The UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women: A Commentary

The UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women: A Commentary

The UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women: A Commentary

The UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women: A Commentary

Synopsis

This volume is the first comprehensive commentary on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and its Optional Protocol. The Convention is a key international human rights instrument and the only one exclusively addressed to women. It has been described asthe United Nations' 'landmark treaty in the struggle for women's rights'. The Commentary describes the application of the Convention through the work of its monitoring body, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. It comprises detailed analyses of the Preamble and each article of the Convention and of the Optional Protocol. It also includes a separate chapter on the cross-cutting substantive issue of violence against women. The sources relied on are the treaty language and the general recommendations, concluding observations and case law under the Optional Protocol, through which the Committee has interpreted and applied the Convention. Each chapter is self-contained but the Commentary is conceived of as an integral whole. The book also includes an Introduction which provides an overview of the Convention and its embedding in the international law of human rights.

Excerpt

Few causes championed by the United Nations have generated as wide and strong support as that to promote and protect the equal rights of women. the Charter of the United Nations reaffirms the equal rights of men and women. the United Nations has created a strong framework of internationally agreed norms, strategies, and programmes to eliminate discrimination against women in all its manifestations wherever it occurs, and guarantee their equal enjoyment with men of all human rights. the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and its Optional Protocol form the basis of this framework. the Convention was adopted by the General Assembly in 1979 and by the end of 2010, had been accepted by 186 States parties from all regions of the world. of these, 100 had ratified or acceded to its Optional Protocol which provides for petitions and inquiries.

The Convention is the result of the determination of international women’s rights activists—inside and outside government—to ensure that a comprehensive treaty setting out women’s human rights and the obstacles to their full implementation is at the core of international human rights law. Its Optional Protocol resulted from that same determination, carried through to the next generation.

Setting out the steps that States are obliged to take to eliminate discrimination against women and ensure their equality with men in the civil, cultural, economic, political, and social spheres, the Convention is one of the first human rights treaties to incorporate the ideas of universality, indivisibility, and interdependence of all human rights. It is a milestone in bridging human rights and development, in particular through requiring States parties to take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against rural women and ensure that they participate in, and benefit from, rural development on an equal basis with men. the Convention pioneered recognition of the concept of substantive equality for women by requiring that they enjoy equality with men in real terms, as well as formal equality in law and policy. By requiring States parties to take all appropriate measures to modify the social and cultural patterns of conduct of women and men to eliminate prejudices and practices based on ideas of inferiority or superiority of either of the sexes or stereotyped roles for them, the Convention requires the transformation of States, communities, and families to achieve full gender equality.

Progress made by States in implementing the Convention is overseen by the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, which from its first session in 1982, has provided a distinct and dynamic interpretation of the treaty’s terms. the Committee has contributed to our understanding of human rights, placed women’s human rights high on the international agenda, and empowered individual women to claim them. Its jurisprudence, developed through general recommendations which provide the Committee’s collective view of the measures States should take to fulfil their Convention obligations, and ‘views’ adopted after consideration of petitions have been profoundly influential. Indeed, its jurisprudence has guided regional and national courts and tribunals. Most importantly, the Committee has sought to identify solutions and examples of best practices so that the Convention will benefit all women.

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