Magazine article UN Chronicle

UN Adopts Protocol to Permit Women to Report Discrimination Cases to the United Nations

Magazine article UN Chronicle

UN Adopts Protocol to Permit Women to Report Discrimination Cases to the United Nations

Article excerpt

In a landmark decision for women in October 1999, the General Assembly, acting without a vote, adopted a 21-article Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, which will enable them to submit sexual discrimination complaints to the United Nations.

Since the Protocol is optional, the Assembly called on all States parties to the Convention to ratify the former as soon as possible. In so doing, a State would recognize the competence of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, which monitors States parties' compliance with the Convention, to consider complaints from individuals or groups within its jurisdiction.

The Protocol contains two procedures. The first allows individual women or groups to submit claims of violations of rights protected by the Convention to the Committee. Second, the Protocol enables the Committee to initiate inquiries into situations of women's rights violations.

The Protocol will go into force three months after 10 States parties to the Convention ratify or accede to it. Once that happens, it will put the Convention on an equal footing with other human rights instruments that have individual complaints procedures.

The General Assembly also finalized preparations for the five-year review of the 1995 Beijing World Conference on Women. It agreed that its special session, from 5 to 9 June on the theme "Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century", will review progress and consider further actions in implementing the Beijing Platform for Action. …

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