towards equality between women and men was the provision of equal access to education. The educational choices of women and men were, however, divided along gender lines and, although some women had entered male-dominated fields of study, few men had entered female-dominated ones. Only 13 per cent of professorships were held by women, and the Government had introduced revised recruitment targets for universities.

326.Women and men enjoyed high employment rates, although the labour market was segregated along gender lines. Since 1993, the Swedish Labour Market Board had received earmarked funds for work to address gender segregation in the labour market, and the National Board for Industrial and Technical Development had carried out programmes aimed at increasing the number of women entrepreneurs. The representative noted that a key to reducing discrimination against women in the labour market was the reconciliation of family and work responsibilities. In 2002, the parental benefit would be increased by 30 days, with two fathers’ months included in the benefit scheme.

327.The representative informed the Committee that the pay gap between women and men was a governmental concern. On average, women’s wages were about 83 per cent of men’s. She indicated that the pay gap should be made visible and its underlying causes studied closely. New provisions in the Equality Act obliged employers, together with trade unions, to survey and analyse all discriminatory wage differences and to take appropriate measures to resolve them.

328.The representative indicated that the issues addressed in the Beijing Platform for Action corresponded with issues that formed the basis of Sweden’s national policy for gender equality. Sweden, along with other European Union partners, was developing indicators to evaluate progress in the 12 critical areas of concern.

329.The representative expressed satisfaction at the adoption and entry into force of the Optional Protocol to the Convention, and indicated that Sweden’s ratification process would be finalized in 2002. She concluded by indicating that a press conference, focusing on the Committee’s concluding comments, would be convened after the current session.

(b)Concluding comments of the Committee

Introduction

330.The Committee expresses its appreciation to the Government of Sweden on its fourth and fifth periodic reports, which comply with the Committee’s guidelines for the preparation of periodic reports. It commends the Government for involving non-governmental organizations in the preparation of the reports. The Committee also expresses its appreciation for the information given in response to the issues raised by the pre-sessional working group and during the oral presentation.

331.The Committee commends the Government of Sweden for its large delegation which made possible a constructive and frank dialogue with the members of the Committee.

Positive aspects

332.The Committee commends the Government of Sweden for the progress made in ensuring gender equality in women’s political participation and decision-making, where it is regarded by many other countries as a model. It notes with satisfaction that the application of measures in line with article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention has led to concrete results in some areas.

333.The Committee commends the Government of Sweden for its important achievements in the promotion of equality between women and men and especially for the involvement of boys and men in promoting gender equality and changing sexual stereotyping and traditional and stereotypical values.

334.The Committee commends the Government for passing legislation that provides residence permits to individuals who have a well-founded fear of persecution on the basis of sexual orientation or gender, particularly in cases that involve discrimination against women.

335.The Committee commends the Government for its efforts to incorporate gender mainstreaming into its overall policy framework and at all stages of the policy-making processes, while at the same time implementing women-specific programmes to encourage gender equality.

336.The Committee commends the Government for its willingness to place objections to reservations entered by other States parties that it considers incompatible with the object and purpose of the Convention.

337.The Committee also commends the Government for having accepted the amendment to article 20, paragraph 1, of the Convention.

338.The Committee commends the Government for signing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, its Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, and its Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air.

Factors and difficulties affecting the implementation of the Convention

339.The Committee notes that there are no significant factors or difficulties that prevent the effective implementation of the Convention in Sweden.

Principal areas of concern and recommendations

340.While the Government has taken significant steps to address discrimination against women in the workplace through the passage of the Gender Equality Act and the establishment of the Equal Opportunities Ombudsman, the Committee expresses concern that the wage gap between women and men, in both the public and private sectors, has not narrowed during the past 10 years. The Committee is of the view that this disparity is linked to the persistence of gender segregation in the labour market.

341.The Committee urges the Government to adopt policies and active measures to accelerate the eradication of pay discrimination against women, including job evaluations, collection of data, further study of the underlying causes for the wage gap and provision of increased assistance to social partners in collective wage bargaining, in particular in determining wage structures in sectors dominated by women. The Committee requests the Government to provide more information in the next periodic report on its efforts to eradicate the wage gap.

342.The Committee expresses concern with the existence of gender-based segregation at all levels of the educational system, including the choice by girls and boys of traditional disciplines and the attitudes of teachers that perpetuate and reinforce stereotypical gender roles.

343.The Committee recommends that the Government strengthen its efforts to eliminate gender stereotypes in educational curricula and consistently integrate awareness and understanding of gender equality in teacher training. Given the clear correlation between the choice of field of study and placement in the labour market, the Committee recommends that the Government increase its efforts towards ending gender segregation in students’ choice of field of education and encourage both women and men to choose non‑traditional fields of education.

344.While the Committee commends the Government for the impressive advances made by women in terms of representation in decision-making in politics, it expresses concern that women’s representation in executive and decision-making positions in the private economic sector, as well as on central governmental boards and boards of government-controlled companies, continues to be low. It also expresses concern about the low representation of women as chairs of local and municipal boards.

345.The Committee recommends that the Government take steps to facilitate the options insofar as employment of women in the private sector, inter alia, through the implementation of temporary special measures in accordance with article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention, wherever possible. The Committee urges the Government to take measures to increase the representation of women in decision-making positions in all sectors, including central governmental boards, county and municipal boards, particularly as chairs of those boards, and in government-controlled companies.

346.The Committee expresses concern about the low level of women’s representation in the judiciary.

347.The Committee urges the Government of adopt a procedure that ensures that women are not discriminated against when appointments to the judiciary are made.

348.While noting the high number of women in the lower ranks of the foreign service, the Committee nevertheless expresses concern about the low level of representation of women in the higher echelons of the service, in particular in ambassadorial posts.

349.The Committee recommends that current policies to increase the representation of women in the foreign service, particularly as ambassadors, continue and that measures be taken to ensure that women in the foreign service are not disadvantaged in terms of posting to locations requiring senior staff.

350.The Committee expresses concern that, despite the high achievement of women in tertiary education, there are very few women professors in the universities. There also appears to be an imbalance in the access of women, as compared to men academics, to research grants and other resources.

351.The Committee urges the Government to facilitate, by means of its policies, an increase in the number of women in high-ranking posts at universities and to ensure that women professors are not discriminated against insofar as access to resources, including research grants.

352.The Committee notes that, despite the considerable efforts made with regard to combating violence against women, including in the family, the prevalence of violence against women demonstrates the persistent power imbalance between women and men.

353.The Committee urges the Government to collect more data on the nature and scope of violence against women, in particular within the family, and to continue its efforts to implement and strengthen current policies aimed at combating violence, with special attention given to women with disabilities and migrant and minority women.

354.While welcoming the criminalization of the purchase of sexual services, the Committee expresses concern that this might have increased the incidence of clandestine prostitution, thereby rendering prostitutes more vulnerable. It also expresses concern that Sweden has become a country of destination for trafficked women.

355.The Committee encourages the Government to evaluate the effect of the current policy of criminalizing the purchase of sexual services, especially in view of the complete lack of data on clandestine prostitution which may have incidental effects on the trafficking of women and girls. The Committee encourages action in Sweden and, through the Government of Sweden, continued efforts within the European Union to combat trafficking of women, including measures to prevent trafficking, the collection of data, the provision of services for trafficked women and measures to penalize those who facilitate such trafficking.

356.Taking note of the efforts of the Government to combat discrimination, the Committee expresses concern about the continuing discrimination against immigrant, refugee and minority women in Sweden, including in education and employment, and at the gender-based discrimination and violence that they face in their own communities. The Committee also expresses concern about discrimination against Sami and Roma women.

357.The Committee urges the Government to take effective measures to eliminate discrimination against immigrant, refugee and minority women and to strengthen its efforts to combat xenophobia and racism in Sweden. It also encourages the Government to be more proactive in its measures to prevent discrimination against immigrant, refugee and minority women, both within their communities and in society at large, to combat violence against them and to increase their awareness of the availability of social services and legal remedies.

358.Noting Sweden’s support of the Optional Protocol to the Convention and its early signature to that instrument, the Committee encourages the Government to ratify the Optional Protocol as soon as possible.

359.The Committee requests the Government to respond to the concerns expressed in the present concluding comments in its next periodic report submitted under article 18 of the Convention. It also requests that future reports not make reference to previous reports but briefly summarize previously stated information.

360.The Committee requests the wide dissemination in Sweden of the present concluding comments in order to make the people of Sweden, in particular governmental administrators and politicians, aware of the steps that have been taken to ensure the de jure and de facto equality of women and of the further steps that are required in this regard. It requests the Government to continue to disseminate widely, in particular to women’s and human rights organizations, the Convention and its Optional Protocol, the Committee’s general recommendations, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the results of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, entitled “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century”.

Chapter VActivities carried out under the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

361.Article 12 of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women provides that the Committee shall include in its annual report under article 21 of the Convention a summary of its activities under the Protocol.

A.Working Group on the Optional Protocol

362.The Working Group on the Optional Protocol, established by the Committee at its twenty-fourth session (see part one, para. 366 above),7 met twice during the course of the twenty-fifth session of the Committee and considered administrative procedures for the receipt and processing of communications transmitted under the Protocol, activities undertaken by the United Nations to encourage ratification of the Protocol, and the development of model procedural forms for communications and inquiries.

363.On the recommendation of the Working Group, the Committee adopted suggestion 25/1 (see chap. I above).

364.The Committee also requested the Working Group to formulate a draft model communication form which would be circulated to members in advance of its twenty-sixth session with a view to its finalization at that session.

B.New member of the Working Group on the Optional Protocol

365.In the light of the resignation of Chikako Taya from the Committee, the Committee appointed Feng Cui as a member of the Working Group on the Optional Protocol.

C.Dates of the meeting of the Working Group on the Optional Protocol

366.The Committee agreed that the Working Group on the Optional Protocol should meet from 4 to 8 February 2002.

Chapter VIWays and means of expediting the work of the Committee

367.The Committee considered agenda item 6, on ways and means of expediting its work, at its 509th and 528th meetings, on 2 and 20 July 2001 (see CEDAW/C/SR.509 and 528).

368.In introducing the item, the Chief of the Women’s Rights Unit of the Division for the Advancement of Women, Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat, drew attention to the report of the Secretariat (CEDAW/C/2000/II/4). She also drew attention to the two informal documents containing the compilation of the concluding comments of the Committee, prepared in response to the request of the Committee at its twenty-fourth session, and the compilation of the decisions and suggestions on working methods adopted by the Committee since its first session in 1982, also prepared in response to the request of the Committee at its twenty-fourth session.

Action taken by the Committee under agenda item 6

1.Members of the pre-sessional working group for the twenty-sixth session

369.The Committee decided that the members of the pre-sessional working group for the twenty-sixth session and their alternates should be:

Members

Charlotte Abaka (Africa)

Rosario Manalo (Asia)

Göran Melander (Europe)

Yolanda Ferrer Gómez (Latin America and the Caribbean)

Alternates

Mavivi Myakayaka-Manzini (Africa)

Heisoo Shin (Asia)

Ivanka Corti (Europe)

Rosalyn Hazelle (Latin American and the Caribbean

2.Members of the pre-sessional working group for the proposed exceptional session

370.The Committee decided that, in the event that an enlargement of the pre-sessional working group to prepare for the proposed exceptional session of the Committee in 2002 was authorized by the General Assembly (see chap. I above, decision 25/I), members and their alternates should be:

Members

Ayse Feride Acar (Europe)

Mavivi Myakayaka-Manzini (Africa)

Zelmira Regazzoli (Latin America and the Caribbean)

Heisoo Shin (Asia)

Ivanka Corti (Europe)

Rosalyn Hazelle (Latin America and the Caribbean)

Alternates

Emna Aouij (Africa)

Maria Regina Tavares da Silva (Europe)

3.Dates of the twenty-sixth session of the Committee and its pre-sessional working group

371.In conformity with the approved calendar of conferences and meeting for 2002, the twenty-sixth session of the Committee will be held from 14 January to 1 February 2002. It was agreed that the pre-sessional working group for the twenty-seventh session would meet from 4 to 8 February 2002.

4.Reports to be considered at future sessions

372.The Committee decided to consider the following reports at its twenty-sixth, twenty-seventh and twenty-eighth sessions:

Twenty-sixth session

Initial reports

Estonia

Fiji

Trinidad and Tobago

Combined second and third periodic reports

Uruguay

Combined third and fourth periodic reports

Iceland

Sri Lanka

Fourth and fifth periodic reports

Portugal

Fifth periodic reports

Russian Federation

Twenty-seventh session

Initial reports

Costa Rica

Combined third and fourth periodic reports

Belgium

Zambia

Fourth periodic reports

Tunisia

Combined fourth and fifth periodic reports

Ukraine

Fourth and fifth periodic reports

Denmark

373.In the event that one of the above-mentioned States parties should be unable to present its report, the Committee would consider the third and fourth periodic reports of Kenya or the third periodic report of France.

Twenty-eighth session

Initial reports

None

Second periodic reports

Libyan Arab Jamahiriya

Morocco

Slovenia

Third periodic reports

Guatemala

Uganda

Fourth periodic reports

Japan

374.In the event that one of the above-mentioned States parties should be unable to present its report, the Committee would consider the second periodic report of Armenia or the fifth periodic report of Peru.

5.Proposed special session of the Committee

375.The Committee decided that, in the event that the proposed special session of the Committee to consider outstanding reports were approved by the General Assembly (see chap. I above, decision 25/I), it would consider the following reports at that session:

Second periodic reports

Armenia

Czech Republic

Equatorial Guinea

Third periodic reports

Guatemala

Fourth periodic reports

Argentina

Barbados

Greece

Yemen

Fourth and fifth periodic reports

Hungary

Fifth periodic reports

Mexico

Norway

Peru

Chapter VIIImplementation of article 21 of the Convention

376.The Committee considered agenda item 5, on the implementation of article 21 of the Convention, at its 509th and 528th meetings (see CEDAW/C/SR.509 and 528).

377.In introducing the item, the Chief of the Women’s Rights Unit of the Division for the Advancement of Women drew attention to the report of the Secretariat on the Committee’s approach to article 4, paragraph 1 of the Convention, concerning temporary special measures aimed at accelerating de facto equality between men and women (CEDAW/C/2001/II/5) and a note by the Secretary-General on reports provided by specialized agencies on the implementation of the Convention in areas falling within the scope of their activities (CEDAW/C/2001/II/3 and Add.1-4).

Action taken by the Committee under item 5

1.General recommendation on article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention

378.The Committee designated one of its members, Hanna Beate Schöpp-Schilling, to provide it with a background paper on article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention, concerning temporary special measures aimed at accelerating de facto equality between men and women. It requested Ms. Schöpp-Schilling to submit the background paper to the Secretariat prior to 15 October 2001, so that it could be translated and circulated to the members of the Committee prior to its twenty-sixth session, to be held from 14 January to 1 February 2002.

2.Contribution of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women to the special session of the General Assembly on children

379.The Committee recognizes the complementarity of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the importance of respecting, promoting and protecting women’s human rights in the realization of a better future for children. The Committee therefore welcomes the decision of the General Assembly to hold a special session on children. The Committee endorses the decision to combine in the draft outcome document, a declaration and a plan of action with targeted goals and strategies, giving adequate priority to allocation of resources and monitoring progress on implementation.

380.The Committee has, in the 11 years since the convening of the World Summit for Children, consistently supported efforts to promote and protect the rights of children and girls, in particular in the monitoring of reports of States parties under the Convention, and through the adoption of general recommendations and other initiatives. Since the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women also applies to girls, the Committee has, on a regular basis, received information from the United Nations Children’s Fund, specialized agencies and non-governmental organizations on the situation of women and girls in the reporting States parties. The Committee’s work during this period has clearly indicated that the situation of children, and of girls in particular, cannot be improved unless the human rights of women are respected and promoted, and they are protected from discrimination and violence, and empowered.

381.The work of the Committee has clarified that, in most countries, discrimination against girls, and the exploitation and social and economic exclusion of children in general, is based upon laws, policies and practices that discriminate against women and promote stereotypical views of the role and responsibility of women in the family. Children, and especially girls, are often denied access to education, health and nutrition throughout infancy, childhood and adolescence because of entrenched discrimination against women in the family and the community.

382.Early marriage, physical and sexual abuse in the family and the community, and commercial sexual exploitation through trafficking, which has become a contemporary form of slavery, have emerged as widespread problems that result in girls and women in many countries being denied the human rights recognized by the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and other international human rights instruments.

383.The Committee has noted with concern that negative social practices, such as prenatal sex selection, infanticide, female genital mutilation, dowry, bride price and honour crimes which may be legitimized by social custom, place girls at risk of violence and abuse before birth and throughout their childhood and adolescence.

384.The Committee has noted that underdevelopment and poverty in both the rural and urban areas of a number of countries, combined with discriminatory social values, prevent children in general, and girls in particular, from acquiring literacy, thus depriving them of life chances.

385.The Committee has observed in its concluding comments that globalization has often had a negative economic impact on women. This has created further economic disparities and increased pressures on girls to participate in the informal sector, and thus increased the likelihood of their dropping out of school. The Committee has requested States parties to introduce policies and programmes to reduce poverty, improve the environmental and living conditions of women and children, and of girls in particular, and provide equal access to education during a period of economic transformation.

386.The Committee’s work has also indicated that nationality and birth registration laws in some countries continue to discriminate against women, and that this results in children being denied the nationality of the mother, or a non-discriminatory birth registration certificate.

387.The Committee has often stated in its concluding comments that armed conflict has resulted in the denial of human rights of women and girls, and that they have been placed at special risk of violence, including rape, abuse and trafficking.

388.The Committee has constantly emphasized the concept of shared parental responsibilities for children, and the important role of men in both preventing and eliminating discrimination against women, and in respecting and promoting the human rights of women and children.

389.The Committee has in its work encountered many instances in which women’s groups and activists have made a significant contribution to the realization of the rights of children to development and protection from exploitation and abuse.

390.The Committee, in its review of reports of several States parties, has noted that economic sanctions and blockades have a negative impact on women and girls, with repercussions on the advancement of women and on their socio-economic well-being.

391.Convinced that sustainable human development and the best interests of the child cannot be realized in any society without commitment to the realization of women’s human rights, and the rights of girls in particular, the Committee proposes that the outcome document:

(a)Incorporate a stronger gender perspective by referring to the need to eliminate discrimination against girls, and integrating the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Beijing Platform for Action, which referred to the girl child as a critical area of concern, and the outcome document of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly into laws, policies and programmes;

(b)Contain references to the specific and critical problems of discrimination against girls, and the necessary interventions to ensure a better future for them. Adequate focus should be given to the problem of sexual exploitation and violence connected to trafficking and armed conflict;

(c)Acknowledge that adolescent girls come within the scope of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women;

(d)Make reference to the provisions of the Convention as they relate to adolescent girls. Reference should be made, in particular, to the provision of access to secondary education and proper health care, including reproductive health care, and protection against HIV/AIDS, and to the importance of realizing the participatory rights of girls, giving them full access to information and decision-making in matters that affect them;

(e)Acknowledge that women’s groups are important partners in the realization of the rights of children;

(f)Clarify that the allocation of resources must be gender sensitive so as to ensure that adequate priority is given to realizing a better future for both women and children in general, and girls in particular;

(g)Recognize that specific programmes and policies should be developed to ensure that multilateral trade and financial systems do not increase gender disparities or impose greater economic burdens on women and girls.

3.Guidelines for the reports of United Nations bodies and specialized agencies

392.The Committee is of the view that the provision of country-specific information on each State party whose report is under consideration at each session is critical. In collating such information, the issues and questions posed by the pre-sessional working group of the Committee to that State party should be kept in mind and put into perspective by reference to global and/or regional data and trends on the subject.

393.The Committee suggests that country-specific information should be complemented with additional information on the programmes of the agency in the country or region.

394.The Committee has found it most beneficial to be given written reports, the contents of which are highlighted by the representative of the United Nations body or specialized agency concerned during the closed meeting in the limited time allowed him or her. In this context, the experience of the Committee indicates that, in order for the Committee to benefit fully from the information provided, it is critical that the body or agency be represented by a person equipped to respond to the questions and comments that may be raised by members of the Committee.

395.Finally, in view of the recent coming into force of the Optional Protocol to the Convention, the Committee invites United Nations bodies and specialized agencies to include in their reports information, wherever possible, on ongoing efforts made towards supporting the ratification of the Optional Protocol.

Chapter VIIIProvisional agenda for the twenty-sixth session

396.The Committee considered the draft provisional agenda for its twenty-sixth session at its 528th meeting (see CEDAW/C/SR.528). The Committee decided to approve the following provisional agenda for the session:

1.Opening of the session.

2.Adoption of the agenda and organization of work.

3.Report of the Chairperson on activities undertaken between the twenty-fifth and twenty-sixth sessions of the Committee.

4.Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 18 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

5.Implementation of article 21 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

6.Ways and means of expediting the work of the Committee.

7.Provisional agenda for the twenty-seventh session of the Committee.

8.Adoption of the report of the Committee on its twenty-sixth session.

Chapter IXAdoption of the report

397.The Committee considered the draft report on its twenty-fifth session (CEDAW/C/2001/II/L.1-3 and CEDAW/C/2001/II/CRP.3 and Add.1-7) at its 528th meeting (see CEDAW/C/SR.528), and adopted it, as orally revised during the discussion.

Notes

1See annex VII for the statement of programme budget implications of the decision, submitted in accordance with rule 23 of the rules of procedure of the Committee.

2Official Records of the General Assembly, Fifty-fourth Session, Supplement No. 38 (A/54/38/Rev.1), chap. I, sect. A.

3Report of the Fourth World Conference on Women, Beijing, 4-15 September 1995 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.96.IV.13), chap. I, resolution 1, annexes I and II.

4General Assembly resolution S-23/3, annex.

5Official Records of the General Assembly, Forty-seventh Session, Supplement No. 38 (A/47/38), chap. I.

6Ibid., Forty-fifth Session, Supplement No. 38 (A/45/38), para. 438.

7See part one of the present report, para. 366.

Annex I

Rules of procedure of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women

Contents

Rule

Page

Part oneGeneral rules

I.Sessions

90

1.Sessions

90

2.Regular sessions

90

3.Special sessions

90

4.Pre-sessional working group

90

5.Place of sessions

91

6.Notification of opening date of sessions

91

II.Agenda

91

7.Provisional agenda

91

8.Transmission of the provisional agenda

91

9.Adoption of the agenda

91

10.Revision of the agenda

92

III.Members of the Committee

92

11.Members of the Committee

92

12.Term of office

92

13.Casual vacancies

92

14.Filling casual vacancies

93

15.Solemn declaration

93

IV.Officers

93

16.Election of officers of the Committee

93

17.Term of office

93

18.Functions of the Chairperson

93

19.Absence of the Chairperson at meetings of the Committee

94

20.Replacement of officers

94

V.Secretariat

94

21.Duties of the Secretary-General

94

22.Statements

94

23.Financial implications

95

VI.Languages

95

24.Official languages

95

25.Interpretation

95

26.Language of documents

95

VII.Records

95

27.Records

95

VIII.Conduct of business

96

28.Public and private meetings

96

29.Quorum

96

30.Powers of the Chairperson

96

IX.Voting

97

31.Adoption of decisions

97

32.Voting rights

97

33.Equally divided votes

97

34.Method of voting

97

35.Conduct during voting and explanation of vote

97

36.Division of proposals

97

37.Order of voting on amendments

98

38.Order of voting on proposals

98

39.Method of election

98

40.Conduct of elections for filling one elective place

98

X.Subsidiary bodies

99

41.Subsidiary bodies

99

XI.Annual report of the Committee

99

42.Annual report of the Committee

99

XII.Distribution of reports and other official documents

99

43.Distribution of reports and other official documents

99

XIII.Participation of specialized agencies and bodies of the United Nations and of intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations

99

44.Participation of specialized agencies and bodies of the United Nations and of intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations

99

45.Specialized agencies

100

46.Intergovernmental organizations and United Nations bodies

100

47.Non-governmental organizations

100

Part twoRules relating to the functions of the Committee

XIV.Reports of States parties under article 18 of the Convention

100

48.Submission of reports under article 18 of the Convention

100

49.Failure to submit or late submission of reports

101

50.Request for additional information

101

51.Examination of reports

102

52.Suggestions and general recommendations

102

53.Concluding comments

102

54.Working methods for examining reports

103

XV.General discussion

103

55.General discussion

103

Part threeRules of procedure for the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

XVI.Procedures for the consideration of communications received under the Optional Protocol

103

56.Transmission of communications to the Committee

103

57.List and register of communications

104

58.Request for clarification or additional information

104

59.Summary of information

104

60.Inability of a member to take part in the examination of a communication

105

61.Withdrawal of a member

105

62.Establishment of working groups and designation of rapporteurs

105

63.Interim measures

105

64.Method of dealing with communications

106

65.Order of communications

106

66.Separate consideration of admissibility and merits

106

67.Conditions of admissibility of communications

106

68.Authors of communications

106

69.Procedures with regard to communications received

107

70.Inadmissible communications

108

71.Additional procedures whereby admissibility may be considered separately from the merits

108

72.Views of the Committee on admissible communications

108

73.Follow-up to the views of the Committee

109

74.Confidentiality of communications

109

75.Communiqués

110

XVII.Proceedings under the inquiry procedure of the Optional Protocol

110

76.Applicability

110

77.Transmission of information to the Committee

111

78.Register of information

111

79.Summary of information

111

80.Confidentiality

111

81.Meetings related to proceedings under article 8

111

82.Preliminary consideration of information by the Committee

111

83.Examination of information

112

84.Establishment of an inquiry

112

85.Cooperation of the State party concerned

112

86.Visits

113

87.Hearings

113

88.Assistance during an inquiry

113

89.Transmission of findings, comments or suggestions

114

90.Follow-up action by the State party

114

91.Obligations under article 11 of the Optional Protocol

114

Part fourInterpretative rules

XVIII.Interpretation and amendments

114

92.Headings

114

93.Amendments

115

94.Suspension

115

Part oneGeneral rules

I.Sessions

Rule 1Sessions

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (hereinafter referred to as “the Committee”) shall hold such sessions as may be required for the effective performance of its functions in accordance with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (hereinafter referred to as “the Convention”).

Rule 2Regular sessions

1.The Committee shall hold such regular sessions each year as shall be authorized by the States parties to the Convention.

2.Regular sessions of the Committee shall be convened on dates decided upon by the Committee in consultation with the Secretary-General of the United Nations (hereinafter referred to as “the Secretary-General”), taking into account the calendar of conferences and meetings approved by the General Assembly.

Rule 3Special sessions

1.Special sessions of the Committee shall be convened by decision of the Committee or at the request of a State party to the Convention. The Chairperson of the Committee may also convene special sessions:

(a)At the request of a majority of members of the Committee;

(b)At the request of a State party to the Convention.

2.Special sessions shall be convened as soon as possible at a date fixed by the Chairperson in consultation with the Secretary-General and with the Committee.

Rule 4Pre-sessional working group

1.A pre-sessional working group, which shall consist of no more than five members of the Committee designated by the Chairperson in consultation with the Committee at a regular session, and reflecting equitable geographical representation, shall normally be convened prior to each regular session.

2.The pre-sessional working group shall formulate a list of issues and questions on substantive issues arising from reports submitted by States parties in accordance with article 18 of the Convention and submit that list of issues and questions to the States parties concerned.

Rule 5Place of sessions

Sessions of the Committee shall normally be held at the Headquarters or the other offices of the United Nations. Another venue for a session may be proposed by the Committee in consultation with the Secretary-General.

Rule 6Notification of opening date of sessions

The Secretary-General shall notify members of the Committee of the date, duration and place of the first meeting of each session. Such notification shall be sent, in the case of a regular session, at least six weeks in advance.

II.Agenda

Rule 7Provisional agenda

The provisional agenda for each regular or special session shall be prepared by the Secretary-General in consultation with the Chairperson of the Committee, in conformity with the relevant provisions of the Convention, and shall include:

(a)Any item decided upon by the Committee at a previous session;

(b)Any item proposed by the Chairperson of the Committee;

(c)Any item proposed by a member of the Committee;

(d)Any item proposed by a State party to the Convention;

(e)Any item proposed by the Secretary-General relating to her or his functions under the Convention or the present rules of procedure.

Rule 8Transmission of the provisional agenda

The provisional agenda and the basic documents relating to each item thereof, the report of the pre-sessional working group, the reports of States parties submitted under article 18 of the Convention and the responses by States parties to issues raised by the pre-sessional working group shall be prepared in all of the official languages of the United Nations by the Secretary-General, who shall endeavour to have the documents transmitted to members of the Committee at least six weeks prior to the opening of the session.

Rule 9Adoption of the agenda

The first item on the provisional agenda for any session shall be the adoption of the agenda.

Rule 10Revision of the agenda

During a session, the Committee may amend the agenda and may, as appropriate, delete or defer items by the decision of a majority of the members present and voting. Additional items of an urgent nature may be included in the agenda by a majority of the members.

III.Members of the Committee

Rule 11Members of the Committee

Members of the Committee may not be represented by alternates.

Rule 12Term of office

The term of office of members begins:

(a)On the 1st day of January of the year after their election by the meeting of States parties and shall end on the 31st day of December four years later;

(b)On the date of the approval by the Committee, if appointed to fill a casual vacancy, and shall end on the date of expiration of the term of office of the member or members being replaced.

Rule 13Casual vacancies

1.A casual vacancy may occur through death, the inability of a Committee member to perform her or his function as a member of the Committee or the resignation of a member of the Committee. The Chairperson shall immediately notify the Secretary-General who shall inform the State party of the member so that action may be taken in accordance with article 17, paragraph 7, of the Convention.

2.Notification of the resignation of a member of the Committee shall be in writing to the Chairperson or to the Secretary-General, and action shall be taken in accordance with article 17, paragraph 7, of the Convention only after such notification has been received.

3.A member who is unable to attend meetings of the Committee shall inform the Secretary-General as early as possible and, if this inability is likely to be extended, the member should resign.

4.When a member of the Committee is consistently unable to carry out her or his functions for any cause other than absence of a temporary nature, the Chairperson shall draw the above rule to her or his attention.

5.Where a member of the Committee has rule 13, paragraph 4, drawn to her or his attention and does not resign in accordance with that rule, the Chairperson shall notify the Secretary-General who shall then inform the State party of the member to enable action to be taken in accordance with article 17, paragraph 7, of the Convention.

Rule 14Filling casual vacancies

1.When a casual vacancy within article 17, paragraph 7, of the Convention occurs in the Committee, the Secretary-General shall immediately request the State party that had nominated that member to appoint, within a period of two months, another expert from among its nationals to serve for the remainder of the predecessor’s term.

2.The name and curriculum vitae of the expert so appointed shall be transmitted by the Secretary-General to the Committee for approval. Upon approval of the expert by the Committee, the Secretary-General shall notify the States parties of the name of the member of the Committee filling the casual vacancy.

Rule 15Solemn declaration

Upon assuming their duties, members of the Committee shall make the following solemn declaration in open Committee:

“I solemnly declare that I shall perform my duties and exercise powers as a member of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women honourably, faithfully, impartially and conscientiously.”

IV.Officers

Rule 16Election of officers of the Committee

The Committee shall elect from among its members a Chairperson, three Vice-Chairpersons and a Rapporteur with due regard to equitable geographical representation.

Rule 17Term of office

The officers of the Committee shall be elected for a term of two years and be eligible for re-election provided that the principle of rotation is upheld. None of them, however, may hold office if she or he ceases to be a member of the Committee.

Rule 18Functions of the Chairperson

1.The Chairperson shall perform the functions conferred upon her or him by these rules of procedure and the decisions of the Committee.

2.In the exercise of those functions the Chairperson shall remain under the authority of the Committee.

3.The Chairperson shall represent the Committee at United Nations meetings in which the Committee is officially invited to participate. If the Chairperson is unable to represent the Committee at such a meeting, she or he may designate another officer of the Committee or, if no officer is available, another member of the Committee, to attend on her or his behalf.

Rule 19Absence of the Chairperson at meetings of the Committee

1.If the Chairperson is unable to be present at a meeting or any part thereof, she or he shall designate one of the Vice-Chairpersons to act in her or his place.

2.In the absence of such a designation, the Vice-Chairperson to preside shall be chosen according to the names of the Vice-Chairpersons as they appear in English alphabetical order.

3.A Vice-Chairperson acting as a Chairperson shall have the same powers and duties as the Chairperson.

Rule 20Replacement of officers

If any of the officers of the Committee ceases to serve or declares her or his inability to continue serving as a member of the Committee or for any reason is no longer able to act as an officer, a new officer from the same region shall be elected for the unexpired term of her or his predecessor.

V.Secretariat

Rule 21Duties of the Secretary-General

1.At the request or by decision of the Committee and approval by the General Assembly:

(a)The secretariat of the Committee and of such subsidiary bodies established by the Committee (“the Secretariat”) shall be provided by the Secretary-General;

(b)The Secretary-General shall provide the Committee with the necessary staff and facilities for the effective performance of its functions under the Convention;

(c)The Secretary-General shall be responsible for all necessary arrangements for meetings of the Committee and its subsidiary bodies.

2.The Secretary-General shall be responsible for informing the members of the Committee without delay of any questions that may be brought before it for consideration or of any other developments that may be of relevance to the Committee.

Rule 22Statements

The Secretary-General or her or his representative shall be present at all meetings of the Committee and may make oral or written statements at such meetings or at meetings of its subsidiary bodies.

Rule 23Financial implications

Before any proposal that involves expenditure is approved by the Committee or by any of its subsidiary bodies, the Secretary-General shall prepare and circulate to the members of the Committee or subsidiary body as early as possible, an estimate of the cost involved in the proposal. It shall be the duty of the Chairperson to draw the attention of members to this estimate and to invite discussion on it when the proposal is considered by the Committee or subsidiary body.

VI.Languages

Rule 24Official languages

Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish shall be the official languages of the Committee.

Rule 25Interpretation

1.Statements made in an official language shall be interpreted into the other official languages.

2.Any speaker addressing the Committee in a language other than one of the official languages shall normally provide for interpretation into one of the official languages. Interpretation into the other official languages by interpreters of the Secretariat shall be based upon the interpretation given in the first official language.

Rule 26Language of documents

1.All official documents of the Committee shall be issued in the official languages of the United Nations.

2.All formal decisions of the Committee shall be made available in the official languages of the United Nations.

VII.Records

Rule 27Records

1.The Secretary-General shall provide the Committee with summary records of its proceedings, which shall be made available to the members.

2.Summary records are subject to correction, to be submitted to the Secretariat by participants in the meetings in the language in which the summary record is issued. Corrections to the records of the meetings shall be consolidated in a single corrigendum to be issued after the conclusion of the relevant session.

3.The summary records of public meetings shall be documents for general distribution unless in exceptional circumstances the Committee decides otherwise.

4.Sound recordings of meetings of the Committee shall be made and kept in accordance with the usual practice of the United Nations.

VIII.Conduct of business

Rule 28Public and private meetings

1.The meetings of the Committee and its subsidiary bodies shall be held in public unless the Committee decides otherwise.

2.Meetings at which concluding comments on reports of States parties are discussed, as well as meetings of the pre-sessional working group and other working groups, shall be closed unless the Committee decides otherwise.

3.No person or body shall, without the permission of the Committee, film or otherwise record the proceedings of the Committee. The Committee shall, if necessary, and before giving such permission, seek the consent of any State party reporting to the Committee under article 18 of the Convention to the filming or other recording of the proceedings in which it is engaged.

Rule 29Quorum

Twelve members of the Committee shall constitute a quorum.

Rule 30Powers of the Chairperson

1.The Chairperson shall declare the opening and closing of each meeting of the Committee, direct the discussion, ensure observance of the present rules, accord the right to speak, put questions to the vote and announce decisions.

2.The Chairperson, subject to the present rules, shall have control over the proceedings of the Committee and over the maintenance of order at its meetings.

3.The Chairperson may, in the course of the discussion of an item, including the examination of reports submitted under article 18 of the Convention, propose to the Committee the limitation of the time to be allowed to speakers, the limitation of the number of times each speaker may speak on any question and the closure of the list of speakers.

4.The Chairperson shall rule on points of order. She or he shall also have the power to propose adjournment or closure of the debate or adjournment or suspension of a meeting. Debate shall be confined to the question before the Committee, and the Chairperson may call a speaker to order if her or his remarks are not relevant to the subject under discussion.

5.During the course of the debate, the Chairperson may announce the list of speakers and, with the consent of the Committee, declare the list closed.

IX.Voting

Rule 31Adoption of decisions

1.The Committee shall endeavour to reach its decisions by consensus.

2.If and when all efforts to reach consensus have been exhausted, decisions of the Committee shall be taken by a simple majority of the members present and voting.

Rule 32Voting rights

1.Each member of the Committee shall have one vote.

2.For the purpose of these rules, “members present and voting” means members casting an affirmative or negative vote. Members who abstain from voting are considered as not voting.

Rule 33Equally divided votes

If a vote is equally divided on a matter other than an election, the proposal shall be regarded as having been rejected.

Rule 34Method of voting

1.Subject to rule 39 of the present rules, the Committee shall normally vote by show of hands, except that any member may request a roll-call, which shall then be taken in the English alphabetical order of the names of the members of the Committee, beginning with the member whose name is drawn by lot by the Chairperson.

2.The vote of each member participating in a roll-call shall be inserted in the record.

Rule 35Conduct during voting and explanation of vote

After voting has commenced, it shall not be interrupted unless a member raises a point of order in connection with the actual conduct of the voting. Brief statements by members consisting solely of explanations of vote may be permitted by the Chairperson before the voting has commenced or after the voting has been completed.

Rule 36

Division of proposals

Parts of a proposal shall be voted on separately if a member requests that the proposal be divided. Those parts of the proposal that have been approved shall then be put to the vote as a whole; if all operative parts of a proposal have been rejected, the proposal shall be considered to have been rejected as a whole.

Rule 37

Order of voting on amendments

1.When an amendment to a proposal is moved, the amendment shall be voted on first. When two or more amendments to a proposal are moved, the Committee shall first vote on the amendment furthest removed in substance from the original proposal and then on the amendment next furthest removed therefrom and so on until all amendments have been put to the vote. If one or more amendments are adopted, the amended proposal shall then be voted upon.

2.A motion is considered an amendment to a proposal if it merely adds to, deletes from or revises part of the proposal.

Rule 38

Order of voting on proposals

1.If two or more proposals relate to the same question, the Committee shall, unless it decides otherwise, vote on the proposals in the order in which they have been submitted.

2.The Committee may, after each vote on a proposal, decide whether to vote on the next proposal.

3.Any motions requiring that no decision be taken on the substance of such proposals shall, however, be considered as previous questions and shall be put to the vote before those proposals.

Rule 39

Method of election

An election shall be held by secret ballot, unless the Committee decides otherwise in the case of an election to fill a place for which there is only one candidate.

Rule 40

Conduct of elections for filling one elective place

1.When only one elective place is to be filled and no candidate obtains in the first ballot the majority required, a second ballot shall be taken, which shall be restricted to the two candidates who obtained the largest number of votes.

2.If in the second ballot the votes are equally divided, and a majority is required, the Chairperson shall decide between the candidates by drawing lots. If a two-thirds majority is required, the balloting shall be continued until one candidate secures two thirds of the votes cast provided that, after the third inconclusive ballot, votes may be cast for any eligible member.

3.If three such unrestricted ballots are inconclusive, the next three ballots shall be restricted to the two candidates who obtained the greatest number of votes in the third of the unrestricted ballots, and the following three ballots thereafter shall be unrestricted, and so on until a member is elected.

X.Subsidiary bodies

Rule 41Subsidiary bodies

1.The Committee may set up ad hoc subsidiary bodies and will define their composition and mandates.

2.Each subsidiary body shall elect its own officers and will, mutatis mutandis, apply the present rules of procedure.

XI.Annual report of the Committee

Rule 42Annual report of the Committee

1.As provided in article 21, paragraph 1, of the Convention, the Committee shall submit to the General Assembly, through the Economic and Social Council, an annual report on its activities which shall contain, inter alia, the concluding comments of the Committee relating to the report of each State party, and information relating to its mandate under the Optional Protocol to the Convention.

2.The Committee shall also include in its report suggestions and general recommendations, together with any comments received from States parties.

XII.Distribution of reports and other official documents

Rule 43Distribution of reports and other official documents

1.Reports, formal decisions, pre-sessional documents and all other official documents of the Committee and its subsidiary bodies shall be documents for general distribution unless the Committee decides otherwise.

2.Reports and additional information submitted by States parties under article 18 of the Convention shall be documents for general distribution.

XIII.Participation of specialized agencies and bodies of the United Nations and of intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations

Rule 44Participation of specialized agencies and bodies of the United Nations and of intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations

The Secretary-General shall notify each specialized agency and United Nations body as early as possible of the opening date, duration, place and agenda of each session of the Committee and of the pre-sessional working group.

Rule 45

Specialized agencies

1.In accordance with article 22 of the Convention, the Committee may invite specialized agencies to submit reports on the implementation of the Convention in areas falling within the scope of their activities. Any such reports shall be issued as pre-sessional documents.

2.Specialized agencies shall be entitled to be represented at meetings of the Committee or of the pre-sessional working group when the implementation of such provisions of the Convention as fall within the scope of their activities is being considered. The Committee may permit representatives of the specialized agencies to make oral or written statements to the Committee or to the pre-sessional working group, and to provide information appropriate and relevant to the Committee’s activities under the Convention.

Rule 46

Intergovernmental organizations and United Nations bodies

Representatives of intergovernmental organizations and United Nations bodies may be invited by the Committee to make oral or written statements and provide information or documentation in areas relevant to the Committee’s activities under the Convention, to meetings of the Committee or to its pre-sessional working group.

Rule 47

Non-governmental organizations

Representatives of non-governmental organizations may be invited by the Committee to make oral or written statements and to provide information or documentation relevant to the Committee’s activities under the Convention to meetings of the Committee or to its pre-sessional working group.

Part twoRules relating to the functions of the Committee

XIV.Reports of States parties under article 18 of the Convention

Rule 48Submission of reports under article 18 of the Convention

1.The Committee shall examine the progress made in the implementation of the Convention through the consideration of reports of States parties submitted to the Secretary-General on legislative, judicial, administrative and other measures.

2.In order to assist States parties in their reporting tasks, the Committee shall issue general guidelines for the preparation of initial reports and of periodic reports, taking into account the consolidated guidelines, common to all the human rights treaty bodies, for the first part of initial and periodic reports of States parties.

3.Taking into account the consolidated guidelines relating to the reports required under United Nations human rights treaties, the Committee may formulate general guidelines as to the form and content of the initial and periodic reports of States parties required under article 18 of the Convention and shall, through the Secretary-General, inform the States parties of the Committee’s wishes regarding the form and content of such reports.

4.A State party reporting at a session of the Committee may provide additional information prior to the consideration of the report by the Committee, provided that such information reaches the Secretary-General no later than four months prior to the opening date of the session at which the report of the State party is to be considered.

5.The Committee may request a State party to submit a report on an exceptional basis. Such reports shall be limited to those areas on which the State party has been requested to focus its attention. Except when the Committee requests otherwise, such reports shall not be submitted in substitution for an initial or periodic report. The Committee shall determine the session at which an exceptional report shall be considered.

Rule 49Failure to submit or late submission of reports

1.At each session of the Committee, the Secretary-General shall notify the Committee of all cases of non-submission of reports and additional information under rules 48 and 50 of the present rules. In such cases, the Committee may transmit to the State party concerned, through the Secretary-General, a reminder concerning the submission of the report or the additional information.

2.If, after the reminder referred to in paragraph 1 of the present rule, the State party does not submit the report or the additional information sought, the Committee may include a reference to this effect in its annual report to the General Assembly.

3.The Committee may allow States parties to submit a combined report comprising no more than two overdue reports.

Rule 50

Request for additional information

1.When considering reports submitted by a State party under article 18 of the Convention, the Committee, and in particular its pre-sessional working group, shall first satisfy itself that, in accordance with the Committee’s guidelines, the report provides sufficient information.

2.If, in the opinion of the Committee, or of the pre-sessional working group, a report of a State party does not contain sufficient information, it may request the State concerned to furnish such additional information as required, indicating the time limit within which the information should be submitted.

3.The questions or comments forwarded by the pre-sessional working group to the State party whose report is under consideration and the response of the State party thereto shall, in accordance with the present rule, be circulated to members of the Committee prior to the session at which the report is to be examined.

Rule 51

Examination of reports

1.At each session, the Committee, based on the list of reports awaiting consideration, shall decide which reports of States parties it will consider at its subsequent session, bearing in mind the duration of the subsequent session and the criteria of date of submission and geographical balance.

2.The Committee, through the Secretary-General, shall notify the States parties as early as possible of the opening date, duration and place of the session at which their respective reports will be examined. The States parties shall be requested to confirm in writing, within a specified time, their willingness to have their reports examined.

3.The Committee at each session shall also establish and circulate to the States parties concerned a reserve list of reports for consideration at its subsequent session in the event that a State party invited in accordance with the present rule is unable to present its report. In such case, the State party chosen from the reserve list shall be invited by the Committee, through the Secretary-General, to present its report without delay.

4.Representatives of the States parties shall be invited to attend the meetings of the Committee at which their reports are to be examined.

5.If a State party fails to respond to an invitation to have a representative attend the meeting of the Committee at which its report is being examined, consideration of the report shall be rescheduled for another session. If, at such a subsequent session, the State party, after due notification, fails to have a representative present, the Committee may proceed with the examination of the report in the absence of the representative of the State party.

Rule 52

Suggestions and general recommendations

1.In accordance with article 21, paragraph 1, of the Convention, and on the basis of its examination of reports and information received from States parties, the Committee may make general recommendations addressed to States parties.

2.The Committee may make suggestions addressed to bodies other than States parties arising out of its consideration of reports of States parties.

Rule 53

Concluding comments

1.The Committee may, after consideration of the report of a State party, make concluding comments on the report with a view to assisting the State party in implementing its obligations under the Convention. The Committee may include guidance on the issues on which the next periodic report of the State party should be focused.

2.The Committee shall adopt the concluding comments before the closure of the session at which the report of the State party was considered.

Rule 54

Working methods for examining reports

The Committee shall establish working groups to consider and suggest ways and means of expediting its work and of implementing its obligations under article 21 of the Convention.

XV.General discussion

Rule 55General discussion

In order to enhance understanding of the content and implications of the articles of the Convention or to assist in the elaboration of general recommendations, the Committee may devote one or more meetings of its regular sessions to a general discussion of specific articles of or themes relating to the Convention.

Part threeRules of procedure for the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

XVI.Procedures for the consideration of communications received under the Optional Protocol

Rule 56

Transmission of communications to the Committee

1.The Secretary-General shall bring to the attention of the Committee, in accordance with the present rules, communications that are, or appear to be, submitted for consideration by the Committee under article 2 of the Optional Protocol.

2.The Secretary-General may request clarification from the author or authors of a communication as to whether she, he or they wish to have the communication submitted to the Committee for consideration under the Optional Protocol. Where there is doubt as to the wish of the author or authors, the Secretary-General will bring the communication to the attention of the Committee.

3.No communication shall be received by the Committee if it:

(a)Concerns a State that is not a party to the Protocol;

(b)Is not in writing;

(c)Is anonymous.

Rule 57

List and register of communications

1.The Secretary-General shall maintain a permanent register of all communications submitted for consideration by the Committee under article 2 of the Optional Protocol.

2.The Secretary-General shall prepare lists of the communications submitted to the Committee, together with a brief summary of their contents.

Rule 58Request for clarification or additional information

1.The Secretary-General may request clarification from the author of a communication, including:

(a)The name, address, date of birth and occupation of the victim and verification of the victim’s identity;

(b)The name of the State party against which the communication is directed;

(c)The objective of the communication;

(d)The facts of the claim;

(e)Steps taken by the author and/or victim to exhaust domestic remedies;

(f)The extent to which the same matter is being or has been examined under another procedure of international investigation or settlement;

(g)The provision or provisions of the Convention alleged to have been violated.

2.When requesting clarification or information, the Secretary-General shall indicate to the author or authors of the communication a time limit within which such information is to be submitted.

3.The Committee may approve a questionnaire to facilitate requests for clarification or information from the victim and/or author of a communication.

4.A request for clarification or information shall not preclude the inclusion of the communication in the list provided for in rule 57 above.

5.The Secretary-General shall inform the author of a communication of the procedure that will be followed and in particular that, provided that the individual or individuals consent to the disclosure of her identity to the State party concerned, the communication will be brought confidentially to the attention of that State party.

Rule 59Summary of information

1.A summary of the relevant information obtained with respect to each registered communication shall be prepared and circulated to the members of the Committee by the Secretary-General at the next regular session of the Committee.

2.The full text of any communication brought to the attention of the Committee shall be made available to any member of the Committee upon that member’s request.

Rule 60Inability of a member to take part in the examination of a communication

1.A member of the Committee may not take part in the examination of a communication if:

(a)The member has a personal interest in the case;

(b)The member has participated in the making of any decision on the case covered by the communication in any capacity other than under the procedures applicable to this Optional Protocol;

(c)The member is a national of the State party concerned.

2.Any question that may arise under paragraph 1 above shall be decided by the Committee without the participation of the member concerned.

Rule 61Withdrawal of a member

If, for any reason, a member considers that she or he should not take part or continue to take part in the examination of a communication, the member shall inform the Chairperson of her or his withdrawal.

Rule 62Establishment of working groups and designation of rapporteurs

1.The Committee may establish one or more working groups, each comprising no more than five of its members, and may designate one or more rapporteurs to make recommendations to the Committee and to assist it in any manner in which the Committee may decide.

2.In the present part of the rules, reference to a working group or rapporteur is a reference to a working group or rapporteur established under the present rules.

3.The rules of procedure of the Committee shall apply as far as possible to the meetings of its working groups.

Rule 63Interim measures

1.At any time after the receipt of a communication and before a determination on the merits has been reached, the Committee may transmit to the State party concerned, for its urgent consideration, a request that it take such interim measures as the Committee considers necessary to avoid irreparable damage to the victim or victims of the alleged violation.

2.A working group or rapporteur may also request the State party concerned to take such interim measures as the working group or rapporteur considers necessary to avoid irreparable damage to the victim or victims of the alleged violation.

3.When a request for interim measures is made by a working group or rapporteur under the present rule, the working group or rapporteur shall forthwith thereafter inform the Committee members of the nature of the request and the communication to which the request relates.

4.Where the Committee, a working group or a rapporteur requests interim measures under this rule, the request shall state that it does not imply a determination of the merits of the communication.

Rule 64Method of dealing with communications

1.The Committee shall, by a simple majority and in accordance with the following rules, decide whether the communication is admissible or inadmissible under the Optional Protocol.

2.A working group may also declare that a communication is admissible under the Optional Protocol, provided that it is composed of five members and all of the members so decide.

Rule 65Order of communications

1.Communications shall be dealt with in the order in which they are received by the Secretariat, unless the Committee or a working group decides otherwise.

2.The Committee may decide to consider two or more communications jointly.

Rule 66Separate consideration of admissibility and merits

The Committee may decide to consider the question of admissibility of a communication and the merits of a communication separately.

Rule 67Conditions of admissibility of communications

With a view to reaching a decision on the admissibility of a communication, the Committee, or a working group, shall apply the criteria set forth in articles 2, 3 and 4 of the Optional Protocol.

Rule 68Authors of communications

1.Communications may be submitted by individuals or groups of individuals who claim to be victims of violations of the rights set forth in the Convention, or by their designated representatives, or by others on behalf of an alleged victim where the alleged victim consents.

2.In cases where the author can justify such action, communications may be submitted on behalf of an alleged victim without her consent.

3.Where an author seeks to submit a communication in accordance with paragraph 2 of the present rule, she or he shall provide written reasons justifying such action.

Rule 69Procedures with regard to communications received

1.As soon as possible after the communication has been received, and provided that the individual or group of individuals consent to the disclosure of their identity to the State party concerned, the Committee, working group or rapporteur shall bring the communication confidentially to the attention of the State party and shall request that State party to submit a written reply to the communication.

2.Any request made in accordance with paragraph 1 of the present rule shall include a statement indicating that such a request does not imply that any decision has been reached on the question of admissibility of the communication.

3.Within six months after receipt of the Committee’s request under the present rule, the State party shall submit to the Committee a written explanation or statement that relates to the admissibility of the communication and its merits, as well as to any remedy that may have been provided in the matter.

4.The Committee, working group or rapporteur may request a written explanation or statement that relates only to the admissibility of a communication but, in such cases, the State party may nonetheless submit a written explanation or statement that relates to both the admissibility and the merits of a communication, provided that such written explanation or statement is submitted within six months of the Committee’s request.

5.A State party that has received a request for a written reply in accordance with paragraph 1 of the present rule may submit a request in writing that the communication be rejected as inadmissible, setting out the grounds for such inadmissibility, provided that such a request is submitted to the Committee within two months of the request made under paragraph 1.

6.If the State party concerned disputes the contention of the author or authors, in accordance with article 4, paragraph 1, of the Optional Protocol, that all available domestic remedies have been exhausted, the State party shall give details of the remedies available to the alleged victim or victims in the particular circumstances of the case.

7.Submission by the State party of a request in accordance with paragraph 5 of the present rule shall not affect the period of six months given to the State party to submit its written explanation or statement unless the Committee, working group or rapporteur decides to extend the time for submission for such a period as the Committee considers appropriate.

8.The Committee, working group or rapporteur may request the State party or the author of the communication to submit, within fixed time limits, additional written explanations or statements relevant to the issues of the admissibility or merits of a communication.

9.The Committee, working group or rapporteur shall transmit to each party the submissions made by the other party pursuant to the present rule and shall afford each party an opportunity to comment on those submissions within fixed time limits.

Rule 70Inadmissible communications

1.Where the Committee decides that a communication is inadmissible, it shall, as soon as possible, communicate its decision and the reasons for that decision through the Secretary-General to the author of the communication and to the State party concerned.

2.A decision of the Committee declaring a communication inadmissible may be reviewed by the Committee upon receipt of a written request submitted by or on behalf of the author or authors of the communication, containing information indicating that the reasons for inadmissibility no longer apply.

3.Any member of the Committee who has participated in the decision regarding admissibility may request that a summary of her or his individual opinion be appended to the Committee’s decision declaring a communication inadmissible.

Rule 71Additional procedures whereby admissibility may be considered separately from the merits

1.Where the issue of admissibility is decided by the Committee or a working group before the State party’s written explanations or statements on the merits of the communication are received, that decision and all other relevant information shall be submitted through the Secretary-General to the State party concerned. The author of the communication shall, through the Secretary-General, be informed of the decision.

2.The Committee may revoke its decision that a communication is admissible in the light of any explanation or statements submitted by the State party.

Rule 72Views of the Committee on admissible communications

1.Where the parties have submitted information relating both to the admissibility and to the merits of a communication, or where a decision on admissibility has already been taken and the parties have submitted information on the merits of that communication, the Committee shall consider and shall formulate its views on the communication in the light of all written information made available to it by the author or authors of the communication and the State party concerned, provided that this information has been transmitted to the other party concerned.

2.The Committee or the working group set up by it to consider a communication may, at any time in the course of the examination, obtain through the Secretary-General any documentation from organizations in the United Nations system or other bodies that may assist in the disposal of the communication, provided that the Committee shall afford each party an opportunity to comment on such documentation or information within fixed time limits.

3.The Committee may refer any communication to a working group to make recommendations to the Committee on the merits of the communication.

4.The Committee shall not decide on the merits of the communication without having considered the applicability of all of the admissibility grounds referred to in articles 2, 3 and 4 of the Optional Protocol.

5.The Secretary-General shall transmit the views of the Committee, determined by a simple majority, together with any recommendations, to the author or authors of the communication and to the State party concerned.

6.Any member of the Committee who has participated in the decision may request that a summary of her or his individual opinion be appended to the Committee’s views.

Rule 73Follow-up to the views of the Committee

1.Within six months of the Committee’s issuing its views on a communication, the State party concerned shall submit to the Committee a written response, including any information on any action taken in the light of the views and recommendations of the Committee.

2.After the six-month period referred to in paragraph 1 of the present rule, the Committee may invite the State party concerned to submit further information about any measures the State party has taken in response to its views or recommendations.

3.The Committee may request the State party to include information on any action taken in response to its views or recommendations in its subsequent reports under article 18 of the Convention.

4.The Committee shall designate for follow-up on views adopted under article 7 of the Optional Protocol a rapporteur or working group to ascertain the measures taken by States parties to give effect to the Committee’s views and recommendations.

5.The rapporteur or working group may make such contacts and take such action as may be appropriate for the due performance of their assigned functions and shall make such recommendations for further action by the Committee as may be necessary.

6.The rapporteur or working group shall report to the Committee on follow-up activities on a regular basis.

7.The Committee shall include information on any follow-up activities in its annual report under article 21 of the Convention.

Rule 74Confidentiality of communications

1.Communications submitted under the Optional Protocol shall be examined by the Committee, working group or rapporteur in closed meetings.

2.All working documents prepared by the Secretariat for the Committee, working group or rapporteur, including summaries of communications prepared prior to registration and the list of summaries of communications, shall be confidential unless the Committee decides otherwise.

3.The Committee, working group or rapporteur shall not make public any communication, submissions or information relating to a communication prior to the date on which its views are issued.

4.The author or authors of a communication or the individuals who are alleged to be the victim or victims of a violation of the rights set forth in the Convention may request that the names and identifying details of the alleged victim or victims (or any of them) not be published.

5.If the Committee, working group or rapporteur so decides, the name or names and identifying details of the author or authors of a communication or the individuals who are alleged to be the victim or victims of a violation of rights set forth in the Convention shall not be made public by the Committee, the author or the State party concerned.

6.The Committee, working group or rapporteur may request the author of a communication or the State party concerned to keep confidential the whole or part of any submission or information relating to the proceedings.

7.Subject to paragraphs 5 and 6 of the present rule, nothing in this rule shall affect the right of the author or authors or the State party concerned to make public any submission or information bearing on the proceedings.

8.Subject to paragraphs 5 and 6 of the present rule, the Committee’s decisions on admissibility, merits and discontinuance shall be made public.

9.The Secretariat shall be responsible for the distribution of the Committee’s final decisions to the author or authors and the State party concerned.

10.The Committee shall include in its annual report under article 21 of the Convention a summary of the communications examined and, where appropriate, a summary of the explanations and statements of the States parties concerned, and of its own suggestions and recommendations.

11.Unless the Committee decides otherwise, information furnished by the parties in follow-up to the Committee’s views and recommendations under paragraphs 4 and 5 of article 7 of the Optional Protocol shall not be confidential. Unless the Committee decides otherwise, decisions of the Committee with regard to follow-up activities shall not be confidential.

Rule 75Communiqués

The Committee may issue communiqués regarding its activities under articles 1 to 7 of the Optional Protocol, through the Secretary-General, for the use of the information media and the general public.

XVII.Proceedings under the inquiry procedure of the Optional Protocol

Rule 76Applicability

Rules 77 to 90 of the present rules shall not be applied to a State party that, in accordance with article 10, paragraph 1, of the Optional Protocol, declared at the time of ratification or accession to the Optional Protocol that it does not recognize the competence of the Committee as provided for in article 8 thereof, unless that State party has subsequently withdrawn its declaration in accordance with article 10, paragraph 2, of the Optional Protocol.

Rule 77Transmission of information to the Committee

In accordance with the present rules, the Secretary-General shall bring to the attention of the Committee information that is or appears to be submitted for the Committee’s consideration under article 8, paragraph 1, of the Optional Protocol.

Rule 78Register of information

The Secretary-General shall maintain a permanent register of information brought to the attention of the Committee in accordance with rule 77 of the present rules and shall make the information available to any member of the Committee upon request.

Rule 79Summary of information

The Secretary-General, when necessary, shall prepare and circulate to members of the Committee a brief summary of the information submitted in accordance with rule 77 of the present rules.

Rule 80Confidentiality

1.Except in compliance with the obligations of the Committee under article 12 of the Optional Protocol, all documents and proceedings of the Committee relating to the conduct of the inquiry under article 8 of the Optional Protocol shall be confidential.

2.Before including a summary of the activities undertaken under articles 8 or 9 of the Optional Protocol in the annual report prepared in accordance with article 21 of the Convention and article 12 of the Optional Protocol, the Committee may consult with the State party concerned with respect to the summary.

Rule 81Meetings related to proceedings under article 8

Meetings of the Committee during which inquiries under article 8 of the Optional Protocol are considered shall be closed.

Rule 82Preliminary consideration of information by the Committee

1.The Committee may, through the Secretary-General, ascertain the reliability of the information and/or the sources of the information brought to its attention under article 8 of the Optional Protocol and may obtain additional relevant information substantiating the facts of the situation.

2.The Committee shall determine whether the information received contains reliable information indicating grave or systematic violations of rights set forth in the Convention by the State party concerned.

3.The Committee may request a working group to assist it in carrying out its duties under the present rule.

Rule 83Examination of information

1.If the Committee is satisfied that the information received is reliable and indicates grave or systematic violations of rights set forth in the Convention by the State party concerned, the Committee shall invite the State party, through the Secretary-General, to submit observations with regard to that information within fixed time limits.

2.The Committee shall take into account any observations that may have been submitted by the State party concerned, as well as any other relevant information.

3.The Committee may decide to obtain additional information from the following:

(a)Representatives of the State party concerned;

(b)Governmental organizations;

(c)Non-governmental organizations;

(d)Individuals.

4.The Committee shall decide the form and manner in which such additional information will be obtained.

5.The Committee may, through the Secretary-General, request any relevant documentation from the United Nations system.

Rule 84Establishment of an inquiry

1.Taking into account any observations that may have been submitted by the State party concerned, as well as other reliable information, the Committee may designate one or more of its members to conduct an inquiry and to make a report within a fixed time limit.

2.An inquiry shall be conducted confidentially and in accordance with any modalities determined by the Committee.

3.Taking into account the Convention, the Optional Protocol and the present rules of procedure, the members designated by the Committee to conduct the inquiry shall determine their own methods of work.

4.During the period of the inquiry, the Committee may defer the consideration of any report that the State party concerned may have submitted pursuant to article 18 of the Convention.

Rule 85Cooperation of the State party concerned

1.The Committee shall seek the cooperation of the State party concerned at all stages of an inquiry.

2.The Committee may request the State party concerned to nominate a representative to meet with the member or members designated by the Committee.

3.The Committee may request the State party concerned to provide the member or members designated by the Committee with any information that they or the State party may consider relates to the inquiry.

Rule 86Visits

1.Where the Committee deems it warranted, the inquiry may include a visit to the territory of the State party concerned.

2.Where the Committee decides, as a part of its inquiry, that there should be a visit to the State party concerned, it shall, through the Secretary-General, request the consent of the State party to such a visit.

3.The Committee shall inform the State party concerned of its wishes regarding the timing of the visit and the facilities required to allow those members designated by the Committee to conduct the inquiry to carry out their task.

Rule 87Hearings

1.With the consent of the State party concerned, visits may include hearings to enable the designated members of the Committee to determine facts or issues relevant to the inquiry.

2.The conditions and guarantees concerning any hearings held in accordance with paragraph 1 of the present rule shall be established by the designated members of the Committee visiting the State party in connection with an inquiry, and the State party concerned.

3.Any person appearing before the designated members of the Committee for the purpose of giving testimony shall make a solemn declaration as to the veracity of her or his testimony and the confidentiality of the procedure.

4.The Committee shall inform the State party that it shall take all appropriate steps to ensure that individuals under its jurisdiction are not subjected to ill-treatment or intimidation as a consequence of participating in any hearings in connection with an inquiry or with meeting the designated members of the Committee conducting the inquiry.

Rule 88Assistance during an inquiry

1.In addition to the staff and facilities that shall be provided by the Secretary-General in connection with an inquiry, including during a visit to the State party concerned, the designated members of the Committee may, through the Secretary-General, invite interpreters and/or such persons with special competence in the fields covered by the Convention as are deemed necessary by the Committee to provide assistance at all stages of the inquiry.

2.Where such interpreters or other persons of special competence are not bound by the oath of allegiance to the United Nations, they shall be required to declare solemnly that they will perform their duties honestly, faithfully and impartially, and that they will respect the confidentiality of the proceedings.

Rule 89Transmission of findings, comments or suggestions

1.After examining the findings of the designated members submitted in accordance within rule 84 of the present rules, the Committee shall transmit the findings, through the Secretary-General, to the State party concerned, together with any comments and recommendations.

2.The State party concerned shall submit its observations on the findings, comments and recommendations to the Committee, through the Secretary-General, within six months of their receipt.

Rule 90Follow-up action by the State party

1.The Committee may, through the Secretary-General, invite a State party that has been the subject of an inquiry to include, in its report under article 18 of the Convention, details of any measures taken in response to the Committee’s findings, comments and recommendations.

2.The Committee may, after the end of the period of six months referred to in paragraph 2 of rule 89 above, invite the State party concerned, through the Secretary-General, to inform it of any measures taken in response to an inquiry.

Rule 91Obligations under article 11 of the Optional Protocol

1.The Committee shall bring to the attention of the States parties concerned their obligation under article 11 of the Optional Protocol to take appropriate steps to ensure that individuals under their jurisdiction are not subjected to ill-treatment or intimidation as a consequence of communicating with the Committee under the Optional Protocol.

2.Where the Committee receives reliable information that a State party has breached its obligations under article 11, it may invite the State party concerned to submit written explanations or statements clarifying the matter and describing any action it is taking to ensure that its obligations under article 11 are fulfilled.

Part fourInterpretative rules

XVIII.Interpretation and amendments

Rule 92Headings

For the purpose of the interpretation of the present rules, the headings, which were inserted for reference purposes only, shall be disregarded.

Rule 93Amendments

The present rules may be amended by a decision of the Committee taken by a two-thirds majority of the members present and voting, and at least twenty-four (24) hours after the proposal for the amendment has been circulated, provided that the amendment is not inconsistent with the provisions of the Convention.

Rule 94Suspension

Any of the present rules may be suspended by a decision of the Committee taken by a two-thirds majority of the members present and voting, provided such suspension is not inconsistent with the provisions of the Convention and is restricted to the circumstances of the particular situation requiring the suspension.

Annex II

States parties to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, as at 1 August 2001

States parties

Date of receipt of the instrument of ratification or accession

Date of entry into force

Albania

11 May 1994a

10 June 1994

Algeria

22 May 1996a, b

21 June 1996

Andorra

15 January 1997a

14 February 1997

Angola

17 September 1986a

17 October 1986

Antigua and Barbuda

1 August 1989a

31 August 1989

Argentina

15 July 1985b

14 August 1985

Armenia

13 September 1993a

13 October 1993

Australia

28 July 1983b

27 August 1983

Austria

31 March 1982b

30 April 1982

Azerbaijan

10 July 1995a

9 August 1995

Bahamas

8 October 1993a

7 November 1993

Bangladesh

6 November 1984a, b

6 December 1984

Barbados

16 October 1980

3 September 1981

Belarus

4 February 1981c

3 September 1981

Belgium

10 July 1985b

9 August 1985

Belize

16 May 1990

15 June 1990

Benin

12 March 1992

11 April 1992

Bhutan

31 August 1981

30 September 1981

Bolivia

8 June 1990

8 July 1990

Bosnia and Herzegovina

1 September 1993d

1 October 1993

Botswana

13 August 1996a

12 September 1996

Brazil

1 February 1984b

2 March 1984

Bulgaria

8 February 1982c

10 March 1982

Burkina Faso

14 October 1987a

13 November 1987

Burundi

8 January 1992

7 February 1992

Cambodia

15 October 1992a

14 November 1992

Cameroon

23 August 1994a

22 September 1994

Canada

10 December 1981c

9 January 1982

Cape Verde

5 December 1980a

3 September 1981

Central African Republic

21 June 1991a

21 July 1991

Chad

9 June 1995a

9 July 1995

Chile

7 December 1989

6 January 1990

China

4 November 1980b

3 September 1981

Colombia

19 January 1982

18 February 1982

Comoros

31 October 1994a

30 November 1994

Congo

26 July 1982

25 August 1982

Costa Rica

4 April 1986

4 May 1986

Côte d’Ivoire

18 December 1995a

17 January 1996

Croatia

9 September 1992d

9 October 1992

Cuba

17 July 1980b

3 September 1981

Cyprus

23 July 1985a, b

22 August 1985

Czech Republice

22 February 1993c, d

24 March 1993

Democratic Republic of the Congof

17 October 1986

16 November 1986

Denmark

21 April 1983

21 May 1983

Djibouti

2 December 1998a

1 January 1999

Dominica

15 September 1980

3 September 1981

Dominican Republic

2 September 1982

2 October 1982

Ecuador

9 November 1981

9 December 1981

Egypt

18 September 1981b

18 October 1981

El Salvador

19 August 1981b

18 September 1981

Equatorial Guinea

23 October 1984a

22 November 1984

Eritrea

5 September 1995a

5 October 1995

Estonia

21 October 1991a

20 November 1991

Ethiopia

10 September 1981b

10 October 1981

Fiji

28 August 1995a,b

27 September 1995

Finland

4 September 1986

4 October 1986

France

14 December 1983b, c

13 January 1984

Gabon

21 January 1983

20 February 1983

Gambia

16 April 1993

16 May 1993

Georgia

26 October 1994a

25 November 1994

Germanyg

10 July 1985b

9 August 1985

Ghana

2 January 1986

1 February 1986

Greece

7 June 1983

7 July 1983

Grenada

30 August 1990

29 September 1990

Guatemala

12 August 1982

11 September 1982

Guinea

9 August 1982

8 September 1982

Guinea-Bissau

23 August 1985

22 September 1985

Guyana

17 July 1980

3 September 1981

Haiti

20 July 1981

3 September 1981

Honduras

3 March 1983

2 April 1983

Hungary

22 December 1980c

3 September 1981

Iceland

18 June 1985

18 July 1985

India

9 July 1993b

8 August 1993

Indonesia

13 September 1984b

13 October 1984

Iraq

13 August 1986a, b

12 September 1986

Ireland

23 December 1985a, b, c

22 January 1986

Israel

3 October 1991b

2 November 1991

Italy

10 June 1985b

10 July 1985

Jamaica

19 October 1984b

18 November 1984

Japan

25 June 1985

25 July 1985

Jordan

1 July 1992b

31 July 1992

Kazakhstan

26 August 1998a

25 September 1998

Kenya

9 March 1984a

8 April 1984

Kuwait

2 September 1994a

2 October 1994

Kyrgyzstan

10 February 1997a

12 March 1997

Lao People’s Democratic Republic

14 August 1981

13 September 1981

Latvia

14 April 1992a

14 May 1992

Lebanon

16 April 1997a, b

16 May 1997

Lesotho

22 August 1995a, b

21 September 1995

Liberia

17 July 1984a

16 August 1984

Libyan Arab Jamahiriya

16 May 1989a, b

15 June 1989

Liechtenstein

22 December 1995a, c

21 January 1996

Lithuania

18 January 1994a

17 February 1994

Luxembourg

2 February 1989b

4 March 1989

Madagascar

17 March 1989

16 April 1989

Malawi

12 March 1987a, c

11 April 1987

Malaysia

5 July 1995a, b

4 August 1995

Maldives

1 July 1993a, b

31 July 1993

Mali

10 September 1985

10 October 1985

Malta

8 March 1991a, b

7 April 1991

Mauritania

10 May 2001a

9 June 2001

Mauritius

9 July 1984a, c

8 August 1984

Mexico

23 March 1981b

3 September 1981

Mongolia

20 July 1981c

3 September 1981

Morocco

21 June 1993a, b

21 July 1993

Mozambique

21 April 1997a

21 May 1997

Myanmar

22 July 1997a, b

21 August 1997

Namibia

23 November 1992a

23 December 1992

Nepal

22 April 1991

22 May 1991

Netherlands

23 July 1991b

22 August 1991

New Zealand

10 January 1985b, c

9 February 1985

Nicaragua

27 October 1981

26 November 1981

Niger

8 October 1999a

7 November 1999

Nigeria

13 June 1985

13 July 1985

Norway

21 May 1981

3 September 1981

Pakistan

12 March 1996a, b

11 April 1996

Panama

29 October 1981

28 November 1981

Papua New Guinea

12 January 1995a

11 February 1995

Paraguay

6 April 1987a

6 May 1987

Peru

13 September 1982

13 October 1982

Philippines

5 August 1981

4 September 1981

Poland

30 July 1980c

3 September 1981

Portugal

30 July 1980

3 September 1981

Republic of Korea

27 December 1984b, c

26 January 1985

Republic of Moldova

1 July 1994a

31 July 1994

Romania

7 January 1982b

6 February 1982

Russian Federation

23 January 1981c

3 September 1981

Rwanda

2 March 1981

3 September 1981

Saint Kitts and Nevis

25 April 1985a

25 May 1985

Saint Lucia

8 October 1982a

7 November 1982

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

4 August 1981a

3 September 1981

Samoa

25 September 1992a

25 October 1992

Saudi Arabia

7 September 2000

7 October 2000

Senegal

5 February 1985

7 March 1985

Seychelles

5 May 1992a

4 June 1992

Sierra Leone

11 November 1988

11 December 1988

Singapore

5 October 1995a, b

4 November 1995

Slovakiae

28 May 1993c, d

27 June 1993

Slovenia

6 July 1992d

5 August 1992

South Africa

15 December 1995a

14 January 1996

Spain

5 January 1984b

4 February 1984

Sri Lanka

5 October 1981

4 November 1981

Suriname

1 March 1993a

31 March 1993

Sweden

2 July 1980

3 September 1981

Switzerland

27 March 1997a

26 April 1997

Tajikistan

26 October 1993a

25 November 1993

Thailand

9 August 1985a, b, c

8 September 1985

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

18 January 1994d

17 February 1994

Togo

26 September 1983a

26 October 1983

Trinidad and Tobago

12 January 1990b

11 February 1990

Tunisia

20 September 1985b

20 October 1985

Turkey

20 December 1985a, b

19 January 1986

Turkmenistan

1 May 1997a

31 May 1997

Tuvalu

6 October 1999a

5 November 1999

Uganda

22 July 1985

21 August 1985

Ukraine

12 March 1981c

3 September 1981

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

7 April 1986b

7 May 1986

United Republic of Tanzania

20 August 1985

19 September 1985

Uruguay

9 October 1981

8 November 1981

Uzbekistan

19 July 1995a

18 August 1995

Vanuatu

8 September 1995a

8 October 1995

Venezuela

2 May 1983b

1 June 1983

Viet Nam

17 February 1982b

19 March 1982

Yemenh

30 May 1984a, b

29 June 1984

Yugoslavia

12 March 2001d

11 April 2001

Zambia

21 June 1985

21 July 1985

Zimbabwe

13 May 1991a

12 June 1991

aAccession.

bDeclarations and reservations.

cReservation subsequently withdrawn.

dSuccession.

eBefore becoming separate States on 1 January 1993, the Czech Republic and Slovakia formed part of Czechoslovakia which had ratified the Convention on 16 February 1982.

fEffective 17 May 1997, Zaire was renamed Democratic Republic of the Congo.

gWith effect from 3 October 1990, the German Democratic Republic (which ratified the Convention on 9 July 1980) and the Federal Republic of Germany (which ratified the Convention on 10 July 1985) united to form one sovereign State, which acts in the United Nations under the designation Germany.

hOn 22 May 1990, Democratic Yemen and Yemen merged to form a single State, which acts in the United Nations under the designation Yemen.

Annex III

States parties which have deposited with theSecretary-General instruments of acceptance ofthe amendment to article 20, paragraph 1, of the Convention

States parties

Aacceptance date

Australia

4 June 1998

Austria

11 September 2000

Brazil

5 March 1997

Canada

3 November 1997

Chile

8 May 1998

Denmark

12 March 1996

Egypt

2 August 2001

Finland

18 March 1996

France

8 August 1997

Guatemala

3 June 1999

Italy

31 May 1996

Liechtenstein

15 April 1997

Madagascar

19 July 1996

Malta

5 March 1997

Mexico

16 September 1996

Mongolia

19 December 1997

Netherlandsa

10 December 1997

New Zealand

26 September 1996

Norway

29 March 1996

Panama

5 November 1996

Republic of Korea

12 August 1996

Sweden

17 July 1996

Switzerland

2 December 1997

Turkey

9 December 1999

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Irelandb

19 November 1997

aFor the Kingdom in Europe, the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba.

bFor the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man, the British Virgin Islands, and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Annex IV

States parties which have signed, ratified or acceded to the Optional Protocol to the Convention

States parties

Date signed

Ratification, accession a

1.Andorra

9 July 2001

2.Argentina

28 February 2000

3.Austria

10 December 1999

6 September 2000

4.Azerbaijan

6 June 2000

1 June 2001

5.Bangladesh

6 September 2000

6 September 2000

6.Belgium

10 December 1999

7.Benin

25 May 2000

8.Bolivia

10 December 1999

27 September 2000

9.Bosnia and Herzegovina

7 September 2000

10.Brazil

13 March 2001

11.Bulgaria

6 June 2000

12.Chile

10 December 1999

13.Colombia

10 December 1999

14.Costa Rica

10 December 1999

15.Croatia

5 June 2000

7 March 2001

16.Cuba

17 March 2000

17.Cyprus

8 February 2001

18.Czech Republic

10 December 1999

26 February 2001

19.Denmark

10 December 1999

31 May 2000

20.Dominican Republic

14 March 2000

10 August 2001

21.Ecuador

10 December 1999

22.El Salvador

4 April 2001

23.Finland

10 December 1999

29 December 2000

24.France

10 December 1999

9 June 2000

25.Germany

10 December 1999

26.Ghana

24 February 2000

27.Greece

10 December 1999

28.Guatemala

7 September 2000

29.Guinea-Bissau

12 September 2000

30.Hungary

22 December 2000

31.Iceland

10 December 1999

6 March 2001

32.Indonesia

28 February 2000

33.Ireland

7 September 2000

7 September 2000

34.Italy

10 December 1999

22 September 2000

35.Kazakhstan

6 September 2000