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USING

CEDAW
IN THE
JORDANIAN
LEGAL
SYSTEM:
A HANDBOOK FOR
PRACTITIONERS
Dr. Mohammad Khalil Al-Moussa
Preface by Asma Khader
Mizan Law Group for Human Rights (Mizan)
Mizan was established by a team of lawyers as a non-profit and
independent organisation in 1998. Its goals include the protection of
human rights, the promotion of democracy, policy reform, and raising
awareness on human rights. The Organisation leads a number of initiatives
in Jordan including offering legal assistance and protection to vulnerable
groups such as children, women, prisoners, refugees, and elderly people.
In addition, Mizan works to increase the capacity of legal practitioners
enhancing their knowledge on international human rights instruments
and their use at the domestic level. Ultimately, Mizan strives to enhance
the legal protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms in Jordan
as they are laid out in international and national laws. The organisation
plays a central role in encouraging policy reform in line with international
standards, in particular promoting the dialogue between national
institutions and civil society. Mizan has an office in Amman as well as
north and south of the Hashemite Kingdom.

The Jordanian National Commission for Women


(JNCW)

The Jordanian National Commission for Women is a semi-governmental


organisation founded in 1992 under the chairmanship of Her Royal
Highness Princess Basma Bint Talal. It is a translation of the Royal vision of
enhancing the role of women and an expression of Jordan’s commitment
to the advancement of the status of women and to the implementation
of all provisions of conventions, treaties and action plans internationally
recognised. The Commission is composed of ministers, representatives
from the civil society and the private sector and a number of experts.
The Commission functions, entrusted to it by The Council of Ministers,
include: the revision of laws and legislations to ensure that they do not
discriminate against women; proposition of public policies aimed at
empowering women in various fields; working as a liaison between the
governmental and non-governmental organisations; implementation of
programs and projects, including capacity building, and the preparation
of periodic reports on the status of women; and finally, overseeing
the preparation and updating of the national strategy for women and
4 5

monitoring its implementation. To carry out these tasks, the Commission Note to Readers
continuously strives to strengthen networking and communication with
the various groups and organisations within the society. The primary audience of this publication are Arabic speaking practitioners,
nevertheless the decision to produce a bilingual publication was guided
by the fact that this work can benefit not only those in Jordan but it can
Italian Consortium of Solidarity (ICS) also be used as a tool for advocates for the Convention of the Elimination
of Discrimination Against Women in other countries, allowing them to
ICS is an International Non-Governmental Organisation founded in 1993 create similar material; in addition to assisting the promotion of CEDAW, it
as a network of Italian associations and local groups operating on issues will also assist international experts to become better acquainted with the
related to human rights, peace and development sharing the same values Jordanian legal system, including the representatives of UN human rights
and working methodology. ICS is engaged in the protection of victims institutions.
of armed conflicts and international crisis as well as the promotion
and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Through Please note that the original publication was written in Arabic, and
partnerships with various organisations, ICS has been able to implement a translated into English. The English version differs slightly from the Arabic
number of projects in the Middle East and it has been active in Jordan since version due to the translation and editing process.
2008. The focus of these programs has increasingly been the protection
and promotion of human rights, often through capacity building programs
focused on the use of international legal instruments. Note on the Author
Professor Mohammed Khalil Al-Moussa obtained his PhD in international
law from the Faculty of Law at the University of Nantes, France, in 1999. He
has worked as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Legal Studies
at Al al-Bayt University, and as lecturer at both the Jordanian Diplomatic
Institute, and Hashemite University, he also taught at Al-Zaitouneh
University. Professor Al-Moussa is currently teaching International Human
Rights Law and International Humanitarian Law at the University of
Bahrain. He collaborates with a number of NGOs in Jordan.
He has published several research papers and books in Arabic, including:
the Juridical Function of International Organizations (Amman: Wael
Publications, 2003), the Interpretation of International Human Rights
Convention in the light of the Practice of Treaties Bodies (Journal of
Law, University of Kuwait, 2004), the Use of Force in the Contemporary
International Law (Amman: Wael Publications, 2004), International Law
of Human Rights (Amman: House of Culture and for Publishing and
Distribution, 2005), the Impact of Reservations Made by States (The Journal
of Law, University of Bahrain, 2006), Guide for the Application of the
United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or
Degrading Treatment or Punishment (Amman: Adalah Centre for Human
Rights Studies, 2008).
6 7

Preface and international efforts to promote and protect human rights, globally
women continue to face discrimination; in many places they do not share
Women are entitled to lead a life filled with dignity and equality in every the same social, cultural, economic, political and economic rights as men.
respect. This fact is internationally recognised through international Many women exist under the grave spectre of violence being directed
human rights treaties and norms. A respect for a woman’s inalienable right towards them.
to equality is shared throughout Jordanian social, political and religious
society, and is protected under Jordanian Law. However, statistical indices The international community has worked tirelessly towards eliminating
and data demonstrate the unfortunate reality of the continuing disparity discrimination against women through developing specialised conventions
between men and women across Jordan. Illiteracy, although low, continues and declarations as well as creating institutional mechanisms within the
to be higher amongst women than men. Similarly, women are more likely United Nations framework.
to be unemployed than men, with female unemployment standing at 24%,
in contrast to 10% for men. It is within this framework that the international community, with
General Assembly Resolutions 34/180, adopted the Convention on the
The constitutional protection of citizen’s rights in Jordan is clear and Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW),
applies equally to women and men. The government is actively progressing on 18 December 1979. This Convention reflects the collective will of the
towards removing any legislation which is discriminatory in application. society of States to eliminate all discrimination against women. The
Furthermore all religions in Jordan share the common value that a woman Convention came into force on 3 September 1981. As of 7 September 2009
deserves both respect and the protection of her rights. This is reflective CEDAW has been ratified by 186 States, including 19 Arab States.
of the ethical values of Jordanian society that regards discrimination, Jordan signed the Convention on 3 December 1980, ratifying it on 1 July
ill-treatment and injustice directed against women as being counter to 1992 and published in the Official Gazette on 1 August 2007. This is in
Jordanian culture. addition to other legal instruments ratified by Jordan that enshrine
the principle of equality and non-discrimination, including the two
Royal initiatives and government strategies, that seeks to promote the international Covenants, on Civil and Political Rights and on Economic,
level of involvement of women in all aspects of Jordanian public life, as Social and Cultural Rights.
well as protecting women from violence, has positively affected the status
of women in Jordanian society and they are eroding the obstacles to their Despite initially signing CEDAW with some reservations, on 19 February
advancement. 2009 the Jordanian government lifted its reservation to the fourth
paragraph of Article 15 concerning the right to freedom of movement and
Despite these continuing efforts to overcome obstacles which hamper choosing one’s place of residence. However, other reservations remain:
the advancement of women within Jordanian society, including the including to: Article 9, paragraph 2, concerning the right of women
development of legal and institutional mechanisms aimed at the married to foreigners to pass their nationality onto their children;
protection of women, manifestations of discrimination and violence Article 16, paragraphs c, d, g concerning, respectively, the rights and
against women, within the family, workplace and wider society, remain. responsibilities during marriage and at its dissolution, towards children
. Jordanian women continue to suffer from discrimination and a large regardless of the marital status, and equality between husband and wife.
portion of them are still vulnerable to forms of violence and ill-treatment.
Moreover poor awareness of women’s rights and the means of enforcing The practical steps taken by the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to
remains a critical issue. implement CEDAW’s provisions are based on the constitutional and
political commitment to achieve equality and non-discrimination among
The concern for the treatment of women in Jordanian society is one that all Jordanians. It reflects the political will of Jordan towards the purpose
is shared by women all over the world. Despite strong national, regional and the content of CEDAW.
9

Table of Contents
It is essential to note that ratification is a sovereign act, and no state can be
forced to perform this act. When a state initiates ratification or accession Note to Readers 5
to an international agreement it triggers contractual, legal and political Note on the Author 5
responsibility. It imposes duties on all three branches of the State to take Preface 6
the necessary steps to enforce the provisions of the relevant convention
at the national level. These commitments include providing information Introduction 12
and specialised knowledge on how to enforce the Convention’s provisions
The Project 14
to judges, law enforcement officials and other legal professionals, as well
The Primary Objectives of the Handbook 15
as promote an understanding of its content and ethos amongst relevant
stakeholders, in the case of CEDAW this includes women themselves. How the Handbook is Structured and How to Use It 16

Within the Jordanian legal system, publishing the Convention in the I. Human Rights and the International Convention on the
Official Gazette means that its provisions have become mandatory. It also Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women 18
means that it is the responsibility of the legislative branch to take the
Women's Rights and the Universality of Human Rights 20
necessary steps needed to amend any laws that are incompatible with
the Convention. The judiciary is compelled to use the provisions of the International Instruments on Women's Rights 22
Convention when dealing with relevant cases. Defining the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms
23
of Discrimination Against Women
This important, pioneering and specialised project, including the technical Ratification, Signature, and Accession to the Convention 24
and practical information included in this manual, will contribute to Basic Principles of CEDAW 25
the effective implementation of CEDAW and assist practitioners in the
State Parties’ Obligations under the Convention 26
application of its provisions. This will have a tangible impact on the lives of
Jordanian women. Reservations 28

The availability of legal remedies for the protection of rights envisaged II. Rights guaranteed in the Convention on the Elimination
under the law should be guaranteed to all. For women in particular, of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. 30
the right to dignity, justice and equality should be legally ensured and Definition of Discrimination Against Women 32
protected. Protecting from human rights violations is a key responsibility
of the State, but also it is one that should be shared across the whole Prohibition of Trafficking in Women and Exploitation
33
of Prostitution
Jordanian society. The responsibility falls on all of us!
Political Rights and Participation in Public Life 34
Right to Nationality 36
Asma Khader Right to Education 36
Employment Rights 38
Right to Health 39
Economic Rights 40
Equality in Civil Matters, Marriage and Family Life 40
Prohibition of Violence Against Women 42
10 11

III. Guarantees of Control and Supervision of the VI. Models of application of CEDAW in Different
Implementation of the Convention 46 Legal Systems 84

Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Attorney General of Botswana v. Unity Dow


48 86
Against Women (Botswana Supreme Court, 1992)

Reports of States Parties 49 Ephrahim v. Pastory (High Court of Tanzania, 1990) 88


Models and Content of Initial and Periodic Reports 50 Njobeka v. Mkorogoro (High Court of Tanzania, 2001) 88
Examination of Reports 51
Dhungana v. Government of Nepal (High Court of Nepal, 1993) 89
Special Reports 53
General Recommendations 53 Vishaka v. State of Rajasthan (3 BHRC, 261) 90
The Optional Protocol 54 Municipal Corporation of Delhi v. Female Workers
91
Content of the Optional Protocol 55 (High Court of India)

Individual Communications 56
Conditions of Admissibility of Individual Communications 56
Annexes 92
Consideration of Individual Communications 59
Inquiry Procedure 60 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination
94
Against Women

Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination


IV. The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
107
Discrimination Against Women in the Jordanian legal system 62
Useful websites 113
Jordan's Reservations to the Convention 64
Incorporation of CEDAW into the Jordanian Legal System 66
Contact Information 114
Status of the Convention in the Jordanian Legal System 68
The Importance of Jordan's Accession to the Optional Protocol 70

V. The role of judges, prosecutors and lawyers in


enforcing CEDAW 72
The Direct Applicability of CEDAW 74
The Direct Applicability of the Principle of Equality 77
The Interpretative Use of CEDAW 79
CEDAW in Lawyers’ Practice 80
Why Should Lawyers Invoke CEDAW in Domestic Courts? 82
12 Introduction

The project Strengthening Local Capacity


to Protect Women’s Rights in Jordan was
established in 2008 and is being implemented
by Mizan Law Group for Human Rights and
the Italian Consortium of Solidarity - in
cooperation with the Jordanian National
Commission for Women, and is funded by the
European Union. Its aim is enhancing the
protection of women’s rights, and therefore
contributing to the reduction of discrimination
and violence against women in Jordan.
This handbook explores the international
instruments that promote these principles,
particularly the Convention on the Elimination
of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women
(henceforth CEDAW or the Convention),
examining both its status and the potential for
its application in the Jordanian legal system.
The purpose of this handbook is to develop
the skills and competences of lawyers, public
Introduction attorneys, judges and other practitioners on
the use of CEDAW within the Jordanian legal
system.
14 Introduction Introduction 15

The Project The Primary Objectives of the Handbook


Strengthening Local Capacity to Protect Women’s Rights in The primary objective of this handbook is to enhance the Goals and objectives of the
Jordan deals with judges, public attorneys, lawyers and other capacity of lawyers, public attorneys, judges, and legal aid and handbook:
actors involved in the Jordanian legal system. The idea of advocacy organisations to understand the status of CEDAW 1. Promoting women’s rights in
enhancing the capacity of these groups in using international within the Jordanian legal system, and how the rights set forth Jordan, through the provision
of procedural and practical
instruments and the necessity of this publications derives from in the Convention can be used in domestic courts. guidance.
Mizan’s desire to enhance the role of lawyers, and in particular
2. Raising awareness on the
its own lawyers in the field of legal assistance and protection This manual covers the procedural aspects of CEDAW and importance of applying
of victims of human rights abuses. Mizan has a decennial tackles the legal implications of its provisions. This is achieved CEDAW, particularly among
experience in this field, and throughout the years its lawyers by examining the authoritative legal opinions provided by groups concerned with its
judicial application.
attempted in a number of occasions to use CEDAW to litigate international human rights treaty bodies, in addition to
their cases in domestic tribunals. However, to date no Jordanian jurisprudence, related to CEDAW that has emerged from national 3. Highlighting national,
regional and international
court has based any of its decision on CEDAW. It is envisaged and regional courts. examples of the application
that, after the completion of the project, the target groups will of CEDAW, to encourage
be better able to effectively use the provisions of CEDAW in their It is anticipated that this handbook will contribute to the domestic application.
case work. development of other projects that will continue the work of 4. Encouraging public
promoting the use of CEDAW in the Jordanian legal system. authorities to accede to the
The main activities carried out within the project include: the Optional Protocol to CEDAW.
provisions of legal assistance to vulnerable women on civil Ultimately the main goals and objectives of this handbook can
matters, criminal cases, labour rights and other areas of law be summarised as follows:
which relate to discrimination and other violations of women's
rights; seminars, workshops and training courses that focus 1. Promoting women’s rights in Jordan, through the provision
primarily on the procedural aspects relating to the application of of procedural and practical guidance on how to implement
CEDAW in Jordanian courts; the organisation and coordination CEDAW. This will allow actors operating in the Jordanian
of litigation surgeries or working groups to practically assist judicial system to understand the mechanisms and the means
lawyers in preparing and litigating cases before the Jordanian to prosecute cases based on CEDAW.
courts, through the use of CEDAW.
2. Raising awareness of the importance of CEDAW, particularly
This publication is a critical feature of the project. The handbook among groups concerned with its judicial application. At the
is designed to be an innovative and practical guide to CEDAW present time there is a general lack of awareness among legal
and its application in the Jordanian judicial system. It is a practitioners on how, why and when the Convention should be
comprehensive instrument to be used by legal practitioners in applied.
their day to day work.
3. Highlighting national, regional and international examples of
the application of CEDAW, to encourage domestic application.
16 Introduction Introduction 17

4. Encouraging the public authorities to accede to the Optional In light of the structure of the Jordanian legal system, a number
Protocol to CEDAW. In fact, it is anticipated that if the of recommendations are made on how to ensure the effective
judiciary in Jordan applies the Convention and ensures the application of the provisions of CEDAW. The handbook does
respect for the rights stipulated therein, this will encourage this by exploring the application of the Convention in other
public authorities to accede the Optional Protocol, thus legal jurisdictions, including its application by other States.
accepting the procedural guarantees that it contains, in Jurisprudence is critical to gathering a technical understanding
particular the individual communication mechanism. It has of the ways in which Jordanian legal practitioners could use
been noted that States that provide effective legal remedies CEDAW more effectively. The suggestion is not that Jordan
for the victims of discrimination are also more willing to should directly emulate other states’ practice but rather they
accede to the Optional Protocol. should be inspired by, and benefit from it.

It should be kept in mind that CEDAW is not the only valuable


How the Handbook is Structured and How to instrument in protecting women’s rights; there are also other
means that should be used in any effective and comprehensive
Use it action. Nevertheless, as the original and most comprehensive
instrument challenging for the rights of women, CEDAW
The handbook addresses the provisions listed in CEDAW and remains the strongest asset in the work of legal practitioners in
explores their ethos. It does not exhaustively examine each Jordan. Ultimately, the aim of this handbook is to encourage the
individual article or the entire scope of application of CEDAW, development of a strategy for legal practitioners to support the
but it operates as an insightful tool for those looking towards its application of the provisions of CEDAW within the Jordanian
implementation. judicial system and therefore to ensure that the human rights of
women are protected.
CEDAW is the primary international tool that aims at promoting
and protecting women’s rights, though there are other
significant documents. Therefore this handbook is not limited to
CEDAW, as it also analyses pertinent international human rights
instruments that are significant to women’s rights.

The manual explores the history of CEDAW in Jordan, including


Jordan’s reservations to the Convention; it looks at the Optional
Protocol to CEDAW, and underlines the importance of ratifying
the Protocol, since it represents the stronger tool available to
guarantee the compliance of public authorities to the provisions
of the Convention.

The handbook analyses the status of CEDAW within the


Jordanian legal system, including the role of legal practitioners
in ensuring the application of the provisions of the Convention.
A significant question usually arises when
addressing women’s rights. It concerns the
importance and the need to have a separate
convention which deals exclusively with
women’s rights. All other international human
rights instruments in fact, explicitly clarify that
the rights they guarantee are to be enjoyed
equally by both men and women. Furthermore,
the Charter of the United Nations (1945)
clearly addresses the issue of equality and
stresses the principle of equality based on sex
in more than one of its provisions, particularly in
the section dedicated to fundamental rights. The
concept of equality is common across the three
major international human rights instruments,

1 Human Rights and the


International Convention on
1 See http://www.un.org/en/
documents/udhr
the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
(UDHR - 1948)1, and the two International
Covenants on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR -
the Elimination of All Forms of
2 See http://www2.ohchr.org/
english/law/ccpr.htm 1966) 2 and Economic Social and Cultural Rights
3 See http://www2.ohchr.org/
Discrimination against Women english/law/cescr.htm (ICESCR – 1966) 3.
20 Human Rights and the International Convention on the Human Rights and the International Convention on the 21
Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

Women’s Rights and the Universality of


Human Rights Paragraph 31 of the same GC also asserts that Article 26 of
ICCPR “requires States to act against discrimination by public
The universality of human rights is recognised in all and private agencies in all fields”. To explain this point, the
international human rights instruments. Critical to the Committee utilised examples from cases that were submitted
protection of women’s rights, these international legal to the Committee itself, such as the Aumeeruddy- Cziffa et al
instruments affirm the incompatibility of sex based v. Mauritius case. This case is about a woman from Mauritius
discrimination with the universal nature of human rights. that lost her citizenship because she married a foreigner. As this
Article 2 of UDHR states that “everyone is entitled to all the would not happen to a male Mauritian who married a foreign
rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without female, the committee concluded that Mauritanian legislation
distinction of any kind, such as […] sex”. directly discriminated on the ground of sex, and found it to be in
breach of Article 26 of the Covenant.
This principle is further enshrined under the ICCPR and the
ICESCR. Article 2(1) of ICCPR affirms the principle of equality It is clear that while discrimination against women can be open
among all individuals, with Article 26 specifically prohibiting and blatant, such as in the above case, often it is much more
discrimination based on sex. Article 2(2) of ICESCR emphasises subtle. In many instances discrimination is not codified, but it
the prohibition of discriminating in the application of those is in practice that discrimination exists. Paragraph 31 continues,
rights it sets forth on the basis of sex. Furthermore Article 3 of pointing to the fact that there are many areas where women
both Covenants states “State Parties to the present Covenant are discriminated against, without any legal protection, with
undertake to ensure the equal right of men and women to the the example that “a large proportion of women are employed
enjoyment of all […] rights set forth in the present Covenant”. in areas which are not protected by labour laws, that prevailing
customs and traditions discriminate against women, particularly 5 See http://www2.ohchr.org/
english/law/crc.htm
Numerous state obligations arise from the aforementioned with regard to access to better paid employment and to equal pay
provisions. The Human Rights Committee confirms in General for work of equal value”. 6 See http://www2.ohchr.org/
Comment (GC) No. 28 (2000) 4 that “the State Party must not only english/law/cat.htm

adopt measures of protection but also positive measures in all In addition to the UDHR and the two International Covenants, 7 See http://www.unesco.org/
areas so as to achieve the effective and equal empowerment of there are many other international and regional human rights education/pdf/DISCRI_E.PDF
women”. Referring to Articles 2 and 3 of ICCPR, in paragraph conventions which contain provisions that seek to protect the
8 See www.un.org/icc
4 the Human Rights Committee asserts that these articles rights of women such as: the Convention on the Rights of the
“mandate States Parties to take all steps necessary, including the Child (1989) 5 , the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, 9 See http://www.icrc.org/
web/eng/siteeng0.nsf/htmlall/
prohibition of discrimination on the ground of sex, to put an Inhuman or Degrading Treatment (1985) 6, the Convention
genevaconventions
end to discriminatory actions, both in the public and the private Against Discrimination in Education (1960) 7, and the Rome
sector, which impair the equal enjoyment of rights”. Statute of the International Criminal Court (2003) 8, the Geneva 10 See http://www.hri.org/docs/
ECHR50.html
Conventions (1949) and its Additional Protocols (1977) 9 . Regional
One of the most important opinions expressed by the Human instruments include the European Convention for Human 11 See http://www.hrcr.org/docs/
Rights Committee, in paragraph 5 of GC 28, is that State Parties Rights10, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights wBanjul/afrhr.html

4 Human Rights Committee, to the Covenant “should ensure that traditional, historical, and its Additional Protocol II11, and the Arab Charter on Human 12 See http://www.diplomacy.edu/
General Comment 28, Equality of religious or cultural attitudes are not used to justify violations of Rights12. arabcharter/hypertext.asp
rights between men and women
(Article 3), U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/21/
women’s right to equality before the law and to equal enjoyment
Rev.1/Add.10 (2000). of all Covenant rights”.
22 Human Rights and the International Convention on the Human Rights and the International Convention on the 23
Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

Equality between women In conclusion, equality between women and men in the 5. Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women: CEDAW is defined as
and men in the enjoyment enjoyment of human right has long been included in adopted by the General Assembly in 1993. The Declaration is a “an international bill of
of human right has women’s rights”. It is a
international human rights and humanitarian law. Nevertheless qualitative addition to the previous international instruments
long been included in comprehensive international
international human rights the necessity to protect women’s rights through specific because it is the first international instrument directly convention which addresses
and humanitarian law. instruments continues to exist. dealing with violence against women. areas specifically relating
Nevertheless the necessity to women. It compiles
to protect women’s rights previously recognised
through specific instruments rights, while adding new and
continues to exist. International Instruments on Women’s Defining the Convention on the Elimination of innovative provisions.
Rights All Forms of Discrimination Against Women

The protection of women’s rights does not stop with the formal The General Assembly of the United Nations adopted the
recognition of equality included in the various international Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination
human rights instruments. The United Nations, in fact, have Against Women (CEDAW) on 18 September 1979. The Convention
adopted a number of additional international conventions and has since then been almost universally accepted, with 185 State
declarations related specifically to women: ratifications13; notable exceptions include the United States, Iran
and the United Arab Emirates.
1. Convention on the Political Rights of Women: adopted by the
General Assembly in 1952 and entered into force in 1954. The idea of the Convention was first proposed by the United
This Convention emphasises the equality of women and men Nations Commission on the Status of Women. The Declaration
in their eligibility to stand for elections to public office and on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (1967) had
leadership positions. paved the way for the Convention. The General Assembly decision
to make the decade 1976-1985 the United Nations Decade for
2. Convention on the Nationality of Married Women: adopted by Women created the right momentum for the preparation of the
the General Assembly in 1957, decreed the inadmissibility of Convention. Finally CEDAW entered into force on 3 September
an automatic change in the nationality of women upon, or 1981. CEDAW served to enshrine the moral obligations already
subsequent to, entering a marriage contract. contained in the Declaration into legally binding obligations.

3. Convention on Consent to Marriage, Minmum Age for In the preamble of CEDAW, the Convention is defined as “an
Marriage and Registration of Marriages: approved by the international bill of women’s rights”. It is a comprehensive
General Assembly in 1962. international convention which addresses areas specifically
relating to women. CEDAW compiles previously recognised
4. Declaration on the Elimination of Discrimination Against rights, including the prohibition of discrimination in the
Women: adopted by the General Assembly in 1967, which enjoyment of rights, while at the same time adding new and
paved the way for CEDAW. The declaration states that innovative provisions, such as: equality in public and private
13 See http://www.un.org/
discrimination against women is an affront to human dignity life, challenging socio-cultural practices of discrimination, and womenwatch/daw/cedaw/states.
and stresses the equality of women and men in political addressing in particular the situation of rural women. htm
rights, in the acquisition of nationality, and in marriage.
24 Human Rights and the International Convention on the Human Rights and the International Convention on the 25
Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

The primary goal of CEDAW is to bind all State Parties to the


commitment to eliminate all forms of discrimination against Accession to a treaty is similar to ratification in terms of action
women: most notably in the workplace, education, public life, and legal effect. According to articles 1, 2, 5 and 11 of the Vienna
health and family. CEDAW is significantly different from its Convention on the Law of Treaties, accession is the “international
predecessors in that it emphasises both the protection of rights act so named whereby a State establishes on the international
as well as non-discrimination. plane its consent to be bound by a treaty”. Accession differs from
ratification in the sense that it is not preceded by signature, in
Like other human rights conventions, CEDAW only identifies other words it allows for any non-signatory State to become a
the general principles and framework of the rights it sets forth. party to the Convention
It leaves State Parties to choose the methods of implementation,
to determine how best to integrate CEDAW within their legal
systems, and to establish suitable means for its enforcement. Basic Principles of CEDAW
Individual States’ autonomy to decide how to integrate CEDAW
into both their legal and social systems has resulted in a diverse CEDAW was developed to resolve the gaps in previous
range of implementation mechanisms adopted by States. For instruments that address women’s rights. In particular, CEDAW
instance some States apply CEDAW’s provisions directly, others presents five innovative features that are missing from these:
integrate them into domestic legislation, while some have
enshrined the principles of CEDAW within their Constitution. 1. The comprehensive and complete elimination of all forms
of discrimination against women: the Convention seeks the
elimination of all forms of discrimination against women
Ratification, Signature, and Accession to the whether in the public or private sphere. In other words, it
aims at eliminating discrimination not only in the vertical
Convention relationships between state and citizen but also in the
horizontal relationships within the community. Therefore it
Signing CEDAW, as any other convention, represents the first aims not only at eliminating discrimination based on sex in
stage in the formal adoption of the document by the State. public policies and governmental practices, but it also seeks to
At this point the State is not legally bound to adhere to the eradicate societal discrimination including within individual
provisions of the Treaty. However, Article 18 of the Vienna relationships, the family and the community.
Convention on the Law of Treaties requires States to avoid any
conduct that undermines the Convention in question or disrupts 2. Changing the structural, social and cultural patterns of
its object and purpose. society: one of the essential characteristics of CEDAW is
that it compels State Parties to eliminate and change all the
Ratification signifies the clear consent to the State Party to structural, social and cultural patterns and practices that
adhere to the Convention. A distinction must be made though reinforce traditional gender stereotypes, which leave women
between international ratification and national ratification. vulnerable to discrimination.
National ratification does not render the State internationally
bound to the provisions of the Convention. For this to occur, 3. Interim positive measures (positive discrimination): the
the State Party must submit the convention to the depository, fourth article of the Convention urges State Parties to take
defined within the Convention. In the case of CEDAW, the positive measures to accelerate de facto equality between men
depository is the Secretary-General of the United Nations. and women. These interim measures are described as positive
26 Human Rights and the International Convention on the Human Rights and the International Convention on the 27
Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

discrimination. This form of discrimination is not prohibited from violating the rights set forth in CEDAW (obligation to
under international human rights law. These measures will respect), while at the same time they bear the duty to protect
be ended whenever the desired goal of equality is reached. and fulfil these rights through the adoption and implementation
Examples of such temporary measures include establishing of appropriate legislations and policies throughout all the
quota systems which promote the prioritisation of women. spheres of state sovereignty. Human rights, are in other words,
This includes establishing a minimum number of women to state obligations. This means that only State Parties can breach
be enrolled in universities, to hold parliamentary seats or to the provisions of CEDAW and other human rights treaties. In
be senior staff in organisations. practice this also means that the Convention can be used in
domestic courts only when the relevant case involves a failure
4. The situation of rural women: another important feature by a state body of the obligation to respect, protect and fulfill
of CEDAW is that it is the first international convention to individual rights as foreseen by CEDAW. Consequentially,
address the situation of rural women specifically. Article physical and legal persons acting in their private capacity
14 of the Convention obliges states to take into account normally cannot violate human rights, and it will not be possible
the particular problems facing rural women and the vital to hold them accountable for human rights violations. It is
role undertaken by them. State Parties are required to take necessary for the state to be involved to make CEDAW applicable.
appropriate measures to ensure that rural women also fully
enjoy the rights set out in the Convention. CEDAW has created a number of fundamental obligations
relating to the elimination of all forms of discrimination
5. The role of women in production and development: the against women. Article 2 of the Convention identifies the most
Convention seeks to integrate women into the process of important commitments:
production and development in various fields. Key areas
include the work place, political participation, family life and 1. Include the principle of equality between men and women
education. in national legislation and, where applicable, in the
Constitution;
These areas will be addressed in more details in Chapter 3, which
specifically explores the rights protected under the Convention. 2. Prohibit discrimination against women and determine
appropriate penalties should this prohibition be violated;

State Parties’ Obligations under the 3. Eliminate all discriminatory legislation and refrain from any
other direct and indirect discriminatory practice;
Convention
4. Ensure effective remedies through competent courts and other
It is essential to take into consideration that human rights public bodies in response to acts of discrimination;
are codified in treaties, which are defined as “international
agreement[s] concluded between States”14 that create rights 5. Ensure the elimination of discriminatory acts against
for individuals under the jurisdiction of these States. Treaties, women, whether carried out by individuals, organisations or
14 Vienna Convention on the Law
of Treaties, Vienna, 23/05/1969, including CEDAW, create both positive and negative obligations institutions;
Art. 2(a). for State Parties. States have the negative obligation to refrain
28 Human Rights and the International Convention on the Human Rights and the International Convention on the 29
Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

Article 28 of CEDAW Moreover in terms of obligations, under Article 17, State Parties amount, nature and scope of reservations made by the State
allows State Parties to must submit periodic reports, including an initial report, to Parties16. The World Conference on Human Rights, held in
make reservations to its
the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Vienna in 1993, was compelled to call for the reduction of
provisions, provided that
these reservations do not Women in a timely manner describing the progress made in the reservation to human rights conventions as they are in
contravene the object and implementing the Convention. contradiction with the spirit of human rights treaty law itself.
purpose of the Convention.
Arab States’ reservations primarily revolve around two issues: a
Reservations conflict with either Islamic law or national law. The majority of
reservations of these countries focus on articles 2, 7, 9, 10, 16 and
Article 28 of CEDAW allows State Parties to make reservations to 19 of CEDAW17. There is no doubt that many of these reservations
its provisions, provided that these reservations do not contravene made by Arab States, as well as a number of the Islamic States,
the object and purpose of the Convention. This means that the are in violation of Article 28(2) of the Convention.
Convention considers the criteria of inadmissibility as set forth
in the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. The Committee has discussed the reservations of some Arab and
Islamic countries, and has engaged in constructive dialogue with
During the ratification stage, many State Parties have made them, with particular regard to reservations on Articles 2 and 16
reservations to the provisions of CEDAW. Some of these as they are considered central to the Convention. The Committee
reservations are procedural and do not affect the subject and has followed up on the issue of reservations since 1998, and has
purpose of the Convention. For example, Article 29(1) asserts since worked with States in order to encourage them to withdraw
that “any dispute between two or more States Parties concerning or modify any reservations that violate Article 28(2). 16 See: General Recommendation
No. 4 (Sixth session, 1987), General
the interpretation or application of the present Convention Recommendation N. 20 (Eleventh
which is not settled by negotiation shall, at the request of one of The Committee has stressed that difference in cultural, religious Session, 1992), and paragraphs 41-
49 of General Recommendation N.
them, be submitted to arbitration. […] any one of those parties and social structures and values are not sufficient reasons
21 (Thirteenth Session, 1994).
may refer the dispute to the International Court of Justice”. to deny the universality of women’s rights. Many Arab and
Article 29(1) has been widely criticised by States, and has been Muslim countries have responded positively to the concerns 17 These articles are respectively
dealing with: the prohibition of
subjected to the largest number of reservations15 but since it is and recommendations of the Committee withdrawing their
discrimination against women in
a procedural article, reservations to it are consistent to Article reservations. Many non- Arab/Islamic countries including the national constitutions and
28(2), as they do not violate key principles of the Convention. France, Canada, Brazil, Poland, Romania and Jamaica, have also legislations, including repeal
the existing laws, customs and
withdrawn reservations. Article 22(1) of the Vienna Convention discriminatory practices; equality
On the other hand, a great number of reservations made on the Law of Treaties permits the withdrawal of reservations at in public life; equality in matters
on articles of CEDAW do affect the object and purpose of any time. This withdrawal is to be presented in writing. Upon of nationality; equality in legal
capacity; equal rights to marriage
the Convention, resulting in a violation of Article 28(2). The submitting this, all the legal consequences associated with the and the mechanism of settlement of
Convention however, lacks a mechanism which allows for the reservation automatically become invalid. disputes between States Parties.
rejection of invalid reservations. In fact, the main instrument to
allow for this, Article 29(1), has had so many reservations placed
15 Among the Arab countries that on it that it was rendered almost unusable.
placed reservations on this article
are: Kuwait, Algeria, Bahrain,
Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq and
The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against
Yemen. Women (the Committee) has expressed concern about the
CEDAW consists of thirty articles organised
into six parts:
1. the definition of discrimination against women
and the procedures and measures necessary to
eradicate it;
2. the political rights of women and their
participation in public life, in addition to
equality in matters related to nationality;
3. equality in the fields of education,
employment, health and the condition of rural
women;
4. legal capacity of women and marital rights;

2 Rights
5. procedural elements aimed at supervising the
guaranteed in the application of the Convention;
Convention on the Elimination 6. concluding provisions relating to the
of All Forms of Discrimination administrative aspects of the Convention itself.

against Women.
32 Rights guaranteed in the Convention on the Elimination Rights guaranteed in the Convention on the Elimination 33
of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

The first four parts of the Convention will be analysed in the men and women. The Convention itself, in fact, acknowledges
present chapter, detailing the ethos of the Articles and also, diversity between man and women by including provisions on
where relevant, debating their limitations. The fifth part, on the reproduction, motherhood and child care.
mechanisms of control and supervision for the implementation
of the Convention, will be the focus of chapter 4. There is an important question arising from Article 1 that relates
to the scope and application of the Convention: is the ratification
of CEDAW all that is needed to address discrimination against
Definition of Discrimination Against Women women?

Article 1 of CEDAW defines the term discrimination against The answer is undoubtedly no. CEDAW embodies the minimum
women as: “any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on standards of protection that State Parties to the Convention shall
the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or provide. Therefore it does not represent the sole instrument that
nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, can be used to eradicate discrimination against women. It is the
irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men foundation on which national law should be developed in the
and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the struggle to eliminate all forms of discriminations against women.
political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field”.

As the leading Article in the Convention, it is not surprising Prohibition of Trafficking in Women and
that this definition has been the subject of much debate. The
Convention adopts a narrow definition of equality which does
Exploitation of Prostitution
not include factors leading to discrimination. Inequality on
the basis of sex is often closely related to social and cultural Under Article 6 of CEDAW, “States Parties shall take all
structures prevailing within a community, which leads to direct appropriate measures, including legislation, to suppress all forms
or indirect discrimination against women. CEDAW attempts to of traffic in women and exploitation of prostitution of women”.
challenge this issues but it does not include this concept within
the definition. Trafficking in women and the exploitation of prostitution
violates a number of internationally recognised human rights
The Convention has also been criticised because it continues to such as the prohibition of slavery, forced labour and inhumane
measure the status and equality of women in relation to men. and degrading treatment. Moreover, the Rome Statute of the
However, it is impossible to remove such comparison while International Criminal Court considers that these may amount
the legal discourse continues to be male-dominated. Similarly to a crime against humanity or a war crime if either of these acts
the criteria and procedures established in Article 1 are based are committed in a systemic manner or used as an instrument of
on classical traditions of treaty law and therefore continue to war against a civilian population18.
operate within the prevailing patriarchal approach, which itself
contains forms of hidden discrimination. The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against
Women in its General Recommendation No. 19 (1992) addresses
In any case, it is possible to assert that the concept of the issue of trafficking and exploitation of prostitution. It
18 The Rome Statute of the
discrimination against women as stated in Article 1 of the asserts that: “poverty and unemployment increase opportunities International Criminal Court,
Convention, does not aim at removing all differences between for trafficking in women. […] there are new forms of sexual Article 7 / 1 / a.
34 Rights guaranteed in the Convention on the Elimination Rights guaranteed in the Convention on the Elimination 35
of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

exploitation, such as sex tourism, the recruitment of domestic article demands State Parties ensure women have the equal
labour from developing countries to work in developed right to vote as men in all elections and public referenda, the
countries, and organised marriages between women from right to participate in the formulation and implementation
developing countries and foreign nationals. These practices are of government policy, and the right to hold public office and
incompatible with the equal enjoyment of rights by women and perform all public functions. The article also guarantees
with respect for their rights and dignity. They put women at women’s right to stand in all elections, in addition to
special risk of violence and abuse”19 . participating in any non-governmental organisation concerned
with the public life of the country such as political parties, trade
Trafficking in women is a transnational organised crime. It is unions and labour unions.
prohibited under the Optional Protocol to the United Nations
Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime (2000) 20 Article 8 of the Convention recognises women’s right to
which deals with the prevention, suppression and punishment “represent their Governments at the international level and to
of trafficking in persons, especially women and children. The participate in the work of international organizations”.
Protocol requires the State Parties to criminalise trafficking
in persons, including if an individual initiates, contributes or Articles 7 and 8 indicate very clearly that women should be on an
organises, or direct others to act. Moreover, States are required to equal footing with men in regard to their political competency,
take appropriate measures to prevent trafficking of persons. expression of public will and participation in various aspects
of the public life of their country. It is noticeable however that
The Protocol delineates human trafficking as: “the recruitment, in an alarming number of countries, women continue to be
transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat marginalised from public life.
or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, fraud, of
deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability Expanding women’s participation to public life entails measures
or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve and procedures beyond the simple recognition of women’s
the consent of a person having control over another person, political rights. In order to determine the exact nature of the
for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a State Parties’ obligations, two key concepts relating to political
minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other rights of women should be noted:
forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services slavery or
19 Committee on the Elimination
practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs”21. A. The empowerment of women relates to any activity intended
of Discrimination against Women,
General Recommendation No. 19 The protocol stresses, in Article 3(b), that the consent of the to contribute to the development of women’s capabilities,
(eleventh session, 1992), Violence victim of trafficking does not allow for exceptions from the knowledge, awareness, and all that consequently leads to the
against women.
provisions of the Protocol. enhancement of their participation in public life, and other
20 Protocol to Prevent, Suppress fields. In other words, the term empowerment applies to
and Punish Trafficking in Persons interventions that support women’s potential to improve their
and in particular women and
children, supplementing the United Political Rights and Participation in Public Life abilities and to engage in all areas of public life. This suggests
Nations Convention Against that women’s rights are dynamic and should continue to be
Transnational Organized Crime, Under Article 7, State Parties to CEDAW “shall take all developed until women have reached their full potential in
Article 5.
appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against political, economic, family, and social life as well as in access
21 Ibidem, Article 3(a). women in the political and public life of the country”. This to health.
36 Rights guaranteed in the Convention on the Elimination Rights guaranteed in the Convention on the Elimination 37
of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

Right to Education
B. The quota system is based on the idea of allocating a specific
minimum quota for women in different institutions or Article 10 of CEDAW deals with equality in education, requiring
during elections. Jordan, for example has allocated a State Parties to take all appropriate measures to ensure equality
minimum number of parliamentary seats for women. This in this field and especially to ensure gender equality in
is a temporary measure that should encourage the full vocational education, and enrolment in educational institutions
participation of women in Jordanian political life, and that of all levels and types. Article 10 also ensures equality in the
should be discontinued once this goal has been achieved. school curricula, quality of facilities, educational services, and
standards of teaching including levels of qualifications, access to
grants and educational loans, and the reduction in dropout rates
Right to Nationality among female students.

This article calls on State Parties to eliminate gender


The Convention recognises in Article 9, that women have “equal stereotyping within the school system. This should occur at
rights with men to acquire, change or retain their nationality. all stages of education and requires a revision of curricula
They shall ensure in particular that neither marriage to an and teaching methods to achieve this goal, in addition to the
alien nor change of nationality by the husband during marriage dissemination of the principles and basic concepts contained in
shall automatically change the nationality of the wife, render the Convention.
her stateless or force upon her the nationality of the husband”.
In other words, the Convention guarantees women the right to Under Article 10, it is not permissible, for example, to direct girls
retain their own nationality and rejects automatic changes in towards a particular career, while directing the boys to other
nationalities in relation to the husbands' nationality. careers, based on gender roles. Curricula, content and teaching
methods that prioritise men, or encourage the discrimination
Additionally, Article 9(2) guarantees that women are equal of women are also prohibited. Examples of this include the
to men with respect to passing their nationality onto their portrayal of women as housewives and men as university
children. All Arab Countries have made a reservation to this professors, ministers or ambassadors.
article, with the exception of Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt and Iraq.
The national law of most Arab States does not recognise maternal Article 10 of CEDAW is closely linked to Article 13 of the ICESCR,
jus sanguinis as a basis for acquiring nationality. Attaining which addresses the right to education, obliging States to provide
citizenship is contingent upon, and restricted to paternal jus free primary education for all. The Committee on Economic,
sanguinis. This creates a clear distinction between men and Social and Cultural Rights relates the right to education to
women, where the father can pass his nationality to children by articles 2(2) and 3, and then interprets such articles “in the
virtue of law, while the mother does not have the same right. light of the UNESCO Convention Against Discrimination in
Education, the relevant provisions of the Convention on the
Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the
International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
22 General Comment No. 13 on
Racial Discrimination, the Convention on the Rights of the Child
Article 13 of the International
and the ILO Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention, 1989 Covenant on Economic, Social and
(Convention No. 169)” 22. Cultural Rights, paragraphs 33-34.
38 Rights guaranteed in the Convention on the Elimination Rights guaranteed in the Convention on the Elimination 39
of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

Employment Rights Right to Health


Article 11 obligates the States Parties to take all appropriate Women’s health can be defined as “women’s spiritual, emotional,
measures and procedures to remove all forms of discrimination cultural, and physical well-being, and is determined by the
in employment, and to recognize women’s labour rights as equal social, political, cultural and economic context of women’s lives,
to those of men. Some of these rights are: as well as by biology”24 . Health is a holistic concept covering the
physical in addition to social, cultural and political factors which
1. The right of women to work, and the right to choose a impact health. This means that health provision should take into
profession; account all these features.
2. The right to enjoy the same employment opportunities
available to men under the same criteria for appointment; Article 12 of CEDAW guarantees equal rights in the provision of
3. The right to obtain the same benefits as men, including health care services. It recognises the right of women to access
promotion, security, access to training and qualification appropriate health care services in connection with pregnancy,
required to work; confinement and post-natal care, granting free services where
4. Equal pay for equal value, with equality in social security and necessary, as well as adequate nutrition during pregnancy and
the same access to paid leave as men; lactation. This article, therefore, includes rights that apply
5. The right to health protection and safety conditions of exclusively to women.
employment, including the protection of the reproductive
women; The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against
6. Prohibition of dismissal from work due to pregnancy, Women in its General Recommendation No. 12 (1989) indicated
maternity leave or marital status; violence against women as causing a negative impact on women’s
7. The right to special protection during pregnancy, particularly health. It recommends that State Parties provide support services
if the work is harmful to the pregnancy. for women who are victims of assault or abuse.

Article 11 of the Convention contains an important requirement In its General Recommendation No. 14 (1990), the Committee has
for State Parties: they have to review legislation in the light of raised concerns on the impact that some ‘traditional’ practices,
developments in scientific and technological knowledge. such as female genital mutilation, have on the health of women.
It therefore called on State Parties to take appropriate and
There is a fundamental question related to labour rights of effective measures to eradicate these harmful practices.
women that is left unclear by CEDAW: is domestic work or work
undertaken by rural women covered under Article 11? Articles Among other topics addressed by the Committee regarding
11 and 14 of CEDAW continue to distinguish between the public a women’s right to health is the prevention of the Acquired
23 H. Charlesworth, C. Chinkin, and private sectors of women’s work. This has prompted some Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). General Recommendation
S. Wright, Feminist Approaches
to International Law, A J I L, to argue that the labour provisions included in CEDAW are No. 15 (1990) urged States to pay special attention to the rights
Vol.85,1991, pp.613-645. inadequate23 . and needs of women and children when devising their strategies
and programmes to control the spread of AIDS, taking into 24 Qurtaji, Women in the UN
account factors related to reproductive health of women and System. An Islamic Perspective,
Beirut: University Foundation for
women’s status in some societies, which makes them particularly Studies and Publications, 2006,
vulnerable to AIDS. p. 349.
40 Rights guaranteed in the Convention on the Elimination Rights guaranteed in the Convention on the Elimination 41
of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

Economic Rights tribunal procedure. State Parties to the Convention are bound With regard to the freedom
to guarantee that men and women possess the same rights with of movement and the choice
of place of residence, Jordan,
In addition to the right to work, set out in Article 11 and regard to freedom of movement and the freedom to choose
Algeria, Bahrain, Syria and
explained above, Article 13 affirms that State Parties should residence and domicile. Morocco have all placed
eliminate economic discrimination against women, including a reservation on Article
the right to access to the family benefits, the right to bank loans, There is no doubt that laws in force in many Arab and Islamic 15(4). However, as of 2008,
mortgages and other forms of financial credit. countries, including those derived from Islamic law, recognise Morocco has withdrawn
all its reservations to the
the rights of women to financial independence, including full
Convention while Jordan
Article 14, requires “State Parties to take all appropriate entitlement to conclude contracts, and to own funds. With withdrew its reservation to
measures to eliminate discrimination against women in regard to the freedom of movement and the choice of place of this article in 2009.
rural areas in order to ensure, on the basis of equality of men residence, Jordan, Algeria, Bahrain, Syria and Morocco have
and women, that they participate in and benefit from rural all placed a reservation on Article 15(4). However, as of 2008,
development and, in particular, shall ensure to such women the Morocco has withdrawn all its reservations to the Convention
right [to]:" while Jordan withdrew its reservation to this article in 2009.

1. Participate in the elaboration and implementation of Human rights instruments including CEDAW have recognised
development planning at all levels; women’s right to marriage and a family life25 . Article 16 of
2. Benefit directly from social security programmes; CEDAW determines a women’s right to enter marriage, the right
3. Obtain functional literacy skills and increase their technical to choose a spouse freely and with full consent, and equality of
proficiency; the sexes within the marriage.
4. Organise self-help groups and co-operatives in order to obtain
equal access to economic opportunities through employment There is no shared international definition of family. The
or self employment. difficulty with the concept of family relates primarily to
religious, cultural and social factors. For example, in terms of
Article 14 has obligated State Parties to take all appropriate criteria for determining what constitutes marital relationship,
measures to ensure the application of the provisions of the the legal systems of the State Parties differ. These differences
Convention for rural women. It is noted that the Convention primarily relate to the age of marriage, if the marriage contract
emphasises that the work of rural women must be paid for. can be terminated, and same-sex marriage. Legal systems in the
Arab and Islamic countries do not recognise the latter type of
marriage, for example.
Equality in civil matters, marriage and family
There are other challenges relating to family rights, such as
life national legislation relating to citizenship rights when entering
Article 15 of the Convention recognises the equality between marriage with an alien and within intra-family relationships.
women and men before the law. It also recognises that women Perhaps this difficulties and differences explain why the 25 See articles No. 11 of the Universal
have a legal capacity identical to that of men and the same drafters of CEDAW chose to allow States to determine their own Declaration of Human Rights, No. 23
opportunities to exercise such capacity. In particular, it gives definition of family. of the International Covenant on
Civil and Political Rights and No.
women equal rights to conclude contracts and to administer Article 16 of the Convention asserts the principle of equality 12 of the European Convention of
property, treating them equally in all stages of court and between women and men in all matters relating to marriage Human Rights.
42 Rights guaranteed in the Convention on the Elimination Rights guaranteed in the Convention on the Elimination 43
of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

Despite the fact that Article and family relations, stressing that women have the same rights Recommendation No. 12 in paragraph 8 (1989), requests State CEDAW does not include
16 attempted to find common and responsibilities that are granted to men at the time of Parties to the Convention to include information concerning provisions that directly address
grounds between different the issue of violence against
concluding the marriage contract, during marriage and in the legislation implemented to protect women from all forms of
legal systems, it is the subject women. The Committee
to many reservations, in occurrence of its dissolution. It is also emphasised that women violence, including sexual violence, abuse within the family and has addressed this topic in
particular by a number of Arab and men have the same rights and responsibilities as parents, sexual harassment, in their periodical reports to the Committee. General Recommendations.
and Islamic countries, such as: irrespective of their marital status, in matters relating to their No. 12 (1989), and No. 19(1992).
Jordan, Algeria, Tunisia, Iraq, children, and in all cases the best interests of the child should The Committee used General Recommendation No. 19 (1992) It stated that violence
Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, against women is a form of
prevail. Women are also given the same right to decide freely to clarify the State Parties obligation to eliminate all forms of
Egypt, Bahrain and Syria. discrimination that falls under
Morocco withdrew its and responsibly on the number and spacing of their children and violence against women within the framework of CEDAW, both Article 1 of the Convention.
reservation to this article in in matters of custody, guardianship of children and adoption. in the private and public sphere. The Committee stated that
2008. These reservations have violence against women is a form of discrimination that falls
sparked wide-ranging legal Despite the fact that Article 16 attempted to find common under Article 1 of the Convention 27. The Committee therefore
arguments, as they violate
Article 28(2) of the
grounds between different legal systems, it is the subject to deals with violence against women under the principle that it
Convention. many reservations, in particular by a number of Arab and is a form of discrimination, and does not consider it an issue
Islamic Countries, such as: Jordan, Algeria, Tunisia, Iraq, Kuwait, independent from the core principles of CEDAW. The Committee
Lebanon, Libya, Egypt, Bahrain and Syria. Morocco withdrew also emphasises that violence against women constitutes a
its reservation to this article in 2008. These reservations have violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms that places
sparked wide-ranging legal arguments, as they violate Article limitations on the enjoyment of those rights28.
28(2) of the Convention. Rights related to family and marriage
remain the most controversial and disputed aspects of the The first article of the UN Declaration for the Elimination of
Convention. Violence Against Women (1993) defines violence against women
as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely
to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering
Prohibition of Violence Against Women to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary
deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private
CEDAW does not include provisions that directly address the life”. Violence against women therefore encompasses any forms
issue of violence against women. Subsequent documents, of physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring within
however, have addressed this issue, particularly the Beijing the family, the community or committed by the State29 .
Declaration presented at the Fourth World Conference on
Women (1995). Previously, in 1994, in an international effort to The Declaration also stated that human rights that may be
combat violence against women, the United Nations appointed a negatively affected by violence against women include: the right
Special Rapporteur on violence against women. The Rapportuer to life, the right to equal protection before the law, the right to
26 Integration of the Human has produced various reports including descriptions of forms liberty and security of person, the prohibition of all forms of
Rights of Women and the
Gender Perspective – Violence
of violence against women in addition to presenting possible discrimination, the right to health, the right to just conditions
Against Women, Report of the frameworks to ensure protection for women 26. of work and the prohibition of torture and other inhuman, cruel, 27 General Recommendation No.
Special Rapporteur on violence 19, supra note 19, para. 4.
and degrading treatment.
against women, its causes and
consequences - 27/02/ 2003, E/ The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against The Declaration for the Elimination of Violence Against Women 28 Ibidem, Para. 5.
CN.4/2003/75/Add. Women has also addressed the deficiencies of the Convention urged States to work seriously to prevent acts of violence
29 UN Declaration for the
through the use of General Recommendations. General against women, to criminalise it and to determine appropriate Elimination of Violence against
punishments. Women (1993), Article 2.
44 Rights guaranteed in the Convention on the Elimination Rights guaranteed in the Convention on the Elimination 45
of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

The Declaration for the Within regional mechanisms, in 1994, the Organization of The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, in the Akayesu
Elimination of Violence American States (OAS) approved the Convention to Prevent and Case (1998), found the defendant criminally responsible for
Against Women stated that Eradicate Violence Against Women and established punishments acts of rape and sexual violence33 . The Court defined rape as “a
human rights that may be
negatively affected by violence for it30. A second additional protocol to the African Charter on physical invasion of a sexual nature, committed on a person
against women include: the Human and Peoples Rights on the Rights' of Women in Africa has under circumstances which are coercive”, and defined sexual
right to life, the right to equal also been adopted. This Protocol was inspired by concepts and violence as “not limited to physical invasion of the human
protection before the law, the basic principles contained in various international instruments body” but it “may include acts which do not involve [...] even
right to liberty and security
on women, most importantly it details the obligation of State physical contact”34 . The International Criminal Tribunal for
of person, the prohibition of
all forms of discrimination, Parties to criminalise “harmful practices, whatever their the Former Yugoslavia has confirmed that whether or not an
the right to health, the right form or appearance that would harm the rights of women, action amounts to rape or sexual assault does not depend on
to just conditions of work and fundamental freedoms, and contrary to recognized international the degree of physical force used on the offending party, or on
the prohibition of torture and standards”. It makes clear that violence against women includes the level of resistance given by the victim but it is a “compelling
other inhuman, cruel, and
degrading treatment
any practices resulting in harm to women, including those circumstance, which denies any possibility of consent”35 .
practices that are justified on the basis of tradition, religion or
culture. This concept supports the vision of the Human Rights
Committee who argued that States may not use traditional,
historical, cultural or social norms to justify violations of
women’s rights31.

The prohibition of violence against women obviously includes


rape and sexual violence, in certain occasions these can amount
to torture. For example, the European Court of Human Rights,
when adjudicating on the case of Agdin vs. the State of Turkey
30 See http://www.oas.org/
juridico/English/treaties/a-61.html (1997), determined that the rape of the complainant while in 33 Prosecutor v. Akayesu, ICTR-
the custody of a policeman constituted a form of torture under 96-4-T, Judgment of 2/09/1998.
31 Human Rights Committee
Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights32.
General Comment No. 28, Equality 34 Ibidem, para.688, in the
of rights between men and women same case see for example “the
(article 3), 29/03/2000, CCPR/C/21/ In addition, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal incident described by Witness KK
Rev.1/Add.10, para. 5. Similar views in which the Accused ordered the
were expressed by other UN bodies;
Court has included rape and other sexual violence of civilians
Interahamwe to undress a student
in this regard see United Nations as constituting crimes against humanity when committed in and force her to do gymnastics
General Assembly, Sixty-first the context of a large scale/systematic attacks. Depending on naked in the public courtyard [. . .] in
session, Intensification of efforts front of a crowd, constitutes sexual
to eliminate all forms of violence
the context, these violations can also amount to war crimes and violence”.
against women, A/RES/61/143, acts of genocide. Both the International Criminal Tribunal for
30/01/2007. the Former Yugoslavia and International Criminal Tribunal for 35 Prosecutor v. Kunarac and
others, IT-96-32 and IT-96-23/H-A,
32 ECrHR, Agdin v. Turkey, Rwanda adopted this approach in relation to rape and sexual Judgments of the appeals chamber,
25/09/1997, para. 86. violence. 12/6/2002, para. 32.
CEDAW identifies mechanisms to ensure
the compliance of the State Parties to the
Convention and its provisions. The creation of
the Committee on Elimination of Discrimination
Against Women (the Committee) is an example
of such mechanisms.
CEDAW determines a number of key functions
to be performed by the Committee which
were expanded through the adoption of the
Optional Protocol to CEDAW in 1999 (OP). The
OP allows, for examples, individual complaints
to be submitted to the Committee, as well

3 Guarantees
as permitting the Committee to conduct
of Control investigations in the practices of the State
and Supervision of the Parties to the Protocol.
Implementation of the
Convention
48 Guarantees of Control and Supervision Guarantees of Control and Supervision 49
of the Implementation of the Convention of the Implementation of the Convention

Committee on the Elimination of According to Article 20(1) of CEDAW, the Committee is to


Discrimination Against Women meet for a period not exceeding two weeks annually, in order
to consider the reports from State Parties. The UN General
The primary function of the Article 17 of CEDAW created an oversight committee to monitor Assembly has extended this period through the use of several
Committee is to control and the implementation of the Convention. The Committee consists successive resolutions. Thus, the Committee now meets for two
supervise the implementation
of 23 experts, who are elected by secret ballot by the State sessions a year, lasting three weeks each.
of the Convention through
the consideration of reports Parties to the Convention, from a list of persons of high moral
submitted by State Parties, standing and competence in the field covered by the Convention. In 1991, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination
and in the case that State The Committee may not include more than one person from Against Women formed a pre-session Working Group. This
Parties to the Optional each State Party and have to meet the criteria of an equitable group is composed of four or five Committee members who
Protocol to receive individual
geographical distribution. This ensures that the Committee meet before the session of the Committee to prepare the agenda
communications, and conduct
investigations into their members represent a diverse cultural and legal spectrum. and the questions that will be raised by the Committee to the
practices. Members of the Committee work in their personal capacity, not States during the session. The agenda and the list of questions
as representatives of the State Parties they are nationals of. The are sent, in writing, to the relevant States. In December 2001,
membership term lasts four years, and members can be re- the Committee approved some modified rules of procedure
elected once their term has elapsed. regarding the new functions assigned to the Committee under
the Optional Protocol to the Convention. The new rules contain
In contrast to the other human rights treaty bodies, the members regulations for the establishment of working groups and
of the Committee are mostly women. Members represent a broad rapporteurs to assist the Committee to carry out its additional
spectrum of experts, including judges, academics, lawyers, functions and tasks, including responding to the requests for
and experts in psychology and sociology. In accordance with urgent measures and examine the admissibility of individual
the procedural rules of the Committee, the Chairperson and communications.
Vice-Chairperson shall be elected by its members. The role
of the Chairperson has evolved to increasingly represent the
Committee at various international activities and events. Reports of States Parties
The primary function of the Committee is to control and Article 18 of CEDAW obliges State Parties to submit an initial
supervise the implementation of the Convention through the report within one year from the Convention entering into force
consideration of reports submitted by State Parties, and in the in their jurisdiction. Subsequently, they shall provide periodic
case that State Parties to the Optional Protocol receive individual reports every four years, and/or whenever the Committee
communications, and conduct investigations into their practices. requests them to do so. According to Article 18, the reports
of the States Parties shall include “the legislative, judicial,
Article 21 of CEDAW authorises the Committee to make administrative, and any other measures, which they have
suggestions and General Recommendations based on concerns adopted to give effect to the provisions of the […] Convention”,
and considerations which arise from the examination of as well as indicate any other progress they have made, with
reports and information received from the States. General particular reference to the list of issues that the Committee
Recommendations are issued to State Parties and include the compiled in response to the previous periodical report. The
Committee’s views on the content and scope of the obligations of reporting procedure is the only mandatory method available to
States Parties under the Convention. the human rights treaty bodies of the United Nations to monitor
50 Guarantees of Control and Supervision Guarantees of Control and Supervision 51
of the Implementation of the Convention of the Implementation of the Convention

The importance of reporting: the implementation of the core human rights conventions. reports are intended to be a detailed and comprehensive State Parties must differentiate
1. Reporting contributes to Compelling States to report intends to achieve a number of description of the situation of women in the reporting country between initial reports and
increase compliance by periodic reports. Initial reports
objectives, including: at the time of submission. These reports should address the
States Parties to CEDAW; should introduce relevant
constitutional, legislative and administrative status of the legislation, policies and
2. It helps build a 1. Reporting contributes to increased compliance by States Convention in the domestic system. Reports also usually indicate practices, while periodic are
constructive dialogue intended to provide updates on
Parties to CEDAW, and to improve States practice in relation the legislative measures taken by the State Party in ensuring
between State Parties actions and measures taken by
and the Committee on to the Convention at the national level. the effective enjoyment of the rights guaranteed to individuals
the State Parties to enforce the
the application of the 2. The process of examining the reports by the Committee subject to the its jurisdiction. Convention.
Convention. provides an opportunity to build a constructive dialogue
3. The preparation of the between State Parties and the Committee on the application The primary purpose of the periodic report is to provide a
reports provides the State of the Convention. presentation of the actions and measures taken by the State
with an opportunity to
engage with the exact
3. The preparation of the reports provides the State with an Parties to enforce the Convention in the period between the
nature, content and opportunity to engage with the exact nature, content and initial report, or the previous periodic report, and the current
scope of its international scope of its international obligations under CEDAW, and to one. State Parties are required to address: concerns raised by
obligations under the undertake a thorough evaluation of the condition of the rights the Committee in its concluding observations of the previous
CEDAW, and to undertake
of women at the domestic level. Reporting is also an opportune report, the progress made in enforcing the provisions of the
a thorough evaluation of
the condition of the rights moment for State Parties to undertake a comprehensive review Convention, and persisting obstacles to the full implementation
of women at the domestic of the various measures they have undertaken to put the of the Convention. If the State Party is a signatory of the Optional
level. provisions of the Convention into practice. Protocol to CEDAW, the State shall report on the measures taken
4. It contributes to provide 4. The concluding observations adopted by the Committee, after to comply with the Committee’s views and recommendations
states with practical and examining the report, will contain a number of guidelines on any relevant individual communication or any inquiry
direct advice on how to
for State Parties on how to strengthen measures, policies, procedure undertaken by the Committee.
strengthen measures,
policies, programmes programmes and legislation, and to optimally implement the
and legislation, and to Convention.
optimally implement the
Convention
Examination of Reports
Models and Content of Initial and Periodic In every session, the Committee establishes the State Parties
who will have their reports considered during the following
Reports three sessions. The State Parties concerned are required to
The Committee has adopted guidelines for the preparation of declare their acceptance of the deadline. Reports are generally
initial and periodic reports by State Parties. The most important considered in the presence of the State Party, however should
principles contained in these guidelines are: to consider the it miss the allocated discussion period twice in a row, the
previous recommendations of the Committee, to include detailed Committee may consider the report in the absence of the State
and comprehensive information on any reservation issued by the concerned. This option however has never been used yet.
State Party concerned, and to indicate any obstacle or objection
which may/does affect the full application of one or more Should additional information be required after the submission
provisions of the Convention. of a report, the Committee can request this three months prior
With regard to the form and content of reports there is a to consideration of the reports. The Committee shall consider
differentiation between the initial and periodic reports. Initial the report at a public meeting attended by the delegation of the
52 Guarantees of Control and Supervision Guarantees of Control and Supervision 53
of the Implementation of the Convention of the Implementation of the Convention

State Party or its representatives. In this occasion, the Committee Special Reports
seeks to engage in a constructive dialogue with the State Party to
improve the implementation of the Convention. Article 18(1)(b) of CEDAW requires State Parties to the Convention The Committee on the
to submit reports to the Committee, whenever requested to do Elimination of All Forms
of Discrimination Against
In occasion of the discussion of the initial report, a delegation so. In 1999, the Committee determined that the primary purpose
Women adopts General
or a representative of the State Party has 45 minutes to present of requesting such reports is enabling the Committee to obtain Recommendations on
the report to the Committee. Subsequently the members of the information on possible grave violations of women’s rights36. some of the articles set
Committee present their general observations and comments on forth in CEDAW, or on topics
the report, and then discuss it item by item. Subsequently the Specifically this reporting procedure is conditional on the relevant to the Convention
and its mandate. They are
members of the Committee present their general observations existence of reliable evidence of systematic and gross violations considered to be instructions
and comments on the report. The State Party may provide of human rights of women, and such violations must be on to assist State Parties in
verbal responses to questions raised, although it is customary to the basis of sex. Once the report has been submitted, the understanding the nature
postpone this part of the meeting for a week in order to allow Committee sets a date to discuss it. The meeting is conducted and scope of obligations
arising from the Convention
the delegation time to prepare the answers. with the specific mandate of addressing the information that
with the ultimate goal of
has been requested by the Committee. Post-meeting discussions facilitating implementation.
With respect to the periodic reports, a pre-session working occur between the Committee and the representative of the
group reviews and develops a list of questions and issues that State concerned. The Committee provides brief concluding
should be presented to the State Party concerned for further observations on the report.
information and clarification. After this the Committee will allow
a five months period before the deadline for the discussion. In
consideration of the report, the delegation of the State Party shall General Recommendations
produce and carry out a 30 minute presentation. The members
of the Committee will ask questions concerning the status of the The Committee on the Elimination of All Forms
implementation of the Convention to which the delegation should of Discrimination Against Women adopts General
answer. The Committee then composes its concluding observations Recommendations on some of the articles set forth in CEDAW,
on the report in a private meeting. The concluding observations or on topics relevant to the Convention and its mandate. They
are considered to be the collective views of the Committee; these are considered to be instructions to assist State Parties in
are both communicated to the State and published. understanding the nature and scope of obligations arising
from the Convention with the ultimate goal of facilitating
The final recommendations are significant, considering that implementation.
they constitute a set of directives and guidelines that the State
Party concerned should adhere to when working towards the As of 2008, the Committee has produced 26 General
implementation of the Convention at the national level. As Recommendations on relevant topics, such as violence against
mentioned above, these observations should be taken into women, women migrant workers, the preferential interim
account when preparing the following periodic reports. measures mechanisms and the political participation of women.
36 Committee on the Elimination of
In 1997, the Committee has identified three stages for the All Forms of Discrimination Against
Women, twenty first session,
formulation and adoption of general recommendations. This decision 21/I 1999, Exceptional
includes undertaking dialogue between the Committee, reports, page 2.
54 Guarantees of Control and Supervision Guarantees of Control and Supervision 55
of the Implementation of the Convention of the Implementation of the Convention

Optional Protocols are NGOs and other bodies concerned with the subject of the Content of the Protocol
contractual instruments general recommendation. The Committee normally urges the
related to existing
relevant international agencies to be part of the debate as well. Article 1 of the Optional Protocol recognises the competence The Optional Protocol is
Conventions. Their main
Subsequently, the members of the Committee develop a draft of the Committee to receive and deal with individual characterised, in terms of
purpose is to address gaps
of the general recommendation; this will be subject to extensive content and provisions by
in the Convention, to modify communications. Articles 3 and 4 deal with the conditions
distinctive features, including:
one or more of its provisions discussion at the subsequent drafting session. The Committee of admissibility of the communication. Article 5 allows the
or to tackle issues that have 1. Reservations to any of its
may also invite experts to participate to this session. Finally, Committee to contact the State Party with an urgent request
emerged since the original provisions are not allowed
the Committee shall adopt the completed text of the general to take steps to protect the alleged victim or victims from (Art. 17);
drafting of the document.
recommendation. irreparable harm. Articles 6 and 7 address the mechanisms 2. State Parties are required
The option of signing,
ratifying or acceding to the for consideration of the individual communication by the to take all appropriate
Protocol is at the discretion Committee. Article 7(5) authorises the Committee to follow-up measures to ensure that
no harm occurs to these
of each State Party to the
relevant Convention.
The Optional Protocol with the State Party concerning its compliance with the views
submitting a complaint
or recommendations made by the Committee. under the OP (Art. 11);
3. The Committee has the
Optional Protocols are contractual instruments related to The inquiry procedure is detailed under Article 8, 9 and 10 of explicit power to follow up
existing Conventions. Their main purpose is to address gaps in the Protocol. Article 10 provides an opt-out clause: at the moment with Sate Parties;
the relevant Convention, to modify one or more of its provisions of ratification, State Parties may choose not to recognise the 4. The complaint mechanism
or to tackle issues that have emerged since the original drafting competence of the Committee to initiate and conduct an inquiry provides a means of remedy
of the document. The option of signing, ratifying or acceding of this kind. for victims of violations of
rights guaranteed under
to the Protocol is at the discretion of each State Party to the
CEDAW;
relevant Convention. The protocol is characterised, in terms of content and provisions,
5. The inquiry procedure
by distinctive features which include: allows the Committee
The fundamental feature of the OP to CEDAW is that it to make specific
introduces instruments to strengthen the implementation 1. State Parties who desire to sign, ratify or accede to the Protocol recommendations that
mechanisms available to the Committee, namely an individual are not permitted to make any reservation to any of its contribute to removing
the core causes of
communication (or complaint) mechanism and an inquiry provisions, as set out in Article 17. discrimination.
procedure.
2. States Parties are required, under Article 11, to take all
The General Assembly of the United Nations adopted the appropriate measures to ensure that no harm occurs to those
Optional Protocol on 9 October 1999, and it entered into force on subject to its jurisdiction, for submitting a complaint under
22 December 2000. As of May 2009 the only two Arab States Party the Protocol.
to the Protocol, are Tunisia and Libya37.
3. The Committee has the explicit power to follow up the
The Preamble to the Protocol identifies its primary purpose opinions and recommendations expressed under the Protocol
as “ensure[ing] the full and equal enjoyment by women of all with the State Party concerned.
37 As of June 2009, 97 countries
human rights and fundamental freedoms and to take effective
acceded to the Optional Protocol. action to prevent violations of these rights and freedoms”. 4. The complaint mechanism provides a means of remedy for
victims of violations of rights guaranteed under CEDAW.
Moreover, it allows the Committee to determine the
56 Guarantees of Control and Supervision Guarantees of Control and Supervision 57
of the Implementation of the Convention of the Implementation of the Convention

obligations of State Parties to the Convention on the basis the submission of a complaint on behalf of an individual or
of the information presented in the individual complaint. group of individuals, subject to their consent. This is a very
important measure as it provides protection for woman in the
5. This protocol, thanks to the inquiry procedure, allows the event of reprisals, including revenge actions and allows them
Committee to make specific recommendations that contribute to overcome the obstacle of illiteracy, which may impede the
to removing the core causes that lead to discrimination victim from submitting an individual communication.
against women
2. Temporal jurisdiction: in principle, the Committee does not
have the jurisdiction to consider any communication that
Individual Communications deals with a breach of a right guaranteed by the Convention
which occurred prior to the Optional Protocol entering into
force38. An exception is made for ongoing violations. Violations
The individual communication process detailed under the OP which occurred before the State Party acceded to the OP, but
to CEDAW establishes in Article 2 that “communications may whose effect continues after the OP enters into force can be
be submitted by or on the behalf of individuals or groups of considered by the Committee.
individuals subject to the jurisdiction of a State Party claiming
to be victims of a violation of the rights set forth in the 3. Territorial jurisdiction: the Committee shall consider
Convention by the State Party”. individual communications concerning violations of the
Convention that took place within the jurisdiction of the
State Party concerned. The notion of jurisdiction should be
Conditions of Admissibility of Individual interpreted extensively, in line with other treaty bodies such
as the Committee on Human Rights39 , and the Committee
Communications against Torture40. This approach means that the victim can
Article 6 of the OP establishes that in order to ensure that the be someone who is residing in the territory of the State, or is
Committee can take action on individual communications, a citizen of the State Party although he/she resides outside its
the complaint should comply with a set of requirements that territory, or it is someone within the territory of the state but
determine its admissibility. If the case does not meet these not a citizen (e.g. resident). 38 Optional Protocol to CEDAW,
requirements then the Committee does not have the mandate Article 4(2)(e).
to proceed. Admissibility criteria are dealt with before analysing 4. Subject-matter jurisdiction: the subject of individual
39 M. Yousuf, M. K. Al-Moussa,
the merit of the complaints: communication must be a violation of a right protected International Law of Human
under CEDAW. Such violation may be carried out by public Rights, Part I: Sources and Means
of Protection, Amman : House
1. Jurisdiction of the Committee: the individual complaints authorities itself; or by individuals where the authorities of Culture for Publishing and
should be submitted against a State Party to the Optional fail to take appropriate measures to ensure the respect for Distribution, 2005, p. 265 ff.
Protocol. As the individual complaint is a feature of this the rights protected under the Convention. This is very clear
40 M. K. Al-Moussa, Guide for the
mechanism, the complaint should be submitted by an in Article 2(e) of the Convention, which considers that State Application of the United Nations
individual or group of people whose rights have been violated Parties are required to: “take all appropriate measures to Convention against Torture and
by a State Party to the Protocol and/or by a person/group of eliminate discrimination against women by any person, Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading
Treatment or Punishments, Amman:
people who were subject to the jurisdiction of the State Party organization or enterprise”. States Parties are responsible Adalah Center for Human Rights
at the time of the violation. Article 2 of the Protocol, permits for the protection of the rights set out in the convention Studies, 2008, p. 29 et seq.
58 Guarantees of Control and Supervision Guarantees of Control and Supervision 59
of the Implementation of the Convention of the Implementation of the Convention

vertically, in the public sphere, and horizontally, in the The subject of communication may cross the jurisdiction of
private sphere. the Committee on Human Rights, the Committee Against
Torture, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination
In terms of subject-matter admissibility, it is essential to note Against Women and the European Court of Human Rights, for
that the rights protected under the Convention are considered example, however the victim has to choose one of those bodies
in terms of the contents and scope of CEDAW, interpreted by to submit the communication to.
the Committee. For example, the Committee has interpreted
Article 1 of the Convention to include violence against 7. Not to abuse the mechanisms for submitting complaints: for
women, although there is not specific reference to violence this reason, the protocol stipulated that the communication
within the Convention. If the subject of the individual should be in writing, not be anonymous, have merit or be
communication is violence against women, the complaints supported by sufficient evidence and consistent with the
cannot be rejected on the ground of not meeting the subject provisions of the Convention.
matter admissibility criteria because the Committee considers
violence against women to be a violation of the Convention
Consideration of Individual Communications
5. The exhaustion of all available domestic remedies: Article
4(1) of the OP establishes that all domestic remedies must
be exhausted before the complaint can be considered by Once the Committee has established that the communication
the Committee, as the State should be the primary body to is admissible, it will confidentially bring it to the attention of
protect human rights. National remedies include the national the State Party to try to and facilitate a national redress. The
judiciary and administration system. Article 4 indicates State Party shall settle the matter or provide clarification in
that this requirement is satisfied if the national “remedies is writing to the Committee within six months after receiving the
unreasonably prolonged or unlikely to bring effective relief”. communication from the Committee. In the case of a settlement,
the State Party must include the measure taken to solve the issue
6. The subject of the communication should not be under in its communication to the Committee41.
consideration by any similar international bodies or by
the Committee itself: Article 4(2)(a) of the Protocol indicates If the State fails or refuses to find an acceptable solution to
that the complaint is not admissible if the Committee, or any the issue, the Committee, in the light of data and information
other “procedure of international investigation or settlement” available, considers the communication. The examination
is considering or has previously considered the complaint. process is confidential. Following the completion of the
This applies to any similar international procedures, examination report, the Committee issues views, conclusions
including regional and international bodies concerned with and recommendations to the parties concerned. The State
the implementation of human rights conventions that have Party must examine the views and recommendations of the
individual complaint procedures. However this criterion Committee, and provide it with written explanation of any
does not apply to other international instruments that deal action taken in the light of these recommendations. The
with the general situation in a country or with a particular Committee shall include a summary of the communications in 41 The Optional Protocol to
issue, for example mechanisms established under ECOSOC its annual report. CEDAW, article 6.
resolution 1503.
60 Guarantees of Control and Supervision Guarantees of Control and Supervision 61
of the Implementation of the Convention of the Implementation of the Convention

The Protocol has recognised in Article 7(e), the authority of the the issue within a certain time frame. The committee is tasked
Committee to follow up with State Parties who have been subject with examining additional information, including from INGO’s,
to the complaints mechanism. This is usually done by requesting NGO’s, and UN agencies. The Committee may appoint one or
that the State Party provides information about this matter in more of its members to conduct an investigation, and to report
their subsequent periodical reports. back in a timely manner. The investigation may include a visit to
the State Party concerned upon obtaining its consent.
Examples of issues that can potentially be subject to an
individual complaint are: the loss of nationality due to marriage After examining the findings, the Committee transmits this
to a non-national; the case of impeded access to courts due to information to the State Party concerned, along with any
patriarchal systems which tie the rights of women to their comments or recommendations on the subject. The State
husbands; arbitrary termination of employment or being denied Party concerned will be given a period of six months to
employment due to pregnancy or the potential of being/getting make observations or to resolve the issues pertaining to the
pregnant. investigation. Article 9 of the Protocol grants the Committee
the power to request that the State Party concerned include
information on the measures taken to respond to the
Inquiry Procedure investigation findings in its periodical reports, in accordance
with Article 18 of the Convention.
The inquiry procedure outlined in Articles 8, 9 and 10 of the
Optional Protocol to CEDAW is similar to that contained in Some cases that require the use of the inquiry procedure may
Article 20 of the Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, be: the case of a State Party to the Convention that imposes
Inhuman or Degrading Treatment. As mentioned above, states extensive restrictions on the political participation of women,
might decide to opt out of this mechanism through a declaration cases in which the State Party assists through act or omission
at the time of signature, ratification or accession. The State may the phenomenon of trafficking in women, or the occurrence
withdraw its declaration at any time by notifying the Secretary- of widespread rape during armed conflict or the exposure of
General of the United Nations. women to widespread violence.

This procedure requires, in Article 8, that “If the Committee


receives reliable information indicating grave or systematic
violations by a State Party of rights set forth in the Convention,
the Committee shall invite that State Party to cooperate in
the examination of the information and to this end to submit
observations with regard to the information concerned”.

The source of this information may be non-governmental


organisations (NGOs), associations concerned with women’s
rights or any individual. Upon receiving such information,
the Committee invites the State Party concerned to provide
comments, state a position and provide explanations regarding
Jordan ratified CEDAW in July 199242. The
Convention was published in the Official
Gazette on 1 August 2007, Volume No. 4839, a
considerable time after ratification, becoming
part of the legal system of Jordan. As of 2009,
Jordan has provided the Committee on the
Elimination of Discrimination Against Women
with three reports; the last one was submitted
on 10 March 200643.
There are a number of topics and key
issues to be addressed when examining the
42 It should be noted that Jordan development of the Convention in Jordan, such
signed the Convention on 3/12/1980.
Between the signature and the as Jordan’s reservations to the Convention,
ratification 12 years passed by.
Jordan’s accession to the Optional Protocol

4 The Convention on the


Elimination of All Forms of
43 Jordan submitted its preliminary
report to the Executive Committee
on 27/10/1997. The second was
submitted on 19/11/1999 and the
and, most importantly, the status of the
Convention and its legal value in the Jordanian
third and fourth were merged legal system, as well as the harmonisation of
Discrimination Against Women
together in a single report and
presented on 10/3/2006. The fifth national legislation with Jordan’s obligations
report should have been submitted
in the Jordanian Legal System on 31/7/2009. under CEDAW.
64 The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination 65
Against Women in the Jordanian Legal System Against Women in the Jordanian Legal System

Jordan has made reservations to


some CEDAW provisions. They
Jordan’s Reservations to the Convention The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against
relate to Article 9 paragraph Women has stated on several occasions, that the reservations
2, Article 15 paragraph 4 and Jordan has made reservations to some CEDAW provisions. of Arab and Islamic countries, including Jordan, are in contrast
Article 16 paragraphs 1(c)(d)(g). They relate to Article 9 paragraph 2, Article 15 paragraph 4 with the purpose of the Convention. They also emphasised
Jordan withdrew its reservation
and Article 16 paragraphs 1(c)(d)(g). Jordan withdrew its their concern, with particular regard to Articles 2 and 16 of the
on Article 15 paragraph 4 in
2009. reservation on Article 15 paragraph 4 in 2009, which means Convention, which affect the raison d’être of the Convention
that it now adheres to the idea of equality between women itself 45 . Since 1998, the Committee has undertaken a constructive 45 Report of the Committee on
and men in regards to the freedom of movement and choice of dialogue with these countries to encourage them to withdraw the Elimination of Discrimination
against Women (Eighteenth and
residence, which was previously seen to be incompatible with these reservations. In the case of Jordan, this constructive
nineteenth sessions), 1998, A/53/38/
Jordanian law. For instance, previous to the withdrawal of this dialogue led, in 2009, to the withdrawal of the reservation to Rev.1, para 9.
reservation, a women’s residency depended upon that of her article 15(4) 46.
46 It should be noted that both
husband, in accordance with Islamic Law. Morocco and Bangladesh were
These reservations, despite the fact that they unlawfully contrive among the Islamic countries that
Jordan has maintained its reservation to the other two Articles. the ethos of the Convention, have not precluded Jordan from have withdrawn reservations
they previously made to some of
Article 9(2) recognises women’s equal rights with men in respect being a party to the Convention. Neither the Committee, nor the the provisions of the Convention.
to the nationality of their children. Article 16(1) paragraphs other State Parties, refused the validity of the application of the Among Non-Islamic or Arabic
(c)(d) and (g) establishes that “States Parties shall take all treaty in Jordan due to these reservations. The reservations made countries that have already done
the same are: Brazil, Bulgaria,
appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against by Jordan do not signal a rejection of the treaty, although they Canada, France, Hungary, Ireland,
women in all matters relating to marriage and family relations do make its compliance to CEDAW in its entirety, impossible. Jamaica, Malawi, Poland and
and in particular shall ensure, on a basis of equality of men and Despite these reservations, Jordan has embraced its commitment Romania.

women: (c) The same rights and responsibilities during marriage to the Convention, which is evident from its continued efforts to 47 Article 16 is an essential article of
and at its dissolution; (d) The same rights and responsibilities as give effect to the obligations arising from it in its national legal the Convention. Article 9 including
the provision of paragraph 2, which
parents, irrespective of their marital status, in matters relating system, including publishing the treaty in the Official Gazette, as
obligates States parties to the
to their children; in all cases the interests of the children shall well as withdrawing the reservation to article 15(4) 47. Convention to equality between
be paramount; (g) The same personal rights as husband and women and men in regards to the
nationality of their children, can
wife, including the right to choose a family name, a profession It can be suggested that Jordan’s reservations to particular
be considered an extension of the
and an occupation”. articles contained in CEDAW were not intended to undermine provisions contained in Article 16.
the spirit of the Convention itself; rather they reflect a temporary In fact, the latter includes an ad
hoc provision for equal rights in
Jordan has justified these reservations on the basis that they solution to respond to fundamental ideological, social, and marriage and the link between the
contravene Jordanian law and Islamic law in the field of family cultural factors at play in Jordan. As these obstacles are gradually two articles becomes evident when
rights. eroding, Jordan is beginning to withdraw or modify these considering that granting equal
rights in marriage implies granting
reservations accordingly. mothers to pass their nationality
It can be argued that the Jordanian reservations are illegal and to their children. This is confirmed
void 44 because are incompatible with the provision in Article It is essential to note that there is a legal differentiation between also by the Committee on Human
44 M. K. Al-Moussa, the Impact Rights, in its General Comment No.
28(2) of CEDAW, that does not authorise State Parties to make the consent to be bound by the Convention and the existence 28, para 25. See also article 30 of the
of Reservations Made by States,
"The Journal of Law", University of reservations which violates the objects and purposes of the of the reservations48. The reservation does not assume a lack Covenant (equality between men
Bahrain , 2006. Convention. of willingness to comply with the principles of CEDAW. This and women).

is evidenced through the fact that Jordan has withdrawn 48 M. K. Al-Moussa, supra note
its reservation to Article 15(4), as previously mentioned. The 44, p. 390.
66 The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination 67
Against Women in the Jordanian Legal System Against Women in the Jordanian Legal System

Article 33 of the Constitution legal and social challenges which have been an obstacle to the made to Article 33(2) retained only the two aforementioned The ratification procedure
gives the authority to realisation of the equality between women and men in the types. The Higher Council highlighted, considering the amended adopted by the Executive
conclude international treaties freedom of movement and choice of residence have changed, article, that treaties shall take effect without the need for Branch in Jordan to publish
exclusively to the King. CEDAW in the Official Gazette
Paragraph 2 of the same article
allowing the Jordanian state to remove the relevant reservation. consent of the Parliament unless resulting in changes in the bypassing Parliamentary
requires the consent of the territory of the state or its sovereignty, affect the public or approval, is in fact consistent
National Assembly in order to Generally speaking, it should be noted, that there have been private rights of Jordanians, or cause the treasury to incur some with Article 33 of the
bring into force “treaties and instances where the judiciary of a State Party to CEDAW has expenditure. If not resulting in such effects, the agreements Jordanian Constitution, and
agreements which involve brings the Convention into full
actually ruled that reservations to the Convention were invalid enter into force as soon as they are concluded by the Executive
financial commitments to the legal effect in the Jordanian
Treasury or effect the public or and that the State Party cannot reduce and separate its legal Branch. judicial system.
private rights of Jordanians”. obligations under CEDAW through the use of reservations49 ,
Treaties which do not fall into demonstrating that domestic courts may actually decide to act It is quite clear that the Higher Council for Interpretation of
these two categories come in this direction. the Constitution when considering Article 33(2) interprets
into effect as soon as they
the word masas to mean prejudice or to have a negative effect
are published in the Official
Gazette. upon the public and private rights of Jordanians, rather than
Incorporation of CEDAW into the Jordanian simply causing a change to these rights51. CEDAW, like other
human rights conventions, does not involve a threat or negative
Legal System change in the rights of Jordanians, by virtue of its object and
purpose. Therefore the Convention is exempt from requiring
The mechanisms to integrate international treaties and the authorisation of the Parliament to enter into force on these
conventions into the Jordanian Legal System are not specifically grounds.
defined by the Jordanian Constitution. Article 33 of the
Constitution gives the authority to conclude international The ratification procedure adopted by the Executive Branch
treaties exclusively to the King. Paragraph 2 of the same article in Jordan to publish CEDAW in the Official Gazette bypassing
requires the consent of the National Assembly in order to bring Parliamentary approval, is in fact consistent with Article 33 of
into force “treaties and agreements which involve financial the Jordanian Constitution, and brings the Convention into full
commitments to the Treasury or effect the public or private legal effect in the Jordanian judicial system.
rights of Jordanians”. Treaties which do not fall into these two
categories come into effect as soon as they are published in the Notwithstanding, the fact that the Jordanian Constitution
Official Gazette. The fact that the Constitution explicitly requires did not stipulate a clear position regarding the relation
that these two kind of treaties must be approved by the National between international law and domestic law, the general
Assembly, also entails that agreements that differ from these principle, consistent with the opinion of the Higher Council for
explicitly named do not need to follow the same iter to enter into Interpretation of the Constitution, conveys that international
force. treaties consistent with Article 33 have direct effect in the
Jordanian system.
The Higher Council for the Interpretation of the Constitution has
49 SHRI D.K. BASU v State of West addressed this issue in the Interpretative Resolution No. 2, 199550. In addition to the automatic integration of the Convention,
Bengal, 18/12/1996, para. 43. Prior to the amendment of Article 33(2) in 1958, several kinds of Jordanian legislators could resort to an incorporation act which
50 Official Gazette, page 369, 1224,
international agreements required the approval of the Jordanian consists of converting the rules and provisions contained in
16/4/1995. National Assembly in order to be valid, while the amendment CEDAW through the enactment of new or amending existing 51 Ibidem.
68 The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination 69
Against Women in the Jordanian Legal System Against Women in the Jordanian Legal System

legislation in line with the provisions of the Convention. For of these treaties as they would do with any other domestic The Court of Cassation of
example the enactment of legislation for the protection against legislation. Jordan stresses two important
domestic violence, including the principle of equality between issues: firstly the superiority
of the international treaties
women and men in the Labour Code, or the enactment of On a practical level, this means that judges in Jordan should published in the Official
legislation to guarantee women equal rights with men in work in accordance with the provisions of CEDAW. When there Gazette over domestic law,
education and health. is conflict between the Convention and domestic legislation, the and secondly the duty of the
provisions of the Convention should be applied. judiciary to deal with the
provisions of these treaties
as they would do with any
Status of the Convention in the Jordanian However, it is important to note that the principle of the other domestic legislation. On
superiority of CEDAW is based on the provisions of the Court of a practical level, this means
Legal System Cassation and not the Constitution itself. This means, in practice, that judges in Jordan should
that this approach might be subject to change, as it would be work in accordance with the
provisions of CEDAW. When
The Jordanian Constitution does not define the status or the sufficient for the Court of Cassation to revise its position in this
there is conflict between the
value of international treaties and conventions once published in regard. In addition, the Jordanian legal system does not operate Convention and domestic
the Official Gazette. The Jordanian Court of Cassation however, on the principle of judicial precedents; the lower Jordanian legislation, the provisions
has considered this matter extensively. The jurisprudence of the courts, theoretically, are not bound to follow the position of the of the Convention should be
applied.
Court demonstrates that, in cases were international treaty law Court of Cassation in this regard.
and domestic law are in contradiction, international law prevails
over domestic law. On 13 November 1993, in case No. 936/1993 Another important issue relates to the fact that the provisions
the Court of Cassation stated “the international conventions of the Convention may be in conflict with the provisions of
concluded by the State are superior to the national laws in force the Jordanian Constitution itself; in this case the Constitution
and they should be applied even if they are in contradiction with prevails. Article 6 of the Jordanian Constitution deals with the
the provisions of these laws”. Accordingly, the Court of Appeal principle of equality and prohibition of discrimination, but
considered that to disregard the application of the Riyadh Arab it does not refer to sex as a ground for discrimination. This
Convention on Judicial Cooperation and adopt a decision in issue highlights both the necessity to amend the Jordanian
accordance with the Law Enforcement of Foreign Judgments is Constitution to ensure the superiority of international
in violation of the principle of the supremacy of international conventions in general, or of human rights treaty law at the very
treaty law52. least, and the need to fully integrate the principle of equality
between men and women in Constitution. Until these changes
The position of the Court of Cassation on the superior nature occur the status of CEDAW will remain unstable, and in some
of international treaty law has been consistent. The Court has cases ineffective. Moreover, such modifications are desirable in
emphasised on many occasions that “international agreements view of Jordan’s obligations under the Convention.
are the same as local legislation when they become effective in
52 The Journal of the Bar the Kingdom. Judges should apply these provisions like any other
Association, volume no. 1, 1996,
page 5.
legislation in force in relation to the relevant dispute […]”53 . It
is quite clear that the Court of Cassation of Jordan stresses two
53 The Journal of the Bar important issues: firstly the superiority of the international
Association, volume n. 6, decision
29/1986 issued on 01/01/1986, p.
treaties published in the Official Gazette over domestic law, and
1637. secondly the duty of the judiciary to deal with the provisions
70 The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination 71
Against Women in the Jordanian Legal System Against Women in the Jordanian Legal System

The Importance of Jordan’s Accession


to the Optional Protocol
There is no doubt that acceding to the Optional Protocol
to CEDAW is an important step to ensuring the full respect
of the provisions of the Convention. It is not sufficient, both
theoretically and practically, for State Parties to CEDAW,
including Jordan, to adopt the Convention without recognising
the procedural guarantees to ensure compliance. As shown
in the previous chapter, the individual complaints mechanisms
is an important tool to ensure the effective respect for the
substantive provisions contained in the Convention.

Adherence to the Protocol will stimulate the Public Authorities


in Jordan to put the provisions of the Convention into practice
in order to avoid individual complaints being brought against
Jordan. Moreover, it will urge the authorities to ensure national
remedies to violations. This will significantly contribute to the
removal of all laws and practices that discriminate against
women in Jordan.

Acceding to the Protocol would also contribute towards the


appropriate application and interpretation of the Convention in
Jordan in light of recommendations and views of the Committee;
it also assists in creating general awareness and understanding
of the human rights guaranteed to women, and the necessity to
remove all forms of discrimination based on sex.
Judges, prosecutors and lawyers, have a major
role in the enforcement of the provisions
of CEDAW in Jordan. Legal practitioners
should apply human rights standards when
dealing with cases relating to discrimination
against women and they should adhere to the
principles and legal provisions enshrined in
CEDAW. Legal practitioners play an imperative
role in detecting women’s rights abuses and
seeking remedy through the prosecution and
punishment of perpetrators. This applies
across the spectrum of discrimination

5 The
including, for example, trafficking of women,
role of judges, prosecutors exploitation, prostitution and pornography.
and lawyers in enforcing
CEDAW
74 The role of judges, prosecutors and lawyers in enforcing CEDAW The role of judges, prosecutors and lawyers in enforcing CEDAW 75

Legal practitioners can apply In sum, judges, prosecutors and lawyers all have a major role in conform to Jordanian’s international obligations. If the
CEDAW in a number of ways, protecting, promoting and securing the human rights of women judiciary fails to do so, Jordan’s international liability might
including through the direct
in general, and in particular those set forth under CEDAW. They emerge. Furthermore international law requires states to respect
application of the provisions
of the Convention, or using hold special responsibility towards any manifestation of violence the provision of CEDAW, and does not permit the prioritising
it as an interpretative tool. against women, regardless of whether this is conducted by the of national laws as a way to avoid international commitments55 .
Domestic law should be public authorities, private citizens, or permitted under socio- Therefore, it entails the possibility of using the provisions
interpreted so as to be in cultural norms. The legal profession has, in addition, a vital directly in domestic tribunals providing effective remedies
conformity with human rights
role in activating and ensuring protection for other rights: such to victims of violations.
norms, including CEDAW.
Judges should gradually as marriage rights, the right to litigation, equality before law,
locate domestic law in its equality in education, health care, and other labour rights54 . The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,
international context. in its General Comment No. 9 on the domestic application of the
A major question should be considered in this regard: how can International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,
the legal profession utilise CEDAW in practice in terms of both has stated that “generally, all international human rights
the provisions of the Convention itself within the Jordanian legal standards that are legally binding should be applied immediately
system? in the local legal system of each State Party, thereby enabling
individuals to seek enforcement of their rights before the
The concept of direct Legal practitioners can apply CEDAW in a number of ways, national courts and judicial bodies”56.
applicability of international including through the direct application of the provisions of
law allows the judiciary to the Convention, or using it as an interpretative tool. Domestic The concept of direct applicability of international human rights
settle legal disputes based
on CEDAW and/or legal law should be interpreted so as to be in conformity with human law is one of the core principles recommended by treaty bodies.
practitioners to invoke the rights norms, including CEDAW. Judges should gradually locate It is important to mention, that State Parties should include
provisions of the Conventions domestic law in its international context. in their reports to the Committee whether the Convention is
in their legal arguments directly applicable domestically immediately upon ratification, 55 The Vienna Convention of the
without requiring any prior Law of Treaties, supra note 14
whether the provisions are guaranteed by the Constitution and
legislative action by the Article 27.
national authorities of the other national laws, and if CEDAW can be invoked before and
State Party. The Direct Applicability of CEDAW applied by courts and administrative authorities57. 56 General Comment No. 9, para
4, in Basic International Charters
of Human Rights, Comments
The concept of direct applicability of international law allows the Therefore, Jordan, like other States Parties to CEDAW, is and General Recommendations
judiciary to settle legal disputes based on CEDAW and/or legal responsible at the international level to ensure the direct of The Bodies of The Convention
54 M. K. Al-Moussa, The Concerned, Amman: Adalah Center
Application of International practitioners to invoke the provisions of the Conventions in their application of the provisions of the Convention within the
for Human Rights studies, Page 125.
Conventions on Human Rights legal arguments without requiring any prior legislative action by national judicial system. The main question to be considered
in the Jordanian Judiciary, The 57 Committee on the Elimination
the national authorities of the State Party. In the context of the in this context is whether the Jordanian legal system itself
Empowerment Center for Legal Aid of Discrimination against Women,
and Human Rights, 2009. See also, Jordanian judicial system, this means that judges, lawyers and allows judges and lawyers to apply the Convention in their Compilation of Guidelines on the
H. Keller and A. Stone Sweet, A prosecutors should seek to use CEDAW as the basis for building legal practice. Form and Content of Reports to
Europe of Rights. The impact of the be Submitted by State Parties to
ECHR on National Legal Systems,
their arguments.
the International Human Rights
pp.13-14; p.48; p.50 and pp.682-686; To enable legal practitioners to apply the Convention directly, Treaties, 05/05/ 2003, HRI/GEN/2/
Global Rights, Promoting Women’s The duty of judges and prosecutors in Jordan to apply the the following elements should be available: Rev.1/Add.2.
Human Rights. A Resource Guide
for Litigating International Law in
provisions of CEDAW is line with the concept that national
Domestic Courts, 2006, p.18. courts are state organs, and as such, they are required to
76 The role of judges, prosecutors and lawyers in enforcing CEDAW The role of judges, prosecutors and lawyers in enforcing CEDAW 77

1. Accuracy and clarity of the Convention’s rule relevant to compared to national laws. It is evident that there is nothing
the right: the more accurate the content of the Convention’s in the Jordanian legal system that prevents the immediate
legal rules are, the wider the possibility of its direct application of the provisions of CEDAW upon ratification, as
application becomes. There is no doubt that a significant prior legislative measures are not required. The superiority
number of provisions and rights contained in CEDAW are of international over domestic law, with the exception of the
accurate and clear in their content, such as: the core principle Constitution, has been consistently argued by the Court of
of discrimination against women (Article 1); the right to Cassation. It would be important to amend the Constitution in
participate in public and political life (Article 7); the right order to clearly establish the supremacy of international law;
to acquire, change or retain nationality and to pass it to this would make the status of Conventions in Jordan more
their children or husbands (Article 9); the right to education stable and not subject to the rulings of the Court of Cassation.
(Article 10); the right to work (Article 11); the right to equality
before the law (Article 15), and equal rights in relation to 3. Facts and circumstances of the case: this element is no less
marriage (Article 16). The core principle of equality between important than the aforementioned ones. The direct impact
women and men that underpins these articles should result in of CEDAW’s provisions is connected to the facts of the case,
their immediate application within the domestic legal system. the circumstances of the dispute and the goal that each side
of the dispute seeks, in addition to the jurisdiction of the
It may not be possible for other articles to be applied Court to consider the case. Moreover, in order to trigger the
immediately due to conditions set out within the Convention applicability of CEDAW, it is necessary to have an involvement
itself requiring State Parties to take appropriate measures to of the state through its bodies in the facts of the case itself.
bring provisions into force, such as enacting national legislation.
Working towards the application of CEDAW within the
2. The status of CEDAW in the Jordanian legal system: Jordanian legal system is a process that differs from one case
obviously the direct application of CEDAW is affected by to another, and is a process that occurs when considering each
its status within the Jordanian legal framework, and the individual case.
structure which allows international conventions to be
incorporated nationally. CEDAW itself does not include
substantive and procedurals provisions which may assist The Direct Applicability of the Principle of
integrating the convention with domestic system. This means
that its effectiveness and applicability will be connected to a
Equality
wide degree with the structure of the Jordanian legal system
itself. It is at this level that the role of legal practitioners The Human Rights Committee stated in General Comment No.
becomes essential in securing the rights set forth in CEDAW, 31, that the enjoyment of the rights recognised in the ICCPR
as the lack of judicial and procedural guarantees may limit can effectively be guaranteed by the judiciary in various ways,
the protection of these rights. including the immediate application of the Covenant or other
similar provisions58. Among the other most important means of
The status of CEDAW within the Jordanian legal system allowing the direct application of human rights conventions in 58 HRC General Comment No. 31,
has been discussed throughout chapter 5. It has been general and CEDAW in particular, is considering the principle of the Nature of the General Legal
Obligation Imposed on States
concluded that the jurisprudence of the Court of Cassation equality and non-discrimination as critical to the protection of Parties to the Covenant, 2004,
is clear in stating the superiority of international treaty law human rights. Para. 15.
78 The role of judges, prosecutors and lawyers in enforcing CEDAW The role of judges, prosecutors and lawyers in enforcing CEDAW 79

This means that the enjoyment of internationally recognised The Interpretative Use of CEDAW
human rights is conditional upon equality and non-
discrimination. If this principle is not enacted, the full Using human rights conventions to interpret domestic legislation Using human rights
realisation of human rights is not possible, neither theoretically is one of the most important alternative means to the direct conventions to interpret
domestic legislation is
or practically. To allow for the direct application of this principle, application of international human rights law. In fact, even
one of the most important
legal practitioners must base their cases on the principle of when judges and prosecutors in Jordan are unable to directly alternative means to the direct
equality when it is evident that a woman is not being treated apply all the provisions of CEDAW with immediate effect, application of international
equally to a man because she is a woman. The court should make they are required to seek alternative means to uphold Jordan’s human rights law.
its decision following the same rationale. international obligations arising from the Convention mainly A dynamic interpretation
means that the provisions of
through the interpretative use of the Convention. CEDAW should be interpreted
The national judiciaries of many State Parties to CEDAW have in relation to contemporary
adopted this approach. Among important examples to consider, Using CEDAW as an interpretative standard does not mean ideas and conditions
is the judgment of the Supreme Court in Costa Rica, of 11 merely using it as a way of clarifying ambiguous national legal continuously readapting to
changing times.
November 199259 . In summary Article 14(5) of the Costa Rican rules, but it practically and legally means that Jordanian judges
A teleological interpretation
Constitution recognised the citizenship rights of a foreign should adopt the meaning most consistent with the Convention of the Convention means
woman that marries a Costa Rican man. It did not however when interpreting relevant national laws. that a judge should interpret
recognise the same for a foreign man that marries a Costa Rican the provisions of CEDAW so
woman. Her citizenship rights did not extend to her spouse. The possibility of using CEDAW as an interpretative tool in as to promote the objective
for which the Convention
The court decided to abolish Article 14(5) of the Constitution applying Jordanian law is available to judges and prosecutors,
actually was made. In this
as it discriminated on the basis of sex. Costa Rica adopted the considering that the Court of Cassation of Jordan has ruled on sense, the idea of teleological
provisions contained in both ICCPR and the Inter-American the superiority of international conventions over Jordanian law. interpretation has become
Convention on Human Rights relating to equality and non- Even if in some State Parties the authority of judges to apply the one of the basic elements
upon which the national
discrimination. In conclusion, the court ruled that citizenship Convention as an interpretative tool is derived from the national
judiciaries rely when using
rights for non-national spouses of both male and female Costa Constitution61, the absence of a similar provision does not prevent the Convention as an
Rican citizens would be equal. the courts of other States Parties from adopting this approach. interpretative tool.

The national judiciaries of some Arab countries, who are party Domestic courts that use CEDAW as an interpretative tool should
59 C. Sciotti, La Concurrence
Des Traités Relatifs Aux Droits de
to CEDAW, such as Tunisia, directly apply the provisions of this rely on the notion of dynamic and teleological interpretation
61 See articles 231/32 of the
L’homme Devant Le Juge National, Convention based on the principle of equality and prohibition of of the Convention. A dynamic interpretation means that the
Constitution of South Africa, 1996,
Bruxelles: Bruylant, 1997, p.46. discrimination. On 27 June 2006, a Tunisian court has ruled on provisions of CEDAW should be interpreted in relation to Article 6/2 of the Constitution of
the invalidity of a marriage contract concluded in Egypt between contemporary ideas and conditions continuously readapting to Georgia, 1991, Article 17/1 of the
60 N. Abiad, Sharia , Muslim States
Constitution of Russia, 1993 and
and International Human Rights a Tunisian and his second-wife, because it violates the principle changing times, not in the light of the circumstances prevailing Article 10/2 of the Constitution of
Treaty Obligations: A Comparative of equality between spouses, provided for in the Universal at the time of its drafting62. A teleological interpretation of the Spain.
Study, London: British Institute of
International and Comparative law, Declaration of Human Rights, and Articles 1, 2 and 16 (c) of Convention means that a judge should interpret the provisions of
62 M. K. Al-Moussa, The
2008, p.157. CEDAW60. CEDAW so as to promote the objective for which the Convention Interpretation of International
actually was made. In this sense, the idea of teleological Human Rights Conventions in the
interpretation has become one of the basic elements upon which Light of the Practice of Treaties
Bodies, “Journal of Law”, University
the national judiciaries rely when using the Convention as an of Kuwait, first issue, year 28, 2004,
interpretative tool. p. 257.
80 The role of judges, prosecutors and lawyers in enforcing CEDAW The role of judges, prosecutors and lawyers in enforcing CEDAW 81

Thus, legal practitioners have a key role in protecting and the Covenant relating to equality between women and men,
securing respect for the principles and provisions stipulated in this document can also be used as a relevant instrument when
CEDAW. Principally, this role consists in operating within the building cases.
framework of the Convention while exercising their functions,
either through direct application of its provisions or through the It has been noted above that Jordan’s reservations are not legally
use of CEDAW as an interpretative standard. valid, and therefore lawyers can challenge such reservations on
the basis of Article 28(2) of CEDAW. It is possible that a Jordanian
judge, when examining the compatibility of the reservations
CEDAW in Lawyers’ Practice with article 28(2), will find the reservation to be illegitimate
as they violate the objective and purposes of the Convention.
As noted earlier, the most effective method for guaranteeing In addition, the reservations were not published in the Official
the implementation of CEDAW is through the direct application Gazette together with the Convention, therefore it can be argued
of its provisions. Under this approach lawyers can build their that they are not legally binding at the domestic level and that
litigation strategies on provisions of the Convention, based the Convention can be applied In Jordan in its totality. The
on the knowledge that international treaty law is superior to judiciaries of some State Parties to human rights conventions
national law. have opted to examine the legality of reservations made by their
own States.
When building a case, lawyers must invoke the principles and
legal provisions set forth in the Convention, rather than simply Legal practitioners may also choose to invoke the provisions
applying the literal meaning of the text. It is desirable that set forth in other human rights conventions on issues related
cases are based not strictly on the Convention but also on the to women’s rights because they are more effective in achieving
authoritative interpretations provided by the Committee, and the desired outcomes. For example, in the case of a woman
taking into consideration the relevant jurisprudence of State victim of violence that caused serious physical or moral pain by
Parities, particularly those of Arab and Islamic countries. a public official, lawyers may use article 1 or 16 of CAT. An act
committed by the public official, in fact, can amount to torture
In some cases it may be difficult for lawyers to use all the in accordance with the definition provided in Article 1 of CAT, or
provisions and articles of the Convention due to the reservations to discrimination in accordance with the definition contained in
made by State Parties. In this case they can look for similar Article 1 of CEDAW63 .
provisions and principles contained within other human rights
treaties. For example, Jordan’s reservation to articles 9(2) and There is another issue that is worth mentioning at this point; the
16(1)(c) of CEDAW may impede directly invoking these articles in difference in views related to women’s rights between the Arab
litigation, but there are other means to activate the protection of Charter on Human Rights and CEDAW should not undermine the
the rights contained within these provisions. Legal practitioners implementation of the Convention’s provisions. The Arab Charter
can call upon Article 2(3) and 26 of the ICCPR, which contain itself, in Article 42 stresses that the ratification of the Charter
the principle of equality and non-discrimination on the basis should not impede State Parties from their commitments
of sex, as Jordan has not placed a reservation on any of the deriving from other international or regional agreements.
articles of this Covenant. In addition, the Committee on Human The Arab Charter on Human Rights has been published in the 63 General Recommendation No.19,
Rights used General Comment No. 28 to discuss Article 3 of Jordanian Official Gazette in 2004. supra note 19, para. 1, 6 and 7.
82 The role of judges, prosecutors and lawyers in enforcing CEDAW The role of judges, prosecutors and lawyers in enforcing CEDAW 83

Finally, it is important to emphasise that lawyers should refer them with the necessary skills to understand the
to case law issued by other State Parties to CEDAW. This element dimensions and implications of the rights protected under
is important for judges as it provides the opportunity to follow those conventions, and how to apply them in the light of
positive and clear models in the application of the provisions experiences of national courts in different States.
of the Convention itself. In addition, the reference to the rulings
of domestic courts of other countries will put some kind 3. It is an advocacy tool to put pressure on competent authorities
of pressure on judges in Jordan regarding the implementation in Jordan to modify and harmonise legislation in force in
of the Convention. Public Authorities in Jordan would not wish Jordan in a manner consistent with Jordan’s obligations under
to be perceived as being less aware and ‘advanced’ than other CEDAW.
States, in particular when it comes to neighbouring countries
or those that share the same cultural and social heritage as 4. It urges and encourages judges to directly apply the provisions
Jordan. In Africa this aspect was already proven effective, for of the Convention, and reminds them of the importance of
example, the Constitutional Court of South Africa has referred the preferred method of its application by the Committee on
to the judgments of the courts of Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Tanzania the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women.
and Ghana on the application of human rights conventions
including CEDAW64 . 5. It leads to the discovery of violations, abuses and injustice
committed against women and assists in documenting
Certainly, when domestic courts refer to decisions of other these violations. It also contributes to highlight other forms
national courts, they do not do so because these judgments of discrimination against women that are not obvious,
are binding, but because they are seeking to enhance the particularly those relating to social, cultural or religious
interpretation of the Convention and enrich arguments factors.
in the cases they deal with.
6. It urges the authorities and parties concerned at the national
level to find effective remedies for women whom right’s
Why Should Lawyers Invoke CEDAW in protected under the Convention has been violated. This
process may also lead to Jordan’s accession to the Optional
Domestic Courts? Protocol to the Convention, as experience demonstrates that
countries that provide effective remedies in their national
There is no doubt that the reliance on and reference to CEDAW systems for victims are more likely to become State Parties.
by lawyers in Jordan when dealing with their cases, is very
important for a number of reasons:

1. It contributes to the general awareness of the Convention


as the most important principles and legal provisions aim
at eliminating all forms of discrimination against women.

64 Global Rights, Promoting 2. It highlights the need for training judges on CEDAW,
Women’s Human Rights. A Resource
Guide for Litigating International in particular, and on other human rights conventions
Law in Domestic Courts, 2006, p. 65. in general. It also stresses the importance of providing
Domestic courts in many countries and
different legal systems have applied the
provisions of CEDAW. The issues and topics
on which the Convention was used include,
among others, violence against women,
equality in marriage rights, labour rights
of women and women’s right to confer their
nationality to their children.

The most important cases that can be


invoked by lawyers to support their litigation
strategy and to facilitate the application of the

6 CEDAW
provisions of the Convention in the national
Models of application of courts are as follows:
in Different Legal
Systems
86 Models of application of CEDAW in Different Legal Systems Models of application of CEDAW in Different Legal Systems 87

Attorney General of Botswana v. Unity Dow discrimination were outlawed, very little would have remained
(Botswana Supreme Court, 1992) of customary law.

In 1992, the Supreme Court in Botswana concluded in its ruling


The facts of this case were this: the Citizenship Act of 1984 that the Citizenship Act was discriminatory against women,
contained legal provisions preventing a female citizen of and violated the Constitution. The individual rights that were
Botswana from passing her citizenship onto her husband, if violated by the Act included: the right to liberty, the right to
he was a non-citizen, or her children from this marriage. The protection of the law, protection of being subjected to degrading
Citizenship Act did not place the same restriction on males who treatment, and not to be discriminated against on the basis of
marry a non-citizen woman. It is worth noting that at the time, her sex. In addition to the National Constitution, the opinion
Botswana was not a party to any international human rights of the court relied on a number of international conventions
Conventions. The woman who brought the complaint before even though at that time Botswana was not signatory to them.
the court had married a non-Botswanian citizen and had two These conventions included: CEDAW, the Convention on the
children. Due to the Citizenship Act, neither the father nor the Rights of the Child, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,
children acquired the woman’s nationality. and the African Charter on Human Right.

The plaintiff, in this case, had demanded that both the male This court’s ruling constituted a very important precedent and
spouse and the children were entitled to citizenship from the fact that the international conventions were used even
Botswana, based on several legal grounds: if the State was not a signatory, was justified by pointing out
the mere fact that Botswana is a member of the community
A. The Citizenship Act was challenged in its legitimacy based of Nations through the UN, which entitled them to take judicial
on the fact that the law discriminated against women and notice of these international instruments. One of the judges
that it violated the Constitution of Botswana which afforded commented on this issue by saying that the national application
all individuals basic human rights regardless of their sex. of international human rights has become the legal basis for the
enforcement of the minimum requirements of the constitution.
B. It was argued that the Citizenship Act limited her In this case the international human rights are, in fact, a part
freedom of movement, a right recognised by the Botswana’s of the constitutional expression of liberties guaranteed at the
Constitution, due to the fact that her children were not national level.
citizens and that a man in the same position would not
have faced similar challenges. This decision urged Botswana to ratify both CEDAW and
the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and amend the
C. Finally, it was also argued that the discriminatory provision Citizenship Act. Interestingly, this decision has had important
embodied in the Citizenship Act amounted to inhuman repercussions on the neighboring countries of Botswana.
and degrading treatment and that she was denied equal The Supreme Court of Zimbabwe has referred to this decision
protection under the law. in the case Rattigan and Ors. v. Chief Immigration Officer
(1994), stating that “the practices of the Immigration Office in
The counter argument presented by the State invoked Zimbabwe were preventing an alien husband from living with
customary law in force in Botswana, asserting that was based his wife in Zimbabwe were contradicting the Constitution”.
on the patrilineal societal structures, and if gender-based
88 Models of application of CEDAW in Different Legal Systems Models of application of CEDAW in Different Legal Systems 89

Ephrahim v. Pastory solution to the case. The Supreme Court also added that the
(High Court of Tanzania, 1990) Primary Court erred because it did not provide an effective
remedy in accordance with the principle of equality in the
legal protection of the law guaranteed by Article 13(1) of the
The appellant challenged a Tanzanian law that forbade Constitution. Moreover, the decision of the Primary Court was
her to sell the clan land that she inherited from her father. contrary to Article 2(a) of CEDAW, which obliges State Parties
The restriction meant that women could benefit only from to incorporate the principle of equality before the law in their
having the land in usufruct, but not actually own it. The national constitutions or other relevant legislation and ensure
Supreme Court of Tanzania concluded in its ruling that this the de facto application of this principle. It was also pointed out
law was in contradiction with both the national Constitution that the Tanzanian Constitution expressly recognised the UDHR
which guarantees equal rights for women, and with CEDAW. which is a source for all other international instruments dealing
Accordingly, the Court ruled to outlaw this custom stating that with human rights.
it was discriminatory as it violated women’s property rights. The
court declared that the principles enunciated in CEDAW are a The court, therefore, concluded to set aside the lower courts
standard below which any civilized nation will be ashamed to decision and to replace it with another order that the appellant
fall65 . should receive one of the two houses, owned by the husband,
rather than only compelling the husband to only pay the dowry
Njobeka v. Mkorogoro amount66.

(High Court of Tanzania, 2001)


Dhungana v. Government of Nepal
This case refers to a husband who divorced his wife in
accordance with the provisions of the Islamic law. The National
(High Court of Nepal, 1993)
Muslim Council of Tanzania approved this divorce and
recommended the husband to pay the deferred dowry agreed A Nepali law provided that while a son was entitled to receive a
upon between the spouses in the marriage contract. The husband share of the assets of his father at birth, this was not the case for
did not comply with the recommendation of the Council, so a daughter. She would receive her share only if when reaching
the wife filed a lawsuit before the Primary Court; which again the age of 35 she was still unmarried; this law was challenged.
issued a decision allowing for divorce, and ordering the husband The Supreme Court in its decision invoked CEDAW, which
to pay the amount agreed upon in the contract of marriage. in Nepal has the status of national law, to recognise that the
66 See at: www.globalisaticerter.
The wife challenged this decision before the Supreme Court challenged law violated Article 15 of the Convention and the net/tools/manual/int-law/legal-
in Dar El Salaam on the basis that the Primary Court ruling guarantee of equality set forth in the Nepali Constitution. The rolehtml
was inadequate as it did not take into account both parties’ Court did not declare the law unconstitutional but ordered the
67 See at: www.womenstreaty.
contributions to the marital property. government to draft a new non-discriminatory law to eliminate org//cedaw%20Book%20ch%204.
inequities between men and women in regards to inheritance pdf
The Supreme Court held that the Primary Court erred in rights67.
adopting the recommendation of the Muslim National Council
65 See at:www.womenstreaty.org of Tanzania because this is a reconciliation Council, and its
//cedaw% 20Book% 20ch% 204.pdf jurisdiction expires the moment it fails to reach an amicable
90 Models of application of CEDAW in Different Legal Systems Models of application of CEDAW in Different Legal Systems 91

Vishaka v. State of Rajasthan Municipal Corporation of Delhi v. Female Workers


(3 BHRC, 261) (High Court of India)
The case is significant when examining the application of the
A network of women’s rights NGO and human rights activists provisions of CEDAW in national jurisdictions. The importance
lodged a writ in the Indian Supreme Court in support of a of this case lies in that the Supreme Court of India has
government employee that was gang raped and then denied implemented the provisions of CEDAW in a ruling concerning
an official investigation after her complaint. At the time of a mixed ownership corporation (private and public). The female
the petition there was no explicit law in India that prohibits workers of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi were denied leave
sexual harassment in the work place. The petition requested under the Maternity Benefit Act (1961) because they were not
the Supreme Court to direct the Indian Government to form “regular” employees. The court ruled that nothing contained
a Committee to draft a law for the prevention of sexual in the Act pertained only to “regular” employees. Moreover the
harassment and abuse of women according to Article 32 of the court established that the provisions of Article 11 of CEDAW,
Indian Constitution and Articles 11 and 24 of CEDAW. which deals with marital status and maternity in the context
of employment, “should be read into the contract of service”
The Court turned to CEDAW in its ruling, giving further between the Corporation and the women employees and therefore
meaning and elaborating the constitutional guarantees against these employees are entitled to all the benefits under the
sexual discrimination. In addition the Court highlighted Maternity Benefit Act.
the fact that by ratifying CEDAW, India endorsed and upheld
international standards on women’s rights. As a result, there
is now a set of norms binding public and private employees.
The norms contain definitions and passages taken directly
from CEDAW Committee General Recommendation No.19.

The Court highlighted in its ruling that any international


convention that is not inconsistent with the fundamental
rights guaranteed in the Constitution, must be used for the
interpretation and application of constitutional guarantees
and to promote its purposes, irrespective of the existence
ofan enacting law. The court therefore concluded that Articles
11 and 24 of CEDAW, and the General Recommendation 19
paragraphs 22, 23 and 24 on sexual harassment in the workplace,
68 See at: www.
globalisaticecenter.net/tools/ could be used to understand the nature and content of gender
manual/int-law/legal-rolehtml equality guaranteed under the Constitution68.
Annexes
94 Annexes Annexes 95

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Emphasizing that the eradication of apartheid, all forms of racism,
Discrimination against Women New York, 18 racial discrimination, colonialism, neo-colonialism, aggression, foreign
occupation and domination and interference in the internal affairs of
December 1979 States is essential to the full enjoyment of the rights of men and women,
Affirming that the strengthening of international peace and security,
The States Parties to the present Convention, the relaxation of international tension, mutual co-operation among all
States irrespective of their social and economic systems, general and
Noting that the Charter of the United Nations reaffirms faith in complete disarmament, in particular nuclear disarmament under strict
fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and effective international control, the affirmation of the principles of
and in the equal rights of men and women, justice, equality and mutual benefit in relations among countries and the
Noting that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirms the realization of the right of peoples under alien and colonial domination
principle of the inadmissibility of discrimination and proclaims that and foreign occupation to self-determination and independence, as well
all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights and that as respect for national sovereignty and territorial integrity, will promote
everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth therein, social progress and development and as a consequence will contribute to
without distinction of any kind, including distinction based on sex, the attainment of full equality between men and women,
Noting that the States Parties to the International Covenants on Human Convinced that the full and complete development of a country, the
Rights have the obligation to ensure the equal rights of men and women to welfare of the world and the cause of peace require the maximum
enjoy all economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights, participation of women on equal terms with men in all fields,
Considering the international conventions concluded under the auspices Bearing in mind the great contribution of women to the welfare of the
of the United Nations and the specialized agencies promoting equality of family and to the development of society, so far not fully recognized, the
rights of men and women, social significance of maternity and the role of both parents in the family
Noting also the resolutions, declarations and recommendations adopted and in the upbringing of children, and aware that the role of women
by the United Nations and the specialized agencies promoting equality of in procreation should not be a basis for discrimination but that the
rights of men and women, upbringing of children requires a sharing of responsibility between men
Concerned, however, that despite these various instruments extensive and women and society as a whole,
discrimination against women continues to exist, Aware that a change in the traditional role of men as well as the role of
Recalling that discrimination against women violates the principles of women in society and in the family is needed to achieve full equality
equality of rights and respect for human dignity, is an obstacle to the between men and women,
participation of women, on equal terms with men, in the political, social, Determined to implement the principles set forth in the Declaration on the
economic and cultural life of their countries, hampers the growth of Elimination of Discrimination against Women and, for that purpose, to
the prosperity of society and the family and makes more difficult the adopt the measures required for the elimination of such discrimination in
full development of the potentialities of women in the service of their all its forms and manifestations,
countries and of humanity, Have agreed on the following:
Concerned that in situations of poverty women have the least access to
food, health, education, training and opportunities for employment and PART I
other needs, Article I
Convinced that the establishment of the new international economic For the purposes of the present Convention, the term “discrimination
order based on equity and justice will contribute significantly towards the against women” shall mean any distinction, exclusion or restriction
promotion of equality between men and women, made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or
96 Annexes Annexes 97

nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective Article 4


of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human 1. Adoption by States Parties of temporary special measures aimed at
rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, accelerating de facto equality between men and women shall not be
cultural, civil or any other field. considered discrimination as defined in the present Convention, but shall
in no way entail as a consequence the maintenance of unequal or separate
Article 2 standards; these measures shall be discontinued when the objectives of
States Parties condemn discrimination against women in all its forms, equality of opportunity and treatment have been achieved.
agree to pursue by all appropriate means and without delay a policy of 2. Adoption by States Parties of special measures, including those measures
eliminating discrimination against women and, to this end, undertake: contained in the present Convention, aimed at protecting maternity shall
(a) To embody the principle of the equality of men and women in not be considered discriminatory.
their national constitutions or other appropriate legislation if not yet
incorporated therein and to ensure, through law and other appropriate Article 5
means, the practical realization of this principle; States Parties shall take all appropriate measures:
(b) To adopt appropriate legislative and other measures, including (a) To modify the social and cultural patterns of conduct of men and women,
sanctions where appropriate, prohibiting all discrimination against with a view to achieving the elimination of prejudices and customary and
women; all other practices which are based on the idea of the inferiority or the
(c) To establish legal protection of the rights of women on an equal basis superiority of either of the sexes or on stereotyped roles for men and women;
with men and to ensure through competent national tribunals and other (b) To ensure that family education includes a proper understanding
public institutions the effective protection of women against any act of of maternity as a social function and the recognition of the common
discrimination; responsibility of men and women in the upbringing and development of
(d) To refrain from engaging in any act or practice of discrimination their children, it being understood that the interest of the children is the
against women and to ensure that public authorities and institutions shall primordial consideration in all cases.
act in conformity with this obligation;
(e) To take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against Article 6
women by any person, organization or enterprise; States Parties shall take all appropriate measures, including legislation, to
(f) To take all appropriate measures, including legislation, to modify or suppress all forms of traffic in women and exploitation of prostitution of
abolish existing laws, regulations, customs and practices which constitute women.
discrimination against women;
(g) To repeal all national penal provisions which constitute discrimination PART II
against women. Article 7
States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate
Article 3 discrimination against women in the political and public life of the
States Parties shall take in all fields, in particular in the political, social, country and, in particular, shall ensure to women, on equal terms with
economic and cultural fields, all appropriate measures, including men, the right:
legislation, to en sure the full development and advancement of women, (a) To vote in all elections and public referenda and to be eligible for
for the purpose of guaranteeing them the exercise and enjoyment of election to all publicly elected bodies;
human rights and fundamental freedoms on a basis of equality with men. (b) To participate in the formulation of government policy and the
implementation thereof and to hold public office and perform all public
functions at all levels of government;
98 Annexes Annexes 99

(c) To participate in non-governmental organizations and associations (e) The same opportunities for access to programmes of continuing
concerned with the public and political life of the country. education, including adult and functional literacy programmes,
particulary those aimed at reducing, at the earliest possible time, any gap
Article 8 in education existing between men and women;
States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure to women, on (f) The reduction of female student drop-out rates and the organization of
equal terms with men and without any discrimination, the opportunity to programmes for girls and women who have left school prematurely;
represent their Governments at the international level and to participate (g) The same Opportunities to participate actively in sports and physical
in the work of international organizations. education;
(h) Access to specific educational information to help to ensure the health
Article 9 and well-being of families, including information and advice on family
1. States Parties shall grant women equal rights with men to acquire, planning.
change or retain their nationality. They shall ensure in particular that
neither marriage to an alien nor change of nationality by the husband Article 11
during marriage shall automatically change the nationality of the wife, 1. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate
render her stateless or force upon her the nationality of the husband. discrimination against women in the field of employment in order to
2. States Parties shall grant women equal rights with men with respect to ensure, on a basis of equality of men and women, the same rights, in
the nationality of their children. particular:
(a) The right to work as an inalienable right of all human beings;
PART III (b) The right to the same employment opportunities, including the
Article 10 application of the same criteria for selection in matters of employment;
States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate (c) The right to free choice of profession and employment, the right
discrimination against women in order to ensure to them equal rights to promotion, job security and all benefits and conditions of service
with men in the field of education and in particular to ensure, on a basis of and the right to receive vocational training and retraining, including
equality of men and women: apprenticeships, advanced vocational training and recurrent training;
(a) The same conditions for career and vocational guidance, for access to (d) The right to equal remuneration, including benefits, and to equal
studies and for the achievement of diplomas in educational establishments treatment in respect of work of equal value, as well as equality of
of all categories in rural as well as in urban areas; this equality shall treatment in the evaluation of the quality of work;
be ensured in pre-school, general, technical, professional and higher (e) The right to social security, particularly in cases of retirement,
technical education, as well as in all types of vocational training; unemployment, sickness, invalidity and old age and other incapacity to
(b) Access to the same curricula, the same examinations, teaching work, as well as the right to paid leave;
staff with qualifications of the same standard and school premises and (f) The right to protection of health and to safety in working conditions,
equipment of the same quality; including the safeguarding of the function of reproduction.
(c) The elimination of any stereotyped concept of the roles of men 2. In order to prevent discrimination against women on the grounds of
and women at all levels and in all forms of education by encouraging marriage or maternity and to ensure their effective right to work, States
coeducation and other types of education which will help to achieve Parties shall take appropriate measures:
this aim and, in particular, by the revision of textbooks and school (a) To prohibit, subject to the imposition of sanctions, dismissal on
programmes and the adaptation of teaching methods; the grounds of pregnancy or of maternity leave and discrimination in
(d ) The same opportunities to benefit from scholarships and other study dismissals on the basis of marital status;
grants; (b) To introduce maternity leave with pay or with comparable social
100 Annexes Annexes 101

benefits without loss of former employment, seniority or social allowances; 2. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate
(c) To encourage the provision of the necessary supporting social services discrimination against women in rural areas in order to ensure, on a basis
to enable parents to combine family obligations with work responsibilities of equality of men and women, that they participate in and benefit from
and participation in public life, in particular through promoting the rural development and, in particular, shall ensure to such women the
establishment and development of a network of child-care facilities; right:
(d) To provide special protection to women during pregnancy in types of (a) To participate in the elaboration and implementation of development
work proved to be harmful to them. planning at all levels;
3. Protective legislation relating to matters covered in this article shall be (b) To have access to adequate health care facilities, including information,
reviewed periodically in the light of scientific and technological knowledge counselling and services in family planning;
and shall be revised, repealed or extended as necessary. (c) To benefit directly from social security programmes;
(d) To obtain all types of training and education, formal and non-formal,
Article 12 including that relating to functional literacy, as well as, inter alia, the
1. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate benefit of all community and extension services, in order to increase their
discrimination against women in the field of health care in order to technical proficiency;
ensure, on a basis of equality of men and women, access to health care (e) To organize self-help groups and co-operatives in order to obtain
services, including those related to family planning. equal access to economic opportunities through employment or self
2. Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph I of this article, States employment;
Parties shall ensure to women appropriate services in connection with (f) To participate in all community activities;
pregnancy, confinement and the post-natal period, granting free services (g) To have access to agricultural credit and loans, marketing facilities,
where necessary, as well as adequate nutrition during pregnancy and appropriate technology and equal treatment in land and agrarian reform
lactation. as well as in land resettlement schemes;
(h) To enjoy adequate living conditions, particularly in relation to housing,
Article 13 sanitation, electricity and water supply, transport and communications.
States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate
discrimination against women in other areas of economic and social life in PART IV
order to ensure, on a basis of equality of men and women, the same rights, Article 15
in particular: 1. States Parties shall accord to women equality with men before the law.
(a) The right to family benefits; 2. States Parties shall accord to women, in civil matters, a legal capacity
(b) The right to bank loans, mortgages and other forms of financial credit; identical to that of men and the same opportunities to exercise that
(c) The right to participate in recreational activities, sports and all aspects capacity. In particular, they shall give women equal rights to conclude
of cultural life. contracts and to administer property and shall treat them equally in all
stages of procedure in courts and tribunals.
Article 14 3. States Parties agree that all contracts and all other private instruments
1. States Parties shall take into account the particular problems faced by of any kind with a legal effect which is directed at restricting the legal
rural women and the significant roles which rural women play in the capacity of women shall be deemed null and void.
economic survival of their families, including their work in the non- 4. States Parties shall accord to men and women the same rights with
monetized sectors of the economy, and shall take all appropriate measures regard to the law relating to the movement of persons and the freedom to
to ensure the application of the provisions of the present Convention to choose their residence and domicile.
women in rural areas.
102 Annexes Annexes 103

Article 16 The experts shall be elected by States Parties from among their nationals
1. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate and shall serve in their personal capacity, consideration being given
discrimination against women in all matters relating to marriage and to equitable geographical distribution and to the representation of the
family relations and in particular shall ensure, on a basis of equality of different forms of civilization as well as the principal legal systems.
men and women: 2. The members of the Committee shall be elected by secret ballot from a
(a) The same right to enter into marriage; list of persons nominated by States Parties. Each State Party may nominate
(b) The same right freely to choose a spouse and to enter into marriage only one person from among its own nationals.
with their free and full consent; 3. The initial election shall be held six months after the date of the entry
(c) The same rights and responsibilities during marriage and at its into force of the present Convention. At least three months before the date
dissolution; of each election the Secretary-General of the United Nations shall address a
(d) The same rights and responsibilities as parents, irrespective of their letter to the States Parties inviting them to submit their nominations within
marital status, in matters relating to their children; in all cases the two months. The Secretary-General shall prepare a list in alphabetical order
interests of the children shall be paramount; of all persons thus nominated, indicating the States Parties which have
(e) The same rights to decide freely and responsibly on the number and nominated them, and shall submit it to the States Parties.
spacing of their children and to have access to the information, education 4. Elections of the members of the Committee shall be held at a meeting
and means to enable them to exercise these rights; of States Parties convened by the Secretary-General at United Nations
(f) The same rights and responsibilities with regard to guardianship, Headquarters. At that meeting, for which two thirds of the States Parties
wardship, trusteeship and adoption of children, or similar institutions shall constitute a quorum, the persons elected to the Committee shall be
where these concepts exist in national legislation; in all cases the interests those nominees who obtain the largest number of votes and an absolute
of the children shall be paramount; majority of the votes of the representatives of States Parties present and
(g) The same personal rights as husband and wife, including the right to voting.
choose a family name, a profession and an occupation; 5. The members of the Committee shall be elected for a term of four years.
(h) The same rights for both spouses in respect of the ownership, However, the terms of nine of the members elected at the first election
acquisition, management, administration, enjoyment and disposition of shall expire at the end of two years; immediately after the first election the
property, whether free of charge or for a valuable consideration. names of these nine members shall be chosen by lot by the Chairman of
2. The betrothal and the marriage of a child shall have no legal effect, the Committee.
and all necessary action, including legislation, shall be taken to specify a 6. The election of the five additional members of the Committee shall be
minimum age for marriage and to make the registration of marriages in held in accordance with the provisions of paragraphs 2, 3 and 4 of this
an official registry compulsory. article, following the thirty-fifth ratification or accession. The terms of two
of the additional members elected on this occasion shall expire at the end
PART V of two years, the names of these two members having been chosen by lot
Article 17 by the Chairman of the Committee.
1. For the purpose of considering the progress made in the implementation 7. For the filling of casual vacancies, the State Party whose expert has
of the present Convention, there shall be established a Committee on ceased to function as a member of the Committee shall appoint another
the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (hereinafter referred expert from among its nationals, subject to the approval of the Committee.
to as the Committee) consisting, at the time of entry into force of the 8. The members of the Committee shall, with the approval of the General
Convention, of eighteen and, after ratification of or accession to the Assembly, receive emoluments from United Nations resources on such
Convention by the thirty-fifth State Party, of twenty-three experts of high terms and conditions as the Assembly may decide, having regard to the
moral standing and competence in the field covered by the Convention. importance of the Committee’s responsibilities.
104 Annexes Annexes 105

9. The Secretary-General of the United Nations shall provide the necessary Article 22
staff and facilities for the effective performance of the functions of the The specialized agencies shall be entitled to be represented at the
Committee under the present Convention. consideration of the implementation of such provisions of the present
Convention as fall within the scope of their activities. The Committee may
Article 18 invite the specialized agencies to submit reports on the implementation of
1. States Parties undertake to submit to the Secretary-General of the United the Convention in areas falling within the scope of their activities.
Nations, for consideration by the Committee, a report on the legislative,
judicial, administrative or other measures which they have adopted to
give effect to the provisions of the present Convention and on the progress PART VI
made in this respect: Article 23
(a) Within one year after the entry into force for the State concerned; Nothing in the present Convention shall affect any provisions that are
(b) Thereafter at least every four years and further whenever the more conducive to the achievement of equality between men and women
Committee so requests. which may be contained:
2. Reports may indicate factors and difficulties affecting the degree of (a) In the legislation of a State Party; or
fulfilment of obligations under the present Convention. (b) In any other international convention, treaty or agreement in force for
that State.
Article 19
1. The Committee shall adopt its own rules of procedure. Article 24
2. The Committee shall elect its officers for a term of two years. States Parties undertake to adopt all necessary measures at the national
level aimed at achieving the full realization of the rights recognized in the
Article 20 present Convention.
1. The Committee shall normally meet for a period of not more than two
weeks annually in order to consider the reports submitted in accordance Article 25
with article 18 of the present Convention. 1. The present Convention shall be open for signature by all States.
2. The meetings of the Committee shall normally be held at United Nations 2. The Secretary-General of the United Nations is designated as the
Headquarters or at any other convenient place as determined by the depositary of the present Convention.
Committee. (amendment, status of ratification) 3. The present Convention is subject to ratification. Instruments of
ratification shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the United
Article 21 Nations.
1. The Committee shall, through the Economic and Social Council, report 4. The present Convention shall be open to accession by all States. Accession
annually to the General Assembly of the United Nations on its activities shall be effected by the deposit of an instrument of accession with the
and may make suggestions and general recommendations based on the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
examination of reports and information received from the States Parties.
Such suggestions and general recommendations shall be included in the Article 26
report of the Committee together with comments, if any, from States 1. A request for the revision of the present Convention may be made at any
Parties. time by any State Party by means of a notification in writing addressed to
2. The Secretary-General of the United Nations shall transmit the reports the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
of the Committee to the Commission on the Status of Women for its 2. The General Assembly of the United Nations shall decide upon the steps,
information. if any, to be taken in respect of such a request.
106 Annexes Annexes 107

Article 27 Article 30
1. The present Convention shall enter into force on the thirtieth day after The present Convention, the Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and
the date of deposit with the Secretary-General of the United Nations of the Spanish texts of which are equally authentic, shall be deposited with the
twentieth instrument of ratification or accession. Secretary-General of the United Nations.
2. For each State ratifying the present Convention or acceding to it after IN WITNESS WHEREOF the undersigned, duly authorized, have signed the
the deposit of the twentieth instrument of ratification or accession, the present Convention.
Convention shall enter into force on the thirtieth day after the date of the
deposit of its own instrument of ratification or accession.

Article 28 Optional Protocol to the Convention on the


1. The Secretary-General of the United Nations shall receive and circulate
to all States the text of reservations made by States at the time of
Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against
ratification or accession. Women
2. A reservation incompatible with the object and purpose of the present
Convention shall not be permitted.
3. Reservations may be withdrawn at any time by notification to this effect The States Parties to the present Protocol,
addressed to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, who shall then
inform all States thereof. Such notification shall take effect on the date on Noting that the Charter of the United Nations reaffirms faith in
which it is received. fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person
and in the equal rights of men and women,
Article 29 Also noting that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights5 proclaims
1. Any dispute between two or more States Parties concerning the that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights and
interpretation or application of the present Convention which is not that everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth therein,
settled by negotiation shall, at the request of one of them, be submitted without distinction of any kind, including distinction based on sex,
to arbitration. If within six months from the date of the request for Recalling that the International Covenants on Human Rights6 and other
arbitration the parties are unable to agree on the organization of international human rights instruments prohibit discrimination on the
the arbitration, any one of those parties may refer the dispute to the basis of sex,
International Court of Justice by request in conformity with the Statute of Also recalling the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
the Court. Discrimination against Women4 (“the Convention”), in which the States
2. Each State Party may at the time of signature or ratification of the Parties thereto condemn discrimination against women in all its forms
present Convention or accession thereto declare that it does not consider and agree to pursue by all appropriate means and without delay a policy of
itself bound by paragraph I of this article. The other States Parties shall eliminating discrimination against women,
not be bound by that paragraph with respect to any State Party which has Reaffirming their determination to ensure the full and equal enjoyment
made such a reservation. by women of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and to take
3. Any State Party which has made a reservation in accordance with effective action to prevent violations of these rights and freedoms,
paragraph 2 of this article may at any time withdraw that reservation by Have agreed as follows:
notification to the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
Article 1
A State Party to the present Protocol (“State Party”) recognizes the
108 Annexes Annexes 109

competence of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination 2. Where the Committee exercises its discretion under paragraph 1 of the
against Women (“the Committee”) to receive and consider communications present article, this does not imply a determination on admissibility or on
submitted in accordance with article 2. the merits of the communication.

Article 2 Article 6
Communications may be submitted by or on behalf of individuals or 1. Unless the Committee considers a communication inadmissible without
groups of individuals, under the jurisdiction of a State Party, claiming to reference to the State Party concerned, and provided that the individual or
be victims of a violation of any of the rights set forth in the Convention individuals consent to the disclosure of their identity to that State Party,
by that State Party. Where a communication is submitted on behalf of the Committee shall bring any communication submitted to it under
individuals or groups of individuals, this shall be with their consent unless the present Protocol confidentially to the attention of the State Party
the author can justify acting on their behalf without such consent. concerned.
2. Within six months, the receiving State Party shall submit to the
Article 3 Committee written explanations or statements clarifying the matter and
Communications shall be in writing and shall not be anonymous. No the remedy, if any, that may have been provided by that State Party.
communication shall be received by the Committee if it concerns a State
Party to the Convention that is not a party to the present Protocol. Article 7
1. The Committee shall consider communications received under the
Article 4 present Protocol in the light of all information made available to it by or
1. The Committee shall not consider a communication unless it has on behalf of individuals or groups of individuals and by the State Party
ascertained that all available domestic remedies have been exhausted concerned, provided that this information is transmitted to the parties
unless the application of such remedies is unreasonably prolonged or concerned.
unlikely to bring effective relief. 2. The Committee shall hold closed meetings when examining
2. The Committee shall declare a communication inadmissible where: communications under the present Protocol.
(a) The same matter has already been examined by the Committee or has 3. After examining a communication, the Committee shall transmit its
been or is being examined under another procedure of international views on the communication, together with its recommendations, if any, to
investigation or settlement; the parties concerned.
(b) It is incompatible with the provisions of the Convention; 4. The State Party shall give due consideration to the views of the
(c) It is manifestly ill-founded or not sufficiently substantiated; Committee, together with its recommendations, if any, and shall
(d) It is an abuse of the right to submit a communication; submit to the Committee, within six months, a written response,
(e) The facts that are the subject of the communication occurred prior to including information on any action taken in the light of the views and
the entry into force of the present Protocol for the State Party concerned recommendations of the Committee.
unless those facts continued after that date.
Article 8
Article 5 2. Taking into account any observations that may have been submitted
1. At any time after the receipt of a communication and before a by the State Party concerned as well as any other reliable information
determination on the merits has been reached, the Committee may transmit available to it, the Committee may designate one or more of its members
to the State Party concerned for its urgent consideration a request that the to conduct an inquiry and to report urgently to the Committee. Where
State Party take such interim measures as may be necessary to avoid possible warranted and with the consent of the State Party, the inquiry may include
irreparable damage to the victim or victims of the alleged violation. a visit to its territory.
110 Annexes Annexes 111

3. After examining the findings of such an inquiry, the Committee shall Article 12
transmit these findings to the State Party concerned together with any The Committee shall include in its annual report under article 21 of the
comments and recommendations. Convention a summary of its activities under the present Protocol.
4. The State Party concerned shall, within six months of receiving the
findings, comments and recommendations transmitted by the Committee, Article 13
submit its observations to the Committee. Each State Party undertakes to make widely known and to give publicity
5. Such an inquiry shall be conducted confidentially and the cooperation of to the Convention and the present Protocol and to facilitate access to
the State Party shall be sought at all stages of the proceedings. information about the views and recommendations of the Committee, in
particular, on matters involving that State Party.
Article 9
1. The Committee may invite the State Party concerned to include in its Article 14
report under article 18 of the Convention details of any measures taken in The Committee shall develop its own rules of procedure to be followed
response to an inquiry conducted under article 8 of the present Protocol. when exercising the functions conferred on it by the present Protocol.
2. The Committee may, if necessary, after the end of the period of six
months referred to in article 8.4, invite the State Party concerned to Article 15
inform it of the measures taken in response to such an inquiry. 1. The present Protocol shall be open for signature by any State that has
5. The Committee may invite the State Party to submit further information signed, ratified or acceded to the Convention.
about any measures the State Party has taken in response to its views or 2. The present Protocol shall be subject to ratification by any State that has
recommendations, if any, including as deemed appropriate by the Committee, ratified or acceded to the Convention. Instruments of ratification shall be
in the State Party’s subsequent reports under article 18 of the Convention. deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
1. If the Committee receives reliable information indicating grave 3. The present Protocol shall be open to accession by any State that has
or systematic violations by a State Party of rights set forth in the ratified or acceded to the Convention.
Convention, the Committee shall invite that State Party to cooperate in 4. Accession shall be effected by the deposit of an instrument of accession
the examination of the information and to this end to submit observations with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
with regard to the information concerned.
Article 16
Article 10 1. The present Protocol shall enter into force three months after the date of
1. Each State Party may, at the time of signature or ratification of the the deposit with the Secretary-General of the United Nations of the tenth
present Protocol or accession thereto, declare that it does not recognize the instrument of ratification or accession.
competence of the Committee provided for in articles 8 and 9. 2. For each State ratifying the present Protocol or acceding to it after its
2. Any State Party having made a declaration in accordance with paragraph entry into force, the present Protocol shall enter into force three months
1 of the present article may, at any time, withdraw this declaration by after the date of the deposit of its own instrument of ratification or
notification to the Secretary-General. accession.

Article 11 Article 17
A State Party shall take all appropriate steps to ensure that individuals No reservations to the present Protocol shall be permitted.
under its jurisdiction are not subjected to ill treatment or intimidation
as a consequence of communicating with the Committee pursuant to the
present Protocol.
112 Annexes Annexes 113

Article 18 Article 21
1. Any State Party may propose an amendment to the present Protocol and 1. The present Protocol, of which the Arabic, Chinese, English, French,
file it with the Secretary-General of the United Nations. The Secretary- Russian and Spanish texts are equally authentic, shall be deposited in the
General shall thereupon communicate any proposed amendments to the archives of the United Nations.
States Parties with a request that they notify her or him whether they
favour a conference of States Parties for the purpose of considering and 2. The Secretary-General of the United Nations shall transmit certified
voting on the proposal. In the event that at least one third of the States copies of the present Protocol to all States referred to in article 25 of the
Parties favour such a conference, the Secretary-General shall convene the Convention
conference under the auspices of the United Nations. Any amendment
adopted by a majority of the States Parties present and voting at the Useful websites
conference shall be submitted to the General Assembly of the United
Nations for approval. 1- http://www.iwraw-ap.org./abouts.htm
3. When amendments come into force, they shall be binding on 2-http://www.ispm.org.ar
those States Parties that have accepted them, other States Parties still 3-http://www.un.org/womenwatch
being bound by the provisions of the present Protocol and any earlier 4-http://www.Whrenet.org
amendments that they have accepted. 5-http://www.Wao.org.my
6-http://www.ohchr.org/
Article 19 7-http://www.umn.edu/humanrts/
1. Any State Party may denounce the present Protocol at any time by 8-www.hrni.org
written notification addressed to the Secretary-General of the United 9-http://www.law-lib.utoronto.ca/Diana
Nations. Denunciation shall take effect six months after the date of receipt 10-http://www.hri.ca/index.aspx
of the notification by the Secretary-General. 11-http://www.hrea.org/
2. Denunciation shall be without prejudice to the continued application 12-http://www.unifem.org/
of the provisions of the present Protocol to any communication submitted 13-http://www.crlp.org/
under article 2 or any inquiry initiated under article 8 before the effective 14-http://mnaduocates.org/
date of denunciation. 15-http://www.awid.org
16-http://www.iwarp.org
Article 20 17-http://www.wluml.org/
The Secretary-General of the United Nations shall inform all States of: 18-http://amanjordan.org/cedaw/index.htm
(a) Signatures, ratifications and accessions under the present Protocol;
(b) The date of entry into force of the present Protocol and of any
amendment under article 18;
(c) Any denunciation under article 19.
2. Amendments shall come into force when they have been approved by
the General Assembly of the United Nations and accepted by a two-thirds
majority of the States Parties to the present Protocol in accordance with
their respective constitutional processes.
114 Contact Information

Contact Information
Mizan Law Group for Human Rights (Mizan)
Tel: +962 6 5690691
Fax: +962 6 5690681
E-mail: mizan@nets.jo
www.mizangroup.jo

The Jordanian National Commission for Women (JNCW)


Tel: +962 6 5560741
Fax: +962 6 5526768
E-mail: jncw@nets.com.jo
www.women.jo

Italian Consortium of Solidarity (ICS)


Tel/Fax: +962 6 5601046
E-mail: info@icsitalia.org
www.icsitalia.org