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UNITED NATIONS COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION OF DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN TO MEET IN GENEVA FROM 30 SEPTEMBER TO 18 OCTOBER
Committee to Consider Situation in Republic of Moldova, Colombia, Benin, Andorra, Cambodia, Tajikistan and Seychelles
26 September 2013

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women will hold its fifty-sixth session at the Palais des Nations in Geneva from 30 September to 18 October during which it will review reports presented by the Republic of Moldova, Colombia, Benin, Andorra, Cambodia, Tajikistan and Seychelles on how they implement the provisions of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.  The consideration of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the absence of a report was also scheduled for the fifty-sixth session.  However, St. Vincent and the Grenadines recently submitted its combined fourth to eighth periodic report so  its consideration has been postponed.

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 party is meeting its obligations, and makes recommendations for the implementation of the Convention.

At the opening meeting on Monday, 30 September, the Committee will be addressed by a representative of the Secretary-General and adopt its agenda.  The Chairperson of the Committee, Nicole Ameline, will brief the Committee on activities and events occurring since the previous session that had a bearing on the work of the Committee.

In addition to considering the reports of seven States parties, the Committee will hold public informal meetings with non-governmental organizations and national human rights institutions to discuss the situation in the countries whose reports will be considered.  It will also consider individual complaints as well as inquiries under the Optional Protocol to the Convention, in closed meeting.  The Committee will discuss matters relating to follow-up to concluding observations and its methods of work. 

The Committee will also hold a half-day general discussion on rural women.  The aim of the  discussion is to commence the Committee’s process of elaborating a "General Recommendation on rural women".  The purpose of the general recommendation is to provide appropriate and authoritative guidance to States Parties on the measures to be adopted to ensure full compliance with their obligations to protect, respect and fulfil the rights of rural women.

The Republic of Moldova is presenting its combined fourth and fifth periodic report (CEDAW/C/MDA/4-5).  The Committee’s concluding observations and recommendations on the third periodic report of the Republic of Moldova, which was considered in 2006, can be found in (CEDAW/C/MDA/CO/3).  Colombia is presenting its combined seventh and eighth periodic report (CEDAW/C/COL/7-8).  The Committee’s concluding observations and recommendations on the sixth periodic report of Colombia, which was considered in 2007, can be found in  (CEDAW/C/COL/CO/6).

Benin is presenting its fourth periodic report (CEDAW/C/BEN/4).  The Committee’s concluding observations and recommendations on the third periodic report of Benin, which was considered in 2005, can be found in (A/60/38,paras.127-170.En).

Andorra is presenting its combined second and third periodic report (CEDAW/C/AND/2-3). The Committee’s concluding observations and recommendations on the initial periodic report of Andorra, which was considered in 2001, can be found in  (A/56/38,paras.23-53).  Cambodia is presenting its combined fourth and fifth periodic report (CEDAW/C/KHM/4-5).  The Committee’s concluding observations and recommendations on the third periodic report of Cambodia, which was considered in 2006, can be found in (CEDAW/C/KHM/CO/3).  Tajikistan is presenting its combined fourth and fifth periodic report (CEDAW/C/TJK/4-5). 
The Committee’s concluding observations and recommendations on the initial to third periodic report of Tajikistan, which was considered in 2007, can be found in (CEDAW/C/TJK/CO/3).  Seychelles is presenting its combined initial to fifth periodic report (CEDAW/C/SYC/1-5). 

The reports that the Committee will review during the session as well as other documentation can be found on the webpage of the Committee. 

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 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 parties 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 public institutions to ensure the effective protection of women against discrimination; and 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. 

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); Noor Al-Jehani (Qatar);
Nicole Ameline (France); Barbara Evelyn Bailey (Jamaica); Olindia Bareiro-Bobadilla (Paraguay); Meriem Belmihoub-Zerdani (Algeria); Niklas Bruun (Finland); Naela Mohamed Gabr (Egypt); Hilary Gbedemah (Ghana); Nahla Haidar (Lebanon);  Ruth Halperin-Kaddari (Israel); Yoko Hayashi (Japan); Ismat Jahan (Bangladesh); Dalia Leinarte (Lithuania); Violeta Neubauer (Slovenia); Theodora Oby Nwankwo (Nigeria);
Pramila Patten (Mauritius); Silvia Pimentel (Brazil); Maria Helena Lopes de Jesus Pires (Timor-Leste); Biancamaria Pomeranzi (Italy); Patricia Schulz (Switzerland); Dubravka Šimonović (Croatia) and Xiaoqiao Zou (China).

Ms. Ameline is the Chairperson.  The Vice-Chairpersons are Ms. Jahan, Ms. Neubauer and Ms. Patten, and the Rapporteur is Ms. Bailey.


Proposed Programme of Work

Monday, 30 September

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

3 p.m.          Informal meeting with non-governmental organizations

4:30 p.m.     Informal meeting with national human rights institutions

Tuesday, 1 October

10 a.m.           Republic of Moldova combined fourth and fifth periodic report   (CEDAW/C/MDA/4-5)

3 p.m.             Republic of Moldova (continued)
         
Wednesday, 2 October
         
10 a.m.        Colombia combined seventh and eighth periodic report   (CEDAW/C/COL/7-8)

3 p.m.          Colombia (continued)

Thursday, 3 October

10 a.m.         Benin fourth periodic report (CEDAW/C/BEN/4)

3 p.m.           Benin (continued)

Friday, 4 October
         
10 a.m.          Andorra combined second and third periodic report (CEDAW/C/AND/2-3)

3 p.m.             Andorra (continued)

Monday, 7 October

10 a.m.           Half-day general discussion on rural women

3 p.m.           Informal meeting with non-governmental organizations
4:30 p.m.      Informal meeting with national human rights institutions

Tuesday, 8 October

10 a.m.         Cambodia combined fourth and fifth periodic report (CEDAW/C/KHM/4-5)

3 p.m.          Cambodia (continued)

Wednesday, 9 October

10 a.m.         Tajikistan combined fourth and fifth periodic report (CEDAW/C/TJK/4-5)

3 p.m.           Tajikistan (continued)

Thursday, 10 October

10 a.m.          Seychelles combined initial to fifth periodic report (CEDAW/C/SYC/1-5)

3 p.m.            Seychelles (continued)

Friday, 18 October

5 p.m.          Closing of the session
       


Live webcasts of the session can be viewed on http://www.treatybodywebcast.org/.  

The Committee’s concluding observations will be made available at http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/SessionDetails1.aspx?SessionID=812&Lang=en on Monday 21 October.

To learn more about the Committee on the Elimination of the Discrimination against Women, visit: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cedaw/

To arrange an interview with a Committee member, please contact Jakob Schneider (+41 22 917 9301 / jschneider@ohchr.org)

For more information and other media requests, please contact Liz Throssell (+41 (0) 22 917 9434/ +41 (0) 79 752 0488) ethrossell@ohchr.org

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For use of the information media; not an official record

CEDAW13/028E