Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women

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The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) is a body of independent experts established by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in 1982. CEDAW is tasked with monitoring the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, also known as the CEDAW Convention.

The CEDAW Convention is an international treaty adopted in 1979 by the UN General Assembly. It is often described as an international bill of rights for women. The convention defines discrimination against women and sets out an agenda for national action to end such discrimination. It emphasizes the need for equal rights and opportunities for women in political, economic, social, cultural, and civil spheres.

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women is composed of 23 experts who are nominated and elected by the states parties to the CEDAW Convention. These experts serve in their personal capacities and come from various backgrounds, including law, academia, and activism. The committee meets regularly to review reports submitted by states parties on their progress in implementing the convention’s provisions and to issue recommendations.

The primary role of the CEDAW committee is to examine the reports submitted by states parties, engage in a dialogue with the respective governments, and provide guidance and recommendations for further actions to promote gender equality and eliminate discrimination against women. The committee’s recommendations are influential in shaping national policies, legislation, and practices.

Additionally, the CEDAW committee can also receive and consider individual complaints of violations of women’s rights in states parties that have ratified the optional protocol to the CEDAW Convention. The optional protocol allows individuals or groups to bring forward complaints if they believe their rights under the convention have been violated. The committee conducts investigations and issues findings on these cases.

Overall, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women plays a crucial role in monitoring and promoting gender equality globally. It contributes to raising awareness, providing guidance, and advocating for the elimination of discrimination against women in all its forms.

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