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Adopts Concluding Observations and Reservations on Reports of Turkmenistan, Comoros, Equatorial Guinea, Togo and Chile
19 October 2012

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women today concluded its fifty-third session and adopted its concluding observations and recommendations on the reports of Turkmenistan, Comoros, Equatorial Guinea, Togo and Chile on how these countries implement the provisions of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

The Committee's concluding observations and recommendations are available on the Committee's website:

At the end of the session, the Committee released a statement on the protection of girls' right to education. It said girls' and women's right to education was a central obligation of States parties under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. In spite of the seeming global consensus on the right of girls and women to education, and although globally, the illiterate population was shrinking, illiteracy continued to be a feminized phenomenon, particularly in certain regions of the world. The Committee was appalled by the recent incident in Pakistan where Malala Yousufzai, a 14 year old school girl, was brutally attacked and shot in the north-western frontier of Pakistan while calling for the right of girls for education, bringing into sharp focus the extreme danger that some girls faced in claiming and enjoying this basic human right. The Committee recognised Malala's unprecedented role as a youth advocate for girls' education and noted that the Government of Pakistan awarded her a national peace prize in 2011. The Committee called on the States parties to denounce and punish such acts of violence and to continue to take all necessary action, including the dismantling of patriarchal barriers and entrenched gender stereotypes, to guarantee and to ensure that girls were able to enjoy their basic human right to education in every region of the world.

The Committee also adopted today a statement on the situation in northern Mali, in which it expressed its deep concern about the situation of women and girls in northern Mali as a result of armed conflict, including as victims of cruel and inhuman punishment inflicted by the armed rebel extremist groups, including summary executions, stonings and mutilations, sexual exploitation, forced marriages and forced displacement. The Committee called upon the international community to urgently address the humanitarian crisis and human rights situation in Mali.

During its three-week session, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women held a joint meeting with the Human Rights Committee on 16 October, in which they discussed current practices and challenges concerning their individual complaints procedures, the treaty body strengthening process, and the decision to move the spring sessions of the two Committees from New York to Geneva. That discussion highlighted, in particular, the need to hold at least one session in New York because of the visibility it gave to the work of the Committees and because of the many women who travelled to New York to meet with the Committee.

On 18 October, the Committee held a high-level panel discussion entitled “promoting and protecting women's rights in situations of conflict and post-conflict: the case of French-speaking Africa” to mark the thirtieth anniversary of the Committee.

At the closing meeting, Silvia Pimentel, Committee Chairperson and expert member from Brazil, said that the session had been very rich and she congratulated all the Experts. She also thanked the Committee Experts who would not be with them at the next session, adding that she was very sad to see them go and appreciated the opportunity to work with them over the years. She wished them well in their future endeavours. She also thanked the secretariat for their competence, efficiency and hard work.

In response to praise by an Expert on her work as Chairperson, Ms. Pimentel said that it had been an honour to be the Chairperson of the Committee for two years. It was by no means easy, but she greatly appreciated the brilliance of each and every Expert.

The Committee adopted its report for the session and the provisional agenda for the sixty-fourth session.

The 23 expert members of the Committee, serving in their personal capacities, monitor State parties' compliance with the Convention, often described as an international bill of rights for women. Adopted by the General Assembly in 1979, the treaty consists of a preamble and 30 articles, and prescribes national action to end discrimination against women.

The sixty-fourth session of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women will be held from 11 February to 1 March 2013, during which reports from Angola, Austria, Cyprus, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Greece, Hungary and Pakistan will be reviewed. The Committee will also consider the situation in the Solomon Islands in the absence of a report.

For use of the information media; not an official record