United Nations Committee on Elimination of Discrimination against Women to meet in Geneva from 13 February to 2 March 2012


Committee on Elimination of Discrimination
against Women 9 February 2012
BACKGROUND RELEASE

Committee to Consider Reports Presented by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Grenada, Norway, Brazil, Zimbabwe, Algeria and Jordan

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women will hold its fifty-first session at the Palais des Nations in Geneva from 13 February to 2 March 2012, during which it will review reports presented by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Grenada, Norway, Brazil, Zimbabwe, Algeria and Jordan on how they implement the provisions of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

States parties to the Convention commit themselves to ending all political, economic, social, cultural, civil or other forms of discrimination against women. The Committee, a 23-person expert body, monitors compliance with the treaty. It assesses to what extent each State is meeting its obligations, and makes recommendations for the implementation of the Convention.

At this session, the Committee will review the reports of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Grenada, Norway, Brazil, Zimbabwe, Algeria and Jordan on the legislative, judicial, administrative and other measures they have adopted in order to implement their obligations under the Convention and other progress made in that respect. The Committee and each of the seven States parties presenting reports will interact in a constructive dialogue on women's enjoyment of their human rights in that country. The outcome of that dialogue is the Committee's concluding observations, which recognize progress a State has made in implementing the Convention, detail the Committee's concerns about gaps in implementation or insufficient compliance and make recommendations on measures the State should take to fully implement the Convention. The Committee encourages wide distribution of its concluding observations, which are made available on the CEDAW webpage at the close of each session.

At the opening meeting, the Committee will adopt its agenda and organization of work and hear a report by the Chairperson on activities since the last session. Committee members will also discuss implementation of articles 21 and 22 of the Convention as well as ways of expediting the work of the Committee. During the session the Committee will also adopt its provisional agenda for its fifty-second session, to be held in October 2012, and consider reports and information received under its follow-up procedure to concluding observations.

Other work to be undertaken by the Committee includes consideration of its activities under the Optional Protocol to the Convention, in a closed meeting. States parties to the Optional Protocol recognize the competence of the Committee to receive and consider communications submitted by or on behalf of individuals, under the jurisdiction of the State party, claiming to be victims of violations set forth in the Convention. The Optional Protocol entered into force on 22 December 2000 and currently has 104 signatories.

Representatives of non-governmental organizations can submit their own reports and present information to the Committee. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) will have the opportunity to address the Committee on 13 and 20 February, at 3.00 p.m. NGOs providing information on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Grenada, Norway and Brazil will meet with the Committee on 13 February, and those providing information on Zimbabwe, Algeria and Jordan on 20 February. The Committee will hear reports from national human rights institutions on 13 February. Those reports are made available on the Committee's Web page for its fifty-first session.

In addition to these reports, the provisional agenda for the fifty-first session, which includes background documents for the session, including the reports of States parties and supplementary information, can be found online here.

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 18 December 1979, and entered into force on 3 September 1981. Often described as an international bill of rights for women, the Convention both defines discrimination against women and sets up an agenda for national action to end such discrimination. Since its entry into force, the Convention has achieved near-universal acceptance, with 187 States parties.

The Convention defines discrimination against women as "... any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field".

By accepting the Convention, States commit themselves to undertake a series of measures to end discrimination against women in all forms, including:

· incorporating the principle of equality of men and women in their legal system;
· abolishing all discriminatory laws and adopting appropriate ones prohibiting discrimination against women;
· establishing tribunals and other public institutions to ensure the effective protection of women against discrimination;
· ensuring elimination of all acts of discrimination against women by persons, organizations or enterprises.

Optional Protocol to the Convention

On 22 December 2000, the Optional Protocol to the Convention entered into force, by which States parties recognize the competence of the Committee to receive and consider communications submitted by individuals or groups of individuals claiming to be victims of a violation of their rights under the Convention.

To date, 104 of the Convention's 187 States parties have accepted the Optional Protocol. Before the Committee will consider a complaint, it first must establish its admissibility under the terms of the Optional Protocol. The Optional Protocol also enables the Committee, upon the fulfilment of certain criteria, to undertake inquiries into possible grave or systematic violations of women's rights. Three of the States parties to the Protocol have chosen not to accept the Committee's inquiry competence.

Membership

The Committee is made up of 23 experts of high moral standing and recognized competence in the field of women's rights. Members are nominated and elected by the States parties and serve in their personal capacity.

The Committee Members are: Ayse Feride Acar (Turkey); Nicole Ameline (France); Olindia Bareiro-Bobadilla (Paraguay); Magalys Arocha Dominguez (Cuba); Violet Tsisiga Awori (Kenya); Barbara Evelyn Bailey (Jamaica); Meriem Belmihoub-Zerdani (Algeria); Niklas Bruun (Finland); Naela Mohamed Gabr (Egypt); Ruth Halperin-Kaddari (Israel); Yoko Hayashi (Japan); Ismat Jahan (Bangladesh); Indira Jaising (India); Soledad Murillo de la Vega (Spain); Violeta Neubauer (Slovenia); Pramila Patten (Mauritius); Silvia Pimentel (Brazil); Maria Helena Lopes de Jesus Pires (Timor-Leste); Victoria Popescu (Romania); Zohra Rasekh (Afghanistan); Patricia Schulz (Switzerland); Dubravka Šimonoviæ (Croatia) and Xiaoqiao Zou (China).

Silvia Pimentel is the Chairperson; Nicole Ameline, Victoria Popescu and Zohra Rasekh are the Vice-Chairpersons; and Violet Tsisiga Awori is the Rapporteur.

Tentative Timetable for Consideration of Reports

Following is a tentative timetable for the consideration of reports from States parties to the Convention during this session:

Monday, 13 February

10 a.m. Opening of Session, adoption of agenda

3 p.m. Meeting with non-governmental organizations and national human rights institutes (closed meeting).

Tuesday, 14 February

10 a.m. Democratic Republic of the Congo: sixth periodic report (CEDAW/C/COG/6)

3 p.m. Democratic Republic of the Congo (continued)

Wednesday, 15 February

10 a.m. Grenada: combined initial to fifth periodic reports (CEDAW/C/GRD/1-5)

3 p.m. Grenada (continued)

Thursday, 16 February

10 a.m. Norway: eighth periodic report (CEDAW/C/NOR/8)

3 p.m. Norway (continued)

Friday, 17 February

10 a.m. Brazil: seventh periodic report (CEDAW/C/BRA/7)

3 p.m. Brazil (continued)

Monday, 20 February

10 a.m. Closed meeting

3 p.m. Meeting with non-governmental organizations (closed meeting).

Tuesday, 21 February

10 a.m. Zimbabwe: combined second to fifth periodic reports (CEDAW/C/ZWE/2-5)

3 p.m. Zimbabwe (continued)

Wednesday, 22 February

10 a.m. Algeria: combined third and fourth periodic reports (CEDAW/C/DZA/3-4)

3 p.m. Algeria (continued)

Thursday, 23 February

10 a.m. Jordan: fifth periodic report (CEDAW/C/JOR/5)

3 p.m. Jordan (continued)

Friday, 24 February

10 a.m. Closed meeting

3 p.m. Closed meeting

Friday, 2 March

4 p.m. Adoption of the report of the Committee on its fifty-first session and
provisional agenda for the fifty-second session; public closing

__________

For use of the information media; not an official record