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United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women - Concluding Observations

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United Nations General Assembly - Supplementary Materials to Report of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women - Twenty-Sixth Session (Fiji, Estonia, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, Iceland, Sri Lanka, Portugal and Russian Federation), Twenty-Seventh Session (Suriname, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Belgium, Tunisia, Zambia, Ukraine and Denmark) and Exceptional Session (Armenia, Czech Republic, Uganda, Guatemala, Barbados, Greece, Hungary, Argentina, Yemen, Mexico and Peru) - Supplementary Materials [2002] UNCEDAWCO 1; Supplement No. 38 (A/57/38) (1 January 2002)



United Nations

Report of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women

Twenty-sixth session

(14 January-1 February 2002)

Twenty-seventh session

(3-21 June 2002)

Exceptional session

(5-23 August 2002)

General Assembly

Official Records

Fifty-seventh Session

Supplement No. 38 (A/57/38)

General Assembly

Official Records

Fifty-seventh Session

Supplement No. 38 (A/57/38)

N026141701.jpg

United Nations • New York, 2002

Report of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women

Twenty-sixth session

(14 January-1 February 2002)

Twenty-seventh session

(3-21 June 2002)

Exceptional session

(5-23 August 2002)

A/57/38

ISSN

Note

Symbols of United Nations documents are composed of capital letters combined with figures. Mention of such a symbol indicates a reference to a United Nations document.

The designations employed and the presentation of the material in this document do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat of the United Nations concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.

Contents

Chapter

Paragraphs
Page
Part one
Report of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women on its twenty-sixth session
1
Letter of transmittal
2
I. Matters brought to the attention of States parties
3
Decisions
3
II. Organizational and other matters
1–19
4
A. States parties to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
1–2
4
B. Opening of the session
3–11
4
C. Attendance
12–13
6
D. Solemn declaration
14
6
E. Adoption of the agenda and organization of work
15
6
F. Report of the pre-session working group
16–18
7
G. Organization of work
19
7
III. Report of the Chairperson on the activities undertaken between the twenty-fifth and twenty-sixth sessions of the Committee
20–21
8
IV. Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 18 of the Convention
22–405
9
A. Introduction
22–23
9
B. Consideration of reports of States parties
24–405
9
1. Initial report
24–70
9
Fiji
24–70
9
2. Combined initial, second and third periodic reports
71–166
15
Estonia
71–118
15
Trinidad and Tobago
119–166
23
3. Combined second and third periodic report
167–214
29
Uruguay
167–214
29
4. Combined third and fourth period reports
215–302
35
Iceland
215–255
35
Sri Lanka
256–302
40
5. Fourth and fifth periodic reports
303–353
46
Portugal
303–353
46
6. Fifth periodic report
354–405
53
Russian Federation
354–405
53
V. Activities carried out under the Optional Protocol to the Convention
406–407
61
VI. Ways and means of expediting the work of the Committee
408–413
65
VII. Implementation of article 21 of the Convention
414–436
68
VIII. Provisional agenda for the twenty-seventh session
437
73
IX. Adoption of the report
438
74
Part two
Report of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women on its twenty-seventh session
75
Letter of transmittal
76
I. Matters brought to the attention of States parties
77
Decisions
77
II. Organizational and other matters
1–16
78
A. States parties to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
1
78
B. Opening of the session
2–10
78
C. Attendance
11
79
D. Adoption of the agenda and organization of work
12
80
E. Report of the pre-session working group
13–16
80
III. Report of the Chairperson on the activities undertaken between the twenty-sixth and twenty-seventh sessions of the Committee
17–19
81
IV. Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 18 of the Convention
20–355
82
A. Introduction
20–21
82
B. Consideration of reports of States parties
22–355
82
1. Combined initial and second periodic report
22–72
82
Suriname
22–72
82
2. Combined initial, second, third and fourth report
73–118
90
Saint Kitts and Nevis
73–118
90
3. Combined third and fourth periodic reports
119–261
95
Belgium
119–170
95
Tunisia
171–210
102
Zambia
211–261
107
4. Combined fourth and fifth periodic report
262–301
114
Ukraine
262–301
114
5. Fourth and fifth periodic reports
302–355
120
Denmark
302–355
120
V. Activities carried out under the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
356–362
128
VI. Ways and means of expediting the work of the Committee
363–375
130
VII. Implementation of article 21 of the Convention
376–384
134
VIII. Provisional agenda for the exceptional session and the twenty-eighth session
385
135
IX. Adoption of the report
386
136
Annex
Revised reporting guidelines
137
Part three
Report of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women on its exceptional session
143
Letter of transmittal
144
I. Introduction
145
II. Organizational and other matters
1–18
146
A. States parties to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
4–5
146
B. Opening of the session
6–12
146
C. Attendance
13–14
147
D. Adoption of the agenda and organization of work
15
147
E. Report of the pre-session working group
16–18
148
III. Report of the Chairperson on the activities undertaken between the twenty-seventh and exceptional sessions of the Committee
19–22
149
IV. Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 18 of the Convention
23–506
150
A. Introduction
23–24
150
B. Consideration of reports of States parties
25–503
150
1. Second periodic reports
25–112
150
Armenia
25–69
150
Czech Republic
70–112
157
2. Third periodic report
113–162
164
Uganda
113–162
164
3. Combined third, fourth and fifth periodic reports
163–208
171
Guatemala
163–208
171
4. Fourth periodic report
209–255
177
Barbados
209–255
177
5. Combined fourth and fifth periodic reports
256–338
184
Greece
256–300
184
Hungary
301–338
189
6. Fourth and fifth periodic reports
339–409
196
Argentina
339–369
196
Yemen
370–409
200
7. Fifth periodic report
410–503
205
Mexico
410–453
205
Peru
454–502
212
V. Implementation of article 21 of the Convention
503–504
219
VI. Adoption of the report
505
219
Annexes

I. States parties to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, as at 15 September 2002
220
II. States parties which have deposited with the Secretary-General instruments of acceptance of the amendment to article 20, paragraph 1, of the Convention
227
III. States parties which have signed, ratified or acceded to the Optional Protocol to the Convention
229
IV. Membership of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women
232
V. Revised reporting guidelines*

VI. Documents before the Committee at its twenty-sixth, twenty-seventh and exceptional sessions
234
VII. Status of submission and consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 18 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, as at 15 September 2002
237

* Since annex V to part three duplicates the annex to part two of the present combined report, it is not repeated here; see part two, annex.

Part one

Report of the Committee on the Elimination

of Discrimination against Women on its

twenty-sixth session

His Excellency Mr. Kofi Annan

Secretary-General of the United Nations

New York

Letter of transmittal

2 May 2002

Sir,

I have the honour to refer to article 21 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, according to which the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, established pursuant to the Convention, “shall, through the Economic and Social Council, report annually to the General Assembly of the United Nations on its activities”.

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women held its twenty-sixth session from 14 January to 1 February 2002 at United Nations Headquarters. It adopted its report on the session at the 549th meeting, on 1 February 2002. The report of the Committee is herewith submitted to you for transmission to the General Assembly at its fifty-seventh session.

Accept, Sir, the assurances of my highest consideration.

(Signed) Charlotte Abaka

Chairperson

Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women

Chapter I

Matters brought to the attention of States parties

Decisions

Decision 26/I

Statement of solidarity with Afghan women

The Committee decided to adopt a statement of solidarity with Afghan women (see paras. 417-421 below).

Decision 26/II

Gender and sustainable development

The Committee decided to adopt a statement on gender and sustainable development, to be forwarded to the preparatory committee for the World Summit on Sustainable Development, to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa from 26 August to 4 September 2002 (see paras. 422-429 below).

Decision 26/III

Ending discrimination against older women through the Convention

The Committee decided to adopt a statement on ending discrimination against older women through the Convention to be forwarded to the preparatory committee for the World Assembly on Ageing, to be held in Madrid from 8 to 12 April 2002 (see paras. 430-436 below). It also decided, subject to the availability of resources, to nominate one of its members to attend the World Assembly on its behalf.

Decision 26/IV

Special session of the General Assembly on children

Recalling its decision 25/III on the special session of the General Assembly on children, the Committee decided, subject to the availability of resources, to nominate one member to participate in the special session, to be held from 8 to 10 May 2002, on its behalf.

Chapter II

Organizational and other matters

A. States parties to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

1. On 1 February 2002, the closing date of the twenty-sixth session of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, there were 168 States parties to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, which was adopted by the General Assembly in its resolution 34/180 of 18 December 1979 and opened for signature, ratification and accession in New York in March 1980. In accordance with its article 27, the Convention entered into force on 3 September 1981.

2. A list of States parties to the Convention is contained in annex I. A list of States parties that have accepted the amendment to article 20, paragraph 1, of the Convention is contained in annex II. A list of States parties that have signed, ratified or acceded to the Optional Protocol to the Convention is contained in annex III.

B. Opening of the session

3. The Committee held its twenty-sixth session at United Nations Headquarters from 14 January to 1 February 2002. The Committee held 21 plenary meetings (529th to 549th) and met as a working group of the whole in 12 meetings.

4. The session was opened by the chairperson of the Committee, Charlotte Abaka (Ghana), who was elected at the twenty-fourth session of the Committee, in January 2001.

5. Addressing the Committee at its 529th meeting, on 14 January 2002, the Assistant Secretary-General and Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women, Angela E. V. King, welcomed the two new members of the Committee who had been nominated by their Governments and accepted by the Committee to complete the terms of two former members who had resigned because of professional commitments. The Special Adviser also introduced Carolyn Hannan, who had recently been appointed Director of the Division for the Advancement of Women.

6. While noting that the period between the twenty-fifth and twenty-sixth sessions had been marked by difficulties resulting from the tragic events of 11 September 2001, the Special Adviser indicated that there had been several highlights during that period. They included the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, which had been held from 31 August to 8 September 2001, in Durban, South Africa. Several members of the Committee, including the Chairperson, had participated in the Conference, which recognized that racism, racial discrimination and related intolerance affected women and girls differently than men and boys and stressed the need to integrate a gender perspective into relevant policies, strategies and programmes against racism and racial discrimination. She also highlighted the strategies recommended by the Conference to confront racism and racial discrimination, which included the signing and ratifying of human rights and other treaties, including the Convention and its Optional Protocol, and their full implementation.

7. The Special Adviser informed the Committee on developments with respect to the situation of women and girls in Afghanistan. The United Nations had sponsored talks between four Afghan groups in Bonn, Germany, chaired by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan, which had ended on 5 December 2001 with the signing of an Agreement on Provisional Arrangements in Afghanistan Pending the Re-establishment of Permanent Government Institutions. Two women had participated as full delegates in those talks and two women had been included in the Interim Administration, one as Minister of Women’s Affairs and one as Minister of Health. She also informed the Committee that the first Integrated Mission Task Force, which had been established to advise the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan, included three gender specialists drawn from the Division for the Advancement of Women, the World Food Programme (WFP) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

8. The Special Adviser drew attention to the Afghan Women’s Summit for Democracy, held in Brussels, on 4 and 5 December 2001, which had been organized at the request of Afghan women by the European Women’s Lobby, Equality Now and other groups, in collaboration with her Office and the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM). The meeting, which she had attended, had been held so that Afghan women could identify their priorities for the future of Afghanistan, particularly with respect to their full participation in the peace process, including in the context of Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) of 31 October 2000 on women, peace and security. The Summit had concluded with the adoption of the Brussels Proclamation, which addressed women’s demands with respect to the reconstruction of Afghanistan. The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women was one of the human rights instruments highlighted in the Proclamation.

9. The Special Adviser informed the Committee that she and the Division for the Advancement of Women had taken every possible opportunity to encourage ratification of the Convention and its Optional Protocol, as well as acceptance of the amendment to article 20, paragraph 1, of the Convention. Letters had been sent to the Permanent Representatives of all States parties that had not yet accepted the amendment, as well as to members from States parties which had not yet accepted the amendment, urging its acceptance. Her office and the Division for the Advancement of Women collaborated with the Office of Legal Affairs in connection with that Office’s treaty signature/ ratification event, which took place from 19 September to 5 October 2001 and which had been directed at achieving universal ratification of the United Nations treaties most relevant to the advancement of women. A significant number of ratifications and accessions of these treaties had been achieved during the event. The Division for the Advancement of Women had also provided technical support for a subregional training workshop organized by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland on ratification of the Convention.

10. The Special Adviser informed the Committee that, taking into account its decision 25/1, the General Assembly had authorized the Committee to hold, on an exceptional basis, an extraordinary session of three weeks’ duration in 2002, to be used entirely for the consideration of the reports of States parties in order to reduce the backlog of reports. She indicated that, in considering the matter, the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions had expressed the view that the expected elimination of the backlog might be temporary unless the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women reforms its methods of work, including its reporting procedures, and provides guidelines concerning the length of reports from States parties. The Advisory Committee was also of the opinion that the Committee and the States parties should consider adopting reporting guidelines that could limit the length of reports of States parties and streamline their structure and content.

11. In closing, the Special Adviser indicated that the work of the Committee during its current session would include consideration of the reports of eight States parties and continuation of the discussion of the general recommendation of the Committee on article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention concerning temporary special measures aimed at accelerating de facto equality between men and women. She also recalled that the World Summit on Sustainable Development would take place in Johannesburg from 26 August to 4 September 2002, and that the Committee might wish to prepare input for that event.

C. Attendance

12. All members of the Committee attended the twenty-sixth session.

13. A list of the members of the Committee indicating the duration of their terms of office is contained in annex IV to the final report of the Committee for 2002.

D. Solemn declaration

14. At the opening meeting of the twenty-sixth session, at the 529th meeting, before assuming their functions, two members made the solemn declaration provided for under rule 15 of the Committee’s rules of procedure. They were Christine Kapalata (United Republic of Tanzania), who had been nominated by her Government and accepted by the Committee to complete the remaining period of the term of Asha Rose Mtengeti-Migiro, and Fumiko Saiga (Japan), who had been nominated by her Government and accepted by the Committee to complete the remaining period of the term of Chikako Taya.

E. Adoption of the agenda and organization of work

15. The Committee considered the provisional agenda and organization of work (CEDAW/C/2002/I/1) at its 529th meeting on 14 January 2002. The agenda as adopted was as follows:

1. Opening of the session.

2. Solemn declaration by new members of the Committee.

3. Adoption of the agenda and organization of work.

4. Report of the Chairperson on activities undertaken between the twenty-fifth and twenty-sixth sessions of the Committee.

5. Consideration of the reports submitted by States parties under article 18 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

6. Implementation of article 21 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

7. Ways and means of expediting the work of the Committee.

8. Provisional agenda for the twenty-seventh session.

9. Adoption of the report of the Committee on its twenty-sixth session.

F. Report of the pre-session working group

16. The pre-session working group for the twenty-sixth session of the Committee met from 23 to 27 July 2001 to prepare lists of issues and questions relating to the periodic reports that would be considered by the Committee at that session. The following members, representing different regional groups, participated in the Working Group: Mavivi Myakayaka-Manzini (Africa); Heisoo Shin (Asia); Frances Livingstone Raday (Europe); and Zelmira Regazzoli (Latin America and the Caribbean). Ms. Zelmira Regazzoli was elected as its Chairperson.

17. The working group prepared lists of issues and questions relating to the reports of five States parties, namely: Iceland, Portugal, the Russian Federation, Sri Lanka and Uruguay.

18. At its 531st meeting, on 16 January 2002, the Chairperson of the pre-session working group introduced the report of the group (CEDAW/PSWG/2002/1/CRP.1 and Add.1-5).

G. Organization of work

19. At its 529th meeting, on 14 January 2002, the Committee decided to take up issues under agenda item 6, on implementation of article 21 of the Convention, and agenda item 7, on ways and means of expediting the work of the Committee, through a working group of the whole. The issues it decided to consider were: the general recommendation on article 4.1 of the Convention; the draft model form for communications prepared by the working group on the optional protocol; human rights education; and the agenda for the inter-treaty body meeting to be held in June 2002.

Chapter III

Report of the Chairperson on the activities undertaken between the twenty-fifth and twenty-sixth sessions of the Committee

20. At its 529th meeting, on 14 January 2002, the Chairperson of the Committee, Charlotte Abaka, briefed the Committee on her attendance at the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, including her participation in a number of important parallel events. They included an event entitled “The Voices of Victims — Human stories of racial discrimination with first-hand accounts from every region of the world”, and a round table on the “Impact of Multiple Forms of Discrimination on Women”, which was organized by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Division for the Advancement of Women and was chaired by the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson. The Chairperson indicated that, during the round table, she had highlighted the Committee’s statement on gender and racial discrimination. The Chairperson emphasized the fact that the Committee’s work had attracted significant interest at events during the World Conference.

21. The Chairperson stated that the Convention was an effective tool in achieving sustainable human, economic, social and cultural development. She strongly recommended that the Committee place more emphasis on human rights education and actively participate in the final years of the United Nations Decade for Human Rights Education (1995-2004). She identified gender-sensitive human rights education as a critical strategy to address inequalities, injustices and abuses in the home, the workplace, the streets, courts, prisons and elsewhere. She stated that citizens and policy makers should learn to understand human rights obligations and responsibilities and that they should learn to monitor and enforce human rights effectively and efficiently.

Chapter IV

Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 18 of the Convention

A. Introduction

22. At its twenty-sixth session, the Committee considered the reports of eight States parties submitted under article 18 of the Convention: the initial report of one State party; the combined initial, second and third periodic reports of two States parties; the combined second and third periodic report of one State party; the combined third and fourth periodic reports of two States parties; the third and fourth periodic reports of one State party; and the fifth periodic report of one State party.

23. The Committee prepared concluding comments on each of the States parties considered. The Committee’s concluding comments, as prepared by members of the Committee, and a summary of the introductory presentations by the representatives of the States parties are provided below.

B. Consideration of reports of States parties

1. Initial report

Fiji

24. The Committee considered the initial report of the Republic of the Fiji Islands (CEDAW/C/FJI/1) at its 530th and 531st meetings, on 17 January 2002, and its 538th meeting on 22 January 2002 (see CEDAW/C/SR.530, 531 and 538).

(a) Introduction by the State party

25. In introducing the report, the representative of Fiji stated that her country believed in the spirit and the goals of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, was committed to human rights and took its obligation to implement the Convention seriously. Fiji was proud to be the first Pacific island State to report to the Committee, and before submitting the initial report in early 2000, had withdrawn its reservation to article 5 (a) of the Convention.

26. The representative said that the report had been a collaborative effort of all governmental sectors, in partnership with civil society and non-governmental organizations, and that Fiji had shared its experiences in the preparation of its initial report at the workshop conducted by the Division for the Advancement of Women in New Zealand in 2001.

27. The representative informed the Committee that the isolation of Fiji and her Pacific island neighbours from the rest of the world made the country susceptible to global economic forces and, consequently, sporadic political upheavals, and the country’s goals and priorities were affected by social, economic and environmental vulnerabilities. Fiji relied on a small export base dealing in an open market in international trade and a sluggish economy had led to major job losses, outward migration, a lowering of the living standard, increased poverty and crime. She pointed out that over half of the predominantly highly skilled and qualified professionals who had migrated from Fiji in recent years had been women.

28. An attempted civilian coup d’état on 19 May 2000 had disrupted parliamentary rule by the democratically elected Government. General elections had since been conducted, restoring constitutional democracy and political stability. A total of 26 of the 353 candidates were women and 5 had been successful. Currently, two women are cabinet ministers, two are assistant ministers and one is a member of the Opposition. There are three women in the 32-member Senate.

29. Poverty continued to be a growing concern, with a 1996 study revealing that 25.5 per cent of households lived below the poverty line. Single-headed households accounted for 20 per cent of the poor, with one in seven being female-headed. Means to address that included the reconstituting of the Ministry for Women to achieve parity with the Department of Social Welfare and the Department of Poverty Alleviation, thereby recognizing the linkage between gender and poverty, which had been flagged in the 2000 Millennium Declaration. Fiji had recognized that the alleviation of poverty would advance women’s rights and bring the country closer to its goal of social equity. Thus, the 2002 government budget allocation for poverty alleviation and rural development had increased by $56 million.

30. Gender mainstreaming approaches were being pursued especially in the implementation of the Women’s Plan of Action of the Government of Fiji. Some efforts by civil society and non-governmental organizations to provide programmes, advocate and lobby for women’s strategic and practical needs were government-subsidized and complemented the Government’s efforts in the areas of violence against women, women in politics, women in the media, peace-building and legal reforms. Part of the commitment of her Government to provide programmes for disadvantaged groups or categories of persons to achieve equality included economic support to promote a more equitable development for indigenous Fijians and Rotumans. The Social Justice Act was passed in December 2001, implementing chapter 5 of the 1997 Constitution, which required Parliament to make provision for a framework for decisions on policy and legislation for affirmative action.

31. The preceding two years of political crisis had made national security the Government’s top priority. However, progress had been made on a number of issues, including a review of the penal code on sexual offences. Legislation on offences against children had been amended to address an increase in paedophilia. Women in Fiji had followed the commercial law reform with interest, especially with regard to intellectual property rights, as the protection of indigenous and cultural knowledge and property rights was of concern.

32. The representative informed the Committee of the implementation of her Government’s commitment at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing to campaign against violence against women. Programmes and training workshops had been supported by the Government, and financial support had been provided for civil society organizations offering support and shelter to victims. The Ministry of Women, Social Welfare and Poverty Alleviation had formed a task force on violence against women which was working closely with women’s organizations and civil society on a domestic violence agenda for appropriate legislation or remedies. It was hoped that results would be achieved in 2002.

33. On the issue of access and participation of girls in education, the Fiji Islands Education Commission/Panel (November 2000) had pointed to an increase of 19.8 per cent in primary schools, and a 405 per cent increase in secondary schools between 1970 and 1999. Women lagged behind in science and technology, however. Therefore, career choices in those fields for most girls and young women were limited. The reason for that was, inter alia, that schools predominantly offered home economics and typing to girls and technical drawing, woodwork and metal work to boys, in addition to gender stereotyping in curriculum materials. Women’s enrolment in non-traditional fields had increased as a result of scholarships funded by donor Governments and similar initiatives adopted by local institutions.

34. Women’s reproductive health was well catered for, but women’s mental health was a neglected area. Sexually transmitted infections had continued to escalate, and the Ministry of Health had set a number of priority areas, including HIV prevention, care of and support for persons living with HIV/AIDS and testing. The health sector had suffered, however, from the out-migration of health professionals.

35. The representative indicated that the work of rural women was rarely acknowledged in national statistics and there were no figures available for women farmers, fisherfolk or forestry workers or rural businesswomen. Rural women’s access to education and health required improvement. The Government was emphasizing development for rural areas, and the Ministry of Women, Social Welfare and Poverty Alleviation was making all efforts to ensure equitable development for both rural and urban women and men.

36. Gender roles were deeply rooted in all communities in Fiji and, despite education and changes that had occurred in traditional gender roles, women’s status was unequal to that of men. Changes were beginning to occur among urban families, where both women and men worked, but decision-making continued to be the realm of men. Domestic violence affected most homes in Fiji, irrespective of social or economic status, but that had only recently become a public issue. The breakdown of the family unit was of major concern, with applications for legal aid assistance in family law matters, including divorce, maintenance and custody, having sharply increased.

37. The representative concluded by stating that Fiji’s specific vulnerabilities underscored the need to strengthen technical support and assistance at the international and regional levels, as well as building effective networks and partnerships with non-governmental organizations, civil society and the private sector.

(b) Concluding comments of the Committee

Introduction

38. The Committee expresses its appreciation to the State party for its initial report which, although delayed, was informative, contained data disaggregated by sex and complied with the Committee’s guidelines for the preparation of initial reports.

39. The Committee commends the State party on its delegation, headed by the Assistant Minister of the Ministry of Women, Social Welfare and Poverty Alleviation.

Positive aspects

40. The Committee commends the efforts made to ensure the implementation of the Convention through a wide range of laws, policies and programmes, with the support and active participation of women’s civil society organizations. The Committee commends the State party for preparing its initial report in consultation with these organizations. It commends the launching of the Women’s Plan of Action 1999-2008, which incorporates commitments of the Beijing Platform for Action.

41. The Committee welcomes the introduction of a specific provision on gender equality in the Constitution of 1997, and the establishment in Fiji of the first human rights commission in the South Pacific region. The Committee appreciates the recognition given to public international law in interpreting the Constitution and notes that this has helped courts to use the Convention in judicial interpretation. The Committee commends the State party for withdrawing its reservations to articles 5 (a) and 9 of the Convention. It also welcomes the extensive programme of law reforms in critical areas in conformity with the Constitution and the Convention and commends in particular the enactment of a citizenship law based on article 9 of the Convention.

42. The Committee commends the State party for establishing the Ministry of Women, Social Welfare and Poverty Alleviation and facilitating the integration of the central dimension of gender into social welfare and poverty reduction. The Committee also welcomes the creation of several institutional mechanisms, including the National Women’s Advisory Counsel, to promote gender equality and implement the Women’s Plan of Action.

43. The Committee commends the efforts of the State party to strengthen gender mainstreaming and monitoring through the gender budget initiative, and a gender audit project and welcomes the initiatives taken on human rights education and gender training.

Factors and difficulties affecting the implementation of the Convention

44. The Committee notes that stereotypical attitudes towards women’s work and family responsibilities impede full implementation of the Convention.

45. The Committee recognizes that periods of political instability, ethnic tensions, low economic growth and increasing poverty in a period of economic transition have impacted negatively on the State party’s efforts to implement the Convention.

Principal areas of concern and recommendations

46. The Committee expresses concern that the Constitution of 1997 does not contain a definition of discrimination against women. The Committee notes the absence of effective mechanisms to challenge discriminatory practices and enforce the right to gender equality guaranteed by the Constitution in respect of the actions of public officials and non-State actors. The Committee is concerned that the Convention is not specified in the mandate of the Human Rights Commission, and that it is not assured funds to continue its work.

47. The Committee recommends that proposed constitutional reform should address the need to incorporate a definition of discrimination. The Committee urges the State party to include a clear procedure for enforcement of fundamental rights and enact an equal opportunities law to cover the actions of non-State actors. The Committee also recommends that the mandate of the Human Rights Commission be expanded to include the Convention, and that the Commission be provided with adequate resources from State funds.

48. The Committee is concerned that the Social Justice Act and the “Blue Print”, which propose affirmative action for the indigenous Fijian population, do not integrate a gender perspective.

49. The Committee recommends that the Social Justice Act and the “Blue Print” be evaluated for their impact on both ethnicity and gender, to ensure respect for gender equality, and human rights in Fiji’s multicultural plural society. The Committee urges the State party to introduce an effective monitoring mechanism to ensure that these programmes conform with fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution and the Convention’s concept of temporary special measures, and contributes to the elimination of discrimination against all Fijian women.

50. The Committee is concerned that, despite significant gains in education, some equal employment opportunities policies and an accessible database on qualified women professionals, women’s political participation and access to decision-making positions remain limited.

51. The Committee recommends the introduction of temporary special measures in accordance with article 4.1 of the Convention to increase the representation of women in national and local assemblies, and in decision-making positions at all levels.

52. The Committee notes the active participation of women’s civil society organizations, and recommends that this rich resource continue to be used for sustainable development and the promotion of gender equality in Fiji.

53. The Committee recommends that the participation of women’s civil society organizations in the Women’s Advisory Council be strengthened, and that the various governmental machineries work in a coordinated manner with them in implementing the Women’s Plan of Action 1999-2008.

54. The Committee notes that women shoulder a heavy burden of dual responsibility at work and in the family, and that there has been an increase in the number of female heads of households. It is concerned that entrenched stereotypical attitudes to women in society and the idea of an exclusively male head of household encourage segregation in employment and a denial of the economic contribution of women.

55. The Committee recommends an accelerated and broad-based programme of human rights education and gender training which includes dissemination of information on the Convention, with a view to changing existing stereotypical attitudes. It also recommends changes in laws and administrative regulations to recognize women as heads of households and the concept of shared economic contribution and household responsibilities.

56. The Committee notes with concern that women do not receive equal wages for work of equal value and are denied equal access to employment and promotion. Furthermore, the working conditions of women, particularly in the tax-free zones, contravene article 11 of the Convention. The Committee also notes with concern that pregnancy leave is not mandatory.

57. The Committee recommends the very early adoption of the Industrial Relations Bill and Equal Opportunity legislation and a repeal of outdated labour laws. Legal reforms should make pregnancy leave mandatory and deal with sexual harassment in the workplace. The Committee calls upon the State party to promote the adoption of a code of ethics for investors, including in the tax-free zones.

58. The Committee notes with concern the high incidence of ethnic and gender-based violence against women in periods of civil unrest. It is concerned that, despite the State party’s positive initiatives to address gender-based violence, there are high levels of domestic violence and sexual abuse of girls and women. The Committee is also concerned that the social customs on the husband’s right of chastisement, and “bulu bulu”, give social legitimacy to violence. The Committee also notes that the Evidence Bill, which introduces reforms in procedures with respect to sexual offences, has not been adopted.

59. The Committee requests the State party to strengthen its initiatives to combat gender-based violence and adopt the proposed laws on domestic violence and sexual offences very early, prohibiting practices that legalize violence against women. In particular, it calls on the State party to reinforce its “no drop” policy by prohibiting the reconciliation of cases of rape and sexual assault on the basis of the “bulu bulu” custom. The Committee recommends the early passage and entry into force of the Evidence Bill.

60. The Committee notes with concern that an increase in levels of poverty and adverse economic conditions are undermining Fiji’s gains in women’s education. These conditions have led to a higher incidence of girls dropping out of school, with connected problems of early marriage, teenage pregnancies and sexual exploitation.

61. The Committee recommends the introduction of targeted policies and programmes to reduce poverty, prevent early marriage, teenage pregnancies and girls dropping out of school.

62. The Committee notes the gains achieved with regard to women’s health but is concerned that women in remote islands are adversely affected by maternal and infant mortality. It notes that out-migration of health professionals has led to a decline in health services, and that cervical cancer and circulatory diseases are a major cause of female death. The Committee also notes with concern the growing incidence of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS.

63. The Committee recommends that priority be given to allocating resources for improving health care services for women, including in the remote islands, and combating sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS. It encourages the State party to introduce proactive measures and incentives to attract local health professionals to the health services in Fiji.

64. The Committee is concerned that there is a growing problem of prostitution due to economic hardship, and that a colonial law from 1944 which penalizes the conduct of only women who engage in prostitution continues to be enforced.

65. The Committee recommends an holistic and integrated programme of law reform, and policies and programmes to facilitate reintegration, and the criminalization of the actions of only those who profit from the sexual exploitation of women.

66. The Committee notes with concern that family laws in Fiji contain many discriminatory provisions, and that restrictive divorce laws encourage violence, including suicide. It also notes with concern that the proposed Family Law Bill has not been adopted.

67. The Committee urges the early adoption of the Family Law Bill and calls for the law on family relations of all communities to be brought into conformity with the Constitution and the Convention.

68. The Committee urges the State party to sign and ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention and to deposit, as soon as possible, its instrument of acceptance of the amendment to article 20, paragraph 1, of the Convention, concerning the meeting time of the Committee.

69. The Committee requests the State party to respond to the concerns expressed in the present concluding comments in its next periodic report submitted under article 18 of the Convention. It particularly requests information on the impact of legislation, policies and programmes.

70. The Committee requests the wide dissemination in the Republic of the Fiji Islands of the present concluding comments in order to make the people of Fiji, in particular governmental administrators and politicians, aware of the steps that have been taken to ensure de jure and de facto equality for women and of the further steps that are required in this regard. It requests the State party to continue to disseminate widely, in particular to women’s and human rights organizations, the Convention and its Optional Protocol, the Committee’s general recommendations, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the results of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, entitled “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace in the twenty-first century”.

2. Combined initial, second and third periodic reports

Estonia

71. The Committee considered the combined initial, second and third periodic reports of Estonia (CEDAW/C/EST/1-3) at its 539th, 540th and 548th meetings, on 23 and 29 January 2002 (see CEDAW/C/SR.539, 540 and 548).

(a) Introduction by the State party

72. In introducing the report, the representative indicated that the Estonian women’s movement had begun in the 1880s when the first women’s organizations were established; that the Women’s Union, founded in 1907, had spoken publicly about women’s rights, including equal pay for equal work, and that the first Estonian Constitution in 1920 had granted women the right to vote. Women’s organizations became very active in the 1980s, and after the independence of Estonia in 1991, several new women’s organizations were founded, and gender equality issues were readdressed in connection with the Fourth World Conference on Women, held at Beijing. An inter-ministerial committee had been established in 1996 for the promotion of gender equality, and included in its priorities the creation and strengthening of national structures to integrate the principle of gender equality; the analysis of the compliance of Estonian legislation with international standards of gender equality; a guarantee with regard to the availability of gender-sensitive statistics; and the improvement of the situation of women in the labour market and the increase of women’s participation in decision-making.

73. Gender equality initiatives in Estonia were promoted by numerous foreign-funded initiatives, including through research into the economic and social situation of women and men, and contacts and cooperation with women’s rights advocates, other countries, in particular the Nordic countries, and international and regional organizations. In 1991, Estonia acceded to almost 30 of the most important United Nations conventions. Owing to the speedy ratification process and large-scale legal reforms, Estonia had faced serious difficulties in presenting reports on the implementation of the conventions in a timely manner, but a number of reports had now been submitted. Estonia had ratified a number of conventions of the International Labour Organization (ILO), including convention No. 100 on equal remuneration, and, as a member of the Council of Europe, had ratified the major instruments dealing with human rights. In addition, as an applicant to the European Union, Estonia had harmonized its national legislation with European acquis in the area of labour. Since 1998, measures promoting equality between women and men had formed part of the Government’s action plan, and the Government’s National Programme for the Adoption of the Acquis included sub-chapters on equal treatment for women and men and on gender equality.

74. The representative indicated that the Estonian Constitution guaranteed equal rights to everyone, and the rights of women had been addressed in several Estonian laws. The draft Gender Equality Act, which had been submitted to the Estonian Parliament at the end of 2001, inter alia, explicitly prohibited direct discrimination; provided measures against indirect discrimination; and obliged employers to promote equality between women and men. The representative informed the Committee that the Legal Chancellor’s Office was responsible for supervising the activities of the State, including the enjoyment of the guarantee of constitutional rights and freedoms, and no petitions concerning violations of women’s rights had so far been filed with that office. The Gender Equality Bureau in the Ministry of Social Affairs coordinated the mainstreaming of gender equality; monitored the legislative process in terms of gender impact; and organized the preparation of national gender promotion action plans.

75. The representative indicated that continuous attention had been given to increasing public awareness of gender issues and a number of gender training programmes had been implemented. The engagement of civil society in gender equality matters was welcomed, and Estonian women’s non-governmental organizations, whose numbers had dramatically increased during the past decade, were in the process of consolidation, including through the formation of regional round tables. In 2001, the Government allocated for the first time financial resources to support women’s round-table activities and networking.

76. The representative indicated that, while the representation of women in decision-making positions should be greater, positive changes had taken place. Gender equality had been incorporated into the platforms of several political parties; the representation of women in Parliament and in local authorities had increased in the 1999 elections; and the Government that was currently being formed would include five women ministers. Women made up approximately two thirds of all part-time workers; there was a high degree of horizontal and vertical employment segregation between women and men; and women’s average wages had been approximately one quarter less than men’s wages. The Wages Act guaranteed equal pay and prohibited discrimination on the grounds of sex with regard to remuneration, but the relatively high unemployment rate had caused women to seek employment in the informal sector, where they were underpaid and lacked social security. A number of measures had been taken to address the situation, including joint controls and supervision visits to companies by the Labour Inspectorate and other authorities. The National Employment Action Plan for 2002 promoted employment creation and equal opportunities and included as one of its components strengthening equal opportunities for women and men, and under the Employment Action Plan, strategies in the period 2001-2003 would be devised to integrate gender equality into the areas of employment and occupational life. Strengthening of the policy to guarantee equal opportunities for women and men was also one of the priority activities. The representative informed the Committee about measures taken to promote women entrepreneurs, particularly in rural areas.

77. The representative indicated that the health of Estonian women and children had improved significantly; information concerning reproductive health had become more available; and a programme on reproductive health for the period 2000-2009 had begun in 1999. The number of abortions was still high, but it had dropped in past years. The country was facing new problems, such as HIV/AIDS, and preventive and educational measures had been introduced to address HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. Significant improvements in combating violence against women had occurred, including the creation of a sociological database of the scale and scope of violence against women; and a large-scale project aimed at elaborating cooperation between the police and social workers in respect of prevention activities and assistance to victims. A government action plan for mitigation and prevention of violence against women was being formulated and included as objectives convincing the public of the danger of violence against women; improving legislation; raising the capacity of police; introducing a victim-centred approach; and increasing inter-agency cooperation.

78. Rights and benefits related to raising children were now equally directed at mothers and fathers, and the new Holidays Act, inter alia, entitled fathers to leave for 14 calendar days during the mother’s pregnancy and maternity leave.

79. In closing, the representative informed the Committee that significant progress had been made to improve the position of women in Estonian society, but that efforts still had to be taken to further the full-scale implementation of the Convention. However, the Government was committed to continuing this work.

(b) Concluding comments of the Committee

Introduction

80. The Committee expresses its appreciation to the Government of Estonia for submitting its initial, second and third periodic report, and encourages the Government to present its next report in a timely manner. The report generally follows the guidelines of the Committee and contains some statistical data disaggregated by sex. The Committee also appreciates the delegation’s willingness to engage in a frank and constructive dialogue with the Committee. The Committee also commends the State party’s efforts to produce, in a short period of time, qualitative and informative responses to the oral questions posed by the Committee.

Positive aspects

81. The Committee notes with satisfaction that the Convention is incorporated into Estonian law and has precedence over conflicting national legislation, and that de jure equality is becoming a reality in Estonia. Furthermore, the Committee notes with appreciation the efforts undertaken to improve the situation of women and the achievement of gender equality, particularly considering the recent independence and restructuring of the country.

82. The Committee commends the State party on Estonia’s high level of education, stressing in particular the situation of women in higher education, increasingly in non-traditional areas. The Committee also notes the measures adopted to promote women entrepreneurs and the progressive achievements in this area.

83. The Committee also notes with appreciation the comprehensive legislation and benefits for maternity and paternity protection, as well as projects addressing children’s health and the breast-feeding programmes.

84. The Committee notes with satisfaction that the State party recognizes the important role of the increasing number of non-governmental organizations working on women’s issues, in particular in the rural sector and with respect to women’s political participation.

85. The Committee commends the work undertaken in awareness-raising on equality, pursued with public officials in ministries and government agencies and other social actors, and the gradually increasing role played by the media encouraged by the State party in changing sex-role stereotypes. It also notes with satisfaction the efforts made by the State party to collect and disseminate all statistical data disaggregated by sex, as well as training provided in this regard.

Factors and difficulties affecting the implementation of the Convention

86. The Committee notes that the economic transition, from a centrally planned economy to a market economy, in the last decade has posed serious challenges to the effective implementation of the Convention, and that the restructuring processes have disproportionately affected women. The Committee also notes that the resurgence of traditional views regarding gender roles also constitutes an obstacle to the implementation of the Convention.

Principal areas of concern and recommendations

87. The Committee expresses its concern that, although the Constitution recognizes that everyone is equal before the law and contains a prohibition of discrimination on the ground of sex, Estonian law does not contain a specific definition of discrimination against women modelled on article 1 of the Convention, which prohibits both direct and indirect discrimination.

88. The Committee urges the State party to include the definition of discrimination against women in its Constitution and national legislation. It recommends the adoption of the draft Gender Equality Act containing provisions to allow the adoption of temporary special measures in accordance with article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention. It requests the State party to provide in its next report relevant information on this law, as well as the remedies available to women for redress for violations of their rights protected under the Constitution and the Convention.

89. While welcoming the fact that, in accordance with articles 3 and 123 of the Constitution, the Convention is integrated into domestic legislation and takes precedence over such legislation, the Committee is concerned that there is still a lack of familiarity with the Convention among the judiciary, law enforcement agents and women themselves about the opportunities for the application of the Convention in domestic decision-making.

90. Acknowledging the effort already made with regard to human rights education, including on the human rights of women, and the transparency and participatory nature of the law-making process, the Committee recommends a review of law school curricula and the development of continuing education programmes for judges and lawyers that include the application of the Convention at the domestic level. It also recommends that awareness-raising campaigns addressed to women be undertaken to allow them to avail themselves of the legal remedies that assist them. It invites the State party to provide, in its next report, information about complaints filed in courts based on the Convention, as well as about any court decisions that referred to the Convention.

91. The Committee expresses its concern that the existing national mechanism for the advancement of women, the Gender Equality Bureau, a sub-unit of the Ministry of Social Affairs, although tasked with the responsibility of mainstreaming gender equality, does not have sufficient strength, visibility or human and financial resources to promote effectively the advancement of women and gender equality. The Committee also expresses its concern about the insufficient overall integrated policy of gender mainstreaming.

92. The Committee recommends that the State party strengthen the existing national machinery in order to give it more visibility and effectiveness, as well as review its mandate to carry out effectively the mainstreaming of a gender perspective in all policies. It also recommends that the State party reassess the capacity of the national machinery, provide it with adequate human and financial resources at all levels and foster more effective coordination among the existing mechanisms for the advancement of women and the promotion of gender equality.

93. The Committee is concerned that a clear understanding of temporary special measures according to article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention, as well as the reason for their application, seems to be lacking in large parts of Estonian society and in public administration.

94. The Committee recommends that the State party raise public awareness about the importance of such measures in accelerating the process of gender equality. It also recommends that the State party introduce temporary special measures, inter alia, in the educational, employment, professional and political fields, including through encouragement to pursue disciplines and areas of work and of political intervention in which one sex is underrepresented. Such provisions should be designed with measurable goals, targets or quotas and time lines to allow their effective monitoring.

95. The Committee is concerned about the resurgence and persistence of traditional stereotypes regarding the role of men and women in the family, and in society at large. The Committee is also concerned about the lack of targeted educational programmes, mass media campaigns and temporary special measures to eliminate these stereotypes.

96. The Committee urges the State party to design and implement comprehensive programmes in the educational system and to encourage the mass media to promote cultural changes with regard to the roles and tasks attributed to women and men, as required by article 5 of the Convention. It recommends that legislation be enacted and policies adopted to cover not only the prohibition of discrimination against women but also of the more subtle utilization of and support for traditional sex role stereotypes in the family, in employment, in politics and in society.

97. While recognizing the efforts made by the State party to combat violence against women, especially domestic violence and the creation, with the collaboration of non-governmental organizations, of a database on the scope and scale of violence in Estonia, as well as the training of police officials and medical workers and specialists engaged in the victim support system, the Committee expresses its concern about the high incidence of violence against women and girls, including domestic violence.

98. The Committee urges the State party to place high priority on comprehensive measures to address violence against women in the family and in society, and to recognize that such violence, including domestic violence, constitutes a violation of the human rights of women under the Convention. In the light of its general recommendation 19 on violence against women, the Committee calls upon the State party to ensure that such violence constitutes a crime punishable under criminal law, that it is prosecuted and punished with the required severity and speed, and that women victims of violence have immediate means of redress and protection. It recommends that measures be taken to ensure that public officials, especially law enforcement officials, the judiciary, the medical profession and social workers, are fully sensitized to all forms of violence against women. The Committee invites the State party to undertake awareness-raising measures, including a campaign of zero tolerance, to make such violence socially and morally unacceptable. It recommends the introduction of a specific law prohibiting domestic violence against women, which would provide for protection and exclusion orders and access to legal aid. The Committee also urges the State party to amend the Criminal Code in order explicitly to define the offence of rape as sexual intercourse without consent.

99. The Committee notes with concern that sexual intercourse with a girl only up to 14 years of age is considered to be rape, and Estonian law permits the marriage of a girl between the ages of 15 and 18 in exceptional circumstances, such as pregnancy.

100. The Committee recommends that the State party amends its law on statutory rape and bring its law on early marriage into conformity with article 16, paragraph 2, of the Convention, and its own policies on the reproductive health of women and girls. It urges the State party to develop preventive welfare programmes to address the problem of teenage pregnancy.

101. Recognizing the efforts made by the State party to address the issue of trafficking of women and girls, the Committee notes with concern that the size of the problem is not reflected in the information provided. It also notes with concern that there is still not enough information on the subject or a comprehensive policy to address the problem, nor is there any distinct legislation regarding trafficking in women and the punishment of traffickers.

102. Welcoming the campaign against trafficking in women to be carried out in 2002, the Committee urges the State party to include in its next report more information and data on this situation and on progress made in that area. It urges the State party to adopt and implement distinct legislation on trafficking and that it increase its collaboration with other countries of origin, transit and destination of trafficked women and girls and to report on the results of such collaboration. It also recommends the creation of social support and reintegration programmes for victims of prostitution and trafficking.

103. While welcoming the information that the new Government will have 5 women ministers out of 14 Cabinet posts, including in portfolios traditionally held by men, the Committee expresses its concern at the low representation of women in decision-making bodies in the various areas and levels of political and public life.

104. The Committee recommends that the State party utilize temporary special measures in accordance with article 4.1 of the Convention to increase the number of women in decision-making levels in governmental bodies, and State-owned enterprises. It also recommends that the State party strengthen its efforts in offering or supporting special training programmes for current and future women leaders and conduct, on a regular basis, awareness-raising campaigns regarding the importance of women’s participation in political decision-making.

105. While noting with appreciation the high level of education among women, the Committee expresses its concern at the continuing gender disparities regarding the educational options of boys and girls, as well as the fact that this high level of education does not result in the elimination of the wage differential between men and women, in particular the gap between female- and male-dominated sectors of employment. It also expresses concern at the indirect discrimination in the recruitment, promotion and dismissal of women.

106. The Committee encourages the State party to analyse the lack of correlation between the high level of educational attainments of women and their income levels. It recommends the introduction of measures, including through the use of temporary special measures, to accelerate the representation of women at all levels of decision-making in educational institutions and economic life. It urges the State party to continue to review and reform the curricula and textbooks in order to combat the traditional attitudes towards women and to help to create an enabling environment for promoting women’s presence in high-level and well-paid positions.

107. The Committee notes with concern that the position of women in the labour market is characterized by discrimination and by a strong occupational segregation with a concomitant wage differential. The Committee is also concerned at the situation of young women who face additional difficulties in the labour market owing to the domestic and family responsibilities assigned to them, placing them in a vulnerable position and leading to a higher incidence in part-time or temporary work among them.

108. The Committee recommends that efforts be made to eliminate occupational segregation through the adoption of the new Employment Contracts Act under preparation, as well as through efforts in education, training and retraining. There should be additional wage increases in female-dominated sectors of public employment to decrease the wage differential in comparison with male-dominated sectors. The Committee requests information in the next report on the implementation of the amendments to the Wages Act, which guarantees equal pay for equal work or work of equal value. It also recommends that effective measures allowing for the reconciliation between family and professional responsibilities be envisaged and that the sharing of domestic and family tasks between women and men be encouraged.

109. The Committee is concerned at the increase of poverty among various groups of women, in particular of those who are heads of household and those with small children.

110. The Committee recommends that the State party closely monitor the poverty situation of women within the most vulnerable groups and implement effective poverty alleviation programmes, taking into consideration the gender aspects of poverty.

111. While recognizing some improvements in the area of health, after a deterioration of the situation in the years following independence, the Committee is concerned with the increase of tuberculosis, sexually transmitted diseases and HIV, as well as with high suicide rates among women. The Committee notes with concern the high rate of abortion among women and the significance of this fact with regard to effective access to family planning methods, including contraceptives, especially among women in rural areas and low incomes.

112. The Committee draws attention to its general recommendation 24 on women and health and recommends that comprehensive research be undertaken into the specific health needs of women, including reproductive health, the financial and organizational strengthening of family planning programmes addressed to women and men and the provision of wide access to contraceptives for all women. The Committee urges the State party to reinforce programmes on sexual education for both girls and boys in order to foster responsible sexual behaviour. It also recommends that structures be established aimed at addressing the mental health problems faced by women, as well as those areas where negative developments have occurred.

113. The Committee expresses its concern that the report does not contain sufficient information on the situation of rural women, including older rural women, including with regard to their cash income, social security, access to free health-care services and social and cultural opportunities. It also expresses concern at the situation of women spouses in family business, whose work is not reflected in official statistics.

114. The Committee requests the State party to provide more information and data on the situation of rural women in its next periodic report. The Committee recommends that the State party monitor existing programmes and develop comprehensive policies and programmes aimed at the economic empowerment of rural women, ensuring their access to training, productive resources and capital, as well as to health-care services, social security and to social and cultural opportunities.

115. The Committee urges the State party to accept the amendment to article 20, paragraph 1, of the Convention, concerning the meeting time of the Committee.

116. The Committee also urges the State party to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention.

117. The Committee requests that the State party respond in its next periodic report to the specific issues raised in these concluding comments. It also requests that the report address the general recommendations of the Committee and provide information on the impact of legislation, policies and programmes to implement the Convention.

118. The Committee requests the State party to disseminate widely the present concluding comments in Estonia and to support their public discussion, in order to make politicians and government administrators, women’s non-governmental organizations and the public at large aware of the steps required to ensure de jure and de facto equality for women. It also requests the State party to continue to disseminate widely, in particular to women’s and human rights organizations, the Convention and its Optional Protocol, the Committee’s general recommendations, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the results of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, entitled “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century”.

Trinidad and Tobago

119. The Committee considered the combined initial, second and third periodic report of Trinidad and Tobago (CEDAW/C/TTO/1-3) at its 536th and 537th meetings, on 21 January, and its 547th meeting on 29 January 2002 (see CEDAW/C/SR.536, 537 and 547).

(a) Introduction by the State party

120. In introducing the combined initial, second and third report, the representative of Trinidad and Tobago regretted that, despite its efforts, the Government had fallen behind in its reporting obligations under article 18 of the Convention and had not submitted its report until January 2001.

121. A significant reason for the delay in submitting the report had been that no mechanism existed to deal with reporting under international human rights treaties and insufficient resources had been allocated for that purpose. In 1999, a Human Rights Unit was created within the Ministry of the Attorney-General for the preparation of reports required under international instruments. In order to assist the Unit, a Human Rights Committee, comprising representatives of some 13 ministries of the Government and one representative from the Tobago House of Assembly, had been established.

122. Upon the completion of the report, the Attorney-General tabled it before Parliament, outlining its content and the significance of the Convention. The report had been widely distributed, including to Government ministries, secondary schools, non-governmental and community-based organizations, international human rights organizations and public libraries.

123. By its accession to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Government of Trinidad and Tobago had expressed its commitment to the global struggle to eliminate discrimination faced by women and to the promotion of their enjoyment of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. Encouraged by the review of its implementation by the General Assembly in 2000, the Government had also pledged itself to implement the actions identified in the Beijing Platform for Action. Non-governmental and community-based women’s organizations assisted the Government in the implementation of the Convention. The Ministry of Community Development and Gender Affairs sought to address all forms of gender inequality and inequity through its Gender Affairs Division.

124. The representative indicated that the Constitution of Trinidad and Tobago explicitly prohibited discrimination on the ground of sex and enshrined equality and the protection of the law. Equal opportunity legislation to prohibit discrimination on the grounds of sex, colour, race, ethnicity, origin, religion, marital status or disability in the fields of employment, education, the provision of goods and services and accommodation had been passed and would enter into force following the appointment of the Equal Opportunity Commission and Tribunal. Legislation preventing employers from discriminating against female employees on account of pregnancy had been passed. The Cohabitational Relationships Act, regulating the rights of cohabiting couples, had entered into force in 1998.

125. Gender-based violence, including sexual attacks on women and young girls, was pervasive and had long been a matter of grave concern for the Government. Between 1990 and 1996, 39 domestic violence-related murders had been committed in the country. A comprehensive programme against domestic violence had been launched, the components of which included the establishment of a 24-hour national domestic violence hotline, a Domestic Violence Unit within the Gender Affairs Division, a male support programme and 19 community-based drop-in information centres. A Community Policing Section had been established within the police service; and the Government was developing a national policy on domestic violence.

126. In 1999, the Domestic Violence Act 1991 had been repealed and replaced with legislation reflecting international standards, while the Legal Aid and Advice Act had been amended to allow more people, including women victims of domestic violence, to qualify for legal aid. The law relating to sexual offences had been amended to increase penalties for such offences and to penalize all forms of sexual violation, including rape and sexual assault within marriage. Progress had also been made in the implementation of legislation, in particular legal reforms implementing the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, to protect and promote the rights of children. A national survey, completed in June 1997, indicated that some children and adolescents were involved in prostitution and pornography, but there was no evidence of the sale of children.

127. Women had limited economic power and predominated in the lowest paid and least protected employment sectors. Women continued to be underrepresented in positions of power and decision-making. Especially in the private sector, few women have been able to ascend to the very top occupational levels and, despite their educational qualifications, women continue to be underpaid in every sector of employment, except when employed by the State. A “Women’s Leadership Enhancement Institute” within the Gender Affairs Division, and a “Women’s Second Chance Programme” had been introduced to address that problem. In 1996, Trinidad and Tobago became the first country in the world to enact a Counting of Unremunerated Work Act to ensure that the unremunerated work of women is recorded and calculated. It had also enacted a Minimum Wage Act to provide all workers with a minimum level of pay by establishing a single economywide minimum wage.

128. Poverty was more widespread among single parent female-headed households and those headed by women who had received limited education. The Government was committed to improving the standard of living of poor women and their families by increasing their access to capital, resources, credit, land, technology, information, technical assistance and training. The Government, as part of its commitment to provide free secondary education for all students, had undertaken two pilot projects to train women in non-traditional areas, including masonry, plumbing, technical drawing and electrical installation.

129. In order to address gender stereotyping, a task force had been convened to review the educational curriculum for primary schools and another would be established to review the curriculum of secondary schools. A “dollar for dollar” programme, allowing every citizen to pursue the equivalent of an Associate or Bachelor’s degree at half the cost of the programme, had been implemented to expand access to tertiary education.

130. The Government was committed to ensuring that women enjoyed the highest attainable standards of physical and mental health and well-being throughout their lives. The provision of accessible and affordable primary and secondary health care, including sexual and reproductive health care, were among the Government’s priorities.

131. In concluding, the representative highlighted the efforts of the Women’s Leadership and Enhancement Institute of the Division of Gender Affairs to increase the participation of women in politics, which had included the holding of a regional conference held in July 2001. Female Ministers in the Government now included the Attorney-General, the Minister of Community Development and Gender Affairs, the Minister of Social Development and the Minister of Education. Although those developments were promising, the representative indicated that the Government recognized that more work was needed to increase the participation of women in politics and in Parliament.

(b) Concluding comments of the Committee

Introduction

132. The Committee commends the State party on its report, which, although presented with some delay, complied with the Committee’s guidelines.

133. The Committee commends the State party on the open and frank presentation of the delegation and the detailed responses to the oral questions posed by the Committee.

Positive aspects

134. The Committee particularly welcomes the creation of a Human Rights Unit within the Ministry of the Attorney-General to strengthen Trinidad and Tobago’s capacity to report to international human rights treaty bodies. It encourages the State party to continue its efforts to fulfil its international reporting obligations.

135. The Committee also welcomes the recognition given by the State party to the role played by a number of active non-governmental organizations and community-based women’s organizations in the country, which assist the State party in its efforts to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women.

136. The Committee notes with appreciation the extensive law reform initiated in Trinidad and Tobago since independence and appreciates the efforts made to repeal or amend legal provisions which discriminate against women. The Committee welcomes, in particular, the Counting of Unremunerated Work Act of 1996. The Committee notes with satisfaction that, since the repeal in 2000 of sections 5 (1) and 5 (3) of the Sexual Offences Act No. 27 of 1986, marital rape is a criminal offence in Trinidad and Tobago.

137. The Committee commends the State party for its comprehensive programme to combat domestic violence through such initiatives as a 24-hour hotline, the establishment of a Domestic Violence Unit within the Gender Affairs Division, a male support programme and community-based drop-in information centres. The Committee commends the State party for steps to provide emergency legal aid, in particular in cases of domestic violence.

Factors and difficulties affecting the implementation of the Convention

138. The Committee notes that the entrenched stereotypical attitudes with regard to the role of women and men and the persistence of gender-based violence within the society constitute obstacles to the full implementation of the Convention.

Principal areas of concern and recommendations

139. The Committee is concerned that the Convention has not been incorporated into domestic legislation. The Committee regrets, in particular, that article 1 of the Convention which defines “discrimination against women” is not part of the legislation of the State party.

140. The Committee recommends that the State party give consideration to the incorporation of the Convention into domestic law. It points particularly to the importance of the incorporation of article 1 of the Convention. The Committee requests that the State party report on progress made in this regard in its next periodic report, including information on whether the Convention has been invoked before domestic courts.

141. The Committee notes with concern that, despite provisions in the Constitution, laws exist in the State party which may allow for discrimination against women.

142. The Committee recommends that an inventory be made of the laws that discriminate against women, with a view to their revision, amendment or repeal.

143. The Committee is concerned that the apparent lack of coordination among government bodies tasked with the oversight of gender issues and a failure to allocate responsibility for activities may compromise gender mainstreaming activities and that national women’s machinery may be affected adversely by limited human and financial resources.

144. The Committee encourages gender mainstreaming in all government ministries, as well as the creation of an impact assessment of these efforts. It recommends that the State party clearly define the mandates of the various committees and councils concerned with gender issues and the level of interaction among them. The Committee encourages the State party to continue its process of restructuring the national machinery and to allocate the necessary human and financial resources to ensure effective implementation of governmental policies and programmes related to gender equality. It also encourages gender mainstreaming in all ministries.

145. The Committee expresses concern that, despite innovative legislation, policies and programmes, violence against women remains a serious reality that is being perpetuated by deeply rooted traditional patriarchal attitudes, apparently tolerated by society.

146. The Committee urges the State party to place a high priority on measures to address violence against women in the family and in society in accordance with the Committee’s general recommendation 19 and the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women. The Committee recommends that the State party introduce further measures to raise public awareness about violence against women and urges the State party to strengthen its activities and programmes to focus on sexual violence, incest and prostitution.

147. The Committee is concerned about the entrenched stereotypical attitudes and behaviour with regard to the roles of women and men in the family and in society which tend to reinforce women’s inferior status in many sectors of public life.

148. The Committee recommends that the State party take urgent measures to overcome traditional stereotypes regarding the role of women and men in society. The Committee emphasizes that a policy of gender equality in compliance with the Convention will require the reconceptualization of the role of women in society from that of mother and wife, exclusively responsible for children and the family, to that of individual person and actor in society.

149. The Committee is concerned about women’s underrepresentation in politics and economic leadership. It is concerned that factors impeding women’s participation in these areas include stereotypical attitudes, women’s disproportionate share of household and family responsibilities, as well as structural and cultural barriers, such as the lack of maternity leave for women parliamentarians, which reinforce the idea that politics is a male sphere.

150. The Committee recommends the introduction of strategies to increase the number of women in decision-making bodies at all levels and in all areas. To this end, the Committee recommends that the State party utilize temporary special measures in accordance with article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention to increase the number of women in decision-making levels in government, governmental bodies, public administration and State-owned enterprises. It also recommends that the State party strengthen its efforts to organize special training programmes for women and to conduct on a regular basis, awareness-raising campaigns in this regard.

151. The Committee is concerned that, despite high educational qualifications, women continue to be underpaid in every sector of employment, except the State employment sector. It is also concerned about the consequences of gender stereotyping in curricula and the impact of the fact that girls take traditional “female” courses and boys traditional “male” courses on women’s employment options and income. The Committee is also concerned about the lack of specific legislation prohibiting sexual harassment in the workplace and providing a remedy for victims of sexual harassment.

152. The Committee encourages the State party to analyse the lack of correlation between the high level of education attained by women and their income levels; it urges the State party to implement curriculum reform and the revision of textbooks in order to combat traditional attitudes towards women and to help to create an enabling environment for women’s presence in high-level and well-paid positions. It also recommends that the State party avail itself of existing research and practice with regard to equal pay for work of equal and comparable value in order to overcome inequality in pay. The Committee further recommends that sexual harassment in the workplace, including in the private sector, should be penalized, and remedies provided for those affected.

153. The Committee is concerned that, although domestic workers are entitled to a minimum wage under the new Minimum Wage Order, they are not included within the definition of “worker” in the Industrial Relations Act.

154. The Committee calls upon the State party to bring domestic workers within the definition of “worker” in the Industrial Relations Act.

155. The Committee is concerned at the high incidence of poverty among various groups of women, in particular female heads of households. The Committee recognizes that women-headed households have been negatively affected by structural adjustment programmes and the changing global situation.

156. The Committee requests the State party to provide additional information on the programmes and projects that have been implemented to combat the negative impact of structural adjustment programmes on women, and in particular households headed by women, and to ensure that governmental policies to eradicate poverty are continuous, incorporate a gender perspective and do not marginalize women.

157. The Committee is concerned that child marriages are sanctioned under several of the legal regimes regulating marriage. The Committee notes that such marriages are prohibited by article 16, paragraph 2, of the Convention, and that such marriages have serious consequences for girls, including with regard to health. The Committee is concerned about the high rate of teenage pregnancy and its consequences for girls’ enjoyment of the rights guaranteed by the Convention, in particular in the sphere of education.

158. The Committee urges the State party to ensure that all its minimum age of marriage laws and other programmes to prevent early marriage are in line with the obligations of the Convention. The Committee also recommends that Trinidad and Tobago introduce appropriate policies and programmes for sex education and family planning education.

159. The Committee is concerned that family planning programmes appear to be aimed only at women and there is limited emphasis on male responsibility in this regard.

160. The Committee recommends the introduction of programmes to encourage men to take part in family planning responsibilities.

161. The Committee is concerned at the absence of details on any public policy for rural women, including in respect to employment and health. It is particularly concerned about the situation of older women in rural areas.

162. The Committee urges the State party to include in its next report more information and data on the situation of rural women, and of older rural women in particular, and on any policy aimed at their economic empowerment as well as their access to employment and health-care services.

163. The Committee requests the State party to respond in its next periodic report to the specific issues raised in the present concluding comments. It also requests the State party to provide in its next report an assessment of the impact of measures taken to implement the Convention.

164. The Committee urges the State party to accept the amendment to article 20, paragraph 1, of the Convention, concerning the meeting time of the Committee.

165. The Committee also urges the State party to sign and ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention.

166. The Committee requests the wide dissemination in Trinidad and Tobago of the present concluding comments in order to make the people of Trinidad and Tobago, in particular governmental administrators and politicians, aware of the steps that have been taken with regard to de jure and de facto equality for women and of the future steps that are required in that regard. It requests the State party to continue to disseminate widely, and in particular to women’s and human rights organizations, the Convention and its Optional Protocol, the general recommendations of the Committee, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the results of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, entitled “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century”.

3. Combined second and third periodic report

Uruguay

167. The Committee considered the combined second and third periodic report of Uruguay (CEDAW/C/URY/2-3) at its 541st and 542nd meetings, on 24 January 2002 (see CEDAW/C/SR.541 and 542).

(a) Introduction by the State party

168. In introducing the periodic report, the representative of Uruguay noted that while her country’s authorities had intended to send a representative with direct expertise in the gender area, that had regrettably not been possible, owing to budget cuts made as a result of the economic and financial problems that the country had recently experienced.

169. The representative went on to explain that, during the period between her country’s submission of its initial report in 1985 and the present, there had been a steady evolution, and progress of various kinds had been made in the effective implementation of women’s rights.

170. At the governmental level, progress had been made in several areas, including the establishment of the National Institute for Family and Women’s Affairs, the Commission on Women’s Rights in support of the Institute’s activities, the Tripartite Commission on Equal Opportunities and Treatment in Employment and the Interministerial Commission responsible for designing and implementing policies to reduce domestic violence, as well as the enactment of supplementary norms relating to women workers in the public and private sectors who are pregnant or breastfeeding and the prohibition against their dismissal and, lastly, the implementation of various actions to improve health education, programmes to control teenage pregnancy, programmes on sexually transmitted diseases and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), and cancer prevention programmes.

171. The representative also stated that in recent years there had been various parliamentary initiatives to promote women’s rights, such as the establishment of the Commission on Women’s Human Rights and the Commission on Gender and Equity.

172. The representative mentioned, in particular, the initiatives carried out by the Municipal Administration of Montevideo, which had, inter alia, established a Commission on Women to deal specifically with all questions relating to women; that had been the starting-point for similar actions in other municipal administrations throughout the country.

173. The representative also noted that while there had been issues on which final answers had not yet been reached, very intense debates had been opened up that would undoubtedly culminate in specific advances; among those issues were the establishment of the post of Ombudsman or Public Defender, and abortion, on which there were a number of initiatives that legislators were considering.

174. The representative pointed to a number of advances in the international arena, including the ratification of legal instruments, such as the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women, in 1996, and the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, in 2001.

175. The representative said it was regrettable that the progress cited had been insufficient, as various obstacles, particularly scarce resources, had slowed the implementation of the actions envisaged. For that reason, action by international organizations, such as international and national non-governmental organizations (NGOs), was of major importance, particularly on all issues relating to women; many of the advances made would not have been secured without their effective efforts. The representative also mentioned the actions carried out in the domestic violence area, with regard to both the national telephone service and shelters for victims, and the NGO studies, research and analyses which had yielded concrete data essential to diagnosing certain situations (ethnic minorities), thereby making it easier to resolve them and facilitating the Government’s task.

176. Lastly, the representative stated that, while much remained to be done, there were ever greater efforts to make equal rights for women a reality, not only in the legislative area but also in practice.

(b) Concluding comments of the Committee

Introduction

177. The Committee expresses its appreciation to the Government of Uruguay on its second and third periodic report, while regretting the fact that the report was submitted with some delay and does not comply with the Committee’s guidelines.

178. The Committee, while thanking the Deputy Permanent Representative for her oral presentation, regrets the descriptive and general nature of both the report and the discussion, as a result of which the Committee has not been afforded a complete picture of the legal and social status of women in Uruguay, or of the progress made in the implementation of the Convention since the country prepared its initial report, considered in 1985.

Positive aspects

179. The Committee commends the State party on its prompt ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention.

180. The Committee takes note of the fact that the Constitution guarantees the protection of the rights of women and men, as individuals and as groups, and that reference is made in particular to the right of amparo.

181. The Committee notes with satisfaction that a significant number of Uruguayan women are highly educated and have a high rate of participation in the labour market.

182. The Committee notes the importance of the National Programme for Women to promote actions to improve the status of women. The Committee acknowledges the efforts of the State party to implement the Convention by initiating various programmes.

183. The Committee notes with satisfaction that the Citizen Security Act defines domestic violence as a distinct offence.

184. The Committee commends the State party on its initiative to encourage the participation of women’s non-governmental organizations in programmes for the implementation of the Convention.

Factors and difficulties affecting the implementation of the Convention

185. The Committee notes that deep-rooted, stereotypical attitudes concerning the roles of men and women constitute an obstacle to the full implementation of the Convention.

Principal areas of concern and recommendations

186. The Committee is concerned that, despite the existence of Act 16,045 of June 1989, which prohibits discrimination on grounds of sex, the Convention has not been incorporated into domestic legislation. In particular, it regrets that article 1 of the Convention, which defines “discrimination against women” is not part of Uruguayan legislation.

187. The Committee recommends that the State party give further consideration to the incorporation of the Convention into domestic legislation. It points particularly to the importance of the incorporation of article 1 of the Convention and requests that the State party report on progress made in this regard in its next periodic report, including information on whether the Convention has been invoked before domestic courts.

188. The Committee expresses concern that Uruguayan women make little use of existing judicial remedies for the protection and enjoyment of their rights, including the remedy of amparo.

189. The Committee requests the State party to include more information in its next periodic report on mechanisms and procedures available to women for the protection and promotion of their rights.

190. The Committee expresses its concern that the National Institute for Family and Women’s Affairs, as a national mechanism for the advancement of women, has no real power to initiate and implement regulatory measures designed to eliminate discrimination against women. The Committee is concerned that the national mechanism may have inadequate financial and human resources.

191. The Committee recommends that the State party clearly define the mandates of the various institutions and commissions and the level of interaction between them. The Committee encourages the State party to allocate the national machinery to the human and financial resources required to ensure the effective implementation of governmental policies and programmes for gender equality. It also encourages the State party to mainstream a gender perspective within all the ministries, and to establish mechanisms for assessing its impact.

192. The Committee expresses concern at the continuing existence of stereotypes relating to the role of women in the family and society, and at deep-rooted attitudes and conduct based on the assumed superiority of men in the public and private spheres. It is a matter of concern to the Committee that the State party attaches little importance to this problem and thus encourages the persistence of such stereotypes, which are an obstacle to the implementation of the Convention.

193. The Committee urges the State party to adopt measures to eliminate social stereotypes in Uruguay. It urges the State party to concentrate on increasing women’s participation in all areas, particularly decision-making, and on prevailing on men to share family responsibilities. It urges the State party to strengthen its awareness-raising programmes, and to take action to change stereotyped attitudes and perceptions as to men’s and women’s roles and responsibilities.

194. The Committee expresses concern that, despite the efforts made, a comprehensive approach is not being taken towards the prevention and elimination of violence against women, particularly as regards domestic violence, crimes of honour and the punishment of offenders. The Committee notes that despite the legislative action taken under the Citizen Security Act, violence against women, particularly domestic violence, remains a serious problem in Uruguay.

195. Recalling its general recommendation 19 on violence against women the Committee urges the State party to assess the impact of the current legal, policy and programmatic measures to deal with the various forms of violence against women, as well as to adopt a specific domestic violence act, incorporating measures for prevention, punishment of offenders and protection of victims. Bearing in mind that account must be taken of the underlying causes of violence against women, and domestic violence should be investigated with a view to enhancing the effectiveness of legislation, policies and programmes to combat it, the Committee also recommends that the State party continue the training and awareness-raising programmes for judicial personnel, law enforcement officials and members of the legal and health professions, as well as awareness-raising measures to ensure that society will not tolerate any form of violence against women. The Committee encourages the State party to strengthen its collaboration with civil society and non-governmental organizations with respect to violence against women. It also recommends the allocation of funding commensurate with the high priority that efforts to combating such violence should have.

196. The Committee expresses concern that the Penal Code still contains several provisions that discriminate against women. The Committee is concerned at article 116 which provides for mitigation of sentence where a rapist marries his victim. It is also concerned at article 328, which provides that “protecting the honour of the perpetrator, the spouse and a close relative” may be a factor mitigating sentence in cases of induced abortion.

197. The Committee calls on the State party to give priority to the repeal of these articles of the Penal Code so as to bring the Code into line with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and its general recommendations, in particular 19 on violence against women, and 24 on article 12 — women and health.

198. The Committee notes that although Uruguayan women are highly educated and have a high rate of labour-market participation, this is not reflected in their employment status and conditions, particularly with respect to private-sector pay. Furthermore, the Committee is concerned at the high proportion of women in the service sector, especially personal services, an area in which pay is traditionally low.

199. The Committee recommends that both in the public and in the private sector the State party endeavour to ensure strict compliance with labour legislation, and take action to eliminate discrimination in employment and with respect to pensions and private-sector pay, as well as promoting participation by women in sectors traditionally regarded as male.

200. The Committee is concerned at the low participation of women in politics and government administration, particularly as regards decision-making.

201. The Committee urges the State party to take appropriate action and implement broad strategies, including temporary special measures under article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention, with a view to promoting greater participation by women in public life, particularly decision-making and promoting changes in attitudes and perceptions, held by both women and men, as regards their respective roles in the household, the family, at work and in society as a whole. In particular, the Committee recommends that the State party take account of general recommendations 21 concerning equality in marriage and family relations, and 23 concerning women in public life, that it should strengthen and step up action to promote awareness of the importance of the role, activities and many contributions of women in the community and in the family, and that it should in general promote equality of men and women with respect to rights and opportunities.

202. The Committee notes with concern the high pregnancy rates among adolescents, and that young adolescents make up a high proportion of this group. It also notes the high rate of deaths related to abortion among adolescents.

203. The Committee recommends that the State party examine the situation of adolescents as a matter of priority, and urges it to take action to ensure that effective reproductive and sexual health services are provided and that due attention is paid to the information requirements of adolescents, including through programmes and policies to provide information on the different kinds of contraceptives available and how they are to be obtained, on the basis of the principle that family planning is the responsibility of both the man and the woman. The Committee requests the State party to include information on the impact of programmes to reduce and prevent pregnancy among adolescents in its next periodic report.

204. The Committee expresses concern that the Civil Code still contains provisions, including those with respect to early marriage, that discriminate against women.

205. The Committee urges the State party to actively promote the elimination of discriminatory legal provisions that still exist, particularly in the Civil Code in matters relating to the family, and to bring Uruguayan legislation into line with the Convention, including article 16.2 relating to minimum age for marriage.

206. The Committee is concerned that there is limited awareness, including among legal and law enforcement personnel, of the provisions of the Convention and the procedures available under its Optional Protocol.

207. The Committee recommends that educational programmes on the Convention, the Optional Protocol and women’s rights be introduced, in particular for the judiciary, law enforcement officials and lawyers. The Committee also recommends that steps be taken to increase the number of women occupying high positions in the judiciary and law enforcement agencies.

208. The Committee is concerned that the report does not contain information on the situation of minorities in the State party, and in particular, that of black women.

209. The Committee requests the State party to include information on the situation of minority women in its next periodic report.

210. The Committee is concerned that the report did not contain information on the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action in the State party.

211. The Committee recommends that, where appropriate, the State party implement the commitments of the Platform for Action. In particular, it recommends the immediate adoption of an equal opportunity plan which can place the National Programme for Women on a solid legal basis. It also encourages the State party to mainstream a gender perspective within all ministries and to establish procedures for assessing the impact of such mainstreaming.

212. The Committee asks the State party to respond in its next periodic report to the concerns set out in the present concluding comments, under article 18 of the Convention. It also urges the State party to draft future reports in accordance with its guidelines, providing not only a description of the legal framework, but sufficient information supported by statistical data to clarify not only the legal situation of women but also the situation in practice, including obstacles encountered.

213. The Committee urges the State party to accept as soon as possible the amendment to article 20, paragraph 1, of the Convention, concerning the length of the Committee’s sessions.

214. The Committee requests the State party to disseminate these concluding comments widely in Uruguay and to promote public discussion of them, so as to bring to the attention of politicians, government administrators, non-governmental women’s organizations and the general public the action that must be taken to achieve de jure and de facto equality of men and women. It also requests the State party to continue to ensure wide dissemination, particularly among human rights and women’s organizations, of the Convention, its Optional Protocol, the Committee’s general recommendations, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, and the results of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, entitled “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century”.

4. Combined third and fourth periodic reports

Iceland

215. The Committee considered the combined third and fourth periodic report of Iceland (CEDAW/C/ICE/3-4) at its 532nd and 533rd meetings, on 17 January 2002 (see CEDAW/C/SR.532 and 533).

(a) Introduction by the State party

216. In her introduction, the representative of Iceland updated the information contained in the report which covered implementation up to December 1997, indicating that the new information would be contained in Iceland’s fifth periodic report. She also informed the Committee that the Government had ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention in March 2001 and was preparing its acceptance of the amendment to article 20.1 of the Convention, relating to the Committee’s meeting time.

217. The representative indicated that, in May 2000, a new act on the equal status and equal rights of women and men (the Gender Equality Act), which replaced the former Gender Equality Act of 1991, had been passed. The Act had created a new special institution, the Centre for Gender Equality, administrated by the Ministry of Social Affairs and entrusted with monitoring of the Act’s implementation. The Act provided that institutions and enterprises with more than 25 employees should have a gender equality policy or create special provisions regarding gender equality in their employment policies. The Act prohibited both direct and indirect discrimination and entitled individuals and non-governmental organizations to seek redress from the Complaints Committee on Equal Status. Although the decisions of the Complaints Committee were not binding, the Centre for Gender Equality or the individual concerned could initiate legal proceedings based on the Committee’s opinions.

218. Each Ministry was required to appoint an equality coordinator who was tasked with the mainstreaming of gender equality within the work of the Ministry and its dependent institutions. Since 1991, Iceland had introduced three four-year action programmes on measures to realize gender equality, the latest in 1998. The Centre for Gender Equality had begun preparations for a new Action Plan, for the years 2002-2006, which places greater emphasis on gender mainstreaming and the methods to achieve it. In this respect, the representative stressed the need to increase the involvement of men in equality initiatives.

219. In 2000, a Maternity/Paternity Leave and Parental Leave Act, which would enter fully into force on 1 January 2003, had been passed. The Act constituted a fundamental reform in that it promoted sharing of parental responsibilities and gender equality on the labour market. The representative indicated that implementation of the Act was expected to create greater equality between women and men generally, and in particular reduce the pay gap between women and men, and address women’s low representation in comparison with men’s at the top levels of business management, situations that had resulted in part from the heavy responsibilities that women bore in connection with family and children.

220. The representative noted that trafficking in women and prostitution, potentially associated with the strip clubs that started to open in 1990, were becoming growing concerns for the Icelandic authorities. In cooperation with labour unions, local and national authorities were scrutinizing the activities of strip clubs in order to find ways to curtail the activities of those businesses. The relevant authorities were also preparing measures to address the issue of prostitution.

221. In September 1998, the Minister of Social Affairs had appointed a Committee for a five-year period, to seek to increase women’s participation in politics, inter alia, through education and information campaigns. The initial task of the Committee was to increase the number of women participating in the 1999 parliamentary elections. Thirty-five per cent of members elected to Parliament in 1999 had been women, in comparison with 25 per cent in 1995. The Committee was currently seeking to increase the number of women in local government, which at present stood at 28.5 per cent. Similarly, in the period 1998-1999, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs had recruited women to 50 per cent of all new positions requiring a university degree.

222. At the University of Iceland, women constituted 60.9 per cent of all new students and women represented over 50 per cent of students in disciplines except engineering, economics and computer science. In April 2000, a two-year agreement had been signed in order to strengthen the position of women in the labour market, increase female leadership in economic life and encourage women to choose male-dominated fields of study in higher education.

223. The representative highlighted the fact that in 2000, women’s participation in the labour market had been 79 per cent for age group 16-74 in comparison with 88 per cent for men. In age group 55-74 women’s labour-force participation had decreased. Unemployment among women was 1.9 per cent in 2001, and 1 per cent for men. There was a wage differential of 10-16 per cent between women and men, and this differential was the subject of active debate.

224. The representative pointed out that, in 1998, the Office of Gender Equality and the Administration on Occupational Safety and Health had published a study on sexual harassment which confirmed that this was a problem in the workplace. In response, the Gender Equality Act had defined and prohibited sexual harassment.

225. The representative indicated that measures to address violence against women, including sexual violence, as well as violence against children, particularly girls, had been introduced. They included in camera trials for such offences, special procedures to protect victims and witnesses required to provide evidence, as well as restraining orders. Penalties for rape had been increased, and the State Prosecutor usually called for significant penalties in cases of sexual violence.

226. In concluding, the representative noted that, although great progress had been made in implementation of the Convention, much more needed to be done. Efforts towards further implementation included examination of whether and how gender equality was being taken into account in national and local planning and policy-making. A working group, which was currently focusing on bills prepared by the Ministries of Finance, Industry, Commerce and Social Affairs, had also been established to ensure that gender was taken into account in the preparation of legislation.

(b) Concluding comments of the Committee

Introduction

227. The Committee expresses its appreciation to the State party on its combined third and fourth periodic report, which complies with the Committee’s guidelines for the preparation of periodic reports. The Committee also appreciates the additional information given in response to the issues raised by the pre-session working group and during the oral presentation.

228. The Committee commends the State party for the constructive and frank dialogue with the members of the Committee.

Positive aspects

229. The Committee commends the State party for the progress towards gender equality and for its efforts to incorporate gender mainstreaming in its policy framework and at all stages of policy-making processes.

230. The Committee commends the passage of the Gender Equality Act (2000) and the large number of studies, pilot projects and research initiatives conducted in order to advance the equality between women and men.

231. The Committee commends the State party for its recognition of the common responsibility of women and men in the promotion of equality and for having taken a number of measures to involve the participation of men in strategies to increase equality between women and men, inter alia, in the area of paternal leave.

232. The Committee commends the fact that the State party has ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention and takes note that it is preparing for acceptance of the amendment to article 20.1 on the Committee’s meeting time.

233. The Committee also welcomes the fact that a number of recommendations in its concluding comments adopted when Iceland last reported have been implemented.

Factors and difficulties affecting the implementation of the Convention

234. The Committee notes that there are no significant factors or difficulties that prevent the effective implementation of the Convention in Iceland.

Principal areas of concern and recommendations

235. The Committee notes with concern that the Convention has not been incorporated into domestic legislation. In particular it regrets that article 1 of the Convention, which defines “discrimination against women”, is not part of Icelandic legislation.

236. The Committee recommends that the State party give further consideration to the incorporation of the Convention into domestic legislation. The Committee points particularly to the importance of the incorporation of article 1 of the Convention. The Committee requests that the State party report on progress made in this regard in its next periodic report, including information on whether the Convention has been invoked before domestic courts.

237. The Committee is concerned that the decisions of the Complaints Committee on Equal Status are not binding, inter alia, in cases where government agencies violate the law.

238. The Committee recommends that the State party consider strengthening the enforcement mechanisms of the Complaints Committee, and, in particular, provide that its decisions have binding force.

239. The Committee notes with concern the apparent contradiction between the high level of education of women and the lack of women’s equality in the labour market, particularly the persistent wage gap of 10-16 per cent in the public sector to the detriment of women.

240. The Committee encourages the State party to continue its efforts to address the wage gap for women in the public sector, initiate job evaluations and reduce the gap. The Committee also requests that the State party provide more information on the situation of women in the private sector with regard to the wage gap in its next report to the Committee.

241. The Committee is also concerned that the long-standing high rate of part-time employment of women suggests that, despite the State party’s efforts to facilitate the reconciliation of family life and work, women still bear a larger share of family responsibilities.

242. The Committee encourages the State party to continue its efforts to take measures to assist women and men in striking a balance between family and employment responsibilities, inter alia, through further awareness-raising and education initiatives for both women and men, including with respect to sharing tasks within the family and ensuring that part-time employment is not taken up exclusively by women.

243. The Committee notes that, although progress was made with regard to women’s political representation, women are still underrepresented in elected office, senior positions and the diplomatic service. The Committee is also concerned that despite their high educational achievement, very few women are university professors.

244. The Committee encourages the State party to take further temporary special measures in accordance with article 4.1 of the Convention to increase the representation of women in decision-making positions in all sectors, inter alia, on all public committees. It also recommends that the State party take measures to increase the number of women in senior positions at universities.

245. While noting that the State party has taken a positive legal and welfare approach towards preventing violence against women, including domestic violence, the Committee expresses concern at the light penalties for crimes of sexual violence, including rape.

246. The Committee urges the State party to continue its efforts to implement and strengthen current laws, policies and programmes aimed at combating violence against women, and to increase its awareness-raising activities and work with male perpetrators. It also urges the State party to reconsider the current penal provisions which impose light sentences on perpetrators of sexual violence, including rape. It also encourages the State party to consider the issue of violence against women under the provisions of the Convention and the Committee’s general recommendation 19 on violence against women. The Committee requests the State party to provide more information in the next report on efforts to combat violence against women, including measures taken to provide training of the police and the judiciary.

247. The Committee notes with concern that Iceland may have become a country of destination for trafficking in women.

248. The Committee encourages the State party to continue taking action to combat trafficking in women and, with this aim, to increase international cooperation in this regard.

249. The Committee expresses concern about the change of the pension system, which has negatively impacted on women more than men.

250. The Committee recommends that the State party study the impact of the pension system on women and take appropriate measures to avoid poverty among older women.

251. The Committee expresses concern at the high level of alcohol consumption among women, and the level of alcohol and drug consumption among young people, including girls.

252. The Committee urges the State party to take measures to address alcohol and drug abuse, especially among women and girls.

253. The Committee encourages the State party to continue its preparations for acceptance of the amendment to article 20, paragraph 1, of the Convention.

254. The Committee requests the State party to respond in its next report to the outstanding issues raised in constructive dialogue, as well as to the specific issues raised in the present concluding comments. It further requests the State party to provide in its next report an assessment of the impact of measures taken to implement the Convention, in particular with regard to gender mainstreaming.

255. The Committee requests the wide dissemination in Iceland of the current concluding comments in order to make the people in Iceland, in particular government administrators and politicians, aware of the steps that have been taken to ensure the de jure and de facto equality of women as well as of further steps that are required in this regard. It also requests the State party to continue to disseminate widely, in particular to women’s and human rights organizations, the Convention, its Optional Protocol, the Committee’s general recommendations and the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, and the results of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, entitled “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century”.

Sri Lanka

256. The Committee considered the third and fourth periodic reports of Sri Lanka (CEDAW/C/LKA/3-4) at its 545th and 546th meetings on 28 January 2002 (see CEDAW/C/SR.545 and 546).

(a) Introduction by the State party

257. In her introduction, the representative of Sri Lanka informed the Committee that Sri Lanka was sincerely committed to honouring its obligations under the Convention and that efforts to improve the status of women had been made not only in accordance with the country’s obligations as a State party to the Convention, but also pursuant to the principle of equality enshrined in the country’s Constitution.

258. Sri Lanka was a developing country, currently experiencing severe economic constraints resulting primarily from a long period of civil unrest which, besides draining the country’s human and capital resources, also militated against its human development efforts. The representative indicated that approximately one third of the total population of Sri Lanka lived below the poverty line, with government welfare support, and that, despite this, Sri Lanka had sustained positive social indicators, particularly with regard to education and health. According to the 2001 Human Development Report, the human development index for Sri Lanka had risen to 81, while the country’s gender development index was 70.

259. The representative informed the Committee that targeted State interventions had impacted favourably on women. The literacy rate of women had improved, thereby narrowing the literacy gap between women and men, as had women’s educational achievements. Progress was also seen in relation to the increase in women’s participation in the labour force. Women had penetrated into a variety of new fields hitherto dominated by men. Women’s contributions to the country’s foreign exchange earnings through employment overseas — in the export processing zones and the plantation sector — had received recognition, and rural women had been mobilized into economic activity through special savings, credit and skills development programmes.

260. With regard to health issues, the representative informed the Committee that the improvement of delivery systems had resulted in the reduction of maternal and infant mortality rates. She also indicated that the life expectancy of women had surpassed that of men and that women’s visibility in the field of sports had increased.

261. The representative indicated that Sri Lankans’ willingness to recognize gender equality at the highest level had been demonstrated in 1994, when a woman was elected executive President of the country. Sri Lanka continued to focus on: improving the law and order situation to address violence against women; eliminating gender stereotyping; introducing special care programmes for ageing women; introducing programmes for the improvement of the nutritional status of mothers; implementing educational programmes to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS among women; encouraging women to take up non-traditional vocations; and empowering women migrant workers and those employed in the export promotion zones. In addition, Sri Lanka continued to focus on providing humanitarian assistance to the families affected by the conflict, creating an enabling environment to motivate women to assume political leadership, engendering legislation and stepping up efforts in gender mainstreaming.

262. The Government had taken several measures to establish administrative mechanisms with proactive mandates in order to prevent abuse and harassment of persons affected by armed conflict, particularly women and children. The representative indicated that the Government was adopting a multi-pronged approach when protecting those internally displaced as a result of the conflict. Plans had been formulated and programmes implemented with respect to humanitarian assistance and compensation, for building temporary shelters and for dealing with resettlement and relocation. The representative informed the Committee that infrastructure facilities for displaced children had been provided and that a scholarship scheme had been introduced. Efforts were now being made by the Government to improve the health conditions of the internally displaced.

263. The representative informed the Committee that upholding human rights during the civil strife was a challenge, but that the Sri Lankan Government had introduced measures to that end. Violence against women and human rights violations committed by security personnel or police were not condoned. Sri Lanka submitted regular reports to the human rights machinery of the United Nations and was preparing to sign the Optional Protocol to the Convention.

264. The representative also stated that, over the preceding four years, the country’s national machinery had been vested with various powers and functions. The new Government, established in December 2001, had directed that every programme contain a gender component and that the gender impact of every programme be assessed. That commitment was expected to provide the leverage for new initiatives for gender mainstreaming throughout the government machinery, facilitating the implementation of the components of the National Plan of Action for Women. The 2002 National Plan of Action for Women highlighted all priority areas of intervention, including the need to address the inadequate participation of women in power-sharing and decision-making processes. The representative stated that the political climate of the recent past was perceived as having created an environment that was detrimental to women’s political participation and that, with a change in the political culture, it was hoped that women would be empowered to become partners in implementing values of good governance. The representative also stated that the Government expected the national legislation giving statutory recognition to the National Commission on Women to be enacted shortly.

265. The representative informed the Committee that the Law Commission of Sri Lanka had been requested to address inequities in national legislation. Reforms to personal laws in the multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multicultural society had to be attempted with due regard and sensitivity to deeply rooted pluralistic and ethnic beliefs.

266. In concluding her presentation, the representative noted that, in order to implement the Convention fully, the Government was working in cooperation with non-governmental organizations and with the support of the donor community. However, in its efforts to honour its obligations under the Convention, the Government was faced with difficulties stemming from both the internal conflict and the external pressures arising from global uncertainties. Sri Lanka hoped the current initiatives towards securing a resolution to its internal conflict would be successful in order that the ensuing peace would bring benefits to Sri Lankan women.

(b) Concluding comments of the Committee

Introduction

267. The Committee expresses its appreciation to the State party for submitting its third and fourth periodic reports, which are in accordance with the Committee’s guidelines for the preparation of periodic reports. It commends the State party for the written replies to the issues raised by the pre-session working group and for its oral presentation, which provided additional information on the current situation of the implementation of the Convention in Sri Lanka.

268. The Committee commends the State party for its delegation, headed by the Secretary of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, and including officials from various branches of Government, which enabled a frank and constructive dialogue with the members of the Committee. The Committee notes that governmental action, in particular the National Plan of Action for Women, is placed within the context of the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action.

Positive aspects

269. The Committee commends the efforts to implement the Convention despite the difficult socio-political situation. It welcomes efforts to strengthen the national machinery on women, the introduction of gender mainstreaming and the adoption of a range of policies and programmes to eliminate discrimination against women, including the Women’s Charter, the establishment of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, the National Committee on Women and the formulation of a National Plan of Action for Women.

270. The Committee commends the introduction of legal reforms that have been adopted since 1995, in particular the amendments to the Penal Code, which introduced new offences and more severe punishments with regard to violence against women, as well as the revision of the marriage laws, which increased the age of marriage, except in the case of Muslims, to 18 for both women and men.

271. The Committee commends the educational achievements and improved literacy rate of women, as well as the curriculum reforms and teacher training programmes to eliminate gender role stereotypes. The Committee also commends the easy access to family planning for women and men and the well-developed maternal and child health care system, which has contributed to a decline in maternal mortality.

272. The Committee welcomes the very active and lively participation of women’s organizations in monitoring and implementing the Convention.

Factors and difficulties affecting the implementation of the Convention

273. The Committee recognizes that armed conflict in the north and east of the country and economic globalization place constraints on the situation of women and pose a serious challenge to the full implementation of the Convention.

Principal areas of concern and recommendations

274. The Committee expresses concern at the contradiction between the constitutional guarantees of fundamental rights and the existence of laws that discriminate against women. It is also concerned that constitutional provisions on fundamental rights do not create accountability for the actions of non-State actors and the private sector, and the fact that there is no opportunity for judicial review of legislation pre-dating the Constitution. The Committee is also concerned at the existence of discriminatory legislation, such as the Land Development Ordinance, and the provisions allowing for Muslim personal law, which, inter alia, does not provide a minimum age of marriage, as well as the nationality law which precludes Sri Lankan women from passing nationality to their children on an equal footing with men.

275. The Committee urges the State party to review all existing laws and amend discriminatory provisions so that they are compatible with the Convention and the Constitution. It urges the State party to ensure that constitutional rights are applicable to the activities of non-State actors and the private sector. The Committee further recommends that, in its efforts to eliminate discriminatory legislation, the State party take into account, where appropriate, suggestions and recommendations from bodies such as the Muslim personal law reforms committee set up by the Ministry of Muslim Religious and Cultural Affairs. The Committee also encourages the State party to obtain information on comparative jurisprudence, including that which interprets Islamic law in line with the Convention.

276. While welcoming the efforts of the State party to strengthen the national machinery for women and to introduce gender mainstreaming, the Committee notes with concern that the legal framework, institutional structures and human and financial resources remain insufficient to implement the Convention.

277. The Committee encourages the State party to expedite the establishment of the National Commission on Women, strengthen the gender focal points in government ministries, ensure sufficient human and financial resources for the implementation of the National Plan of Action, and strengthen the implementation of the Women’s Charter, including through giving legal force to its provisions where appropriate to give effect to the principles of the Convention.

278. Despite the fact that women have occupied the position of head of Government of Sri Lanka, the Committee is concerned that, on the whole there is a very low level of representation of women in politics and public life.

279. The Committee urges the State party to take all necessary measures to increase the representation of women in politics and public life at the local, provincial and national levels, including through the implementation of temporary special measures, in accordance with article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention.

280. Despite the progress in education for women and girls, the Committee is concerned about the underrepresentation of women in engineering and technology-related courses in tertiary education.

281. The Committee urges the State party to take all necessary measures to increase the representation of women in engineering and technology-related courses in tertiary education.

282. The Committee is concerned that women who become pregnant as a result of rape or incest have to endure significant physical and mental torture.

283. The Committee encourages the State party to reintroduce legislation to permit termination of pregnancy in cases of rape, incest and congenital abnormality of the foetus.

284. The Committee expresses its concern about the high incidence of violence against women, including domestic violence. The Committee is concerned that no specific legislation has been enacted to combat domestic violence and that there is a lack of systematic data collection on violence against women, in particular domestic violence. The Committee, while appreciating the many amendments to the Penal Code, notes with concern that marital rape is recognized only in the case of judicial separation. The Committee is also concerned that the police fail to respond to complaints of violence against women with gender sensitivity and effectively.

285. The Committee urges the State party to ensure the full implementation of all legal and other measures relating to violence against women, to monitor the impact of those measures and to provide women victims of violence with accessible and effective means of redress and protection. In the light of its general recommendation 19, the Committee requests the State party to enact legislation on domestic violence as soon as possible. The Committee recommends that the State party devise a structure for systematic data collection on violence against women, including domestic violence, disaggregated by sex and ethnic group. The Committee urges the State party to consider recognizing marital rape in all circumstances as a crime. The Committee recommends that the State party provide comprehensive training to the judiciary, police, medical personnel and other relevant groups on all forms of violence against women.

286. The Committee is alarmed by the high and severe incidences of rape and other forms of violence targeted against Tamil women by the police and security forces in the conflict areas. While recognizing the prohibition of torture in the Constitution and the establishment of the inter-ministerial working group to counter these acts of violence, the Committee is concerned that victims in remote areas might be unaware of their rights and of the manner in which to seek redress.

287. The Committee urges the State party to monitor strictly the behaviour of the police and the security forces, to ensure that all perpetrators are brought to justice and to take all necessary measures to prevent acts of violence against all women.

288. The Committee, while noting with appreciation the efforts of the State party to eliminate gender role stereotyping in formal education, expresses concern at the perpetuation of traditional stereotyped gender roles among the general public and in the media.

289. The Committee calls upon the State party to strengthen measures to eliminate stereotypical attitudes about the roles and responsibilities of women and men, including awareness-raising and educational campaigns directed at both women and men of the general public and at the media. It also calls upon the State party to undertake an assessment of the impact of its measures in order to identify shortcomings and to adjust and improve these measures accordingly.

290. The Committee is concerned about the low level of women’s economic participation, the high unemployment rate of women, the inadequate protection for women working in the informal sector, such as domestic service and the weak enforcement of laws to protect women workers in the export processing zones. The Committee is also concerned that no data is available on the wage gap between women and men.

291. The Committee urges the State party to take all the necessary measures to increase the economic participation of women and ensure that women have equal access to the labour market and equal opportunities to, and at, work. The Committee calls on the State party to provide adequate protection and ensure the enforcement of labour laws for the benefit of all women workers in all areas. The Committee recommends that sex-disaggregated data on income distribution and wages be collected and included in the next report and that the State party take measures to ensure that a gender perspective is incorporated into all labour policies.

292. The Committee is concerned about the increasing number of women who migrate from Sri Lanka in search of work and find themselves in situations where they are vulnerable. Despite the protective measures taken by the State party, including mandatory registration and insurance coverage, these women are often subjected to abuse and sometimes death.

293. The Committee urges the State party to ensure the full and effective enforcement of the measures taken to protect women migrant workers, including preventing the activities of illegal employment agencies and ensuring that insurance covers the disabled and jobless after they return to Sri Lanka.

294. Noting that the majority of women live in rural areas, the Committee is concerned that economic policies do not incorporate a gender perspective and do not take into account rural women’s role as producers.

295. The Committee urges the State party to recognize rural women’s contributions to the economy by collecting sex-disaggregated data on rural production and to ensure the incorporation of a gender perspective in all development programmes, with special attention to minority rural women.

296. The Committee is concerned about the high percentage of households headed by women, many of whom are elderly, many illiterate and with meagre means of living.

297. The Committee urges the State party to develop policies and programmes to improve the situation of women-headed households and elderly women, including recognizing women-headed households as equal recipients and beneficiaries of development programmes.

298. The Committee expresses its concern about the continued situation of armed conflict in the north and east of Sri Lanka and the increase of internally displaced persons, the majority of whom are women and children.

299. The Committee urges the State party to allocate more resources to meet the needs of internally displaced women and children and to ensure their privacy, access to health facilities, security and protection from violence. The Committee calls on the State party to ensure full and equal participation of women in the process of conflict resolution and peace-building.

300. The Committee urges the State party to sign and ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention and to deposit, as soon as possible, its instrument of acceptance of the amendment of article 20, paragraph 1, of the Convention on the meeting time of the Committee.

301. The Committee requests the State party to respond to the concerns expressed in the present concluding comments in its next periodic report submitted under article 18 of the Convention. The Committee, in particular, requests the State party to provide information on the assessment and impact of all laws, policies, plans, programmes and other measures taken to implement the Convention.

302. The Committee requests the wide dissemination in Sri Lanka of the current concluding comments in order to make the people in Sri Lanka, in particular government administrators and politicians, aware of the steps that have been taken to ensure the de jure and de facto equality of women as well as of further steps that are required in this regard. It also requests the State party to continue to disseminate widely, in particular to women’s and human rights organizations, the Convention, its Optional Protocol, the Committee’s general recommendations and the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, as well as the results of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, entitled “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century”.

5. Fourth and fifth periodic reports

Portugal

303. The Committee considered the fourth and fifth periodic reports of Portugal (CEDAW/C/PRT/4 and CEDAW/C/PRT/5) at its 534th and 535th meetings, on 18 January 2002 (see CEDAW/C/SR.534 and 535).

(a) Introduction by the State party

304. In introducing the fourth and fifth periodic reports, the representative of Portugal emphasized her country’s commitment to the attainment of equality between women and men as an integral part of its respect for democracy. De jure equality was a reality in Portugal, but work had to be done to achieve de facto equality. Measures to achieve equality had been placed under the direct supervision of the Prime Minister in 1995 and, in 1996, the post of High Commissioner for Equality and Family had been created. In 1999, the post of Minister for Equality had been established and its functions absorbed by the Minister of the Presidency. In July 2001, the post of Secretary of State only for Gender Equality had been created and placed in the portfolio of the Deputy Minister to the Prime Minister.

305. As a measure of Portugal’s commitment to strengthening the implementation of the Convention and other international instruments, ratification of the Optional Protocol had been approved by Parliament, and the amendment to article 20, paragraph 1, of the Convention had been accepted.

306. The representative stressed that the issue of de facto equality was a concern for the Government, and it was imperative to strengthen women’s and men’s balanced participation in society, particularly in the areas of labour, decision-making, family and social protection, and education and to eliminate prevailing gender stereotypes. Obstacles linked to traditional stereotyping had hampered efforts to achieve full equality between women and men and the implementation of the Convention. Two draft laws to achieve equality in political participation at all levels, and to provide compulsory paid parental leave had been introduced in 2001, but because of the political changes in Portugal, they would not be adopted during the current parliamentary period.

307. Many legislative and policy changes, as well as plans and programmes to achieve equality between women and men, had been introduced. In May 2001, legislation providing the Commission for Equality in Work and Employment (CITE) and the General Labour Inspection with additional powers, in particular with regard to investigation of sex-based discrimination in the workplace, employment and in vocational training programmes had been enacted. A second law requiring that the Government provide Parliament with an annual report on the status of equality in employment, the workplace and vocational training programmes had also been enacted. The collection of gender-sensitive information and data had improved and publications, awareness-raising campaigns and seminars and training on gender equality had contributed to better understanding by the public of gender equality issues.

308. The representative noted that her country had almost completed the elaboration of the Second National Plan for Equality between women and men following the objectives established in the Law on General Principles for 2002. The Law and Plan envisaged restructuring the Commission for Equality and Women’s Rights (CEWR) and the CITE. The Deputy Minister to the Prime Minister had indicated that the next budgets would be gender-based.

309. The representative emphasized the positive impact in Portugal of the outcome of the Fourth World Conference on Women, in particular with regard to the policies of the Governments elected in 1995 and 1999. She highlighted the constitutional amendments adopted in 1997, which included the promotion of equality between women and men as a basic State responsibility, noting that that provided the necessary legal basis for affirmative actions. Other amendments related to the inclusion in the chapter of rights, liberties and guarantees, legal protection against all forms of discrimination; recognition of the right to reconcile professional and family life for all workers; and consideration that direct and active participation in political life by men and women was a condition of the democratic system and that the law should ensure the promotion of equality in the exercise of civil and political rights and access to public office free of sex-based discrimination.

310. The representative described a series of plans and programmes based on the principles of the Beijing Platform for Action, which included: the 1997 Global Plan for Equal Opportunities, which created the Observatory for Equality in Collective Bargaining, which was a very important tool in the reduction of salary discrimination; and the 1999 National Plan against Domestic Violence. In 1999, the law on maternity and paternity protection had been amended to provide, inter alia, fathers with five days of paid leave during the first month of a child’s life and 15 days of paid leave to be taken after maternity or paternity leave. The amended Law also provided for two hours of breastfeeding breaks daily and an entitlement for either the mother or the father to take two hours a day from work to feed a child during its first year. Legislation had extended paid maternity leave to 120 days and increased the penalties for employers who discriminated on the basis of sex or violated the maternity/paternity protective measures.

311. The representative noted that Portugal had benefited from its membership in the European Union and had introduced a series of initiatives while it had held the European Union presidency, namely promoting all aspects of equal opportunities, facilitating the reconciliation of work and family life and aiming, in particular, at increasing the number of women in employment to 60 per cent by 2010, and various conferences on measures to eliminate domestic violence and reconcile professional and family life. Special attention had also been given to the coordination of the European Union’s contribution to the Beijing+5 process and the review of the International Labour Organization Convention concerning Maternity Protection.

312. The representative noted that non-governmental organizations had greatly contributed to the advancement of women, both as individual associations and collectively as members of the Consultative Council within the Commission for Equality and Women’s Rights. Between 1991 and 2001, the number of non-governmental organizations had increased from 24 to 49, and government subsidies for non-governmental organizations had increased fivefold.

313. Pursuant to the Beijing Platform for Action, Portugal had addressed violence against women through the adoption of various measures, such as the creation of a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week free help line, and the establishment of a network of reception centres for women victims of domestic violence. A formal complaint from the victim of domestic violence was no longer a precondition for prosecution, indemnities to women victims of domestic violence had been introduced, police training had been carried out and specific victim-friendly locations in police stations for victims of domestic violence had been set aside.

314. In concluding her presentation, the representative indicated that inequality between women and men continued to be felt in Portugal despite legal reform and the adoption of international obligations. However, she expressed the view that, since the identification of the causes of the inequality, which had caused such harm to women in public life and men in the private sphere, effective measures that eliminated structural inequalities between women and men could be introduced.

(b) Concluding comments of the Committee

Introduction

315. The Committee expresses its appreciation to the State party for submitting its fourth and fifth periodic reports. It commends the State party for the written replies to the issues raised by the pre-session working group, the supplementary information submitted to the Committee and the State party’s oral presentation, which provided additional information on the current situation of the implementation of the Convention in Portugal.

316. The Committee commends the State party on its delegation, headed by the Secretary of State for Equality, and including officials from various branches of the Government.

317. The Committee notes that governmental action, including the Global Plan for Equal Opportunities, is placed within the context of the provisions of the Convention and the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action.

Positive aspects

318. The Committee commends the Government of Portugal on its commitment to achieving equality and equal opportunities for women, reflected in the progress it has made in implementing the Convention since the consideration of the third periodic report in 1991. The Committee notes with appreciation the range of laws, institutions, policies, plans and programmes put in place to address discrimination against women in Portugal.

319. The Committee welcomes the amendments to the Constitution adopted in 1997, which, inter alia, established the promotion of equality between women and men as a fundamental task of the State. The Committee also welcomes other legislative reforms, including those relating to maternity and paternity leave.

320. The Committee welcomes the 1998 revision of the Penal Code which made violence against women a public offence, rendered police investigation of such offences mandatory and criminalized sexual harassment in the workplace.

321. The Committee notes with satisfaction the high level of women’s educational achievement and the increasing diversification in the types of studies pursued by women. The Committee commends the State party on its efforts to recruit women into the police forces and on its system to disseminate information on violence against women.

322. The Committee commends the State party for recognizing stereotypical attitudes as a major source of women’s continuing disadvantage and welcomes the different means to address such attitudes, including awareness-raising campaigns and emphasis on shared responsibility in the family.

323. The Committee commends the State party for having accepted the amendment to article 20, paragraph 1, of the Convention, and welcomes the steps taken towards ratification of the Optional Protocol.

Factors and difficulties affecting the implementation of the Convention

324. The Committee notes that there are no significant factors or difficulties that prevent the effective implementation of the Convention in Portugal.

Principal areas of concern and recommendations

325. The Committee, while noting the wealth of information concerning laws, policies, plans and programmes designed to ensure compliance with the Convention, is nonetheless concerned at the general absence of assessment and impact of those measures on women.

326. The Committee requests the State party to provide, in its next report, information on the assessment and impact of all laws, policies, plans, programmes and other measures taken to eliminate discrimination against women in all areas of their lives. The Committee also requests the State party to set time frames within which it intends to achieve its goals.

327. While recognizing the efforts made by the State party to integrate a gender perspective into all policies, the Committee is concerned about the limited resources available for the machinery responsible for gender equality.

328. The Committee urges the State party to increase the financial and human resources available for the machinery and all policies and programmes to eliminate discrimination against women.

329. While recognizing the State party’s efforts to address the problem of stereotypes relating to the roles of women in the family and society, the Committee remains concerned at the persistence of these stereotypes and the continuing stereotypical portrayal of women in the media.

330. The Committee calls upon the State party to strengthen measures to change stereotypical attitudes about the roles and responsibilities of women and men, including awareness-raising and educational campaigns directed at both women and men, as well as the media, in order to achieve de facto equality between women and men. It further calls on the State party to encourage the media to contribute to the societal efforts at overcoming such attitudes, and to create opportunities for a positive, non-traditional portrayal of women.

331. While welcoming the measures taken to combat violence against women, including the revisions to the Penal Code providing for the crime of ill-treatment of a spouse or partner and for violence against women to be a public offence, the adoption in 1999 of the National Action Plan to Fight Domestic Violence, and the activities under the INOVAR (innovate) Project, the Committee is concerned about the continuing problem of violence against women, especially domestic violence, and the small number of prosecutions and convictions of offenders.

332. The Committee urges the State party to ensure the systematic implementation of the national action plan and all laws and other measures relating to violence against women, and to monitor their impact. The Committee calls on the State party to take measures aimed at creating zero tolerance for such violence, and to make it socially and morally unacceptable. The Committee further recommends that the State party strengthen measures to sensitize the judiciary and law enforcement personnel to all forms of violence against women that constitute infringements of the human rights of women under the Convention.

333. The Committee is concerned that incest is not defined explicitly as a crime under the Penal Code but is dealt with merely indirectly under a number of different penal provisions.

334. The Committee urges the State party to include incest as a specific crime in the Penal Code so as to make it easier for women and girls who are victims of incest to have access to effective means of redress and protection.

335. The Committee is concerned about the increase in the incidence of trafficking in women and girls.

336. The Committee urges the State party to increase efforts at cross-border and international cooperation, especially with countries of origin and transit as well as with neighbouring receiving countries, to collect data, reduce the incidence of trafficking, prosecute and punish traffickers, and ensure the protection of the human rights of trafficked women and girls. It calls on the State party to ensure that trafficked women and girls have the support that they need so that they can provide testimony against their traffickers. It also urges that training of border police and law enforcement officials provide them with the requisite skills to recognize and provide support for victims of trafficking.

337. The Committee is concerned about the low participation of women in elected and appointed bodies, including as members of parliament and local assemblies, government ministers and secretaries of state, mayors, and high-ranking judges and diplomats.

338. The Committee urges the State party to take measures to increase the representation of women in elected and appointed bodies through, inter alia, the implementation of temporary special measures, in accordance with article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention in order to realize women’s right to participation in all areas of public life and, particularly, at high levels of decision-making.

339. The Committee is concerned about the persistence of the level of illiteracy, and that older women constitute a disproportionate number of illiterates.

340. The Committee encourages the State party to develop programmes specially designed to reduce female illiteracy.

341. The Committee is concerned at the evidence of women’s occupational segregation, that the gap between women’s and men’s wages in the private sector is worsening and at the high percentage of women among unpaid family workers. It is also concerned at the lack of sex-disaggregated data on these matters in respect of the public and private sectors.

342. The Committee urges the State party to collect sex-aggregated data on women’s vertical segregation in public and private employment. It also urges the State party to facilitate legal action by women and women’s non-governmental organizations on these matters.

343. The Committee is concerned at the apparent lack of legal actions or court decisions where the Convention and/or Constitution have been used to claim the right of equality and obtain redress for acts of discrimination.

344. The Committee urges the State party to ensure that adequate mechanisms and access to legal aid are available to enable women to seek and obtain redress from the courts on the basis of the Constitution and the Convention.

345. The Committee is concerned about the restrictive abortion laws in place in Portugal, in particular because illegal abortions have serious negative impacts on women’s health and well-being.

346. The Committee urges the State party to facilitate a national dialogue on women’s right to reproductive health, including on the restrictive abortion laws. It also urges the State party to further improve family planning services, ensuring their availability to all women and men, including teenagers and young adults. It requests the State party to include information in its next report on death and/or illness related to or due to illegal abortion.

347. The Committee expresses concern about the lack of information in the reports on rural women, who constitute a significant percentage of the labour force, and on older women.

348. The Committee requests the State party to provide, in its next report, information on the situation of rural and older women, especially as regards their health, employment and educational status.

349. The Committee is concerned about the feminization of poverty and, in particular, the situation of women heads of household.

350. Noting that part II of the National Action Plan for Integration, 2001-2003, sets out the objectives of the campaign against poverty, the Committee requests that the State party provide, in its next report, information on the impact on women and girls of measures taken to eradicate poverty.

351. The Committee encourages the State party to complete the formalities required in order to allow for early ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention.

352. The Committee requests the State party to respond to the concerns expressed in the present concluding comments in its next periodic report submitted under article 18 of the Convention.

353. The Committee requests the wide dissemination in Portugal of the present concluding comments in order to make the people of Portugal, in particular government administrators and politicians, aware of the steps that have been taken to ensure the de jure and de facto equality of women and of the further steps that are required in this regard. It also requests the State party to continue to disseminate widely, in particular to women’s and human rights organizations, the Convention, its Optional Protocol, the Committee’s general recommendations and the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, and the results of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, entitled “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century”.

6. Fifth periodic report

Russian Federation

354. The Committee considered the fifth periodic report of the Russian Federation (CEDAW/USR/5) at its 543rd and 544th meetings, on 25 January 2002 (see CEDAW/C/SR.543 and 544).

(a) Introduction by the State party

355. Introducing the report of her country, the representative of the Russian Federation analysed the implementation of the Convention for the period from 1994 to 1998 and the situation of women within the framework of the current socio-economic climate and political situation in the Russian Federation. The country had experienced an unprecedented transition from a planned economy, a totalitarian regime and a one-party political system to a market economy, a democracy and a multiparty system. Such changes had had a profound impact on all aspects of life of the Russian population in general, and on women in particular, with the despair and fear of the early 1990s being replaced by a sense of optimism and hope.

356. The representative noted that the standard of living and personal incomes of the Russian population had started to rise, emphasizing that those positive developments in the economic sphere had allowed the Russian Government to begin to focus on social policy and programmes. For example, in the 2002 federal budget, more resources were reallocated to all social spheres. The priority was to increase investment in human capital, especially in terms of improving education and health care.

357. During the period covered by the report, the Government had introduced various legislative and administrative measures to improve the status of women, protect their rights and cushion the impact of the transitional period. Women had taken an active part in the reform process, resulting in the expansion of the women’s movement, especially over the past three years. Women’s non-governmental organizations had participated in all major national events and discussions on socio-economic and political issues. The national discussion on the theme “Initiatives of women citizens as a factor of sustainable development” had been organized within the Civil Forum which was held in November 2001. The representative noted that, with the increased dialogue between women’s non-governmental organizations and the Government, there was now a real chance of improving the status of women in the country.

358. Pursuant to the 1995 Beijing Platform for Action, the Government had identified five main priorities for the advancement of women in the Russian Federation. They included women’s participation in decision-making, women and the economy, human rights of women, women and health, and the elimination of violence against women. The second National Plan of Action for the advancement of women had been adopted for the period from 2001 to 2005.

359. The representative indicated that, as a result of the efforts of the Government, women’s participation in political life, especially at the regional and municipal levels, had increased. She emphasized the importance of the adoption, in 2000, of a Law on Political Parties, which in its article 8 ensured equal rights for women and men to be elected to all political positions. Despite new measures and initiatives, the level of women’s participation in the legislative branch of power remained low, and out of 442 members of the State Duma (the lower chamber of Parliament) there were 35 women, while out of 175 members of the Federation Council (the upper chamber of Parliament) there were only four women. The level of women’s participation in the executive branch of power was also low. To address that issue, the “Concept of the State Civil Service”, currently under development, envisaged the introduction of gender-sensitive training to improve the participation of women at all levels of decision-making.

360. The representative informed the Committee of the adoption of the new Labour Code, which reflected the request of women’s non-governmental organizations to limit the number of occupations barred to women. In addition, the Government had developed federal employment programmes for the population that envisaged quotas for women and included social security provisions for the most vulnerable groups of women. She also described plans to conduct a gender analysis of labour legislation and to develop monitoring procedures on women’s participation in the labour market. She shared the Government’s concern regarding existing discriminatory practices in the recruitment and dismissal of women, especially pregnant women, and the persistence of occupational segregation. Another source of concern was the substantial deterioration in the situation of rural women.

361. In order to reduce poverty, the Government was planning to increase the minimum wage by a factor of 2.5, expand the system of compensation for housing, review tax legislation, increase subsidies and allowances for mothers and children, and proceed with pension reform. Beginning in 2002, maternity allowances would be increased threefold. The representative described efforts to bring the country out of its demographic crisis by implementing measures to stimulate the birth rate, provide assistance for families, improve the health of the population and reduce maternal and infant mortality.

362. The representative described the health situation in the country. In the period of transition, the quality of health of the population had generally deteriorated, but there had been improvement in the reproductive health of women. The efforts of the Government had resulted in a decrease in the number of abortions, with the absolute number of abortions being reduced by a factor of 1.3, with 1,961 abortions in 2000 as compared, for example, with 2,498 in 1997. However, only 23.6 per cent of women used effective methods of contraception. Among other achievements were the reduction of birth pathology, as well as maternal and infant mortality. Efforts were under way to improve access to health services for rural women. Concern existed with respect to the spread of HIV/AIDS and drug addiction among women, and measures aimed at combating those problems had been introduced.

363. The representative indicated that the issue of violence against women, including domestic violence, continued to be a serious problem for society. Surveys suggested that about 70 per cent of women experienced violence at some time in their lives, and women constituted 40 per cent of the victims of premeditated murders. The Government, together with non-governmental organizations, was designing and implementing a wide range of measures and initiatives aimed at eliminating violence against women. They included the establishment of crisis centres, the introduction of new legislation together with the revision of existing legislation, awareness-raising campaigns, the collection of information and statistical data, gender-sensitive training of law officials and other programmes. The Government had also started to pay very serious attention to the growing problem of sex exploitation and of trafficking in women and girls.

364. She reported on further steps undertaken by the Government to strengthen the national machinery for the advancement of women and mainstream a gender perspective into policy decision-making at the national and regional levels. The role and functions of the Women’s Commission, which was responsible for mainstreaming a gender perspective into State policies and programmes in all areas, within the Government had been strengthened and expanded.

365. The representative indicated that the Commission on the Status of Women had been established in the upper chamber of Parliament, and the Department of Women’s and Children’s Affairs had been established in the Office of Ombudsmen on Human Rights. Many regional governing structures had also created women’s commissions, departments or councils. The newly created inter-ministerial commission was responsible for the implementation of regional plans for the advancement of women, while the newly established “Round Table” within the Labour Ministry included representatives of non-governmental and non-commercial organizations and contributed to the mainstreaming of a gender perspective in governmental decisions. It also operated an ongoing negotiating forum between the authorities and women’s organizations.

366. In concluding her presentation, the representative noted that, despite some definite progress in the implementation of the Convention, the Government was aware that much more needed to be done to ensure the advancement of women and the achievement of gender equality. She articulated her Government’s commitment to further efforts in that regard.

(b) Concluding comments of the Committee

Introduction

367. The Committee expresses its appreciation to the State party for the presentation of its fifth periodic report, which followed the Committee’s guidelines. It commends the State party on its informative responses to the list of issues and questions and the frank and comprehensive oral presentation, which updated the Committee on developments in the country since the submission of the report in 1999.

368. The Committee also commends the State party for sending a delegation headed by the First Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Development.

Positive aspects

369. The Committee welcomes the fact that international treaties, including the Convention, are considered to be a component part of the State’s legal system and can be directly invoked in domestic courts.

370. The Committee welcomes the enactment of the 1995 Family Code and the 2001 Federal Act on Political Parties. It welcomes the Government’s adoption of the 1996 Outline on the advancement of women’s socio-economic status and the National Action Plan to increase women’s representation in decision-making positions.

371. The Committee also welcomes the publicity given to the Convention in the Russian Federation and the steps taken to distribute the State party’s reports and the concluding comments of the Committee.

Factors impeding the implementation of the Convention

372. The Committee considers that the State party’s ongoing transformation has had a negative effect on women and has posed an impediment to the full implementation of the Convention.

Principal areas of concern and recommendations

373. The Committee is concerned that the Constitution which recognizes women’s right to equality before the law does not contain a definition of discrimination or expressly prohibit discrimination on the ground of sex. The Committee notes that the Constitution has not become an effective instrument to prevent discrimination.

374. The Committee urges the State party to incorporate in the Constitution a specific right of non-discrimination on the ground of sex, and a definition of discrimination, in conformity with article 1 of the Convention. It calls on the State party to introduce effective enforcement procedures and take necessary measures, including public awareness-raising campaigns to ensure effect implementation of women’s right to equality.

375. The Committee notes that there is a lack of legislation in critical areas where there is discrimination against women. It is concerned that women are not invoking court procedures to combat sex discrimination because of gaps in the law, evidentiary barriers, a general lack of legal awareness and distrust of the legal system.

376. The Committee recommends that specific legislation and effective enforcement procedures be adopted to combat and eliminate discrimination and respond to violence against women. All such legislation and enforcement procedures should be accompanied by access to legal aid and a vigorous awareness-raising campaign to inform women of their rights.

377. The Committee is concerned that the national machinery for the advancement of women, including the Commission on Enhancement of the Status of Women, may be weakened through its lack of clear legal status and mandate, and insufficient financial and human resources.

378. The Committee urges the State party to confer a clear mandate on, and allocate sufficient financial and human resources to, the national machinery for the advancement of women to enable it to ensure the practical realization of equality for women.

379. The Committee notes with concern the persistence of stereotypes and discriminatory attitudes with respect to the role of women and men in the family and society.

380. While commending the introduction of human rights education in school curricula, the Committee urges the State party to emphasize women’s rights as human rights, to increase awareness-raising programmes, including those directed towards men, and to take measures to change stereotypical attitudes and perceptions about the roles and responsibilities of women and men in the family and in society.

381. The Committee is concerned that the representation of women in the political arena at all levels has been decreasing steadily.

382. While acknowledging the Federal Act on Political Parties of July 2001, the Committee recommends that the State party take further measures to give practical and concrete effect to the Act. It requests the State party to adopt additional temporary special measures in accordance with article 4, paragraph 1 of the Convention, in order to increase the number of women at all levels of political decision-making.

383. The Committee is deeply concerned at the deteriorating situation of women in employment and that women are the overwhelming majority of workers in lower level and low-paying jobs in the various parts of the public sector. It is concerned that women experience significant discrimination in the private sector, and have a low share of the high-paying jobs in that sector. It is also concerned that women constitute the majority of the long-term unemployed.

384. The Committee urges the enactment of an equal employment opportunity law, prohibiting discrimination in hiring, promotion, employment conditions and dismissal, requiring equal pay for work of equal value and providing for effective enforcement procedures and remedies. It recommends that such legislation include temporary special measures, with time-bound targets, in accordance with article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention, to increase the number of women in higher-level jobs in the public and private sectors.

385. While noting the State party’s policy of protecting women against unsafe working conditions, the Committee is concerned that 12 per cent of women work in conditions which do not meet health and safety standards. It is also concerned about the exclusion of women of childbearing age from a list of 456 jobs, which may result in the effective exclusion of women from certain employment sectors. The Committee notes that the list is under reconsideration and also notes that employers may employ women in the prohibited jobs if the necessary standards are in place.

386. The Committee recommends that the State party require all employers to conform to the mandated standards, which would allow both women and men to work in proper conditions of health and safety. Bearing in mind article 11.3 of the Convention, it recommends continued review of the list of prohibited jobs, in consultation with women’s non-governmental organizations, with a view to reducing their number.

387. The Committee is concerned at the feminization of poverty and, in particular, that women constitute a large proportion of single-parent families and of the working poor, and at the disproportionate impact of the remaining debt in unpaid back-wages on women in public employment and the poverty of older women.

388. The Committee recommends that, in addition to the measures to reduce poverty in the Programme for Socio-Economic Development of July 2001, the State party collate accurate data on the extent of women’s poverty and its causes and, urgently, take special positive measures to alleviate women’s poverty as a distinct structural problem.

389. The Committee is deeply disturbed at the high level of domestic violence and of murder of women in this context. It is very concerned that law enforcement officials, in particular tend to view such violence as a private matter between spouses and family members and not as grave crimes. The Committee also regrets that the State party has not taken urgent necessary effective measures to combat domestic violence and that none of the numerous draft bills on domestic violence has been adopted.

390. The Committee urges the State party to place a high priority on measures to address violence against women in the family and society, and adopt laws, policies and programmes in accordance with its general recommendation 19 and the United Nations Declaration on Violence against Women. The Committee recommends that the State party increase its programmes on violence against women, in particular awareness-raising campaigns. It also urges the State party to provide training for law enforcement personnel at all levels, lawyers and judges, health-care professionals and social workers with respect to violence against women in the household and society.

391. The Committee is concerned about reports of ill-treatment of women in pre-detention centres and in prisons. The Committee is deeply concerned by the fact that, despite credible evidence that police officials have used violence against women in custody, the State party has not, as a rule, investigated, disciplined or prosecuted offenders. The Committee is also disturbed by the fact that, despite strong evidence that members of the Russian forces have committed acts of rape or other sexual violence against women in the context of the armed conflict in Chechnya, the State party has failed to conduct the necessary investigations or hold anyone accountable in the vast majority of cases.

392. The Committee urges the State party to take necessary measures to ensure that custodial violence by officials, including acts of sexual violence against women and girls in detention or under investigation, are prosecuted and punished as grave crimes. It also urges the State party to adopt preventive measures, including swift disciplinary inquiries and human rights education programmes for the armed forces and law enforcement personnel.

393. The Committee is concerned about reports regarding the great increase in prostitution and, in particular, at the number of girl street children who are exploited as prostitutes. It is concerned that the poverty of women and girls is the major causal factor.

394. Noting the State party’s programmes of action to provide street children with shelter, subsistence and education, the Committee urges the State party to continue and extend such programmes and to apply them, appropriately modified and strengthened, to women forced into prostitution by poverty. It also urges giving priority to the prosecution of those who exploit prostitutes and of adults involved in the exploitation of child prostitutes, with the introduction of special legislative provisions, if necessary.

395. The Committee is concerned at the extent of trafficking of Russian women to foreign countries for sexual exploitation. It notes that, in the period from 1994 to 1997, only four court cases were brought and seven persons were convicted for such offences. In addition, the Committee is concerned that the Russian Federation itself has become a country of destination for trafficked women.

396. The Committee recommends the formulation of a comprehensive strategy to combat the trafficking of women, which should include the prosecution and punishment of offenders, increased international regional and bilateral cooperation, in particular with countries of destination and transit, witness protection and the rehabilitation of women and girls who have been victims of trafficking. The Committee requests the State party to provide, in its next report, comprehensive information on the trafficking of women and girls.

397. Noting the measures taken by the State party to combat the effect of HIV/AIDS on pregnant women, the Committee is concerned that the State party regards HIV/AIDS as primarily resulting from the conduct of individuals in the context of drug abuse and alcoholism.

398. The Committee urges the State party to address the gender aspects of HIV/AIDS, including the power differential between women and men, which often prevents women from insisting on safe and responsible sex practices. It encourages the State party to strengthen its efforts to raise awareness and educate women and girls on ways to protect themselves from HIV/AIDS. The Committee urges the State party to ensure the equal rights and the access of women and girls to detection, health care and social services.

399. The Committee is concerned at the deterioration of the health-care system, which severely limits women’s access to health care. It is also concerned at the state of women’s health, in particular the increase in gynaecological problems and pregnancies among teenage girls. The Committee also notes with concern that, although there has been a decrease in the rate of abortions, abortion continues to be used as a method of birth control and the number of women using effective contraceptive measures is low.

400. The Committee recommends in accordance with general recommendation 24 on article 12 — women and health that the State party fully implement a life-cycle approach to women’s health and urges the State party to strengthen family planning programmes and provide affordable access to contraceptive measures for all women in all regions. It also urges the State party to include sex education in the school curriculum.

401. The Committee expresses concern with regard to the situation of rural women and, in particular, their degree of access to income-generating activities.

402. The Committee requests the State party to provide more information and data on the situation of rural women in its next periodic report. It recommends that the State party pay greater attention to the situation of rural women and develop special policies and programmes aimed at their economic empowerment, ensuring their access to capital and productive resources.

403. The Committee welcomes the State party’s commitment to ratifying the Optional Protocol to the Convention in 2003, and to deposit as soon as possible its instrument of acceptance to the amendment to article 20, paragraph 1, of the Convention.

404. The Committee urges the State party to respond in its next periodic report to the specific issues raised in the present concluding comments and to provide updated data and statistics disaggregated by sex and age.

405. The Committee requests the wide dissemination in the Russian Federation of the current concluding comments in order to inform the public in general, and government administrators and politicians in particular, of the steps that have been taken to ensure the de jure and de facto equality of women as well as of further steps that are required in this regard. It also requests the State party to continue to disseminate widely, in particular to women’s and human rights organizations, the Convention, its Optional Protocol, the Committee’s general recommendations, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, and the results of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, entitled “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century”.

Chapter V

Activities carried out under the Optional Protocol

to the Convention

406. Article 12 of the Optional Protocol to the Convention provides that the Committee shall include in its annual report under article 21 of the Convention a summary of its activities under the Protocol.

407. The Committee adopted the draft model communication form which had been formulated by the Working Group on the Optional Protocol. The communication form, as finalized, was as follows:

The Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women entered into force on 22 December 2000. It entitles the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, a body of 23 independent experts, to receive and consider communications (petitions) from, or on behalf of, individuals or a group of individuals who claim to be victims of violations of the rights protected by the Convention.

To be considered by the Committee, a communication:

• must be in writing;

• may not be anonymous;

• must refer to a State which is a party to both the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Optional Protocol;

• must be submitted by, or on behalf of, an individual or a group of individuals under the jurisdiction of a State which is a party to the Convention and the Optional Protocol. In cases where a communication is submitted on behalf of an individual or a group of individuals, their consent is necessary unless the person submitting the communication can justify acting on their behalf without such consent.

A communication will not normally be considered by the Committee:

• unless all available domestic remedies have been exhausted;

• where the same matter is being or has already been examined by the Committee or another international procedure;

• if it concerns an alleged violation occurring before the entry into force of the Optional Protocol for the State.

In order for a communication to be considered the victim or victims must agree to disclose her/their identity to the State against which the violation is alleged. The communication, if admissible, will be brought confidentially to the attention of the State party concerned.

* * *

If you wish to submit a communication, please follow the guidelines below as closely as possible. Also, please submit any relevant information which becomes available after you have submitted this form.

Further information on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms

of Discrimination against Women and its Optional Protocol, as well as the rules of procedure of the Committee can be found at: http://www.un.org/

womenwatch/daw/cedaw/index.html

Guidelines for submission

The following questionnaire provides a guideline for those who wish to submit a communication for consideration by the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women under the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. Please provide as much information as available in response to the items listed below.

Send your communication to:

Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women

c/o Division for the Advancement of Women,

Department of Economic and Social Affairs

United Nations Secretariat

2 United Nations Plaza

DC-2/12th Floor

New York, NY 10017

United States of America

Fax: 1-212-963-3463

1. Information concerning the author(s) of the communication

• Family name

• First name

• Date and place of birth

• Nationality/citizenship

• Passport/identity card number (if available)

• Sex

• Marital status/children

• Profession

• Ethnic background, religious affiliation, social group (if relevant)

• Present address

• Mailing address for confidential correspondence (if other than present

address)

• Fax/telephone/e-mail

• Indicate whether you are submitting the communication as:

– Alleged victim(s). If there is a group of individuals alleged to be victims, provide basic information about each individual.

– On behalf of the alleged victim(s). Provide evidence showing the consent of the victim(s), or reasons that justify submitting the communication without such consent.

2. Information concerning the alleged victim(s) (if other than the author)

• Family name

• First name

• Date and place of birth

• Nationality/citizenship

• Passport/identity card number (if available)

• Sex

• Marital status/children

• Profession

• Ethnic background, religious affiliation, social group (if relevant)

• Present address

• Mailing address for confidential correspondence (if other than present address)

• Fax/telephone/e-mail

3. Information on the State party concerned

• Name of the State party (country)

4. Nature of the alleged violation(s)

Provide detailed information to substantiate your claim, including:

• Description of alleged violation(s) and alleged perpetrator(s)

• Date(s)

• Place(s)

• Provisions of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of

Discrimination against Women that were allegedly violated.

If the communication refers to more than one provision, describe each issue separately.

5. Steps taken to exhaust domestic remedies

Describe the action taken to exhaust domestic remedies; for example, attempts to obtain legal, administrative, legislative, policy or programme remedies, including:

• Type(s) of remedy sought

• Date(s)

• Place(s)

• Who initiated the action

• Which authority or body was addressed

• Name of court hearing the case (if any)

• If domestic remedies have not been exhausted, explain why.

Please note: Enclose copies of all relevant documentation.

6. Other international procedures

Has the same matter already been examined or is it being examined under another procedure of international investigation or settlement? If yes, explain:

• Type of procedure(s)

• Date(s)

• Place(s)

• Results (if any)

Please note: Enclose copies of all relevant documentation.

7. Date and signature

Date/place: _____________________

Signature of author(s) and/or victim(s):

_______________________________

8. List of documents attached (do not send originals, only copies)

Chapter VI

Ways and means of expediting the work of the Committee

408. The Committee considered agenda item 7, on ways and means of expediting its work, at its 529th and 549th meetings, on 14 January and 1 February 2002 (see CEDAW/C/SR.529 and 549).

409. In introducing the item, the Chief of the Women’s Rights Unit of the Division for the Advancement of Women, Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat, drew attention to the report of the Secretariat (CEDAW/C/2002/I/4). She also drew attention to the two informal documents containing the compilation of the concluding comments of the Committee, prepared in response to the request of the Committee at its twenty-fourth session, and the compilation of the decisions and suggestions on working methods adopted by the Committee since its first session in 1982, also prepared in response to the request of the Committee at its twenty-fourth session.

Action taken by the Committee under agenda item 7

1. Members of the pre-sessional working group for the twenty-seventh session

410. The Committee decided that the members of the pre-sessional working group for the twenty-seventh session and their alternates should be:

Members:

Charlotte Abaka (Africa)

Rosario Manalo (Asia)

Ivanka Corti (Europe)

Yolanda Ferrer Gómez (Latin America and the Caribbean)

Alternates:

Mavivi Myakayaka-Manzini (Africa)

Heisoo Shin (Asia)

Göran Melander (Europe)

Rosalyn Hazelle (Latin America and the Caribbean)

2. Dates of the twenty-seventh session of the Committee and its pre-sessional working group

411. In conformity with the approved calendar of conferences and meetings for 2002, the twenty-seventh session of the Committee will be held from 3 to 21 June 2002. It was agreed that the pre-sessional working group for the twenty-eighth session would meet from 24 to 28 June 2002.

3. Reports to be considered at future sessions

412. The Committee decided to consider the following reports at its twenty-seventh, exceptional, twenty-eighth and twenty-ninth sessions:

(a) Twenty-seventh session:

(i) Initial reports:

Congo;

Costa Rica;

St. Kitts and Nevis;

(ii) Combined third and fourth periodic reports:

Belgium;

Tunisia;

Zambia;

(iii) Combined fourth and fifth periodic report:

Ukraine;

(iv) Fourth and fifth periodic reports:

Denmark.

In the event that one of the above-mentioned States parties is unable to present its report, the Committee would consider the initial report of Suriname.

(b) Exceptional session authorized by the General Assembly at its fifty-sixth session in its resolution 56/229:

(i) Second periodic reports:

Armenia;

Czech Republic;

(ii) Third periodic report:

Uganda;

(iii) Combined third and fourth periodic report and fifth periodic report:

Guatemala;

(iv) Fourth periodic report:

Barbados;

(v) Fourth and fifth periodic reports:

Argentina;

Yemen;

(vi) Combined fourth and fifth periodic reports:

Greece;

Hungary;

(vii) Fifth periodic reports:

Mexico;

Peru;

(c) Twenty-eighth session:

(i) Initial report:

Suriname;

(ii) Second periodic reports:

Libyan Arab Jamahiriya;

Morocco;

Slovenia;

(iii) Third periodic reports:

El Salvador;

Israel;

Kenya;

(iv) Fifth and sixth periodic reports:

Norway;

(d) Twenty-ninth session:

(i) Initial report:

None;

(ii) Combined third and fourth periodic report:

France;

(iii) Fourth periodic report:

Japan.

4. United Nations meetings to be attended by the Chairperson or members of the Committee in 2002

413. The Committee recommended that the Chairperson or an alternate attend the following meetings in 2002:

(a) The forty-sixth session of the Commission on the Status of Women;

(b) The fifty-eighth session of the Commission on Human Rights;

(c) The day of general discussion of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights on the Equal Right of Men and Women to the Enjoyment of all economic, social and cultural rights, to be held on 13 May 2002;

(d) The fourteenth meeting of persons chairing the human rights treaty bodies;

(e) The fifty-seventh session of the General Assembly (Third Committee).

Chapter VII

Implementation of article 21 of the Convention

414. The Committee considered agenda item 6, on the implementation of article 21 of the Convention, at its 529th and 549th meetings (see CEDAW/C/SR.529 and 549).

415. The item was introduced by the Chief of the Women’s Rights Unit of the Division for the Advancement of Women, Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat, who drew attention to a note by the Secretary-General on the reports of specialized agencies (CEDAW/C/2002/I/3) and the reports of specialized agencies on the implementation of the Convention in areas falling within the scope of their activity (CEDAW/C/2002/I/3/Add.1-4).

Action taken by the Committee under agenda item 6

1. General recommendation on article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention

416. In accordance with its three-stage process for the preparation of general recommendations, the Committee agreed to hold an open discussion with representatives of United Nations system bodies and non-governmental organizations on article 4.1 of the Convention at its twenty-seventh session, in June 2002. It also designated one of its members to prepare a draft general recommendation on article 4.1 of the Convention to be circulated to the Committee prior to its twenty-eighth session, to be held in January 2003.

2. Statement of solidarity with Afghan women

417. On the occasion of its twenty-sixth session, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women fully expresses its solidarity with, and support for, the women of Afghanistan.

418. Afghan women have suffered for a considerable time every privation known to humankind, losing all their fundamental human rights, particularly the right to life, education, health and work.

419. The participation of Afghan women as full and equal partners with men is essential for the reconstruction and development of their country.

420. The Committee welcomes the resolve of the international community to assist in the reconstruction of Afghanistan, and calls upon all parties concerned to respect internationally recognized principles, norms and standards of human rights, particularly the human rights of women, which are an inalienable, integral and indivisible part of universal human rights, in all their actions and activities. The Committee considers this essential in order to achieve peace and stability in the country.

421. The Committee expresses the hope that the human rights of women, as provided for in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, signed by Afghanistan in 1980, will guide all actions in both the public and private spheres.

3. Gender and sustainable development

422. The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women welcomes the decision to convene the World Summit on Sustainable Development with a view to launching new concrete action programmes to implement a clear global agenda for sustainable development. It notes that that agenda is based on Agenda 21, chapter 24 of which emphasizes women’s contribution to development, the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development and related initiatives, and conventions related to the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development.

423. The Committee wishes to emphasize that peaceful conflict management and resolution at the national and international levels, with participation of women in negotiations, is essential for the achievement of sustainable development.

424. The Committee’s work has highlighted the urgent need to ensure that globalization, policies and plans of action that facilitate international trade and the transition to market economic policies are gender-sensitive and improve the quality of life of women, who constitute more than 50 per cent of the population in almost all countries. It urges that the concept of sustainable development be perceived as gender-sensitive, people-centred human development, based on equality and equity, participation of government and civil society, transparency and accountability in governance. The Committee wishes to emphasize that sustainable development in that sense can only be achieved by the full realization of human rights, including the human rights of women and the inter-generational rights of all communities.

425. The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women is one of the first international human rights instruments to combine civil and political rights and socio-economic rights. The Convention, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the Political Declaration and outcome document of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly must therefore be recognized as important legal, policy and programmatic instruments that also provide a clear agenda that must be integrated into sustainable human development.

426. The Committee therefore calls upon the Summit to integrate gender equality into the new action plan for sustainable development since development efforts that are not engendered are endangered and cannot be sustained, particularly in an increasingly interdependent world economy. If sustainable development is to realize economic, social and environmental goals, women’s needs and concerns must be given equal priority with those of men. Furthermore, women’s contribution must be recognized, enhanced and given full visibility in working towards sustainable development.

427. The reports submitted to the Committee by States parties demonstrate that women all over the world continue to suffer discrimination because of their sex. They are excluded to varying extents from full participation, on equal terms with men, in the political, social and economic life of their societies.

428. Women are also disproportionately affected by the negative impact of external debt, the implementation of structural adjustment programmes, the decrease in the price of local produce, the decline in levels of development assistance and growing disparities in the distribution of wealth. They are often disadvantaged in terms of the benefits of economic and social development, in particular education and employment, and suffer disproportionately from poverty, malnutrition and inadequacy of health care. All those phenomena are particularly severe in rural areas, where about three quarters of the world’s poor live and work.

429. Convinced that sustainable development cannot be achieved without addressing the above problems or a commitment to the full realization of the human rights of women or without ensuring women’s full participation in implementing the agenda for sustainable development, the Committee recommends that:

(a) Women be considered as stakeholders with an important contribution to make to sustainable development. The empowerment of women, at all levels, in leadership and decision-making roles in government and as responsible members of civil society must be considered central to sustainable development;

(b) Poverty reduction programmes consider and address the problem of the feminization of poverty and the need to create sustainable livelihoods for rural and urban women;

(c) Providing women with access to adequate health care, including reproductive health care, and providing women and men with the knowledge and means to avoid the spread of HIV/AIDS be considered a critical aspect of sustainable development;

(d) Since investment in the education and capacity-building of women and girls is a catalyst for improved social indicators and human development in all countries, greater emphasis be given to the education of women and girls, particularly as regards access to scientific education and modern information and communication technology;

(e) Controls, laws and policies be adopted and implemented to prevent the negative and harmful impact of tourism, which, although it is an important growth sector, often results in sexual exploitation, trafficking and violence against women and children;

(f) Resources be allocated to preventing and eliminating all forms of violence against women since the prevalence of such violence constitutes a serious impediment to sustainable development, peace and stability in all societies;

(g) While recognizing that industry contributes to economic growth and employment creation, codes of ethics and action programmes be formulated and implemented for multinational corporations, especially those that operate in investment and export promotion zones. The Committee also considers that there is an urgent need to develop and promote the concept of corporate responsibility to women workers so that they are offered equitable employment conditions, with adequate safeguards for occupational health;

(h) Sustainable forest management systems be developed to address the concerns of rural women, recognizing in particular women’s land entitlement;

(i) Increased access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation facilities be provided;

(j) Priority be given in developing action plans and measures to address climate change, pollution and their adverse effects, in particular on the health of women and children;

(k) Further policies and measures be developed to mitigate the adverse effects of natural disasters on women and children;

(l) Action plans be developed to make general credit facilities accessible to women at all levels and to expand microfinancing for low-income women’s entrepreneurial activities;

(m) Particular attention be given to reducing poverty among older women, who constitute the majority of the over-60 population in many countries;

(n) Intergovernmental processes in the United Nations system promote holistic approaches to development through gender-sensitive policy formulation, decision-making and financing, in partnership with national Governments, relevant regional organizations and civil society. The Committee considers that programming and decision-making in that participatory manner is critical for sustainable development.

4. Ending discrimination against older women through the Convention

430. The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women welcomes the convening of the second World Assembly on Ageing in Madrid, and urges that special attention be focused on the special needs of older women. The situation of older women is of concern to the Committee, which is the United Nations treaty body in charge of monitoring the implementation of the 1979 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. The Convention, often described as the international bill of rights for women, defines what constitutes discrimination against women and sets up an agenda for national action to end such discrimination.

431. The Convention is an important tool for addressing the specific issue of the human rights of older women. Discrimination against women in all areas of their lives throughout their lifespan has a severe and compounded impact on women in old age. The Committee has increasingly used the Convention to point out the discrimination faced by older women in all countries of the world and, in its concluding comments, has suggested ways to improve the quality of life of these women. In particular, the Committee has recommended action, inter alia, to address the situation of older women living in poverty, particularly in rural areas; to address the physical, financial and emotional needs of older women; and to improve older women’s access to health care.

432. The Committee therefore urges States parties to include and integrate women’s perspectives into all aspects of the proposed international strategies for action on ageing.

433. The Committee places strong emphasis on the need for Governments to collect and analyse statistical data disaggregated by sex and age as a way to better assess living conditions, including the incidence of poverty and violence against women of all ages, and stresses the importance of formulating and implementing programmes with a life-cycle approach to older women’s economic and social well-being and empowerment.

434. Furthermore, the Committee recommends that special attention be paid to improving the further education of older women. The Committee recommends that measures be taken to increase the literacy levels of older women and to reduce the literacy gap between older women in urban and rural areas. It also recommends the design and implementation of gender-sensitive policies and programmes that address the specific needs of older women, including those relating to their physical, mental, social and economic well-being.

435. Older women, for a variety of reasons, including their work as unpaid family members in the informal sector, part-time work, interrupted career patterns and concentration in low-paying jobs, are often insufficiently covered by health insurance and pension schemes. Migration and the breakdown of supportive family structures often leave older women dependent on State assistance the providers of which have not been trained to recognize or meet their specific educational, financial and health needs. The Committee recommends that the issue of the care required for older women be addressed through public policy measures in order to establish societal responsibility for their well-being. Care given to them by family members should be socially and financially recognized and encouraged.

436. Special recognition should be provided to the contribution of women to their families, the national economy and civil society throughout their life span: stereotypes and taboos that restrict or limit older women from continuing to contribute should be eliminated.

Chapter VIII

Provisional agenda for the twenty-seventh session

437. The Committee considered the draft provisional agenda for its twenty-seventh session at its 549th meeting (see CEDAW/C/SR.549). The Committee decided to approve the following provisional agenda for the session:

1. Opening of the session.

2. Adoption of the agenda and organization of work.

3. Report of the Chairperson on activities undertaken between the twenty-sixth and twenty-seventh sessions of the Committee.

4. Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 18 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

5. Implementation of article 21 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

6. Ways and means of expediting the work of the Committee.

7. Provisional agenda for the exceptional and twenty-eighth sessions.

8. Adoption of the report of the Committee on its twenty-seventh session.

Chapter IX

Adoption of the report

438. The Committee considered the draft report on its twenty-sixth session (CEDAW/C/2002/I/L.1 and CEDAW/C/2002/I/CRP.3 and Add.1-7) at its 549th meeting (see CEDAW/C/SR.549), and adopted it, as orally revised during the discussion.

Part two

Report of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women on its

twenty-seventh session

Letter of transmittal

His Excellency Mr. Kofi Annan

Secretary-General of the United Nations

New York

15 September 2002

Sir,

I have the honour to refer to article 21 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, according to which the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, established pursuant to the Convention, “shall, through the Economic and Social Council, report annually to the General Assembly of the United Nations on its activities”.

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women held its twenty-seventh session at United Nations Headquarters from 3 to 21 June 2002. It adopted its report on the session at the 567th meeting, on 21 June 2002. The report of the Committee is herewith submitted to you for transmission to the General Assembly at its fifty-seventh session.

Accept, Sir, the assurances of my highest consideration.

(Signed) Charlotte Abaka

Chairperson

Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women

Chapter I

Matters brought to the attention of States parties

Decisions

Decision 27/I

Reporting guidelines of the Committee

The Committee decided to adopt revised guidelines for the reports of States parties (see annex).

Decision 27/II

The Committee decided to convene a meeting with States that are not party to the Convention during its twenty-eighth session, in January 2003.

Chapter II

Organizational and other matters

A. States parties to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

1. As at 21 June 2002, the closing date of the twenty-seventh session of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, there were 170 States parties to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, which was adopted by the General Assembly in its resolution 34/180 of 18 December 1979, and opened for signature, ratification and accession in New York in March 1980. In accordance with article 27, the Convention entered into force on 3 September 1981.

B. Opening of the session

2. The Committee held its twenty-seventh session at United Nations Headquarters from 3 to 21 June 2002. The Committee held 18 plenary meetings (550th to 567th) and held 19 meetings to discuss agenda items 5 and 6.

3. The session was opened by the Chairperson of the Committee, Charlotte Abaka (Ghana), who had been elected at the twenty-fourth session of the Committee, in January 2001.

4. In addressing the twenty-seventh session of the Committee, the representative of the Secretary-General, Carolyn Hannan, Director of the Division for the Advancement of Women, welcomed all members of the Committee to United Nations Headquarters. She noted the seminar held from 22 to 24 April at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law in Lund, Sweden, which had been attended by most members, to consider the working methods of the Committee. A number of decisions adopted at the seminar were contained in the report of the Secretariat on ways and means of expediting the work of the Committee (CEDAW/C/2002/II/4).

5. Ms. Hannan reported on several events that had taken place since the twenty-sixth session of the Committee and on activities carried out by the Division and the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women. The forty-sixth session of the Commission on the Status of Women had been held from 4 to 15 March and on 25 March 2002.

6. Several resolutions and decisions adopted by the Commission on Human Rights had made specific reference to the work of the Committee and the work of all the human rights treaty bodies. In particular in resolution 2002/30 on human rights and extreme poverty, the Commission had called upon the Committee to take into account extreme poverty and human rights when considering the reports of the States parties; in resolution 2002/49 on women’s equal ownership, access to and control over land and the equal rights to own property and to adequate housing, it had encouraged the Committee to integrate the content of this resolution into its work; and in resolution 2002/52 on the elimination of violence against women, the Commission had reminded Governments that their obligation under the Convention must be implemented fully with regard to violence against women, taking into account the Committee’s general recommendation 19. The representative also highlighted resolution 2002/31 on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, in which the Commission established a special rapporteur on the right to health and called upon him or her to take account of the Committee’s general recommendation 24 on article 12.

7. The representative of the Secretary-General also stated that, during the recent session of the Commission on Human Rights, she had had the opportunity to participate, along with the Committee’s Chairperson, in a panel discussion organized by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Non-Governmental Organization Committee on the Status of Women on combating racism and promoting women’s rights.

8. Ms. Hannan indicated that the World Assembly on Ageing had taken place in Madrid from 8 to 12 April 2002, and had been attended on behalf of the Committee by Hanna Beate Schöpp-Schilling, who presented the contribution of the Committee in her address to the Main Committee of the Assembly. The outcome documents adopted by the Assembly drew attention to particular needs of older women, which result, inter alia, from the fact that their life patterns are different from those of men.

9. The special session of the General Assembly on Children took place from 8 to 10 May 2002, and Regina Tavares da Silva participated in the special session on the Committee’s behalf, presenting its contribution to the Ad Hoc Committee of the Whole. Ms. Tavares da Silva participated in a panel discussion entitled “Women and children: from international law to national realities”, organized by the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women, the Division for the Advancement of Women, the Office of Legal Affairs and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

10. Ms. Hannan indicated that the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women and the Division for the Advancement of Women continued to take every opportunity to encourage ratification of the Convention and the Optional Protocol, as well as acceptance of the amendment to article 20, paragraph 1, on the Committee’s meeting time. Both offices also seek to encourage regular reporting and implementation of the substantive article of the Convention in States parties. She indicated that she had participated with the Committee’s Chairperson and the Chief of the Women’s Rights Section, Jane Connors, in a seminar held in the Swedish Parliament in Stockholm on follow-up of the Committee’s concluding comments on the report of Sweden. The Chief of the Women’s Rights Section had provided training for government officials in Bosnia and Herzegovina on the Convention and one staff member from the Women’s Rights Unit had participated in a meeting organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Kuala Lumpur on the formulation of the next phase of the UNDP programme on promoting gender equality in the Asia-Pacific region. Sjiamsiah Achmad, a member of the Committee, had also participated in the meeting.

C. Attendance

11. Twenty-three members of the Committee attended the twenty-seventh session. Emna Aouij attended from 12 to 21 June, Naela Gabr from 17 to 21 June and Savitri Goonesekere from 10 to 21 June. Yolanda Ferrer Gomez attended from 17 to 21 June because of the late issuance of her entry visa.

D. Adoption of the agenda and organization of work

12. The Committee considered the provisional agenda and organization of work (CEDAW/C/2002/II/1) at its 550th meeting. The agenda, as adopted, was as follows:

1. Opening of the session.

2. Adoption of the agenda and organization of work.

3. Report of the Chairperson on activities undertaken between the twenty-sixth and twenty-seventh sessions of the Committee.

4. Consideration of the reports submitted by States parties under article 18 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

5. Implementation of article 21 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

6. Ways and means of expediting the work of the Committee.

7. Provisional agenda for the exceptional session and for the twenty-eighth session.

8. Adoption of the report of the Committee on its twenty-seventh session.

E. Report of the pre-session working group

13. A pre-session working group was convened from 4 to 8 February 2002 to prepare lists of issues and questions relating to the periodic reports that would be considered by the Committee at its twenty-seventh session.

14. The pre-session working group met together with the pre-session working group for the exceptional session which had been authorized by the General Assembly in its resolution 56/229 of 24 December 2001. The following 10 members of the Committee participated: Charlotte Abaka (Africa), Ivanka Corti (Europe), Yolanda Ferrer Gomez (Latin America and the Caribbean), Rosalyn Hazelle (Latin America and the Caribbean), Rosario Manalo (Asia), Göran Melander (Europe), Mavivi Myakayaka-Manzini (Africa), Frances Livingstone Raday (Europe), Zelmira Regazzoli (Latin America and the Caribbean) and Heisoo Shin (Asia).

15. The working group prepared lists of issues and questions relating to the reports of five States parties, namely, Belgium, Denmark, Tunisia, Ukraine and Zambia.

16. At its 550th meeting, on 3 June, the Chairperson of the pre-session working group, Mr. Melander, introduced the report of the group.

Chapter III

Report of the Chairperson on the activities undertaken between the twenty-sixth and twenty-seventh sessions of the Committee

17. Ms. Abaka, the Chairperson of the Committee, reported on her attendance at the forty-sixth session of the Commission on the Status of Women, where she made a statement and participated in panel discussions. She also participated in a meeting organized by the Organization of African Unity with representatives of States parties from Africa, during which she discussed the Convention, its Optional Protocol and the reporting obligations of States parties. She also drew attention to the availability of technical assistance from the Division for the Advancement of Women at the request of States parties. The Chairperson also participated in the International Women’s Day celebration on 8 March, which was dedicated to Afghan women, during which the Committee’s message of solidarity with the women of Afghanistan, adopted at its twenty-sixth session, was read.

18. Ms. Abaka informed the Committee of her participation in the fifty-eighth session of the Commission on Human Rights and side events to that session. She informed the Committee that efforts should be made to make the work of the Committee better known among the Geneva-based human rights mechanisms and non-governmental organizations, through, inter alia, Internet technology.

19. The Chairperson informed the Committee of her activities following the seminar at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, which had been attended by most members. Immediately following that seminar, she had travelled with the Director of the Division for the Advancement of Women and the Chief of the Women’s Rights Section of the Division to Stockholm in order to participate in a half-day seminar for non-governmental organizations on the implementation of the concluding comments of the Committee on the report of Sweden in that State party. She indicated that the seminar had been well attended and that there was significant interest in the Convention, its Optional Protocol and the work of the Committee in Sweden. The Chairperson also had the opportunity to meet with the Speaker of the Swedish Parliament, and several government Ministers who were extremely interested in the Committee’s work. Ms. Abaka noted that her activities in Sweden made it clear that the Committee should consider developing a mechanism for following up its concluding comments on reports of States parties. She indicated that that would be a topic for discussion at the first Inter-Committee meeting, which would be held at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights immediately following the twenty-seventh session of the Committee; she and Ms. Corti and Ms. Gonzalez would attend on the Committee’s behalf.

Chapter IV

Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 18 of the Convention

A. Introduction

20. At its twenty-seventh session, the Committee considered the reports of seven States parties under article 18 of the Convention: the combined initial and second report of one State party; combined initial, second, third and fourth reports of one State party; the combined third and fourth periodic reports of three States parties; the combined fourth and fifth periodic reports of one State party; and the fourth and fifth periodic reports of one State party.

21. The Committee prepared concluding comments on each of the States parties considered. The Committee’s concluding comments, as prepared by members of the Committee, and a summary of the introductory presentations by the representatives of the States parties are provided below.

B. Consideration of reports of States parties

1. Combined initial and second periodic report

Suriname

22. The Committee considered the combined initial and second periodic report of Suriname (CEDAW/C/SUR/1-2) at its 557th, 558th, and 566th meetings on 7 and 13 June 2002 (CEDAW/C/SR.557, 558 and 566).

Introduction by the State party

23. In introducing the report, the representative of Suriname stated that the Government took gender development and gender policy very seriously. In 1983, an official governmental Women’s Bureau had been established, and in 1998 a National Gender Bureau had been incorporated in the Ministry of Home Affairs. The Government had participated in international women’s conferences, the recommendations of which provided valuable inputs for its gender policy. A special passage regarding gender had been included in its Declaration 2000-2005 and, taking into consideration the Beijing Platform for Action and the Caribbean Community Post-Beijing Plan of Action, an Integral Gender Action Plan had been prepared for the period 2000-2005. A gender management system had been set up in order to manage and coordinate gender actions from within different ministries and to ensure gender mainstreaming. In 2001, the Ministry of Home Affairs had established the Commission on Gender Legislation with the task of advising and elaborating legislation in conformity with the Convention and with the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women.

24. In order to contextualize the current gender policy, the representative highlighted the socio-economic and political situation of the country. She noted, in particular, the serious negative impact of the current economic crisis on all layers of the community and on the lives of women.

25. The principle of equality of women and men was embodied in the Constitution, which prohibited discrimination, including on the basis of sex. If a woman was discriminated against on the basis of sex, she could resort to the common court.

26. In Suriname, women and men had equal access to education as guaranteed by the Constitution. Education at all levels was almost completely State-funded and was in principle free of charge for everyone, although that was likely to change in view of the current economic crisis. The representative pointed out that there were no available data on dropouts, but girls tended to drop out of school as a result of pregnancy. In order to encourage teenage mothers to complete their schooling, in 1989 the Government had initiated a student-mothers’ project which, in 1992, had passed into the hands of a non-governmental organization. The representative informed the Committee that Suriname had always had a reasonably well developed public health system. However, since the early 1990s, owing to increasing poverty, there had been a reduction in access to medical facilities. Up to 2002 about 6,000 people had been infected with the HIV/AIDS virus, and more women than men were infected among the younger age groups. In order to fight the disease, the Government had undertaken several activities in the field of policy, research and education.

27. The representative pointed out that the Constitution guaranteed women the right to vote and stand for election and that in the Surinamese electoral system, women had the possibility of participating in the determination and execution of government policy. The participation of women in politics at national level had increased from 10 per cent in 1991 to 19.6 per cent in 2000. The participation of women in the current Government was 18 per cent and 3 ambassadors out of 15 were women. The low participation of women in decision-making positions was ascribed to psychological as well as cultural factors. There was a need for qualitative studies on the conditions underlying the limited participation of women in political life. In order to improve the situation, the Government had undertaken various activities, including the production of booklets to foster positive images of women.

28. The representative informed the Committee that 93 per cent of police reports in 1993 concerned mistreatment, particularly of women abused by their husband or partner. The Ministries of Justice and Police, Home Affairs and Social Affairs and Housing had played a significant role in combating violence against women. For example, the Ministry of Justice had participated in all commissions directed at legislative change, while the Ministry of Home Affairs, through its National Gender Bureau, played a facilitating role in activities aimed at care, counselling and training within the framework of the elimination of violence against women. The representative also informed the Committee about the training received by members of Parliament in 2000 as a background to the elaboration of legislation regarding violence against women and women’s rights. Several non-governmental organizations were also active in community programmes to reduce the incidence of violence against women.

29. In concluding, the representative noted that the national gender policy covered all areas included in the Convention. She also highlighted the fruitful collaboration between the Government and civil society in the preparation of the report. Non-governmental organizations had played an important role in the achievement of gender equality in the country and had been very active in the formulation and implementation of the current national gender policy.

Concluding comments of the Committee

Introduction

30. The Committee commends the State party for ratifying the Convention without reservations in 1993 and for its combined initial and second report, which, although delayed, complied with the Committee’s guidelines for the preparation of initial reports. The Committee noted the limited amount of updated data in several areas.

31. The Committee commends the State party on its high-level delegation, headed by the Minister of Home Affairs, and expresses appreciation for the oral presentation, which provided additional information on the current situation of implementation of the Convention in Suriname and the responses to some of the oral questions posed by the Committee. The Committee welcomes the Minister’s announcement that Suriname’s next periodic report would be submitted to the Committee in February 2003, and the fact that the State party would include the outstanding answers to the oral questions in that report.

32. The Committee welcomes the fact that the State party has the intention to undertake action to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention.

Positive aspects

33. The Committee commends the State party for drafting its report in collaboration with civil society, particularly non-governmental organizations. It notes with satisfaction that the State party recognizes the important role of the non-governmental organizations working on women’s rights and gender equality.

34. The Committee notes with appreciation the implementation of the Gender Management System to coordinate the application of the Integral Gender Action Plan and the gender initiatives within various ministries. It also welcomes the adoption and development in Suriname of the Integral Gender Action Plan (2000-2005), which takes into account the Beijing Platform for Action, the Caribbean Community Post-Beijing Plan of Action and Suriname’s national priorities.

35. The Committee commends the State party on the appointment in 2001 of a Commission on Gender Legislation tasked with producing gender-sensitive legislation and reviewing draft laws related to the international conventions on gender equality and to present recommendations on new legislation.

36. The Committee commends the State party for its support of a human-rights-based approach to development in which human rights education is key. It commends the State party on the creation of the Human Rights Education Project aimed at raising awareness about the importance of human rights instruments and the necessity of implementing them. The Committee hopes that the dissemination of information about the Convention is part of this project and wishes to be informed of the impact of the project in the next periodic report.

37. The Committee commends the State party for its sponsorship and promotion of the issue of older women at the international level.

38. The Committee commends the State party on the action taken and measures introduced to combat, punish and eradicate violence against women, in particular domestic violence, and looks forward to a further strengthening of activities in this area.

Principal areas of concern and recommendations

39. The Committee is concerned that the Convention has not been incorporated into domestic legislation and that no domestic remedies have been introduced into domestic legislation to enforce the Constitutional provision against discrimination based on sex.

40. The Committee recommends that the State party take steps to incorporate the Convention into domestic law and introduce procedures that will allow women to effectively enforce the prohibition of discrimination based on sex. The Committee also recommends that the State party introduce programmes to create awareness about the Convention, the Constitution and such remedies. The Committee requests that the State party report on progress made in this regard in its next periodic report, including information on whether the Convention and the Constitution have been invoked by women before domestic courts.

41. The Committee notes with concern that a number of provisions exist in domestic law, including the Personnel Act, the Identity Act, the Nationality and Residence Act and the Elections Act, which allow for discrimination against women. The Committee is also concerned at the slowness of legal reform with respect to discrimination against women. In particular, it notes that an amendment to the Penal Code criminalizing gender-based discrimination, presented to the State Council in 1993, is still pending.

42. The Committee recommends that the State party review existing laws and amend discriminatory provisions to bring them into line with the Convention and the Constitution and to ensure compatibility between all national legislation and international conventions.

43. The Committee is concerned that the apparent lack of coordination among different mechanisms related to gender and a failure to allocate clear areas of responsibility may create obstacles to the effective implementation of the Convention.

44. The Committee recommends that the State party clearly define the mandates and the responsibilities of the different mechanisms related to gender and the interaction among them.

45. The Committee is concerned that the National Gender Bureau in the Ministry of Home Affairs, which is responsible for the formulation and execution of government policy on gender, does not have adequate human, financial and material resources for its work. The Committee is also concerned that the National Institute for the Promotion and Protection of Fundamental Human Rights has not functioned since 1995 and this may negatively affect the promotion and protection of women’s human rights.

46. The Committee recommends that the State party provide the National Gender Bureau with adequate human, financial and material resources to give it visibility and effectiveness and to ensure effective implementation of governmental policies and programmes related to gender equality. It also encourages gender mainstreaming in all ministries. The Committee also recommends that the State party take measures to revive the National Institute for the Promotion and Protection of Fundamental Human Rights and ensure that this institute incorporates a gender perspective in its work.

47. The Committee is concerned about the deep-rooted stereotypical attitudes that undermine the rights of women and girls and the State party’s apparent acceptance of the limited participation of women in public and political life as a result of these attitudes.

48. The Committee calls upon the State party to take urgent measures aimed at changing stereotypical attitudes about the roles and responsibilities of women and men, including through awareness-raising and educational campaigns directed at both women and men and at the media. The Committee emphasizes that a policy of gender equality in compliance with the Convention will require the recognition that women can have various roles in society, not only the important role of mother and wife, exclusively responsible for children and the family, but also as an individual person and actor in her community and in the society in general.

49. The Committee is concerned about the low penalty for those who exploit prostitutes and that those who exploit prostitutes are not prosecuted. The Committee notes with regret that trafficking in women and girls has not been legally defined and has not been given the attention it deserves. The Committee is particularly concerned that the problem is viewed as a crime against public decency, rather than as a human rights issue, and that it is not being addressed owing to the lack of data. The Committee expresses concern that the maximum penalty of five years’ imprisonment for trafficking in human beings may be too lenient given the gravity of the human rights violations involved.

50. The Committee recommends the development of programmes of action for women forced into prostitution by poverty and the introduction of policies to ensure the prosecution of, and stronger penalties for, those who exploit prostitutes and of adults involved in the exploitation of child prostitutes. The Committee also recommends the formulation of a comprehensive strategy to combat the trafficking of women, which should include the prosecution and appropriate punishment of offenders, witness protection and the rehabilitation of women and girls who have been victims of trafficking. The Committee recommends that the State party consider increasing the penalty for trafficking in women. The Committee requests the State party to provide in its next report comprehensive information on prostitution and on the trafficking of women and girls to allow the Committee to better understand the extent of the problems in Suriname.

51. Despite the active efforts of various government ministries to combat violence and protect women and children from all forms of mental and physical abuse and the work of non-governmental organizations and community groups on the issue, the Committee expresses concern that violence against women is a serious reality in Suriname. The Committee is encouraged, however, by the heightened awareness among women indicated by the high percentage of women who reported incidents to the police. The Committee notes with concern that, according to a 1998 study, 50 per cent of women indicated that there was sexual harassment in the workplace and one third of the women experienced sexual harassment at work.

52. The Committee urges the State party to place a high priority on measures to address violence against women in the family and in society in accordance with the Committee’s general recommendation 19 and the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women.1 The Committee hopes that information on the report of the Government Commission on Public Decency Legislation enacted by Decree No. 8212 of 9 December 1996 will be included in the third periodic report. The Committee also requests the State party to provide information in its next periodic report on whether as indicated in the report, it has established a national commission to make an inventory of legislation on violence against women and to examine the compatibility of such legislation with treaties and report on any progress in this regard.

53. The Committee is concerned that marital rape is not an offence and that there are inadequate data on this form of domestic violence.

54. The Committee urges the State party to criminalize marital rape, prosecute offenders and provide data on this form of domestic violence in its next periodic report.

55. Noting the importance of ensuring the broadest possible participation of women to achieve adequate representation at all levels in Suriname, the Committee is concerned about women’s underrepresentation in decision-making bodies in political and economic structures. The Committee notes that, although there are numerous women participating in training programmes, with respect to diplomatic careers the participation of women at the higher levels of the diplomatic service is low.

56. The Committee recommends the adoption of strategies to increase the number of women in decision-making bodies at all levels and in all areas. The Committee recommends that the State party adopt temporary special measures in accordance with article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention to increase the number of women in decision-making levels in government, governmental bodies, public administration and diplomatic missions. It also recommends that the State party strengthen its efforts to organize special training programmes for women and to conduct, on a regular basis, awareness-raising campaigns in this regard.

57. The Committee is concerned that, in some educational institutions, teenage mothers are not always readmitted to junior secondary schools because of the perception that “the young mothers would have a negative influence on other girls”, while teenage fathers are not prevented from attending schools.

58. The Committee requests the State party to include age-appropriate sex education in school curricula and to conduct awareness campaigns so as to prevent teenage pregnancies. The Committee requests the State party to include information on the impact of programmes to prevent teenage pregnancy in its next periodic report. The Committee also urges the State party to adopt the necessary legal or administrative measures to prohibit schools from barring young mothers and pregnant teenagers.

59. The Committee expresses concern at discriminatory practices and certain legal labour provisions that could lead to discrimination against women workers with regard to reproductive health and maternity and notes that, in the civil service, women are discriminated against when entering into marriage or becoming pregnant. It notes that regulations on flexible working hours are lacking and that the employer has the right to decrease the number of vacation days during the year in which maternity leave is enjoyed.

60. The Committee recommends that the State party remove discriminatory labour legislation in accordance with article 11 of the Convention and ensure that women workers have working conditions and social security benefits equal to those enjoyed by men, as well as protection for maternity without discrimination under article 4, paragraph 2 of the Convention.

61. The Committee notes with concern that rates of HIV/AIDS infection have increased and the majority of those who are HIV-positive are young people between the ages of 15 and 29, with girls tending to become infected at a younger age than boys.

62. The Committee urges the State party to address the gender aspects of HIV/AIDS, including the power differential between women and men, which often prevents women from insisting on safe and responsible sex practices. It encourages the State party to strengthen its efforts to raise awareness and educate women and girls on ways of self-protection. The Committee urges the State party to ensure that women and girls have equal rights and access to health care and social services.

63. The Committee notes with concern that there are provisions in the penal code regarding family planning, including prohibiting the display and offering of contraceptives for the prevention of pregnancy, although these provisions are not enforced. Noting that male condom use is very low, the Committee is concerned that only women are targeted with regard to contraception. The Committee also notes that information and statistics are missing as to other important areas of health to women, including on menopause, ovarian cancer and substance abuse, including tobacco, and the mental and psychological health of women.

64. The Committee recommends that the laws restricting family planning activities be repealed. It urges the State party to provide women and men with information on family planning and to introduce programmes to encourage men to take part in family planning responsibilities. The Committee underlines the importance of article 12 of the Convention and urges the State party to implement policies and programmes in accordance with the Committee’s general recommendation 24. The Committee requests the State party to provide detailed information on other areas of health that are of importance to women in its next periodic report.

65. The Committee is concerned about the situation of rural women, in particular the indigenous Amerindians and the Maroons, in the coastal plain and in the interior of Suriname, who are disadvantaged by poor infrastructure, limited markets, obstacles in availability and accessibility of agricultural land and agricultural credit, low literacy rates, ignorance of existing regulations, lack of services and environmental pollution. It notes with concern the serious absence of specific policies in all these areas, including on family planning and preventing the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV. The Committee is also concerned that women’s work in rural areas is not considered productive labour and that they are hardly represented at all in local government bodies. The Committee is also concerned about the absence of detailed information on the situation of older women in rural areas.

66. The Committee urges the State party to give full attention to the needs of rural women, including older women, particularly Amerindian and Maroon women, to ensure that they benefit from policies and programmes in all areas, in particular access to health, education, social services and decision-making. The Committee requests the State party to provide detailed information in this regard in its next periodic report.

67. The Committee is concerned at the scarcity of details as to the legal capacity of women, in particular unmarried women, under articles 15 and 16 of the Convention in the report of the State party. It is also concerned at the very low age of marriage for some communities.

68. The Committee urges the State party to review the law on marriage in line with articles 15 and 16 of the Convention and include in its next report more information and data, including judicial decisions, on cases involving residence, domicile and travel of women, and also with regard to their children. The Committee further requests the State party to include in its next periodic report information on the progress with regard to reform of the laws on marriage.

69. The Committee encourages the State party to consider ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention and acceptance of the amendment to article 20, paragraph 1, of the Convention, relating to the Committee’s meeting time.

70. Taking account of the gender dimensions of declarations, programmes and platforms for action adopted by relevant United Nations conferences, summits and special sessions (such as the special session of the General Assembly to review and appraise the implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (the twenty-first special session), the special session on children (the twenty-seventh special session), the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance and the Second World Assembly on Ageing), the Committee requests the State party to include information on the implementation of aspects of these documents relating to relevant articles of the Convention in its next periodic report.

71. The Committee urges the State party to respond in its next periodic report to the outstanding issues raised in the constructive dialogue and the specific issues raised in the present conclusions. It also urges the State party to improve the collection and analysis of statistical data, disaggregated by gender and age, and to submit such data to the Committee in its next report.

72. The Committee requests that the text of the present conclusions be widely disseminated in Suriname so as to inform the public, in particular administrators, officials and politicians, of the measures taken to guarantee de jure and de facto equality between men and women and of the supplementary measures to be adopted in that area. The Committee also urges the State party to continue to give broad publicity to the Convention, its Optional Protocol, the general recommendations of the Committee, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, and the results of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, entitled “Women 2000: Gender Equality, Development and Peace in the Twenty-First Century”, which was held in June 2000, particularly among women’s associations and human rights organizations.

2. Combined initial, second, third and fourth report

Saint Kitts and Nevis

73. The Committee considered the combined initial, second, third and fourth report of Saint Kitts and Nevis (CEDAW/C/KNA/1-4) at its 553rd, 554th and 556th meetings, on 5 and 13 June 2002 (see CEDAW/C/SR.553, 554 and 556).

Introduction by the State party

74. In introducing the report, the representative of Saint Kitts and Nevis acknowledged the efforts and contributions of non-governmental organizations, women’s groups and international agencies in advancing the cause of women in the country and expressed regret for the late submission of the combined initial, second, third and fourth periodic reports of Saint Kitts and Nevis to the Committee.

75. The representative informed the Committee about the institutional structure that existed in the State party to address women’s issues. The national women’s machinery included a Ministry of Gender Affairs, which had initially been established as the Ministry of Women’s Affairs in 1984, an inter-Ministerial Committee, a National Advisory Committee and gender focal points. The national women’s machinery had been strengthened through an increase in budgetary allocations and human resources. In 2000, the name of the department had been changed from Women’s Affairs to Gender Affairs as it was felt that that name would more accurately represent the goals of gender and development with women and men as decision makers.

76. The representative indicated that the National Plan on Gender and Development for 1996-2000, developed and approved by the Government in 1996, included five of the twelve critical areas of concern highlighted in the Beijing Platform for Action, namely: violence against women and children; poverty; institutional mechanisms; health and leadership. He also mentioned that gender mainstreaming had been embraced by the Government as the most practical means to ensure women’s equal participation in national development.

77. The representative stressed that, although Saint Kitts and Nevis had made tremendous progress in the area of women’s participation, there was still not a critical mass of women in decision-making or political representation. Only three women had been elected to political office in the nation’s history, and no women had ever been appointed ambassador.

78. The representative informed the Committee that Saint Kitts and Nevis had achieved greater success in the area of violence against women than in any other area. In that context, he described some relevant initiatives launched during the period under review, such as awareness courses on gender-based violence for police officers, public health nurses, social workers, counsellors and career guidance workers, a Domestic Violence Act tabled and passed in 2000, various dissemination activities in the media and awareness-raising campaigns, including Zero Tolerance in 1997 and a Life Free of Violence Campaign in 1997-1998.

79. The representative pointed out that numerical gender equality in education was outstanding. In fact, enrolment statistics for 2001 indicated that, at all levels with the exception of the primary school level, the enrolment rate was higher for women than for men, and a new policy had been announced affirming the right of pregnant adolescents and teenage mothers to return to school. In that regard, in November 2001, “Project Viola” had been launched, with the main objective to create an enabling environment in which teenage mothers could complete their education.

80. The representative also underlined a number of achievements attained with regard to health, in particular, the efforts made by the Ministry of Health in bringing the maternal death rate as close to zero as possible and to implement an ante/post-natal health programme that would ensure optimum health for women. He further indicated that family planning was provided at health centres and by the family planning association. Breast examinations and cervical cancer screening had been instituted free of charge.

81. The representative informed the Committee that, although women were outperforming men at various educational levels, that achievement had not been translated into economic returns for women. Hence, women continued to be concentrated in the jobs that paid the least. In addition, many women were solely responsible for the care of children and that created a financial burden for them. The representative added that the Ministry of Women’s Affairs/Gender Affairs had always implemented programmes that sought to encourage women to improve their caring capabilities. Skills training programmes with an entrepreneurial component had been organized in every rural community and many women had become self-employed or had used the skills gained to augment their income.

82. Finally, the representative stated that the Counselling Department of the Ministry of Social Development, Community and Gender Affairs piloted a parenting programme for fathers which had been very successful as fathers were able to interact in a non-threatening environment with facilitators. It also benefited women and children, since the sensitivity of men to their role as nurturers of children facilitated the mainstreaming of gender in the domestic sphere. As a result, a National Fathers’ Association had been created.

Concluding comments of the Committee

Introduction

83. The Committee commends the State party for its ratification of the Convention without reservations in 1985 and for preparing and submitting its combined initial, second, third and fourth report. It expresses appreciation for the State party’s efforts to follow the Committee’s guidelines when preparing the report.

84. The Committee also thanks the State party for sending a high-level delegation headed by the Minister for Social Development, Community and Gender Affairs. It also commends the State party for the frankness of the report and the sincerity of its presentation, which enabled the Committee to enter into a constructive dialogue.

85. The Committee notes that the measures taken by the State party, particularly the National Plan on Gender and Development, are relevant to the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action.

Positive aspects

86. The Committee welcomes the high level of commitment and political will demonstrated by the State party in the implementation of the principles of gender equality laid down in the Convention and the important leadership role played in the region.

87. The Committee commends the State party on the innovative national mechanisms established with a view to ensuring that women and men enjoy equal rights and on the progress achieved in the advancement of women over the past five years.

88. The Committee commends the State party on the achievements made in its health policy, particularly the reduction of the maternal mortality rate and programmes for post-partum care.

89. The Committee commends the State party on the progress achieved in the educational sphere, with a larger number of females enrolled, except in the primary schools.

90. The Committee is pleased to note that the State party has achieved great success in promoting gender equality in the information media through close collaboration with the Ministry of Gender Affairs. In this respect, the Committee particularly appreciates the prohibition laid down in the Law Reform Act on reporting or broadcasting matters which might lead to the identification of the defendants in sex offence cases.

91. The Committee commends the State party on the establishment of a Code of Ethics and Standards within the Labour Code to regulate the activities of foreign companies which wish to operate in Saint Kitts and Nevis.

Factors and difficulties affecting the implementation of the Convention

92. The Committee notes that one of the main obstacles to the full implementation of the Convention in Saint Kitts and Nevis has been the hurricanes which frequently devastate the country, and which in 1998 destroyed 85 per cent of the housing stock.

Principal areas of concern and recommendations

93. The Committee is concerned that the provisions of the Convention cannot be invoked in the courts.

94. The Committee encourages the State party to accord the Convention the legal status it deserves as the most important and binding international legal instrument in the sphere of the advancement of women and the elimination of discrimination against them.

95. The Committee expresses concern about the underrepresentation of women in decision-making posts and in political bodies, particularly Parliament.

96. The Committee urges the State party to introduce a range of legal, political and administrative options, in line with, temporary special measures, in accordance with the provisions of article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention, in order to improve the access of women to decision-making. The Committee recommends the adoption of programmes to change the tenor of the political discourse in campaigns in order to achieve greater female participation in them.

97. The Committee expresses concern at the low number of women in the diplomatic service, particularly in higher posts.

98. The Committee recommends that the State party take measures, including in accordance with article 4, paragraph 1 of the Convention, to encourage women to enter into diplomatic careers.

99. The Committee is particularly concerned that, although women have a higher level of education than men, this has not been translated into promotion of women to senior posts in the public and private sectors and/or increased economic returns for women, who continue to be concentrated mainly in the informal sector and in the jobs that pay the least.

100. The Committee recommends the adoption of legislation that guarantees equal pay for work of equal value. It also recommends that measures should be taken to deal with the situation of unemployed women, and the large number of women who work in the informal sector, with a view to their inclusion in the formal sector, and access to social benefits.

101. The Committee expresses concern about the high rate of teenage pregnancy.

102. The Committee urges the State party to intensify awareness raising and sexual education aimed at responsible sexual behaviour in the schools and society at large in order to prevent pregnancies. In addition, the Committee recommends that men be involved in the design and implementation of all family planning strategies, policies and programmes.

103. The Committee expresses concern about the persistence of cultural practices and strong stereotyped attitudes towards the roles and responsibilities of women and men, which affect all spheres of life and impede the full implementation of the Convention.

104. The Committee urges the State party to increase its efforts to create awareness in the society about the need to change stereotyped and discriminatory attitudes concerning the role of women and girls, including through specific programmes directed towards boys and men. In particular, the Committee recommends the extension to all communities of the Ministry of Social Development’s pilot parenting programme for fathers, in order to promote the idea of shared parental responsibility.

105. Although it welcomes the legislation that has been adopted, in particular, the Law Reform Act and the 2000 Domestic Violence Act, and the programmes to prevent violence against women which are being implemented, the Committee expresses concern about the persistent high level of violence, particularly domestic violence, in the State party. The Committee is concerned about the high incidence of sexual abuse of girls particularly by older men. It is also concerned about the unwillingness of women to initiate complaints of domestic violence against husbands and to testify against them because of the unwritten code of family loyalty, which regards such violence as a private matter.

106. The Committee urges the State party to enhance its efforts to combat violence against women and girls, in accordance with general recommendation No. 19. It also encourages the State party come up with creative solutions for shelters for victims of violence, adopt a zero tolerance approach to the sexual abuse of girls, and establish telephone help lines, rehabilitation programmes for offenders, and educational programmes targeted at men and boys on the prevention of violence and the reform of traditional negative attitudes towards women. The Committee also urges the State party to prosecute the perpetrators of abuse against girls. The Committee further urges the State party to pursue prosecution of offenders in cases of domestic violence even in the absence of testimony of the victim in the Court.

107. Noting that marijuana is used in the country, the Committee is concerned about the lack of sex-disaggregated data on drug use.

108. The Committee encourages the State party to collect data on the use of drugs and alcohol and its possible correlation with violence against women. It also encourages the State party to implement measures in order to prevent addiction to all types of drugs by young people.

109. The Committee expresses concern about the lack of legal aid for women and the lengthy process which makes it difficult for women to take men to court in order to obtain child support. The Committee is also concerned that such a lengthy process allows men to serve a prison sentence instead of paying maintenance.

110. The Committee urges the State party to take adequate legislative measures to make it easier for women to obtain child support and access to legal aid.

111. The Committee is concerned about the lack of information about the phenomenon of prostitution in Saint Kitts and Nevis. The Committee is particularly concerned about the lack of adequate measures to prosecute pimps.

112. The Committee encourages the State party to study the phenomenon of trafficking in persons, especially in view of the recent increase of tourism in the country. The Committee also urges the State party to formulate a broad strategy against trafficking and prostitution, which should include the prosecution and punishment of traffickers and pimps.

113. The Committee notes the lack of statistical data disaggregated by sex in the economic sector, in particular as to the informal employment sector and part-time work. It also notes the lack of data on sexual harassment at the workplace.

114. The Committee recommends broad collection of data disaggregated by sex, in particular with regard to the economic sector and urges the State party to include these in its next report.

115. The Committee urges the State party to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention, and to deposit its instrument of acceptance of the amendment to article 20, paragraph 1 of the Convention, on the Committee’s sessions, as soon as possible.

116. The Committee urges the State party to respond in its next periodic report to the outstanding issues raised in the constructive dialogue and the specific issues raised in the present concluding comments.

117. Taking account of the gender dimension of declarations, programmes and platforms for action adopted by relevant United Nations conferences, summits and special sessions (such as the special session of the General Assembly to review and appraise the implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (the twenty-first special session), the special session on children (the twenty-seventh special session), the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance and the Second World Assembly on Ageing), the Committee requests the State party to include information on the implementation of aspects of these documents relating to relevant articles of the Convention in its next periodic report.

118. The Committee requests the wide dissemination in Saint Kitts and Nevis of the present concluding comments in order to make the people of Saint Kitts and Nevis and, in particular, government administrators and politicians aware of the steps that have been taken de jure and de facto to achieve equality for women and the future steps that are required in that regard. It also requests the Government to continue to disseminate widely, and in particular to women’s and human rights organizations, the Convention, the Committee’s general recommendations, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the outcome documents of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, entitled “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century”.

3. Combined third and fourth periodic reports

Belgium

119. The Committee considered the combined third and fourth periodic reports of Belgium (CEDAW/C/BEL/3-4) at its 559th and 560th meetings, on 10 June 2002 (see CEDAW/C/SR.559 and 560).

Introduction by the State party

120. In introducing the combined third and fourth periodic reports, the representative of Belgium noted that, for a federal State, responsibilities and competencies existed at both the federal and federated levels (consisting of the communities and regions). No hierarchy existed between federal and federated entities, but federated entities enjoyed maximum autonomy in policy-making based on the specific needs of their regions or communities. He pointed out that the report had resulted from collaboration between the various levels of power within the State party.

121. Since 1989 Belgium had made progress towards achieving equality between women and men, and each ministry had designed policies to ensure the advancement of women. Specific measures had been taken recently to ensure gender mainstreaming in policies at both the federal and federated levels.

122. In November 1998 Belgium had removed its reservation to article 7 of the Convention, and the procedure to remove the reservation to article 15 of the Convention had been initiated. Belgium had also begun its ratification process for the Optional Protocol to the Convention, which required ratification of the Protocol by the federal State and the communities and regions. Belgium had also taken steps to support the amendment to article 20, paragraph 1, of the Convention, pertaining to the Committee’s meeting time.

123. Equality between women and men was implicitly recognized by the Constitution; however, in February 2002, an explicit guarantee of equality had been incorporated into the Constitution in order to provide for redress in cases of discrimination and to guarantee both women and men their rights and freedoms, particularly in respect of equal access to elected and public office.

124. Belgium had made the struggle against all forms of discrimination one of its priorities. Draft legislation currently under consideration in the Federal Parliament would forbid all discrimination based on sex, race, colour, ethnicity, sexual orientation, income, age, religion, state of health (either present or future), handicap or physical characteristic. The creation of a national women’s rights institution, which would conduct research and coordinate federal policies on relevant issues, was also under consideration.

125. New measures to coordinate equal-opportunity measures had recently been introduced in Belgium’s French-speaking community. To ensure consistency and coordination of action by federal and federated authorities, a conference on equal opportunities had been held among the country’s various governing entities, addressing violence against women; equal access of women and men to new information technologies; participation of women in the decision-making process, particularly gender-balanced representation on advisory bodies; and the relationship between public and private life, specifically in relation to childcare.

126. Confronting domestic violence and trafficking in women and sexual exploitation had been deemed of the highest priority. On 10 November 2001, an extensive awareness-raising campaign had been launched with regard to domestic violence. New local policies on physical and sexual violence had been initiated, including measures to gather statistical data and provide assistance to victims. The responsible ministries at all levels of government were reviewing a national plan to combat violence against women. Legislation on trafficking in persons, particularly women and children, for the purpose of sexual exploitation had been introduced on 13 April 1995; it accorded greater weight to statements of victims and provided increased protection. There had been more than 200 arrests and judgements in 1999 and 2000, and some 230 victims had been treated at specialized centres.

127. Belgium had developed a coordinated employment policy aimed at integrating equality between sexes. The 2002 National Plan for Employment identified and focused attention on challenges facing three groups in finding employment: seniors, women and the underskilled. Among the Government’s actions to increase women’s access to employment and give them better opportunities was the introduction of a bonus to long-term unemployed single parents who took jobs; compensatory time; promotion of training; and development of services.

128. In order to take advantage of new information and communication technologies, federal and federated authorities had concluded a cooperative agreement on women and new technologies in November 2001. The representative noted that it was also important to make what had been perceived as male spheres of employment open to women, particularly in the new technology sectors or in sectors that utilized modern means of production based on these technologies. In order to ensure full and complete participation by women in the marketplace, steps were also being taken to promote equal pay for work of equal value, with a particular focus on the development of gender-neutral and non-discriminatory systems of valuation and classification. Negotiations were under way to increase the participation of civil society in those efforts.

129. As the first European State to introduce the principle of gender-based quotas on electoral ballots (in 1994), Belgium had continued to develop proactive policies to encourage female participation in public life. By 1999 the quota system had increased women’s participation as electoral candidates well above the minimum figure required by law, and the number of women actually elected to legislative, communal and regional bodies had risen to one quarter of the total. However, women did not yet enjoy equal representation with men within decision-making bodies, and Belgium was determined to achieve true parity between the sexes in positions of power. To this end, efforts were being made to fight stereotypes and change the political culture of the country. Encouraging women to be politically active was also a priority in the Flemish community, which had developed a strategic plan aimed at supporting women who had been elected and recruiting more women as candidates.

130. The French community had been paying great attention to encouraging the participation of women in sports as a means of integration and development, particularly in underprivileged urban settings or rural areas. Women’s health had also been of great concern, with the federal and federated authorities having recently launched a massive breast cancer detection campaign. All women between the ages of 50 and 69 were entitled to free testing every two years. Awareness-raising campaigns had been organized at the communities level, in which each woman was personally invited for a cancer screening test.

131. In concluding, the representative assured the Committee that progress on implementation of undertakings made by Belgium and enshrined in the Beijing Platform for Action was the subject of annual reports by the federal and Flemish governments to their respective Parliaments. Future challenges for Belgium included the need to combat indirect discrimination, the need for more coordinated gathering of gender-sensitive statistical data and indicators, and the systematic collection of a relevant body of jurisprudence. It was important to discourage the notion that all barriers to gender equality had already been removed and to take positive actions to sensitize the population to gender-equality issues in order to address stereotypes.

Concluding comments of the Committee

Introduction

132. The Committee commends the State party for its combined third and fourth periodic reports, although it regrets that it is not in accordance with the Committee’s guidelines for the preparation of periodic reports. The Committee welcomes the written replies to the questions of the Committee’s pre-session working group. The Committee also welcomes the written responses to a number of additional questions posed during the constructive dialogue, which were provided in the final week of the session.

133. The Committee welcomes the large delegation but regrets that no high-level representatives with political responsibilities constituted part of the delegation, as this would have enhanced the dialogue that took place between the delegation and the members of the Committee.

134. The Committee welcomes the fact that Belgium removed its reservation to article 7 of the Convention, that it is considering lifting its reservation to article 15 of the Convention and that it has started the ratification process of the Optional Protocol to the Convention.

135. The Committee expresses satisfaction that the State party has made significant efforts to implement the Beijing Platform for Action.

Positive aspects

136. The Committee commends the State party on its employment policy, which integrates equality between women and men. It notes with satisfaction the affirmative action measures provided for by Belgian legislation since the late 1980s, in order to bring about de facto equality between women and men in the public and private sectors. In particular, it expresses satisfaction at the actions taken to create a better distribution of working and household tasks between women and men.

137. The Committee commends the State party for its measures to eliminate traditional and stereotypical attitudes regarding the role of men and women in the family, in employment and in society.

138. The Committee commends the State party for introducing the rape law of 4 July 1989, the royal ordinances for the protection of workers against sexual harassment of 19 September 1992 and 9 March 1995, the law on human trafficking of 13 April 1995 and the law to combat violence between partners of 24 November 1997. It also commends the State party for the development by the Ethics Commission, pursuant to the law of March 1995, of a code of ethics for telecommunications information services in an effort to protect minors, in particular the girl child, by monitoring the presence of violence and sex in media programmes.

Principal areas of concern and recommendations

139. The Committee, while recognizing the adoption of a wide range of gender-equality policies, is concerned that a certain number of those policies have yet to be implemented or evaluated.

140. The Committee urges the State party to implement all policies that have been formulated and to make an assessment of the measures already implemented with a view to future improvements.

141. While noting that the State party’s gender policy appears to be formulated primarily in the framework of the Beijing Platform for Action and European Union provisions, the Committee is concerned that the Convention has not been given central importance as a binding human rights instrument and basis for the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women and the advancement of women.

142. The Committee urges the State party to place emphasis on the Convention as a binding human rights instrument, and to view the Platform for Action as a complementary policy document to the Convention in its efforts to achieve the goals of equality. It furthermore urges the State party to take proactive measures to raise awareness about the Convention.

143. While recognizing that the existence of numerous federal and local structures on the advancement of women ensures that adequate attention is given to women’s issues in the country and provides enhanced conditions for gender mainstreaming, the Committee notes that these various structures, based on different levels of autonomy and authority, might create difficulties as regards implementation of the Convention, as well as regarding coordination, accountability, responsibility and uniformity of results in the implementation of the Convention.

144. The Committee recommends to the State party that it ensure, through effective coordination of all efforts at all levels in all areas, that uniformity of results in the implementation of the Convention is achieved.

145. The Committee expresses concern that, in defining a broad concept of equality, the Constitution of Belgium does not specifically address discrimination on the basis of sex. While noting that the report addresses discrimination against men, the Committee emphasizes that the obligations in the Convention are directed at the elimination of discrimination against women.

146. The Committee calls on the State party to make the necessary legislative changes to deal with discrimination on the basis of sex. It urges the State party to frame its gender policy in both the elimination of discrimination and the promotion of equality, which are two different but equally important goals in the quest for women’s empowerment. The Committee recommends that, when addressing discrimination against men, the State party should retain its focus on the Convention, and the need to achieve gender equality by eliminating discrimination against women.

147. While recognizing the impressive gains achieved in the participation of women in public life resulting from the implementation of the 1994 law to promote balanced representation of men and women in electoral candidate lists, the Committee is concerned that, in some cases, the quotas have not necessarily led to the expected results.

148. The Committee urges the State party to analyse the challenges that it has encountered in achieving the goals set in the 1994 law and to evaluate achievements on the basis of final results. It calls on the State party to ensure that women and men are able to participate on an equal footing in the political sphere.

149. The Committee is concerned about the significant decline, in recent years, in women’s participation in the entrance examinations for the diplomatic service.

150. The Committee urges the State party to accelerate its efforts to increase the female presence in the diplomatic service.

151. The Committee is concerned about the high incidence of violence, including domestic violence, against women and children in the State party. In particular, the Committee is concerned that the mediation procedure established to facilitate reconciliation between the offender and the victim might condone violence by facilitating disadvantageous compromise. The Committee also expresses concern about the fact that Belgium’s law does not define sexual crime as a human rights violation and classifies sexual abuse as a crime of morality rather than as a violent crime.

152. The Committee calls on the State party to intensify its efforts to address the issue of violence against women, including domestic violence, as an infringement of human rights. In particular, the Committee urges the State Party to formulate appropriate measures and laws in conformity with its general recommendation 19 to prevent violence, punish and rehabilitate offenders and provide services for victims.

153. The Committee is concerned that sanctions under the 1995 law on human trafficking may not be adequate to deter trafficking. The Committee is also concerned that deletion of the crime of procuring to avoid sanctions for cohabitation may facilitate the exploitation of prostitutes.

154. The Committee recommends the formulation of a comprehensive strategy to combat trafficking in women and girls, including within the territory of the State party, which should include the prosecution and punishment of offenders, and increased international, regional and bilateral cooperation with countries of origin, transit and destination of trafficked women and girls. It encourages the State party to increase its efforts to combat the root causes of trafficking and assist its victims through efforts of counselling and reintegration. It calls on the State party to ensure that trafficked women and girls have the support that they need so that they can provide testimony against their traffickers. It also calls on the State party to review the change in the Law on procurement to ensure that the exploitation of prostitutes is not facilitated.

155. The Committee is concerned that the report provides insufficient information about the situation of migrant and refugee women.

156. The Committee calls on the State party to provide comprehensive information on these groups of women in its next periodic report.

157. While recognizing the achievements in ensuring women’s health, in particular the State party’s comprehensive policy to combat HIV/AIDS, the Committee is concerned about the disparities with regard to the health of women throughout the country. It is furthermore concerned about the phenomenon of teenage pregnancy and voluntary termination of pregnancy among women as young as 14.

158. The Committee urges the State party to effect better coordination of its health policy in conformity with the Convention and general recommendation 24 on women and health in all regions of the country. It further calls on the State party to formulate policies, strategies and programmes to prevent early pregnancies, including education campaigns addressed to young men as well as young women.

159. While noting that the State party provided comprehensive annexes to the report, the Committee expresses concern about the insufficient sex-disaggregated statistical data in the report.

160. The Committee recommends a comprehensive compilation and analysis of sex-disaggregated data as relevant under federal and regional authorities. It urges the State party to include such statistics and data in the text of its next report rather than as annexes to the report.

161. The Committee is concerned about the continuing high level of unemployment among women, the high number of women in part-time and temporary jobs and the wage discrimination faced by women.

162. The Committee calls upon the State party to intensify its measures to increase women’s employment, to make sure that women have access to full-time and permanent jobs if they wish, and to promote equal pay for work of equal value.

163. The Committee is concerned about the discrimination women face concerning issues of social security and taxation.

164. The Committee urges the State party to analyse the various forms of discrimination on issues of social security and taxation faced by women, to remedy such discrimination and to provide information in its next report on these areas.

165. The Committee is concerned about the discriminatory nature of Belgian law on family names, which does not allow a child to be given the name of his/her mother at his/her birth when his/her parents are married or cohabiting.

166. The Committee calls on the State party to modify the legislation on family names to permit choices in transmitting family names to children.

167. The Committee urges the State party to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention and to deposit, as soon as possible, its instrument of acceptance of the amendment to article 20, paragraph 1, of the Convention, on the Committee’s meeting time.

168. The Committee requests the State party to respond to the concerns expressed in these concluding comments in its next periodic report under article 18 of the Convention.

169. Taking account of the gender dimensions of declarations, programmes and platforms for action adopted by relevant United Nations conferences, summits and special sessions (such as the special session of the General Assembly to review and appraise the implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (the twenty-first special session), the special session of the General Assembly on children (the twenty-seventh special session), the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance and the Second World Assembly on Ageing), the Committee requests the State party to include information on the implementation of aspects of these documents relating to relevant articles of the Convention in its next report.

170. The Committee requests the wide dissemination in Belgium of the present concluding comments in order to make the people of Belgium, and particularly government administrators and politicians, aware of the steps that have been taken to ensure de jure and de facto equality for women and the future steps required in that regard. It also requests the Government to continue to disseminate widely, in particular to women’s and human rights organizations, the Convention and its Optional Protocol, the Committee’s general recommendations, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, and the results of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, entitled “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace in the twenty-first century”.

Tunisia

171. The Committee considered the combined third and fourth periodic report of Tunisia (CEDAW/C/TUN/3-4) at its 567th and 568th meetings, on 14 June 2002 (see CEDAW/C/SR.567 and 568).

Introduction by the State party

172. In introducing the report, the representative of Tunisia informed the Committee that, in the early days of the twentieth century, a reform movement advocating freedom for women had existed in Tunisia. Since the Personal Status Code of 1956 had eliminated polygamy, regulated divorce and defined a minimum legal age for marriage; and since the Tunisian Constitution of 1959 had enshrined the principle of equal rights between men and women in all fields, there had been a number of accomplishments in the country, including the Change of November 1987, which had consolidated women’s status within the family and society and had enhanced women’s role in the development process. Such gains were further reinforced following the major decisions announced on 13 August 1992 introducing new concepts, such as cooperation, complementarity, partnership and mutual respect.

173. The Government’s policy was grounded on the principle of effective equality between men and women within the family and society and women’s rights were an integral part of the overall system of human rights, which had become one of the priorities of political action in Tunisia since the Change. She also noted that, in response to the Committee’s recommendations following the discussion of Tunisia’s two reports in 1995, and in response to the recommendations contained in the 1995 Beijing Platform for Action, Tunisia had made various decisions in terms of institutional mechanisms and activity design and planning. Among the institutional mechanisms which had been established were: a committee on equal opportunity to monitor compliance with legislation; a committee on the image of women in the media within the National Council for Women and the Family; and a national committee for the promotion of rural women. Since 1995, Tunisia had also developed its legislative system, including the Personal Status Code, the Nationality Code, the Electoral Code and the Labour Code, in line with development needs.

174. The representative reviewed a number of indicators which indicated an accelerating pace of progress in Tunisia in giving concrete substance to equal opportunity between men and women and in integrating the principle of equal opportunity in all fields — education, vocational training, effective involvement in development activities and access to decision-making positions.

175. No section of society was excluded from Tunisia’s comprehensive development project, with appropriate attention being given to ensuring the integration of rural women within the economic and social cycle through a national strategy for the promotion of rural women, which was formulated in full partnership with civil society organizations devoted to development issues. The representative underscored the fact that such organizations were now playing a major role in formulating programmes and strategies and had thus become partners in the dynamics of development.

176. The representative stated that Tunisia’s determination to translate the values of equality between men and women into reality was dependent upon the dissemination of a whole body of culture aimed at changing mindsets and behaviours by promoting the values of solidarity and tolerance, civic behaviour, respect for others and dialogue within the family, thus contributing to the eradication of stereotypes. Great importance was attached by the Government to all factors that could impede the incorporation of such values, and priority was given to the issue of violence, both verbal and physical, with legislative and institutional steps being introduced in this context.

177. In order for progress in the promotion of women’s rights to continue in Tunisia, there was a need to develop a comprehensive network of mechanisms to monitor the evolution of the status of women in the country. They would include a national programme aimed at enhancing the national statistical system, the adoption of gender classification in all sectors, and the establishment of an observatory within the Centre for Research, Documentation and Information on Women to collect comparative data on the status of men and women in all fields.

178. In concluding, the representative affirmed that the promotion of women’s rights in the country had been included in the President’s Programme for the Future. She stated that, thanks to its political determination and the mobilization of modern technologies, Tunisia was resolved to make considerable headway in striking an equitable and comprehensive balance among the various components of society.

Concluding comments of the Committee

Introduction

179. The Committee expresses its appreciation to the State party for submitting its combined third and fourth periodic report, which is in accordance with the Committee’s guidelines for the preparation of periodic reports. It commends the State party for the extensive written replies to the issues raised by the pre-session working group and the State party’s oral presentation, which provided additional information on the implementation of the Convention in Tunisia.

180. The Committee commends the State party for its high-level delegation, headed by the Minister for Women and Family Affairs. The Committee appreciates the frank and constructive dialogue that took place between the delegation and the members of the Committee.

181. The Committee notes that governmental action, in particular the Ninth National Development Plan, is placed within the context of the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action.

182. The Committee notes that reservations have been made by the State party to articles 9, paragraph 2; 15, paragraph 4; and 16, paragraph 1 (c), (d), (f), (g) and (h).

Positive aspects

183. The Committee commends the State party for its political will and commitment to implementing the Convention and to achieving equality between women and men, as reflected in a range of laws, institutions, policies, plans and programmes to address discrimination against women in Tunisia.

184. The Committee commends the State party on the early reforms of its Personal Status Code, which abolished polygamy and granted the right to divorce to both spouses, and its reform of the inheritance law. The Committee welcomes the continuing legislative reforms by the State party. It welcomes the amendments to the Personal Status Code, which provide women with the capacity to institute legal proceedings in their own name, affirm the principle of equality and partnership between spouses, provide that both parties should cooperate in managing family affairs, prevent manipulation of divorce proceedings by the husband, allow spouses to agree to a joint property regime and grant women the right to give their family name to a child born of an unknown father and the opportunity for gene-testing to prove parenthood. The Committee also welcomes the reform of the Penal Code, which imposes heavy penalties for the killing of a woman for adultery.

185. The Committee commends the reforms to the nationality law introduced by the State party in working towards harmonizing the law with article 9 of the Convention.

186. The Committee commends the State party for its progressive development of the national machinery and the reconstitution of the Ministry for Women and Family Affairs as a full Ministry in 1999. The Committee notes with appreciation that the Ministry’s budget has doubled since 1994. The Committee further commends the efforts of the State party to consolidate the status of Tunisian women through the establishment of the commission for monitoring the image of women in the media and a national commission for the promotion of rural women.

187. The Committee notes with appreciation the progress made in increasing the enrolment and retention of girls in schools at all levels, including in higher education, the diversification in their areas of study, and reduction of female illiteracy. The Committee commends the measures taken to improve women’s health, including through the provision of reproductive health services and reduction of maternal and child mortality rates. The Committee also notes that rural women are enjoying an overall improvement in the quality of rural life due to a combination of regional development and overall sectoral policies, and that these women are benefiting from technical and financial support through the efforts of the economic and financial authorities in Tunisia.

Principal areas of concern and recommendations

188. While appreciating the progress made towards creating an environment for withdrawal of the reservations to articles 9, paragraph 2; 15, paragraph 4; and 16, paragraph 1 (c), (d), (f), (g) and (h), through legal reforms, the Committee expresses its concern that these reservations continue to be retained.

189. The Committee urges the State party to expedite the steps necessary for the withdrawal of its reservations.

190. While welcoming the legislative reforms introduced by the State party aimed at eliminating discrimination against women, the Committee is concerned about the remaining discriminatory provisions, especially in the nationality law and the Personal Status Code.

191. The Committee urges the State party to continue the process of legislative reform and review relevant existing laws in consultation with women’s groups.

192. The Committee expresses concern that, although the Constitution provides for the equality of all citizens and the 1997 amendment to the Constitution introduced the concept of non-discrimination with regard to political parties, the Constitution does not contain a specific definition prohibiting discrimination against women and there is no definition of such discrimination in accordance with article 1 of the Convention, which prohibits both direct and indirect discrimination. The Committee is concerned at the lack of legal remedies to ensure that the Constitutional provision on equality is enforced or court decisions in which women have obtained redress for acts of discrimination.

193. The Committee urges the State party to include the definition of discrimination against women in accordance with article 1 of the Convention in its national law and to ensure adequate mechanisms to enable women to seek and obtain redress from the courts for violation of the rights protected by the Convention and the Constitution, with appropriate remedies. The Committee recommends the intensification of education and training programmes on the Convention to enhance the knowledge of judges, lawyers and law enforcement personnel. The Committee invites the State party to provide, in its next report, information about complaints filed in courts based on the Convention, as well as any court decisions that refer to the Convention.

194. The Committee is concerned that there is a lack of systematic data collection on violence against women, including domestic violence, violence against women in detention centres and prisons, and sexual harassment in the workplace and in other institutions. The Committee is concerned that no specific legislation has been enacted to combat domestic violence and sexual harassment. The Committee is concerned that article 218 of the Penal Code provides that the withdrawal of a case by a victim terminates any proceeding.

195. The Committee recommends that the State party devise a structure for systematic data collection on all such forms of violence against women. The Committee calls upon the State party to ensure that all violence against women is prosecuted and punished and that women victims of violence have immediate means of protection and redress. In the light of its general recommendation 19, the Committee requests the State party to enact specific legislation on domestic violence, including marital rape and sexual harassment. It recommends that the number of shelters for women victims of violence be increased and that full sensitization of public officials, especially law enforcement officials, the judiciary, health-care providers and social workers, to all forms of violence against women is ensured. The Committee calls upon the State party to create public awareness of violence against women as an infringement of human rights that has grave social costs for the whole community.

196. The Committee is concerned at the limited information on trafficking in women and girls and exploitation of prostitution. The Committee notes with concern that, although prostitution is legally prohibited, there are authorized places for it.

197. The Committee requests the State party to include in its next report information and data on, and the measures taken to prevent and combat, trafficking in women and girls and exploitation of prostitution, as well as the measures taken to protect, rehabilitate and reintegrate women and girls who have been victims.

198. While noting the measures taken to increase women’s political participation, the Committee is concerned about the low representation of women in high-level decision-making positions, including as members of the Chamber of Deputies, in government positions, in the central council and executive committee of the Tunisian Union for Agriculture and Fisheries, as high-ranking diplomats and as full professors in the universities.

199. The Committee urges the State party to take measures to increase the representation of women in high-level decision-making positions through, inter alia, the implementation of temporary special measures, in accordance with article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention in order to realize women’s right to participate in all areas of public life and, particularly, at high levels of decision-making.

200. The Committee is concerned at the low level of women’s labour force participation and at the lack of information regarding its causes. The Committee welcomes Act No. 83-112, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex with regard to public entities, but is concerned that such legislation does not extend to the private sector. The Committee notes the absence of statistical data on wages disaggregated by sex and on pensions and social rights.

201. The Committee urges the State party to adopt appropriate measures to ensure women’s equal access to paid employment. The Committee also urges the State party to adopt and enforce appropriate legislation to ensure equal opportunities for women and men in the public and private sectors of the labour market, and to prevent direct and indirect discrimination in employment. The Committee requests the State party to include in its next report sex-disaggregated data on wages, pensions and social rights.

202. While noting the reduction in the general illiteracy rate of women, the Committee is concerned that the rate is still high among certain groups of women, particularly rural women and older women.

203. The Committee encourages the State party to further implement programmes specifically designed to reduce female illiteracy, particularly among rural and older women.

204. The Committee is concerned about the situation of single women with children born out of wedlock and the limited information thereon.

205. The Committee requests the State party to include in its next report information on the situation of single women with children born out of wedlock, including the measures taken to ensure that their rights are protected.

206. The Committee urges the State party to accept the amendment to article 20, paragraph 1, of the Convention, concerning the meeting time of the Committee.

207. The Committee also urges the State party to sign and ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention.

208. Taking account of the gender dimensions of declarations, programmes and platforms for action adopted by relevant United Nations conferences, summits and special sessions (such as the special session of the General Assembly to review and appraise the implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (the twenty-first special session), the special session of the General Assembly on children (the twenty-seventh special session), the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance and the Second World Assembly on Ageing), the Committee requests the State party to include information on the implementation of aspects of these documents relating to relevant articles of the Convention in its next periodic report.

209. The Committee requests the State party to respond to the concerns expressed in the present concluding comments in its next periodic report submitted under article 18 of the Convention. It also requests that the report address the general recommendations of the Committee and provide information on the impact of legislation, policies and programmes to implement the Convention.

210. The Committee requests the wide dissemination in Tunisia of the present concluding comments in order to make the people of Tunisia, and particularly government administrators and politicians, aware of the steps that have been taken to ensure de jure and de facto equality for women and the future steps required in that regard. It also requests the Government to continue to disseminate widely, in particular to women’s and human rights organizations, the Convention and its Optional Protocol, the Committee’s general recommendations, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, and the results of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, entitled “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace in the twenty-first century”.

Zambia

211. The Committee considered the combined third and fourth periodic report of Zambia (CEDAW/C/ZAM/3-4) at its 551st and 552nd meetings, on 4 June 2002 (see CEDAW/C/SR.551 and 552).

Introduction by the State party

212. In introducing the report, the representative of Zambia stated that her Government had demonstrated its political will and commitment to eradicating discrimination against women, had acceded to or ratified international treaties that guaranteed human rights without distinction based on sex or other grounds and had joined the international community in endorsing several plans of action for the full, equal and beneficial integration of women in all development activities.

213. Like most Commonwealth countries, Zambia had a legal regime wherein international instruments were not self-executing and required enabling domestic legislation to be directly enforceable. Although the Convention had not been fully incorporated through such legislation, there were certain provisions in Zambian law that reflected the Convention’s standards. A priority for Zambia was the incorporation of the international human rights instruments to which it was a party.

214. Acts that caused physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women and children were condemned in the Zambian Constitution, Part III, which bestows upon all persons in Zambia regardless of race, place of origin, political opinion, colour, creed, sex or marital status, the rights and freedom enshrined therein.

215. Fifty point seven per cent of Zambia’s population of 10.3 million were women, and according to the Zambia demographic health survey (1996), fertility rates, although declining, were still high at 6.1 children per woman, with the majority of women becoming mothers or pregnant by 19 years of age. As of 1995, life expectancy was 43 years for women and 41 years for men. The Zambian population is young with 45 per cent being 15 years or younger.

216. Certain centuries-old discriminatory customary laws and practices were still prevalent in Zambia, and the arbitrary administration of customary law had been identified as a major hindrance to the elimination of discrimination against women. The disparity between women and men was a consequence of historical and cultural factors that contributed to a division of labour where men were encouraged to participate in production, and women to work in the traditional sector. The Government, civil society and non-governmental organizations were cooperating to sensitize women, men, girls and boys about their rights and the course of action to be taken in discrimination cases. A Technical Committee to Review Laws, Enforcement Mechanisms and Support Systems relating to gender-based violence had recommended that customary law that was not contrary to natural justice should be codified, and a law development commission was documenting the diverse customary laws and practices with a view to eliminating those that were repugnant to gender equality. Steps were also being taken to eliminate stereotyping in school textbooks, introduce gender training for curriculum development officers, and encourage girls to enrol in technical courses.

217. Women’s equal participation in public life had been one of Zambia’s priority areas, as women were underrepresented at all levels of decision-making in Government, parliament, political parties, the private sector, special public service committees and other institutions. Women constituted over 53 per cent of the electorate; yet, less than 12 per cent of elected officials were women, and women constituted less than 10 per cent of senior government officials. In 1997, the Government had signed the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Declaration on Gender and Development that committed Governments to ensure that there was at least 30 per cent participation of women in politics and decision-making by 2005. In the 2001 general elections, 19 out of 202 women candidates had been elected to parliament, with civil society playing a vital role in encouraging women to participate in the electoral process as voters and candidates. The Government had adopted a public service training policy which contained affirmative action measures to train women employed in the civil service so that they would qualify for higher positions.

218. Twenty-five per cent of government university scholarships were reserved for women who qualified for university entrance; and lower cut-off marks for girls at eighth and tenth grades had been introduced. All-boy technical schools had been transformed into co-educational schools; and a policy of readmitting girls to school following childbirth had been introduced.

219. Zambia had ratified the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention on equal pay for work of equal value and had repealed laws that banned women from certain types of work. However, women continued to encounter difficulties in gaining access to training and employment and the Government was currently giving those matters active and special attention.

220. Women’s reproductive health, particularly in the rural areas, remained an area of concern. The Zambia demographic and health survey had estimated the maternal mortality rate at 649 deaths per 100,000 live births and a 1995 study by the University Central Hospital indicated that 75 per cent of maternal deaths occurred among teenage mothers. Traditional birth attendants were being trained to supplement the efforts of medical personnel, especially in rural areas, and family life education to educate girls and boys about, inter alia, the dangers and prevention of HIV/AIDS, as well as youth-friendly areas in all health centres and provision of counselling and testing in maternal and child health and family planning clinics had been introduced.

221. Although rural women were involved in subsistence agriculture, unpaid domestic work and casual or seasonal labour, they were classified as housewives, unemployed or economically inactive. The unreliable or non-existent road infrastructure in most rural areas made it more difficult for subsistence farmers, particularly women, to market their produce. That was compounded by women’s lack of collateral, limited education, lack of access to credit and other means of production.

222. Family relations were governed by a dual legal system of statutory and customary laws, with customary law being largely biased against women. Customary laws were unwritten and administered in male-dominated local courts mainly presided over by untrained justices with patriarchal attitudes. The Government intended to ensure that women and men were treated equally in marriage and family matters and were given the right to decide freely whether or when to have a child.

223. Zambia’s Constitution and Citizenship Act had been amended in 1989 to remove the discriminatory provision that stipulated that a foreign spouse of a Zambian man could apply for citizenship after three years of residence in Zambia, while the foreign spouse of a Zambian woman required 10 years of residence. The requirement that women obtain the written consent of their husbands before their children were included in their passports had been abolished.

224. In concluding, the representative indicated that implementation of the Convention had been affected by embedded traditional beliefs, a lack of appreciation of gender issues and concerns, and limited financial and human resources. Limited collaboration between the Government and civil society had also had a negative impact. The Government of Zambia would seek to facilitate further change and considered collaboration with civil society as a key element in ensuring that women were not discriminated against in government endeavours to attain sustainable development.

Concluding comments of the Committee

Introduction

225. The Committee commends the State party on its combined third and fourth periodic report, which is in accordance with the Committee’s guidelines for the preparation of reports. It also commends the State party for the comprehensive and frank written replies to the questions posed by the Committee’s pre-session working group and for the oral presentation of the delegation, which sought to clarify the current situation of the implementation of the Convention in Zambia.

226. The Committee commends the State party for its delegation and appreciates the delegation’s willingness to engage in frank and constructive dialogue with the Committee.

Positive aspects

227. The Committee welcomes efforts to strengthen the national machinery on women, the introduction of gender mainstreaming and the adoption of several policies and programmes to eliminate discrimination against women, including the National Gender Policy and the establishment of the Gender in Development Division, under the Office of the President.

228. The Committee commends the efforts made by the State party to review existing laws that discriminate against women. It also notes the enactment of the Marriage Act and the Intestate Succession Act, which provide protection for women in marriage and inheritance.

229. The Committee commends the introduction of the Programme for the Advancement of Girl Child Education, the reservation of 25 per cent of government scholarships exclusively for women who qualify for entry into universities and the lowering of cut-off points for girls to qualify for entry to grades 8 and 10 in schools in order to redress inequality in the education sector.

Principal areas of concern and recommendations

230. The Committee expresses concern at the contradictory provisions contained in the Constitution whereby article 11 guarantees the equal status of women and article 23 (4) permits discriminatory laws to exist in the area of personal law, namely: revenue allocation, adoption, marriage, divorce, burial, devolution of property on death, or other matters of personal law and customary law with respect to any matter.

231. The Committee urges the State party to repeal article 23 (4) of the Constitution, which permits discrimination in the area of law that most affects women.

232. The Committee is concerned that the Convention has not been directly incorporated into domestic law and its provisions cannot be invoked before the courts.

233. The Committee recommends that the State party incorporate the Convention into domestic law.

234. The Committee is concerned that the provisions in existing laws, including new laws such as the Marriage Act and the Employment Act, discriminate against women directly or indirectly.

235. The Committee calls upon the State party to review and reform its legislation to ensure that it is in harmony with the Convention.

236. The Committee is concerned that existing constitutional and other legal rights of women to redress discrimination are not being properly implemented or enforced.

237. The Committee calls upon the State party to strengthen law enforcement and to provide effective remedies through the courts for women who experience discrimination. The Committee requests the State party to develop training programmes on women’s human rights for judges and law enforcement officers and to disseminate information to the public, especially women.

238. The Committee expresses concern at the high level of violence against women and girls, including domestic violence and marital rape. It also expresses serious concern about the number of older women who have been murdered for superstitious reasons by family members or by others in Zambia in recent years.

239. The Committee urges the State party to assign the issue of violence against women high priority and to recognize that such violence constitutes a violation of the human rights of women under the Convention. In the light of its general recommendation 19, the Committee requests the State party to enact legislation on domestic violence as soon as possible and to ensure that violence against women and girls constitutes a criminal offence and that female victims of violence have immediate means of redress and protection. The Committee also recommends gender training for all public officials, in particular law enforcement officials and the judiciary, as well as health workers, to educate them about the consequences of all forms of violence against women and girls. It also recommends the establishment of counselling services for the victims and public awareness campaigns in order to adopt and implement a zero tolerance policy with regard to all forms of violence against women and girls. The Committee requests the State party to report fully in its fifth periodic report on the issue of violence against women and girls.

240. While welcoming the State party’s commitment to achieving 30 per cent participation by women in politics by 2005, the Committee notes with concern that the participation of women in political and public life is limited, and that women are underrepresented at all levels of decision-making in Government, parliament, political parties, the private sector, special public service committees and other institutions in the community.

241. The Committee recommends that the State party take measures to increase the number of women in decision-making positions at all levels and in all areas. It also recommends that the State party introduce temporary special measures, in accordance with article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention, to strengthen its efforts to promote women to positions of power, supported by special training programmes and awareness-raising campaigns aimed at underlining the importance of women’s participation in decision-making at all levels.

242. While noting that the State party has made progress in addressing the basic health needs of women in Zambia, the Committee expresses concern at the high level of maternal and infant mortality, low life expectancy, very high teenage pregnancies and unsafe abortions and lack of adequate health-care facilities and family planning services, particularly in the rural areas.

243. The Committee recommends that the State party formulate polices and allocate adequate resources to improve the status of women’s health, in particular with regard to maternal and infant mortality. It urges the State party to increase women’s access to healthcare and family planning services. It also recommends that national reproductive health programmes be designed and implemented in order to prevent early pregnancy and induced abortions in the rural and urban areas.

244. The Committee expresses concern at the increasing rate of HIV/AIDS and the absence of measures for the care of women and girls infected with HIV/AIDS.

245. The Committee urges the State party to take holistic measures to combat the HIV/AIDS pandemic and to take further practical preventive measures, including by providing access to condoms for women and men. It also urges the State party to ensure that women and girls infected with HIV/AIDS are not discriminated against and are given appropriate assistance. The Committee also emphasizes that the collection of reliable data on HIV/AIDS is critical to gaining an understanding of the pandemic.

246. Despite the State party’s effort in the area of education, the Committee is concerned at the low rate of female literacy, the low enrolment of girls in school in rural and urban areas and the high dropout rate of girls due to pregnancies. These negative factors are reinforced by stereotyping in textbooks. It notes that education is a key to the advancement of women and that the low level of education of women and girls remains one of the most serious impediments to their full enjoyment of human rights.

247. The Committee urges the State party to strengthen its efforts to improve the literacy level of girls and women in rural and urban areas, to ensure equal access of girls and young women to all levels of education and to prevent girls dropping out of school. It encourages the State party to introduce further special measures in the area of education, including incentives for parents to send girls to school and to encourage the recruitment of more qualified women teachers.

248. The Committee expresses concern at the high rate of unemployment among women. It also expresses concern at disparities between women’s and men’s wages, sexual harassment, and the lack of social security for women.

249. The Committee urges the State party to introduce temporary special measures in accordance with article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention in creating employment opportunities for women. Efforts should be made to expand the community-based public workers programme into areas where the number of unemployed women is particularly high. The Committee calls on the State party to review its legislation and policy in the employment sector to facilitate full implementation of article 11 of the Convention.

250. The Committee expresses concern that marriage and family relations are governed by dual legal systems of statutory and customary law, and that many of these laws are not in harmony with the Convention. It also notes that customary law is mostly unwritten and often administered by male justices without a legal background, and that discrimination against women is not addressed in their decisions.

251. The Committee recommends that statutory law be reformed and customary law revised and codified to conform with article 16 of the Convention. It also recommends the introduction of programmes on legal education, gender sensitization and human rights for judges.

252. The Committee is concerned that polygamy is widely accepted and not effectively combated by the State party.

253. The Committee recommends that the State party take comprehensive and effective measures, including training for judicial and law enforcement officials and public awareness-raising campaigns, in order to eliminate the practice of polygamy.

254. The Committee is concerned that aspects of the law on nationality as described in the report continue to discriminate against female spouses.

255. The Committee recommends that these laws be amended in conformity with article 9 of the Convention, and that court decisions recognizing women’s equal rights be enforced.

256. While the Committee commends the State party’s efforts to host refugees from neighbouring countries, it is concerned at the State party’s capacity to protect and guarantee the rights of refugees.

257. The Committee recommends that the State party continue to give assistance to refugee women and girls, and carry out rehabilitative efforts directed at them. The Committee also recommends that the State party seek further support from, and continue to work in close cooperation with, appropriate international agencies in the field of refugee protection, in particular, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

258. The Committee requests the State party to respond to the unanswered questions raised during constructive dialogue with the Committee and to the concerns expressed in the present concluding comments in its next periodic report submitted under article 18 of the Convention. It also urges the State party to improve the collection and analysis of statistical data, disaggregated by sex, and to submit such data to the Committee in its next report.

259. The Committee urges the State party to sign and ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention, and to deposit as soon as possible its instrument of acceptance of the amendment to article 20, paragraph 1, of the Convention, concerning the meeting time of the Committee.

260. Taking account of the gender dimensions of declarations, programmes and platforms for action adopted by relevant United Nations conferences, summits and special sessions (such as the special session of the General Assembly to review and appraise the implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (the twenty-first special session), the special session of the General Assembly on children (the twenty-seventh special session), the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance and the Second World Assembly on Ageing), the Committee requests the State party to include information on the implementation of aspects of these documents relating to relevant articles of the Convention in its next periodic report.

261. The Committee requests the wide dissemination in Zambia of the present concluding comments in order to make the people of Zambia, particularly members of non-governmental organizations, administrators and politicians, aware of the steps that have been taken to ensure the de jure and de facto equality of women and the further steps required in this regard. It requests the State party to continue to disseminate widely, in particular to women’s and human rights organizations, the Convention and its Optional Protocol, the Committee’s general recommendations, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the results of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, entitled “Women 2000: Gender Equality, Development and Peace for the Twenty-first Century” and the Programme of Action adopted at the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance.

4. Combined fourth and fifth periodic report

Ukraine

262. The Committee considered the combined fourth and fifth periodic report of Ukraine (CEDAW/C/UKR/4-5 and Corr.1) at its 555th and 556th meetings, on 6 June 2002 (see CEDAW/C/SR.555 and 556).

Introduction by the State party

263. In introducing the report, the representative of Ukraine informed the Committee that although Ukraine was a young State, formed only in 1991 when it seceded from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, during its first decade an important democratic structure had been developed, which constituted the basis for the promotion of gender equality. In 1996, Ukraine adopted a constitution that embodied the principle of the equal rights of men and women, based on the view that all people were equal in their dignity.

264. The representative informed the Committee that a Ministry of Family and Youth had been established in 1996 to implement the State policy on the family, women, young people and children. The Ministry had prepared legislation to comply with general human rights standards. In 1997, a National Plan of Action for the years 1997-2000 was launched by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, aimed at improving the situation of women and expanding their role in society. In 1999, the Verhova Rada (Parliament) adopted a declaration on general principles of State policy concerning the family and women, which provided for the enhancement of women’s role in the economic, political, social, cultural and spiritual life of the country. In 2001, a family code on the equal rights and duties of women and men vis-à-vis family matters was endorsed, and a new National Plan of Action for the years 2001-2005 was adopted.

265. The representative informed the Committee of the increase in the number and impact of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and women’s groups in Ukraine over the last five years. During this period, the number of national and international NGOs had increased threefold and, to strengthen the links between the Government and NGOs, the National Council of Women of Ukraine had been created. The women’s movement had become very active, particularly regarding activities related to education on gender issues to combat social and cultural stereotypes. The representative pointed out, however, that difficulties had been encountered in eliminating stereotypes and ensuring gender equality at a time when Ukraine was experiencing serious economic problems resulting from the transition from a State- controlled to a free market economy.

266. The representative informed the Committee of the situation of women in the fields of education, employment and health. She noted that women and men had equal access to education, as guaranteed by the Constitution. During 2000-2001, girls constituted 49 per cent of pupils in schools and over half of the students in higher education; in addition, 48 per cent of students seeking doctorates were women. However, despite women’s high qualifications, the job market continued to be segregated. Women were mainly employed in the education, health, culture and service sectors, where salaries were lower. Overall, women’s salaries were 73 per cent of those of men’s. The Government was trying to remedy the horizontal segregation of the labour market through its National Plan of Action, with mandatory social insurance for the unemployed. Measures had been taken to provide allowances to facilitate job creation, while jobs had been set aside to assist sectors of the population that needed special protection, including women with children below six years of age or single mothers with children below 14 years of age. The representative informed the Committee that the Constitution provided for free health assistance as well as for measures to assist pregnant women. She noted the remarkable improvement achieved in the rate of maternal mortality, which had dropped from 34 deaths per 100,000 women in 1996 to 25 deaths per 100,000 women in 2000. During the same period, the number of abortions had also declined by one third.

267. In the 2002 elections, the number of women in local government had risen by up to 50 per cent. However, the number of women in Parliament remained low, at 5.1 per cent, while in the central organ of the executive branch, women occupied only 6 per cent of high-level posts. Political life remained largely male-dominated. Women were excluded from the centres of power and did not participate in the decision-making processes of resource allocation and management. In order to guarantee equal opportunities for women and men in political life, in 1999, a bill on State guarantees of equal rights and opportunities was proposed, which was to be considered for adoption by the new Parliament.

268. The representative informed the Committee that the Government was paying serious attention to the issue of violence against women, including domestic violence, sexual exploitation and sexual harassment. In 2001, the Act on the Prevention of Domestic Violence had been adopted. In addition, crisis centres and shelters had been set up for the social rehabilitation of women and children victims of violence. In order to combat trafficking in women and children, the Government had acceded to various international conventions to prevent trafficking and, in May 2002, had adopted a comprehensive programme against trafficking for the years 2002-2005, focused on three areas: prevention of trade in persons; prosecution; and rehabilitation.

269. Measures had been taken by Ukraine to maintain peace among the 130 nationalities coexisting in the State. Ethnic groups were protected by legal and normative instruments, including the Convention on the Protection of National Minorities, ratified in 1997.

270. In concluding, the representative noted that Ukraine had made steady progress towards achieving gender equality and advancing the status of women, particularly since 1996 when the Committee considered Ukraine’s third periodic report and made valuable recommendations that had helped to create the conditions for women’s empowerment. In order to accelerate progress on promoting gender equality, however, Ukraine would need to mobilize national resources. The representative also acknowledged the importance of the support provided by international organizations, including the United Nations system, for the promotion of equality between women and men in Ukraine.

Concluding comments of the Committee

Introduction

271. The Committee expresses its appreciation to the State party for submitting its combined fourth and fifth periodic report, which generally follows the Committee’s guidelines for the preparation of periodic reports. It commends the State party for the written replies to the issues raised by the pre-session working group and the State party’s oral presentation, which provided additional information on the current situation of the implementation of the Convention in Ukraine. The Committee commends the State party on its delegation, headed by the Head of the State Committee for Family and Youth Affairs.

272. The Committee notes that governmental action, in particular the National Plan of Action to improve the situation of women, is placed within the context of the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action.

Positive aspects

273. The Committee notes with satisfaction that the Convention is incorporated into Ukrainian law and has precedence over conflicting national legislation.

274. The Committee welcomes the range of laws and programmes that have been introduced, including the law on the prevention of domestic violence, the criminal law that makes trafficking in persons a criminal offence and the new family code, as well as other efforts undertaken to improve the situation of women and promote gender equality, such as the elaboration of a draft law on equal opportunities.

275. The Committee expresses its satisfaction with the presence of an increasingly active civil society on women’s issues in Ukraine, including many women’s political parties. The Committee also commends the State party’s recognition of the important role of the large number of NGOs working on women’s issues.

276. The Committee notes with satisfaction the high level of women’s educational achievement and the increase in the number of women in local government in some regions.

Principal areas of concern and recommendations

277. The Committee is concerned that there is still a lack of familiarity with the Convention and the opportunities for its application, including among the judiciary, law enforcement personnel and women themselves.

278. The Committee recommends the introduction of education and training programmes on the Convention, in particular for judges, lawyers and law enforcement personnel. It recommends that awareness-raising campaigns targeted at women be undertaken so that women can avail themselves of legal remedies for violations of their rights under the Convention. The Committee invites the State party to provide, in its next report, information about complaints filed in courts based on the Convention, as well as any court decisions that refer to the Convention.

279. The Committee is concerned at the apparent lack of understanding of discrimination against women as a multifaceted phenomenon that entails indirect and unintentional as well as direct and intentional discrimination. This understanding is a prerequisite for the effective elimination of both de jure and de facto discrimination against women.

280. The Committee recommends that policies and efforts be directed at countering both direct and indirect discrimination against women.

281. The Committee expresses concern that, although the Convention is incorporated in domestic law and the Constitution provides for the equality of all citizens, Ukrainian law does not contain a specific definition of discrimination against women and does not provide effective enforcement procedures or remedies. The Committee is concerned that it did not receive sufficient information regarding the content of the draft law on equal opportunities.

282. The Committee recommends that the State party include in its legislation a definition of discrimination, enforcement procedures and remedies for violations of women’s rights under the Convention. It also recommends the inclusion of a provision allowing the adoption of temporary special measures in accordance with article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention.

283. The Committee expresses its concern that the national machinery for the advancement of women does not have sufficient power and visibility or financial and human resources to effectively promote the advancement of women and gender equality.

284. The Committee recommends that the State party strengthen the existing national machinery in order to make it more effective by providing it with adequate human and financial resources at all levels and enhancing coordination among the existing mechanisms for the advancement of women and the promotion of gender equality.

285. While recognizing that the number of women elected to office in local government has increased in some regions, the Committee is concerned about the low representation of women in high-level elected and appointed bodies, including as members of Parliament, of which only 5 per cent are women, as high-ranking officials within the executive branch, where women occupy only 6 per cent of posts, and within the state administrations and civil and diplomatic service.

286. The Committee urges the State party to take measures to increase the representation of women in elected and appointed bodies through, inter alia, the implementation of temporary special measures, in accordance with article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention, in order to realize women’s right to participation in all areas of public life and, particularly, at high levels of decision-making. The Committee recommends that the State party strengthen its efforts in offering or supporting training programmes for current and future women leaders and carry out awareness-raising campaigns regarding the importance of women’s participation in political decision-making.

287. Recognizing the efforts made by the State party to address the issue of trafficking in women and girls, including the criminal law provision against trafficking in persons, the Committee notes with concern that the extent of this problem is not reflected in the information provided in the report. It notes with concern that there is still not enough information on the subject or a comprehensive policy to address the problem.

288. The Committee urges the State party to make the issue of trafficking in women and girls a high priority and to include in its next report comprehensive information and data on the issue and on progress made in this area. It recommends the formulation of a comprehensive strategy to combat trafficking in women and girls, including within the territory of the State party, which should include the prosecution and punishment of offenders and increased international, regional and bilateral cooperation with other countries of origin, transit and destination of trafficked women and girls. It recommends the introduction of measures aimed at improving the economic situation of women so as to eliminate their vulnerability to traffickers, education initiatives for vulnerable groups, including teenage girls, as well as social support, rehabilitation and reintegration measures for women and girls who have been victims of trafficking. It calls on the State party to ensure that trafficked women and girls have the support they need so that they can provide testimony against their traffickers. It urges that training of border police and law enforcement officials provide them with the requisite skills to recognize and provide support to victims of trafficking.

289. The Committee expresses its concern about the status of women’s health, especially their reproductive health. The Committee is concerned about the high number of abortions and the fact that the maternal and child mortality rates remain high. It is also concerned about the undernutrition of women, as well as iodine deficiency and other diseases among women. The Committee is concerned about the insufficiency of attention to tobacco addiction and alcoholism among women.

290. The Committee draws attention to its general recommendation No. 24 on women and health and recommends comprehensive research into the specific health needs of women, including their reproductive health, the full implementation of a life-cycle approach to women’s health, the financial and organizational strengthening of family planning programmes and the provision of wide access to contraceptives for all women and men. The Committee urges the State party to reinforce programmes of sexual and reproductive education for both girls and boys in order to foster responsible sexual behaviour and further discourage abortion as a means of birth control. The Committee requests more information on the prevalence of, and measures taken against, alcoholism and tobacco consumption among women.

291. While welcoming the measures taken to combat violence against women, including the adoption of the law on the prevention of domestic violence, the inclusion of the issue under the National Plan of Action, and the fact that marital rape can be prosecuted under the Criminal Code of Ukraine, the Committee is concerned about the prevalence of violence against women and girls, including domestic violence.

292. The Committee urges the State party to place high priority on comprehensive measures to address violence against women in the family and in society. The Committee calls upon the State party to ensure that such violence is prosecuted and punished with the required seriousness and speed, and that women victims of violence have immediate means of redress and protection. It recommends that measures be taken to provide shelters for women victims of violence and to ensure that public officials, especially law enforcement officials, the judiciary, health-care providers and social workers, are fully sensitized to all forms of violence against women. The Committee invites the State party to undertake awareness-raising measures, including a campaign of zero tolerance, to make such violence socially and morally unacceptable.

293. While noting with appreciation the high level of education among women, the Committee expresses its concern about the situation of women in the labour market, including the high rate of unemployment among women and the strong occupational segregation with a concomitant wage differential. The Committee is concerned that women are not able to receive adequate retraining to compete in the market. It is further concerned that the State party’s protective labour laws restricting women’s participation in night work and other areas, may create obstacles to women’s participation in the labour market.

294. The Committee urges the State party to ensure equal opportunities for women and men in the labour market, including through the use of temporary special measures in accordance with article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention. The Committee recommends that the State party design and implement special training and retraining programmes for different groups of unemployed women. It also recommends that efforts be made to eliminate occupational segregation, including through education, training and retraining. There should be additional wage increases in female-dominated sectors of public employment to close the wage gap between these and male-dominated sectors. The Committee recommends that the State party conduct regular reviews of legislation in accordance with article 11, paragraph 3, of the Convention, with a view to reducing the number of barriers that women face in the labour market. It also recommends that effective measures allowing for the reconciliation between family and professional responsibilities be strengthened and that the sharing of domestic and family tasks between women and men be promoted.

295. The Committee is concerned about the persistence of traditional stereotypes regarding the role of men and women in the family and in society at large.

296. The Committee urges the State party to design and implement comprehensive programmes in the educational system and to encourage the mass media to promote cultural changes with regard to the roles and tasks attributed to women and men, as required by article 5 of the Convention. It recommends that policies be developed and programmes implemented to ensure the eradication of traditional sex role stereotypes in the family, in employment, in politics and in society.

297. The Committee urges the State party to accept the amendment to article 20, paragraph 1, of the Convention, concerning the meeting time of the Committee.

298. The Committee also urges the State party to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention.

299. Taking account of the gender dimensions of declarations, programmes and platforms for action adopted by relevant United Nations conferences, summits and special sessions (such as the special session of the General Assembly to review and appraise the implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (the twenty-first special session), the special session of the General Assembly on children (the twenty-seventh special session), the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance and the Second World Assembly on Ageing), the Committee requests the State party to include information on the implementation of aspects of these documents relating to relevant articles of the Convention in its next periodic report.

300. The Committee requests the State party to respond to the concerns expressed in the present concluding comments in its next periodic report to be submitted under article 18 of the Convention. It also requests that the report address the general recommendations of the Committee and provide information on the impact of legislation, policies and programmes to implement the Convention.

301. The Committee requests the wide dissemination in Ukraine of the present concluding comments in order to make the people of Ukraine, in particular government administrators and politicians, aware of the steps that have been taken to ensure the de jure and de facto equality of women and the further steps required in this regard. It also requests the State party to continue to disseminate widely, in particular to women’s and human rights organizations, the Convention, its Optional Protocol, the Committee’s general recommendations and the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, as well as the results of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, entitled “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century”.

5. Fourth and fifth periodic reports

Denmark

302. The Committee considered the fourth and the fifth periodic reports of Denmark (CEDAW/C/DEN/4 and CEDAW/C/DEN/5 and Add.1 and Corr.1) at its 561st and 562nd meetings, on 12 June 2002 (CEDAW/C/SR.561 and 562).

Introduction by the State party

303. In introducing the report, the representative of Denmark informed the Committee that non-governmental organizations had had the opportunity to comment on implementation of the Convention in Denmark. The Government had been implementing the actions identified in the Beijing Platform for Action, which had had a significant impact on Denmark’s gender equality policy. Increasing emphasis had been placed on violence against women, trafficking in human beings, especially women and children, unemployment among women and sex segregation in the labour market, since the consideration of Denmark’s last periodic report by the Committee.

304. A new law on gender equality had been introduced and there had been a change in the national machinery for the advancement of women since the submission, in 2000, of the fifth periodic report. The former Council for Gender Equality had been replaced by a new three-part structure comprising a Minister for Gender Equality, a Knowledge Centre for Gender Equality and a Gender Equality Board. The Knowledge Centre will be closed down in July 2002 as a State-funded organization. It will continue as a private foundation connected to the University of Roskilde. The Gender Equality Act May 2000 stated that the work to promote gender equality in Denmark consists of a two-pronged strategy, gender mainstreaming and affirmative actions/specific priorities. The Minister for Gender Equality presents an annual Report and an Action Plan to the Parliament on the concrete specific priorities. A Steering Committee has, on behalf of the Minister, prepared a five-year action plan on gender mainstreaming.

305. Gender mainstreaming and the integration of women’s rights were critical elements in Denmark’s development assistance strategy, in which special attention was paid to women living in poverty; women’s rights, including the right to own and inherit land; violence against women, including trafficking; the access of women and girls to health and education; and women’s access to financial services, business development assistance and trade opportunities.

306. The representative described the goal of Denmark’s gender equality policy as ensuring that women and men were equal partners and were given equal possibilities to choose how they want to live their lives. Women made up 44 per cent of the newly elected committees. The share of women in Parliament was 38 per cent. Labour market participation of women was high at 75 per cent, and women had, on average, 1.7 children, indicating that work could be combined with family life. Factors contributing to that were the existence of many public care facilities for the young, the elderly and other dependants and the fact that young men were increasingly taking on their share of family responsibilities. The Government had expanded parental leave schemes, increased parental grants for childcare in the home and guaranteed day care. Access to part-time work had also been expanded. Areas of concern included the pay gap between women and men and sex-segregation in the labour market. Only 41 per cent of women from ethnic minorities were active in the labour market, but the Government was making special efforts to address that issue.

307. The elimination of violence against women was a priority, and a three-year action plan with a special focus on women from ethnic minorities, women with disabilities and children had recently been presented by the Government. Efforts to eliminate trafficking in women and children had been intensified. To combat forced marriages, funds had been given to NGOs to ensure assistance to young people from ethnic minorities while the age for family reunification of spouses had, for all citizens, been raised from 18 to 24 years.

308. Another representative indicated that, in 2002, in Greenland, legislation focusing on equal treatment of women and men with respect to public services and employment had replaced older Danish and pre-Home Rule legislation. The Equal Status Council, which had been established in 1998, had provided input during the development of the new legislation and had commissioned a survey on gender equality in the household, workplace and other areas of public life. It had also appointed, as part of a pilot project, gender equality ambassadors to liaise between the Equal Status Council and the public in five municipalities. An action plan on gender and violence was also being produced under the auspices of the West Nordic Council, with the participation of Denmark, Greenland and the Faroe Islands. The Greenland Home Rule Government was sensitive to the importance of ensuring that family and working life were balanced, and legislation had been passed on maternity leave and pay for mothers and fathers in order to give both parents an opportunity to spend time with their infant children. The representation of women in the Government and the municipalities was high at 67 per cent, and they dominated the health, education and social affairs sectors. Six of the 12 Deputy Ministers, and 19 per cent of members of Parliament were women. Education and capacity-building were regarded as crucial to ensuring equal opportunities in the labour market, and data showed that the majority of those commencing education or training programmes were women and that the dropout rate of women was lower than that of men.

309. Another representative indicated that there were very few legislative obstacles to women’s enjoyment of equal rights under Faroese Law. In 1994, the Faroese Parliament had enacted the Act of Equality between Men and Women, which sought to ensure gender equality in the labour market, education, all public committees, councils and boards. In 2002, the Act on Maternity Leave providing fully paid maternity leave for 28 weeks had been passed. The Government was seeking to increase the period of maternity leave to 52 weeks. In the Faroe Islands, the number of women in Parliament was low, as was the representation of women in decision-making positions in the private sector. Where gender-based violence was concerned, a domestic violence crisis centre had been established by a non-governmental organization.

310. Each representative expressed commitment to the implementation of the Convention in all parts of Denmark, including Greenland and the Faroe Islands, and assured the Committee that there would be a national follow-up and debate on its concluding comments.

Concluding comments of the Committee

Introduction

311. The Committee expresses appreciation to the State party for its fourth and fifth periodic reports, which comply with the guidelines for the preparation of periodic reports. It commends the State party for its interaction with non-governmental organizations in the preparation of the reports and is pleased that the comments of non-governmental organizations on the implementation of the Convention were again included as annexes to the report. The Committee also expresses its appreciation for the information given in response to the issues raised by the pre-session working group and during the oral presentation.

312. The Committee expresses appreciation for the inclusion of representatives from the Faroe Islands and Greenland in the delegation.

Positive aspects

313. The Committee commends the State party for its efforts to strengthen the promotion of gender equality and women’s rights in Denmark through a wide range of laws, policies and programmes within the context of the provisions of the Convention and the Beijing Platform for Action. It also commends the realization of de jure equality of women and men in many areas of the Convention, especially with regard to economic and social benefits and marriage and family life.

314. The Committee commends the State party for appointing a Minister for Gender Equality, thereby making gender equality policy a part of the Government’s politics and affording a greater potential to directly influence the political decision-making process, and for establishing the Gender Equality Board, comprising a judge and two lawyers with expertise in the areas of gender equality and labour market conditions, respectively, that handles complaints about gender-based discrimination in the labour market, the education, health, social and finance sectors, and in private enterprises.

315. The Committee commends the State party for its efforts to incorporate gender mainstreaming into its overall policy framework, including by formulating an action plan for 2002-2006 for the Danish inter-ministerial gender mainstreaming project with a steering committee comprised of representatives from all ministries, while at the same time implementing women-specific programmes to encourage gender equality.

316. The Committee welcomes the action plan to stop violence against women, which seeks to give victims the support they need, provide training for professionals and establish multidisciplinary cooperation, break the cycle of violence through corrective treatment of offenders and improve prevention through gathering data on the causes and scope of violence against women.

317. The Committee welcomes the State party’s cooperation with the other Nordic and Baltic countries in two working groups under the Nordic Council of Ministers with regard to trafficking in women. The Committee commends the State party for signing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, its Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, and its Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air. The Committee notes that the Parliament has given its consent to ratifying the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children.

318. The Committee also commends the State party for having accepted the amendment to article 20, paragraph 1, of the Convention and for having ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention. The Committee also welcomes the fact that a number of recommendations in its concluding comments, adopted when Denmark last reported, have been implemented.

Principal areas of concern and recommendations

319. The Committee is concerned that the Convention has not been incorporated into domestic legislation. It notes that the Committee on Incorporation of Human Rights Conventions into Danish Legislation, appointed by the Minister of Justice in 1999 to examine the advantages and disadvantages of incorporating the general human rights treaties into Danish legislation, on completing its work in October 2001, recommended that the Convention, despite being considered central to the protection of human rights, should not be incorporated into Danish legislation. The Committee also notes that the Constitution does not contain a specific provision on discrimination against women.

320. The Committee recommends that the State party take steps to incorporate the Convention into domestic law, when considering the recommendations of the Committee on incorporation of human rights conventions into Danish legislation. The Committee requests that the State party report on progress made in this regard in its next periodic report, including whether the Convention has been invoked before domestic courts.

321. While noting that the State party’s gender policy appears to be formulated primarily in the framework of the Beijing Platform for Action and European Union provisions, the Committee is concerned that the Convention has not been given central importance as a binding human rights instrument and basis for elimination of all forms of discrimination against women and the advancement of women.

322. The Committee urges the State party to place emphasis on the Convention as a binding human rights instrument, and to view the Platform for Action as a complementary policy document to the Convention in its efforts to achieve the goals of equality. It furthermore urges the State party to take proactive measures to raise awareness about the Convention.

323. The Committee is concerned at the closure of the Danish Board for Ethnic Equality, which had been established in June 1997, inter alia, to provide advice on the question of discrimination and ethnic equality for the Danish Parliament, the Government, the central and local administration and private organizations, and the Danish National Centre for Research and Information on Gender Equality, which had been established in May 2000 under the Act on Gender Equality. The Committee notes that some of the work of the former Centre will be done without State funding under different institutional arrangements.

324. The Committee recommends that the State party reconsider its decision to close these two institutions and continue, in all circumstances, to earmark funds for their activities if those will be undertaken under other institutional arrangements, to enable them to continue their independent contribution to the achievement of gender equality in the State party.

325. While noting the creation of an equal pay network for companies interested in exchanging experience on the reasons for the gender-based division of labour, the pay differential and methods of guaranteeing equal pay and that women’s participation in the labour market is at an impressive 75 per cent and their unemployment rate is low at 5.6 per cent, the Committee is concerned at the persistence of the wage gap between women and men.

326. The Committee urges the State party to develop policies and adopt proactive measures to accelerate the eradication of pay discrimination against women, including job evaluations, collection of data, further study of the underlying causes for the wage gap and provision of increased assistance for social partners in collective wage bargaining, in particular in determining wage structures in sectors dominated by women in order to address the gender segregation in the labour market. The Committee requests the State party to provide more information in the next periodic report on its efforts to eradicate the wage gap.

327. While commending the State party for having surpassed the critical 30 to 35 per cent threshold in terms of representation of women in decision-making in Parliament, the Committee expresses concern that women’s representation remains low in executive and decision-making positions in municipalities and counties as well as in the private economic sector.

328. The Committee urges the State party to take measures to increase the representation of women in decision-making positions in all sectors, including in the municipalities and counties as well as in the private economic sector. It recommends that the State party take steps to facilitate the options available to women in the private sector, inter alia, through the implementation of temporary special measures in accordance with article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention, wherever possible. It also recommends that the State party improve the design of the temporary special measures in accordance with article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention and monitor their application.

329. Noting the high number of women in the lower ranks of the Foreign Service, the Committee nevertheless expresses concern about the low level of representation of women in the higher levels of the service, in particular in ambassadorial posts.

330. The Committee recommends that the State party introduce special temporary measures in accordance with article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention to increase the representation of women at higher levels in the Foreign Service, particularly as ambassadors.

331. The Committee expresses concern that, despite the high achievement of women in tertiary education, there are distressingly few women professors in the universities. It also expresses concern at the apparent imbalance in the access of women academics, as compared with men academics, to research grants and other resources.

332. The Committee urges the State party to adopt policies to ensure that women professors are not discriminated against with regard to access to professorships and senior positions, resources and research grants so as to increase the number of women in senior positions in universities.

333. The Committee is concerned about persistence of stereotypical attitudes towards women, which threaten to undermine their rights and make them vulnerable to violence, including domestic violence.

334. The Committee calls upon the State party to take additional measures to eliminate stereotypical attitudes about the roles and responsibilities of women and men, including through awareness-raising and educational campaigns directed at both women and men and at the media. It also calls upon the State party to undertake an assessment of the impact of its measures in order to identify shortcomings and to adjust and improve these measures accordingly.

335. Noting that reliable statistical material will become available later in 2002, the Committee regrets the very limited available data and information with regard to the scope of violence against women, including domestic violence.

336. The Committee urges the State party to include in the statistical material, sex-disaggregated data and information on the nature and scope of violence against women, including within the family and any new forms of abuse, and to include this information in its next periodic report. The Committee also urges the State party to continue its efforts to implement and strengthen policies and programmes aimed at combating violence, with special attention given to migrant and minority women.

337. The Committee is concerned that Danish residents who arrange for female genital mutilation abroad are not liable to prosecution in Denmark unless female genital mutilation is a crime in the country in which it is performed.

338. The Committee urges the State party to penalize all Danish residents who arrange for female genital mutilation regardless of where it is performed in order to eliminate this harmful traditional practice.

339. While noting that the State party places priority on efforts to address the issue of trafficking in women through, inter alia, seminars, analysis and cooperation with the other Nordic and Baltic countries, the Committee expresses concern that despite these efforts trafficking in women and girls continues to exist.

340. The Committee requests that the State party report on any developments in this regard in its next periodic report, including whether there have been any prosecutions for trafficking in women and girls. The Committee also encourages action in Denmark and, through the State party, continued efforts within the European Union to combat trafficking in women, including measures to prevent trafficking, the collection of data, the provision of services for trafficked women and measures to penalize those who facilitate such trafficking.

341. The Committee is concerned that the Aliens Act, which although gender-neutral, indirectly discriminates against women.

342. The Committee recommends that the State party review the Aliens Act and revoke those provisions that are incompatible with the provisions of the Convention, particularly article 2, which prohibits direct and indirect discrimination.

343. The Committee expresses concern about the situation of migrant, refugee and minority women in Denmark, including discrimination in education and employment and at the gender-based discrimination and violence that they experience.

344. The Committee urges the State party to take effective measures to eliminate discrimination against migrant, refugee and minority women. It encourages the State party to be proactive in its measures to prevent discrimination against migrant, refugee and minority women, both within their communities and in society at large, to combat violence against them, and increase their awareness of the availability of social services and legal remedies.

345. The Committee regrets the introduction in new legislation of an increase in the age limit for spousal reunification from 18 years to 24 years of age in order to combat forced marriage.

346. The Committee urges the State party to consider revoking the increase in the age limit for family reunification with spouses, and to explore other ways of combating forced marriages.

347. The Committee is concerned that the situation of foreign married women with temporary residence permits who experience domestic violence will worsen when the amendment to the Aliens Act enters into force on 1 July 2002, which will increase the required number of years of residence from three to seven before a permanent residence permit may be obtained. The Committee is also concerned that these women’s fear of expulsion will be a deterrent to their seeking assistance or taking steps to seek separation or divorce.

348. The Committee recommends that revocation of temporary residence permits of foreign married women who experience domestic violence, and legislative changes on residency requirements should not be undertaken without a full assessment of the impact of such measures on these women.

349. The Committee is concerned that, under the amended Aliens Act, some women who do not have refugee status might be forcibly repatriated to where they had been subjected to rape and/or other atrocities and may face the threat of further persecution.

350. The Committee urges the State party to refrain from forcibly repatriating such women and to ensure that repatriation in these circumstances is voluntary.

351. While welcoming written material provided by the delegation during constructive dialogue, the Committee regrets that information in the report about the situation of women in the Faroe Islands and Greenland was very limited.

352. The Committee urges the State party to include detailed information on the implementation of all aspects of the Convention in the Faroe Islands and Greenland in the next periodic report.

353. The Committee requests the State party to respond to the concerns expressed in the present concluding comments in its next periodic report submitted under article 18 of the Convention. It also requests that future reports not make reference to previous reports but briefly summarize previously stated information.

354. Taking account of the gender dimension of declarations, programmes and platforms for action adopted by relevant United Nations conferences, summits and special sessions (such as the special session of the General Assembly to review and appraise the implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (the twenty-first special session), the special session of the General Assembly on children (the twenty-seventh special session), the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance and the Second World Assembly on Ageing), the Committee requests the State party to include information on the implementation of aspects of these documents relating to relevant articles of the Convention in its next periodic report.

355. The Committee requests the wide dissemination in Denmark of the present concluding comments in order to make the people of Denmark, in particular administrators and politicians, aware of the steps that have been taken to ensure the de jure and de facto equality of women and of the further steps that are required in this regard. It requests the State party to continue to disseminate widely, in particular to women’s and human rights organizations, the Convention and its Optional Protocol, the Committee’s general recommendations, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the results of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, entitled “Women 2000: Gender Equality, Development and Peace for the Twenty-first Century”.

Chapter V

Activities carried out under the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

356. Article 12 of the Optional Protocol to the Convention provides that the Committee shall include in its annual report under article 21 of the Convention a summary of its activities under the Protocol.

357. The Working Group on the Optional Protocol established by the Committee at its twenty-fourth session met from 4 to 8 February 2002 and considered cooperation between the Division for the Advancement of Women and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights with respect to communications; procedures established by the Division for the Advancement of Women relating to communications; and methods of work of the Working Group. The Working Group analysed decisions of other United Nations human rights treaty bodies on communications, as well as several cases decided by regional human rights courts. The Chairperson of the Working Group provided the Committee with the report of the Working Group (CEDAW/C/2002/II/CRP.4).

Action taken by the Committee on the report of the Working Group on the Optional Protocol

Cooperation between the Division for the Advancement of Women and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

358. The Committee recommended that any guidelines on the routing of correspondence between and among the various human rights procedures of the United Nations be developed in collaboration with the Division for the Advancement of Women. It recommended the development of systematic cooperation between the Division and the petitions team of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), and the nomination of a focal point for the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women in the Support Services Branch of OHCHR who would analyse summaries of communications prepared by the Branch from a gender perspective and whose views on such summaries would be entered into the communications database and brought to the attention of the relevant treaty body.

Processing of communications

359. The Committee recommended that the Division for the Advancement of Women provide the Working Group with a regular report on the nature and number of potential communications received, including manifestly ill-founded claims, and those which are not being pursued. The report should also contain information on the number of potential communications received directly by the Division or routed to it which are being summarized with a view to registration, and on the number of potential communications received by the Division but routed to other procedures, such as those serviced by OHCHR.

360. The Committee decided that, where sufficient prima facie information is received to establish a communication, the Division for the Advancement of Women should provide the Working Group with a summary. The Working Group would then decide whether the case should be registered.

Outreach and research

361. The Committee recommended that the Division for the Advancement of Women intensify its outreach activities with respect to the Convention and the Optional Protocol. It also recommended that the Division prepare background papers for the Committee on several provisions in the Optional Protocol: “same matter” and “under another procedure of international investigation or settlement” (Optional Protocol, article 4 (2) (a)); “the facts that are the subject of the communication occurred prior to the entry into force of the present Protocol (Optional Protocol, article 4 (2) (e)). The Committee also recommended the preparation of background papers on the accountability of States parties for the conduct of non-State actors; remedies recommended by human rights treaties and implementation of views by States parties (Optional Protocol, articles 7 (3), (4) and (5)).

Dates of the meeting of the Working Group on the Optional Protocol

362. The Committee decided that the Working Group on the Optional Protocol would meet from 5 to 9 February 2003. It also recommended that, whenever possible, the Working Group should meet in the week prior to the regular session of the Committee in order for the Working Group to provide the Committee with the results of its work in a timely manner and to preclude any delay in the consideration of communications.

Chapter VI

Ways and means of expediting the work of the Committee

363. The Committee considered agenda item 6, ways and means of expediting the work of the Committee at its 550th and 567th meetings, on 3 and 21 June 2002 (see CEDAW/C/SR.550 and SR.567).

364. In introducing the item, the Chief of the Women’s Rights Unit of the Division for the Advancement of Women, Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat drew attention to the report of the Secretariat (CEDAW/C/2002/II/4).

Action taken by the Committee under agenda item 6

Members of the pre-session working group for the twenty-ninth session

365. The Committee decided that the members of the pre-session working group for the twenty-ninth session and their alternates should be:

Members:

Christine Kapalata (Africa)

Sjiamsiah Achmad (Asia)

Goran Melander (Europe)

Yolanda Ferrer Gomez (Latin America and the Caribbean)

Alternates:

Fatima Kwaku (Africa)

Heisoo Shin (Asia)

Regina Tavares da Silva (Europe)

Aida Gonzalez Martinez (Latin America and the Caribbean)

Dates of the twenty-eighth session and the pre-session working group for the twenty-ninth session

366. In conformity with the approved calendar of conferences and meetings

for 2003, the twenty-eighth session of the Committee will be held from 13 to 31 January 2003. The pre-session working group for the twenty-ninth session will be held from 3 to 7 February 2003.

Reports to be considered at future sessions of the Committee

367. The Committee decided to consider the following reports at its twenty-eighth and twenty-ninth sessions:

(a) Twenty-eighth session

(i) Combined initial and second periodic report

Switzerland

(ii) Combined initial, second and third periodic report

Costa Rica

(iii) Combined initial, second, third, fourth and fifth periodic report

Congo

(iv) Combined third and fourth periodic report

Kenya

(v) Fourth periodic report

Luxembourg

(vi) Combined third and fourth, and fifth periodic reports

El Salvador

(vii) Fifth periodic report

Canada

(viii) Fifth and sixth periodic reports

Norway

(b) Twenty-ninth session

(i) Combined initial and second periodic report

Albania

(ii) Second and third periodic reports

Morocco

Slovenia

(iii) Combined third and fourth periodic report

France

(iv) Fourth and fifth periodic reports

Japan

(v) Combined fourth and fifth periodic reports

Ecuador

Overdue reports

368. The Committee decided, as part of a strategy to encourage States parties to report in accordance with article 18 of the Convention, to request the secretariat to provide it with a profile of non-reporting States parties, including their reporting history with respect to all treaty bodies. The Committee would identify priority non-reporting States parties, for example, long-term non-reporting States parties, followed by short-term non-reporting States parties, and analyse the reasons for non-reporting, for example, lack of resources, capacity or political will.

369. The Committee recommended the following incremental measures to encourage reporting by States parties:

(a) Non-reporting States parties would receive reporting reminders on a systematic basis. Notes verbales drawing attention to the Committee’s decision 23/II (consolidation of reporting obligations) and the availability of technical assistance would be directed at States parties whose reports were five years or more overdue;

(b) High-level United Nations officials would be requested to encourage reporting;

(c) Non-reporting would be included as an item on the agenda of the meeting of chairpersons of human rights treaty bodies with a view to the adoption of a coordinated approach to the issue;

(d) Committee members, the bureau and Chairperson of the Committee would be encouraged to meet informally with non-reporting States parties, including on a regional basis;

(e) The Committee would convene a closed meeting with representatives of individual non-reporting States parties to discuss challenges to timely reporting;

(f) The Division for the Advancement of Women, other United Nations entities or bodies, including at the field level, other international organizations or non-governmental organizations would be encouraged to provide technical assistance for States parties at their request;

(g) All human rights treaty bodies would be encouraged to discuss fulfilment of reporting obligations under other human rights treaties in constructive dialogue for States parties;

(h) Fulfilment of reporting obligations under article 18 should be included in the agenda of the twelfth meeting of States parties to the Convention, to be held in August 2002.

Consideration of reports by the Committee and constructive dialogue with

States parties

370. The Committee decided that, in cases where a member of the Committee is a national of a State party which is presenting its report, the Committee’s decision 18/III on the non-participation of that member in any part of the consideration of the State party’s report would be explained by the Chairperson at the beginning of the meeting at which that report would be considered and the contribution of that member to the work of the Committee acknowledged.

371. The Committee decided that, in the consideration of periodic reports, questions by experts would be clustered in accordance with the four substantive parts of the Convention. After experts had posed questions on each cluster, the State party would be given an opportunity to respond. Experts would seek to focus on issues identified by the pre-session working group, and would avoid intervening under each cluster.

372. The Committee decided that presentation of initial reports would be limited to a maximum of 45 minutes, presentation of periodic reports would be limited to a maximum of 30 minutes, and such periods would be reflected in the Committee’s programme of work and the Journal of the United Nations. The closed meeting of the Committee to discuss the contents of the concluding comments would be scheduled for a minimum period of 30 minutes, which would be reflected in the Committee’s programme of work in the Journal. The Committee decided that interventions by experts would be limited to five minutes. The time limit would be enforced flexibly but monitored by a speech timer.

Pre-session working group

373. The Committee decided that, as far as possible, country rapporteurs for States parties presenting periodic reports should be included in the pre-session working group convened to draw up the list of issues and questions with regard to those States parties. In cases where the country rapporteur is not included in the relevant pre-session working group, she or he would be encouraged to submit a list of issues and questions to the group.

Concluding comments of the Committee

374. The Committee decided that its concluding comments would include a section on “factors and difficulties” affecting the implementation of the Convention only in the most exceptional circumstances. The persistence of stereotypical attitudes relating to the roles of women and men would not be categorized as a “factor or difficulty”.

375. The Committee decided that a standard paragraph requesting information on the implementation of aspects of outcomes of United Nations conferences, summits and special sessions of review should be included in its concluding comments on reports of States parties, as follows:

“Taking account of the gender dimensions of declarations, programmes and platforms for action adopted by relevant United Nations conferences, summits and special sessions (such as the special session of the General Assembly to review and appraise the implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (the twenty-first special session), the special session of the General Assembly on children (the twenty-seventh special session), the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance and the Second World Assembly on Ageing), the Committee requests the State party to include information on the implementation of aspects of these documents relating to relevant articles of the Convention in its next periodic report.”

Chapter VII

Implementation of article 21 of the Convention

376. The Committee considered agenda item 5, on the implementation of article 21 of the Convention, at its 550th and 567th meetings, on 3 and 21 June 2002 (see CEDAW/C/SR.550 and SR.567).

377. In introducing the item, the Chief of the Women’s Rights Unit drew attention to a note by the Secretary-General on reports provided by specialized agencies on the implementation of the Convention in areas falling within the scope of their activities (CEDAW/C/2002/II/3 and Add.1-4).

Action taken by the Committee under agenda item 5

Future general recommendations of the Committee

378. The Committee agreed to formulate a general recommendation, based on its statement to the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance.2

379. The Committee agreed to formulate a general recommendation on the right of older women to non-discrimination under the Convention, drawing on reports of States parties, its statement to the Second World Assembly on Ageing (A/57/38

(Part I), paras. 430-436), and the Madrid Plan of Action adopted by that Assembly.

380. The Committee requested the secretariat to provide a report on its current schedule for general recommendations for its twenty-eighth session in January 2003.

Statement of support for a Decade against Trafficking

381. The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women welcomes the integration of a gender perspective in the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action adopted by the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, held in Durban, South Africa, from 31 August to 8 September 2001. It welcomes the fact that the World Conference drew attention to the special impact of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance on women and girls and to the existence of multiple discrimination against women and girls, in all areas of life, including as victims of trafficking.

382. The Committee welcomes and supports the recommendation of the Durban Programme of Action for the inauguration of a United Nations decade against trafficking in persons, especially women, youth and children.

383. The Committee wishes to draw attention to the wide and increasing dimensions of trafficking in women, which constitutes a major part of contemporary trade in persons and is a form of slavery and a violation of article 6 of the Convention.

384. The Committee is convinced that the deliberations, conferences, publications and other activities that would be undertaken by the United Nations and its agencies in the promotion of a decade against trafficking of persons, especially women, youth and children, would make a major contribution to the attempts to eradicate the human suffering caused by trafficking and would address the marginalization, discrimination and exploitation of so many women around the world, particularly from poor countries, who are victims of trafficking.

Chapter VIII

Provisional agenda for the exceptional session and the

twenty-eighth session

385. The Committee considered the draft provisional agenda for its exceptional session and twenty-eighth session at its 567th meeting (see CEDAW/C/SR.567). The Committee decided to approve the following provisional agendas for the sessions:

Exceptional session

1. Opening of the session.

2. Adoption of the agenda and organization of work.

3. Report of the Chairperson on activities undertaken between the twenty-seventh and exceptional sessions of the Committee.

4. Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 18 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

5. Implementation of article 22 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

6. Adoption of the report of the Committee on its exceptional session.

Twenty-eighth session

1. Opening of the session.

2. Solemn declaration by the new members of the Committee.

3. Election of officers.

4. Adoption of the agenda and organization of work.

5. Report of the Chairperson on activities undertaken between the exceptional and twenty-eighth sessions of the Committee.

6. Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 18 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

7. Implementation of article 21 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

8. Ways and means of expediting the work of the Committee.

9. Provisional agenda for the twenty-ninth session.

10. Adoption of the report of the Committee on its twenty-eighth session.

Chapter IX

Adoption of the report

386. The Committee considered the draft report on its twenty-seventh session (CEDAW/C/2002/I/L.1 and CEDAW/C/2002/II/CRP.3 and Add.1-6) at its 567th meeting (see CEDAW/C/SR.567) and adopted it, as orally revised during the discussion.

Notes

1 See General Assembly resolution 48/104 of 20 December 1993.

2 Official Records of the General Assembly, Fifty-sixth Session, Supplement No. 38 (A/56/38), Part I, paras. 373-385.

Annex

Revised reporting guidelines

A. Introduction

A.1. These guidelines replace all earlier reporting guidelines issued by the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW/C/7/Rev.3), which may now be disregarded. The present guidelines do not affect the Committee’s procedure in relation to any exceptional reports which may be requested which are governed by the Rule 48.5 of the Committee’s Rules of Procedure and its Decision 21/I on exceptional reports.

A.2. These guidelines will be effective for all reports to be submitted after 31 December 2002.

A.3. The guidelines should be followed by States parties in the preparation of initial and all subsequent periodic reports.

A.4. Compliance with these guidelines will reduce the need for the Committee to request further information when it proceeds to consider a report; it will also help the Committee to consider the situation regarding human rights in every State party on an equal basis.

B. Framework of the Convention concerning reports

B.1. Every State party, upon ratifying or acceding to the Convention, undertakes, under article 18, to submit, within a year of the Convention’s entry into force for that State, an initial report on the legislative, judicial, administrative or other measures it has adopted to give effect to the provisions of the Convention and progress made in this respect; and thereafter periodic reports at least every four years and further whenever the Committee so requests.

C. General guidance for contents of all reports

C.1. The articles and the Committee’s general recommendations. The terms of the articles in Parts I, II, III and IV of the Convention must, together with general recommendations adopted by the Committee on any such article, or on a theme addressed by the Convention, be taken into account in preparing the report.

C.2. Reservations and declarations. Any reservation to or declaration as to any article of the Convention by the State party should be explained and its continued maintenance justified. Taking account of the Committee’s statement on reservations adopted at its nineteenth session (see A/53/38/Rev.1, part two, chap. I, sect. A), the precise effect of any reservation or declaration in terms of national law and policy should be explained. States parties that have entered general reservations which do not refer to a specific article, or which are directed at articles 2 and/or 3 should report on the effect and the interpretation of those reservations. States parties should provide information on any reservations or declarations they may have lodged with regard to similar obligations in other human rights treaties.

C.3. Factors and difficulties. Article 18.2 of the Convention provides that factors and difficulties affecting the degree of fulfilment of obligations under the Convention may be indicated. A report should explain the nature and extent of, and reasons for every such factor and difficulty, if any such exist; and should give details of the steps being taken to overcome them.

C.4. Data and statistics. A report should include sufficient data and statistics disaggregated by sex relevant to each article and the general recommendations of the Committee to enable it to assess progress in the implementation of the Convention.

C.5. Core document. Where the State party has already prepared a core document, this will be available to the Committee. It should be updated as necessary in the report, particularly as regards “General legal framework” and “Information and publicity” (HRI/CORE/1, annex).

D. The initial report

D.1. General

D.1.1. This report is the State party’s first opportunity to present to the Committee the extent to which its laws and practices comply with the Convention which it has ratified. The report should:

(a) Establish the constitutional, legal and administrative framework for the implementation of the Convention;

(b) Explain the legal and practical measures adopted to give effect to the provisions of the Convention;

(c) Demonstrate the progress made in ensuring enjoyment of the provisions of the Convention by the people within the State party and subject to its jurisdiction.

D.2. Contents of the report

D.2.1. A State party should deal specifically with every article in Parts I, II, III and IV of the Convention; legal norms should be described, but that is not sufficient: the factual situation and the practical availability, effect and implementation of remedies for violation of provisions of the Convention should be explained and exemplified.

D.2.2. The report should explain:

(1) Whether the Convention is directly applicable in domestic law on ratification, or has been incorporated into the national Constitution or domestic law so as to be directly applicable;

(2) Whether the provisions of the Convention are guaranteed in a Constitution or other laws and to what extent; or if not, whether its provisions can be invoked before and given effect to by courts, tribunals and administrative authorities;

(3) How article 2 of the Convention is applied, setting out the principal legal measures which the State party has taken to give effect to Convention rights; and the range of remedies available to persons whose rights may have been violated.

D.2.3. Information should be given about the judicial, administrative and other competent authorities having jurisdiction with respect to the implementation of the provisions of the Convention.

D.2.4. The report should include information about any national or official institution or machinery which exercises responsibility in implementing the provisions of the Convention or in responding to complaints of violations of those provisions, and give examples of their activities in this respect.

D.2.5. The report should outline any restrictions or limitations, even of a temporary nature, imposed by law, practice or tradition, or in any other manner on the enjoyment of each provision of the Convention.

D.2.6. The report should describe the situation of non-governmental organizations and women’s associations and their participation in the implementation of the Convention and the preparation of the report.

D.3. Annexes to the report

D.3.1. The report should contain sufficient quotations from or summaries of the relevant principal constitutional, legislative and other texts which guarantee and provide remedies in relation to Convention rights.

D.3.2. The reports should be accompanied by these texts, which will not be translated or copied, but will be made available to the Committee.

E. Subsequent periodic reports

E.1. In general, the subsequent periodic reports of States parties should focus on the period between the consideration of their previous report and the presentation of the current reports. There should be two starting points for such reports:

(a) The concluding comments (particularly “Concerns” and “Recommendations”) on the previous report;

(b) An examination by the State party of the progress made towards and the current implementation of the Convention within its territory or jurisdiction and the enjoyment of its provisions by those within its territory or jurisdiction.

E.2. Periodic reports should be structured so as to follow the articles of the Convention. If there is nothing new to report under any article, it should be so stated. Periodic reports should also highlight any remaining obstacle to the participation of women on an equal basis with men in the political, social, economic and cultural life of the State party.

E.3. The State party should refer again to the guidance on initial reports and on annexes, insofar as these may also apply to periodic reports.

E.4. There may be circumstances where the following matters should be addressed:

(a) A fundamental change may have occurred in the State party’s political and legal approach affecting Convention implementation: in such a case a full article-by-article report may be required;

(b) New legal or administrative measures may have been introduced which require the annexure of texts, and judicial or other decisions.

F. Optional protocol

F.1. If the State party has ratified or acceded to the Optional Protocol and the Committee has issued Views entailing provision of a remedy or expressing any other concern, relating to a communication received under that Protocol, a report should include information about the steps taken to provide a remedy, or meet such a concern, and to ensure that any circumstance giving rise to the communication does not recur.

F.2. If the State party has ratified or acceded to the Optional Protocol and the Committee has conducted an inquiry under article 8 of the Optional Protocol, a report should include details of any measures taken in response to an inquiry, and to ensure that the violations giving rise to the inquiry do not recur.

G. Measures to implement outcomes of United Nations conferences, summits and reviews

G.1. In the light of paragraph 323 of the Beijing Platform for Action, adopted at the Fourth World Conference on Women, in September 1995, initial and subsequent reports of States parties should contain information on the implementation of the actions to be taken in regard to the 12 critical areas of concern identified in the Platform. Reports should also contain information on the implementation of the Further actions and initiatives to implement the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action agreed by the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first session” in June 2000.

G.2. Taking into account the gender dimensions of declarations, platforms and programmes of action adopted by relevant United Nations conferences, summits and special sessions of the General Assembly (such as the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance and the Second World Assembly on Ageing), reports should include information on the implementation of specific aspects of these documents which relate to specific articles of the Convention in the light of the subjects with which they deal (for example, migrant women or older women).

H. The Committee’s consideration of reports

H.1. General

H.1.1. The Committee intends its consideration of a report to take the form of a constructive discussion with the delegation, the aim of which is to improve the situation pertaining to Convention rights in the State.

H.2. List of issues and questions with respect to periodic reports

H.2.1. On the basis of all information at its disposal, the Committee will supply in advance a list of issues or questions which will form the basic agenda for consideration of periodic reports. Written answers to the list of issues of questions will be required from the State party several months in advance of the session at which the report will be considered. The delegation should come prepared to address the list of issues and to respond to further questions from members, with such updated information as may be necessary; and to do so within the time allocated for consideration of the report.

H.3. The State party’s delegation

H.3.1. The Committee wishes to ensure that it is able effectively to perform its functions under article 18 and that the reporting State party should obtain the maximum benefit from the reporting requirement. The State party’s delegation should therefore include persons who, through their knowledge of and competence to explain the human rights situation in that State, are able to respond to the Committee’s written and oral questions and comments concerning the whole range of the Convention’s provisions.

H.4. Concluding comments

H.4.1. Shortly after the consideration of the report, the Committee will publish its concluding comments on the report and the constructive dialogue with the delegation. These concluding comments will be included in the Committee’s annual report to the General Assembly; the Committee expects the State party to disseminate these conclusions, in all appropriate languages, with a view to public information and discussion.

H.5. Extra information

H.5.1. In the course of its consideration of a report, the Committee may request, or the delegation may offer, further information; the secretariat will keep a note of such matters, which should be dealt with in the subsequent report.

I. Format of the report

I.1. Reports should be submitted in one of the six official languages of the United Nations (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Spanish or Russian). They should be submitted in hard and electronic form.

I.2. Reports should be as concise as possible. Initial reports should be no more than 100 pages; periodic reports should be no more than 70 pages.

I.3. Paragraphs should be sequentially numbered.

I.4. The document should be on A4-sized paper; and presented in single-spaced format.

I.5. The document should be printed on one side of each sheet of paper so as to allow for reproduction by photo-offset.

Part three

Report of the Committee on the Elimination

of Discrimination against Women on its

exceptional session

His Excellency Mr. Kofi Annan

Secretary-General of the United Nations

New York

Letter of transmittal

15 September 2002

Sir,

I have the honour to refer to article 21 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, according to which the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, established pursuant to the Convention, “shall, through the Economic and Social Council, report annually to the General Assembly of the United Nations on its activities”.

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women held its exceptional session at United Nations Headquarters from 5 to 23 August 2002. It adopted its report on the session at the 588th meeting, on 23 August 2002. The report of the Committee is herewith submitted to you for transmission to the General Assembly at its fifty-seventh session.

(Signed) Charlotte Abaka

Chairperson

Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women

Chapter I

Introduction

1. In its decision 25/I, adopted at its twenty-fifth session, the Committee, taking into account the fact that a significant number of reports of States parties were awaiting consideration and that it was concerned that the information contained therein would become obsolete, requested the General Assembly to approve, on an exceptional basis, a session of three weeks’ duration in August 2002, consisting of 30 meetings of the Committee to be used entirely for the consideration of the reports of States parties in order to reduce the backlog of reports.

2. In its resolution 56/229 of 24 December 2001, the General Assembly acknowledged the number of reports awaiting consideration by the Committee and decided to authorize the Committee to hold, on an exceptional basis, an extraordinary session of three weeks’ duration in 2002 to be used entirely for the consideration of the reports of the States parties.

3. A total of 11 States parties presented reports at the Committee’s exceptional session, which was held from 5 to 23 August 2002.

Chapter II

Organizational and other matters

A. States parties to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

4. On 23 August 2002, the closing date of the exceptional session of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, there were 170 States parties to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, which was adopted by the General Assembly in its resolution 34/180 of 18 December 1979 and opened for signature, ratification and accession in New York in March 1980. In accordance with its article 27, the Convention entered into force on 3 September 1981.

5. A list of States parties to the Convention is contained in annex I to the present report. A list of States parties that have accepted the amendment to article 20, paragraph 1, of the Convention is contained in annex II. A list of States parties that have signed, ratified or acceded to the Optional Protocol to the Convention is contained in annex III.

B. Opening of the session

6. The Committee held is exceptional session at United Nations Headquarters from 5 to 23 August 2002. The Committee held 24 plenary meetings (568th to 588th) and met as a working group of the whole in 6 meetings.

7. The session was opened by the Chairperson of the Committee, Charlotte Abaka (Ghana), who had been elected at the twenty-fourth session of the Committee, in January 2001.

8. Addressing the Committee at its 568th meeting, on 5 August 2002, the Assistant Secretary-General and Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women, Angela E. V. King, welcomed the members of the Committee to the exceptional session and informed them about several events which had taken place between the twenty-seventh and exceptional sessions.

9. The Special Adviser informed the Committee about the open debate of the Security Council on conflict, peacekeeping and gender, where she had presented some findings, including challenges and recommendations emanating from the Secretary-General’s study on women, peace and security. She stated that the study, which was nearly completed, was based on inputs from all United Nations entities that participated in the Inter-agency Task Force on Women, Peace and Security, and provided the collective wisdom and experience of the United Nations system, both at Headquarters and in the field. The study considered the impact of armed conflict on women and girls at every stage of conflict, and revealed that violence against women and girls during armed conflict often continues as domestic violence when the conflict is over. The study concluded that sustainable peace and lasting security could not be achieved without the empowerment of women and made recommendations on protection issues, humanitarian law, girl child soldiers, disarmament, demobilization, resettlement and rebuilding.

10. The Special Adviser highlighted the multi-year programme of work of the Commission on the Status of Women for 2002-2006 and informed the Committee that the Commission would consider two thematic issues at its forty-seventh session, in 2003, in addition to the regular items on its agenda. Those themes were: “participation and access of women to the media, and information and communication technologies and their impact on and use as an instrument for the advancement and empowerment of women” and “women’s human rights and elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls as defined in the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome document of the special session of the General Assembly entitled ‘Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century’”. She indicated that expert group meetings on those topics would be held in November 2002.

11. The Special Adviser drew the Committee’s attention to the ratification of the Convention by Bahrain on 18 June 2002. She informed the Committee that that brought the total number of States parties to 170, and she assured the Committee that her Office and the Division for the Advancement of Women would continue to take every opportunity to encourage ratification of the Convention and the Optional Protocol, as well as the amendment to article 20, paragraph 1. The Special Adviser informed the Committee of the positive feedback which she had received from the States parties at the informal meeting of States parties that the Committee convened during its twenty-seventh session. The Special Adviser also stated that the Division was planning to hold a reporting workshop in November, at the headquarters of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), for East Asian States parties which have not yet submitted reports to the Committee.

12. In closing, the Special Adviser informed the Committee about the General Assembly’s target of 50 per cent women in all Professional and higher-level posts. She stated that that goal was still far from being met; as of 30 June 2002, in the entire United Nations system, including the Secretariat, only 34 per cent of women held posts at those levels. She called on the Committee to ask States parties to routinely provide information on how many women nationals work for international or regional organizations, which would assist the Secretary-General in meeting the goal of 50 per cent gender equality.

C. Attendance

13. Twenty-one members of the Committee attended the exceptional session. Naela Gabr attended from 9 to 23 August; Göran Melander from 19 to 23 August. Emna Aouij and Mavivi Myakayaka-Manzini did not attend the session.

14. A list of the members of the Committee indicating the duration of their terms of office appears in annex IV of the present report.

D. Adoption of the agenda and organization of work

15. The Committee considered the provisional agenda and proposed organization of work (CEDAW/C/2002/EXC/1) at its 568th meeting, on 5 August 2002. The agenda as adopted was as follows:

1. Opening of the session.

2. Adoption of the agenda and organization of work.

3. Report of the Chairperson on activities undertaken between the twenty-seventh and the exceptional sessions of the Committee.

4. Consideration of the reports submitted by States parties under article 18 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

5. Implementation of article 22 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

6. Adoption of the report of the Committee on its exceptional session.

E. Report of the pre-session working group

16. A pre-session working group of the Committee was convened from 4 to 8 February 2002 to prepare lists of issues and questions relating to the periodic reports that would be considered by the Committee at the exceptional session. The pre-session working group for the exceptional session, as authorized by the General Assembly in its resolution 56/229, met together with the pre-session working group for the twenty-seventh session. The following 10 members of the Committee participated: Charlotte Abaka (Africa), Ivanka Corti (Europe), Yolanda Ferrer Gómez (Latin America and the Caribbean), Rosalyn Hazelle (Latin America and the Caribbean), Rosario Manalo (Asia), Göran Melander (Europe), Mavivi Myakayaka-Manzini (Africa), Frances Livingstone Raday (Europe), Zelmira Regazzoli (Latin America and the Caribbean) and Heisoo Shin (Asia).

17. The working group prepared lists of issues and questions relating to the reports of 11 States parties, namely, Argentina, Armenia, Barbados, Czech Republic, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, Mexico, Peru, Uganda and Yemen.

18. At its 568th meeting, on 5 August 2002, Ms. Ivanka Corti, on behalf of the Chairperson of the pre-sessional working group, Mr. Göran Melander, introduced the report of the group (CEDAW/PSWG/2002/EXC/CRP.1 and Add.1-10).

Chapter III

Report of the Chairperson on the activities undertaken between the twenty-seventh and exceptional sessions of

the Committee

19. At its 568th meeting, on 5 August 2002, the Chairperson of the Committee, Charlotte Abaka, briefed the Committee on her attendance at the 14th Meeting of Chairpersons of Treaty Bodies, where she was elected Chairperson/Rapporteur of the meeting. She stated that the meeting gave Chairpersons the opportunity to exchange views and engage in dialogue with others in the field, including the Commission on Human Rights and its special procedures, and the Subcommission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights.

20. The Chairperson also briefed the Committee on the fourth joint meeting with special procedures mandate-holders, where the importance of interaction with the special procedures of the Commission on Human Rights was discussed and recommendations made that the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights explore ways of encouraging further dialogue between them. The Chairperson stated that the next joint meeting would be dedicated to a discussion on globalization and its impact upon the various mandates of the special procedures and treaty bodies.

21. The Chairperson drew the Committee’s attention to the informal consultation between States parties and the Chairpersons, in which a number of issues were discussed, including the periodicity of reports, the burden that reports can entail, in particular for small States, and consideration of reports by States parties. She stated that, owing to the interest generated during the meeting, it had been agreed that an entire day would be dedicated to an informal consultation between States parties and the Chairpersons in 2003.

22. The Chairperson informed the Committee on the first Inter-Committee meeting, which focused on ways of strengthening cooperation and collaboration among the treaty bodies and ways of harmonizing their working methods. She stated that, owing to the success of the Inter-Committee meeting, it was recommended that a second meeting be convened in two years to discuss outstanding issues from the first Inter-Committee meeting. She noted in particular that all participants in the Inter-Committee meeting had agreed that human rights treaty bodies should work together in a complementary way in order to include the holistic nature of the human rights treaty framework.

Chapter IV

Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 18 of the Convention

A. Introduction

23. At its exceptional session, the Committee considered the reports of 11 States parties submitted under article 18 of the Convention: the second periodic reports of two States parties; the third periodic report of one State party; the combined third and fourth periodic report of one State party; the fourth periodic reports of three States parties; the combined fourth and fifth periodic reports of two States parties; and the fifth periodic reports of five States parties.

24. The Committee prepared concluding comments on each of the reports considered. The Committee’s concluding comments, as prepared by members of the Committee, and a summary of the introductory presentations by the representatives of the States parties are provided below.

B. Consideration of reports of States parties

1. Second periodic reports

Armenia

25. The Committee considered the second periodic report of Armenia (CEDAW/C/ARM/2) at its 571st and 572nd meetings on 7 August 2002 (see CEDAW/C/SR.571 and 572).

(a) Introduction by the State party

26. In introducing the report, the representative of Armenia informed the Committee that the Government had sought to implement the recommendations and suggestions in the Committee’s concluding comments on Armenia’s initial report, but despite its best efforts, 10 years had not been sufficient for Armenia to solve the problems it had faced as a result of transition, a devastating earthquake, a blockade and other extremely difficult circumstances.

27. In May 2002 a decree of the Prime Minister had created the position of Deputy Minister for Women’s Issues within the Ministry of Social Security. The Deputy Minister heads the Department of Women’s Affairs, coordinates all women-related activities of other ministries, ensures collaboration with women’s non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and enforces compliance with the Convention. By the same decree, two commissions for women’s issues had been established, the first to develop the “National Programme and Plan of Action for the Improvement of Women’s Status and the Enhancement of their Role in the Society” and create mechanisms for its implementation, and the second to deal with trafficking of women.

28. The Government was aware of the crucial role of NGOs in the advancement of women. NGOs had traditionally worked in close collaboration with government entities, but four NGO representatives had been included in one of the commissions, thereby allowing for more direct cooperation, including in the design and implementation of government programmes. Women’s NGOs and the Ministry of Social Security had collaborated on the creation of the “Ororots” or “Cradle” Programme, which supported pregnant women and newborns. The Ministries of Health and Social Security and NGOs were also planning additional projects aimed at improving conditions in maternity wards in the light of the maternal mortality rate, which had increased from 32 per 100,000 from 1995 to 1997 to 42 per 100,000 between 1998 and 2000.

29. Although there was no legal impediment to women standing for election to the National Assembly, there were only four women in the 131-member National Assembly. A fair and transparent environment needed to be created with sufficient financial resources and the removal of social, cultural and psychological barriers to encourage a greater number of women to run for office; however, partly as a result of training and seminars by NGOs, data indicated that more women would run in the regional and municipal elections scheduled for 20 October 2002 than in previous years.

30. The representative indicated that the Ministry of Social Security planned to create new employment opportunities for women, implement special zero-interest microcredit programmes in urban and rural areas to support women entrepreneurs, promote the activities of women in small and medium-sized businesses and increase the financing given to state-operated day-care facilities. One of the most important goals of the Ministry of Social Security was the removal of discrimination against women through the reduction of poverty and a “Poverty Reduction Strategy” had been presented to the public for discussion.

31. The representative indicated that, since its independence, Armenia had signed and ratified over 40 international instruments on human rights, a number of which were directed at the protection of women’s rights. Armenia had signed the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its supplementary Protocols to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, and against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air, and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, and it was envisaged that those instruments would be ratified during the fall session of the National Assembly. In addition, Armenia had become a full member of the Council of Europe on 25 January 2001 and signed the European Convention on the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and its Protocols. Under the Decree by the President of Armenia, a special working group was set up, which would develop recommendations on legislative reforms and practical measures aimed at compliance with the requirements of the Convention. National legislation affirmed the notion of equality of rights for everyone in all spheres, equality of opportunity for women and men in health care, education, economic opportunities, employment and the administration of justice.

32. The Constitutional Court assessed whether the obligations in international instruments were in compliance with the Armenian Constitution prior to their ratification. On ratification, treaties became an integral part of the Armenian legal system, with Article 116 of the Constitution providing that laws and other legal acts of the Republic of Armenia should apply to the extent that they did not contradict the Constitution. Draft legislation was submitted to international experts in order to assess their compliance with Armenia’s international obligations, especially in the field of human rights.

33. Trafficking in women was a comparatively new phenomenon in Armenia and was not directly addressed in legislation. Some of the components of trafficking, such as illegal border crossing and the preparation of forged documents, were punishable under current laws, and a number of articles in the Criminal Code, including those on rape, sex with minors, bogus marriage, polygamy, pimping and kidnapping, were also relevant. A special inter-ministerial working group tasked with elaborating appropriate programmes of action, proposing necessary legislative reforms or amendments and designing concrete projects had recently been formed, and television programmes, articles and awareness-raising campaigns had also addressed the issue. The Government believed that the provision of qualified assistance and professional consultation on migration issues would reduce the risk of trafficking for potential migrants and, accordingly, in March 2002, the State Department for Migration and Refugees established a “Migrants Service Point” (MSP), which was also implementing trafficking prevention programmes.

34. The representative indicated that, although reported rates of crimes against women in the home were very low, it was generally acknowledged that they were underreported because of the desire to keep the family together for the sake of the children, financial dependence or fear of public opinion. Social and economic conditions also prevented reporting and prosecutions. Although the Criminal Code regulated acts of violence against women in general, there was no specific legislation on domestic violence, and large numbers considered that a man was justified in beating his wife in certain situations. The representative indicated that public attitudes towards the legal system were negative and consequently resort to courts was unusual. An anti-corruption strategy and action plan were developed and submitted for the approval of the Prime Minister by the Joint Working Group on Anti-Corruption.

35. The representative stated that the transition to a market economy had not been a gradual process, but had been fragmented and the impact on the State economy had been significant. Although 98 to 99 per cent of the population was literate, 55 per cent lived in poverty and about 66 per cent of the unemployed in Armenia were women. In general, women were employed in less mobile and consequently non-competitive situations in the labour market, which resulted, inter alia, in a decrease in their standard of living. Currently, social security and benefits were reduced to a minimum for categories such as single mothers, mothers with more than one child and those with disabilities. There had also been budget reductions in health, education and culture. Many mothers had chosen to place their children under State guardianship, and the Ministry of Social Security together with UNICEF were monitoring orphanages as well as families which had placed their children in those facilities. As a result, many children would be returned to their families and would receive some financial assistance.

36. In concluding, the representative emphasized the commitment of the Government of Armenia to improving the situation of women and securing de jure and de facto equality between women and men. The challenges facing women had become more clearly articulated in recent years, the number of women’s NGOs had significantly increased and society was becoming more conscious of gender issues. The public perception of gender roles had not changed significantly, but there was greater consciousness of the necessity of changing the existing situation.

(b) Concluding comments of the Committee

Introduction

37. The Committee commends the State party on its second report, which was presented in a timely manner. It also commends the State party for the written replies to the questions of the Committee’s pre-session working group, and the frank oral presentation of the delegation that sought to clarify the current situation of women in Armenia, and provided additional information on the implementation of the Convention.

38. The Committee congratulates the State party for the high-level delegation headed by the Permanent Representative of Armenia to the United Nations and the Deputy Minister for Social Security. The Committee appreciates the open dialogue that took place between the delegation and the members of the Committee.

Positive aspects

39. The Committee welcomes the establishment of a national machinery for the advancement of women through the creation, in May 2002, of the position of Deputy Minister for Women’s Issues in the Ministry of Social Security to coordinate all the activities of other ministries with regard to women and to ensure collaboration with women’s NGOs.

40. The Committee expresses satisfaction at the continuing achievements of Armenian women in the field of education, particularly in the technical and scientific areas, including new technology.

41. The Committee welcomes the growing number of non-governmental organizations that play a prominent role in promoting women’s empowerment in Armenia and appreciates that the State party has included four NGO representatives in its Commission on Human Rights.

Principal areas of concern and recommendations

42. The Committee is concerned that women are underrepresented in decision-making and political bodies, in particular in the National Assembly where they hold only 4 out of 131 seats. The Committee is concerned that women’s skills and potential are not sufficiently utilized in Armenia’s efforts to battle the serious economic and social challenges the State party is facing, including the refugee problem. The Committee is also concerned that, despite their participation in the NGO sector, women are not active in politics generally, and that their level of participation in political parties is less than 20 per cent.

43. The Committee recommends the adoption and implementation of measures to increase women’s participation in the political sphere and to consider applying temporary special measures set forth in article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention, such as quotas. The Committee recommends that the State party offer support training programmes for current and future women leaders and carry out awareness-raising campaigns on the importance of women’s participation in political decision-making.

44. The Committee notes that, despite the growing number of NGOs active in women’ empowerment, the cooperation between the State party and non-governmental organizations in the implementation of the Convention and the preparation of the report has been limited.

45. The Committee encourages the State party to involve non-governmental organizations in all stages of the implementation of the Convention, including in policy-making.

46. The Committee expresses concern at the prevalence of violence against women and that the current legislation on violence does not include any specific provisions on domestic violence. It is concerned that the current penalties for rape are very light and can suggest to the community that this infringement of human rights is not a serious crime.

47. The Committee urges the State party to recognize that violence against women, including domestic violence, constitutes a violation of the human rights of women under the Convention and requests the State party to place a high priority on the introduction of comprehensive and holistic measures to address violence against women and girls in the family and society. It calls on the State party to ensure that such violence is prosecuted and heavily penalized. Drawing on its general recommendation 19, the Committee requests the State party to enact legislation on domestic violence, and to ensure that victims have immediate means of redress and protection. It recommends that measures be taken to provide shelters for women and girl victims of violence and to ensure that all public officials, in particular law enforcement officials and the judiciary, as well as health providers and social workers, are fully sensitized to all forms of violence against women and girls. The Committee also recommends that the State party undertake awareness-raising measures, including zero-tolerance campaigns through the media and public education programmes, to ensure all forms of violence against women and girls, including domestic violence, are regarded as morally and socially unacceptable.

48. While noting the establishment of the Migrants Service Point as part of an anti-trafficking strategy, the Committee is concerned at the absence of a comprehensive policy, including legislation, to combat trafficking in women and girls. The Committee is also concerned that current legislative provisions to address components of trafficking may exacerbate the situation of victims, rather than discourage perpetrators.

49. The Committee urges the State party to assign the issue of trafficking in women and girls high priority through the formulation of a comprehensive strategy to combat this crime, which should include the prosecution and punishment of offenders and increased international, regional and bilateral cooperation with countries of origin, transit and destination of trafficked women. It recommends the introduction of measures aimed at improving the economic situation of women so as to eliminate their vulnerability to traffickers, education initiatives for vulnerable groups, including teenage girls, as well as social support, rehabilitation and reintegration measures for women and girls who have been victims of trafficking. The Committee calls on the State party to ensure that trafficked women and girls have the support they need so that they can give testimony against perpetrators of trafficking and urges training of border police and law enforcement personnel so that they have the skills necessary to recognize and provide support for victims of trafficking.

50. The Committee expresses concern at the lack of information in the report and in the responses on prostitution and that the State party has not made sufficient efforts to address the issue of exploitation of prostitutes.

51. The Committee requests the State party to provide information on prostitution in its next periodic report and to formulate and implement a comprehensive programme to address this phenomenon, including through the enactment of legislation against exploitation of prostitutes.

52. The Committee expresses concern that budget cuts in the health-care system severely limit women’s access to health care. It is concerned about the status of women’s health, especially their reproductive health, and the increase in the rate of maternal mortality. The Committee is concerned at the widespread use of abortion as a commonly used means of birth control, particularly in rural areas.

53. The Committee urges the State party to maintain access to affordable and adequate health care. Drawing attention to its general recommendation 24 on women and health, the Committee calls on the State party to ensure the availability and accessibility of affordable contraceptive means to both women and men as part of a comprehensive health policy. The Committee encourages the State party to promote programmes of sex education for both girls and boys. The Committee calls on the State party to take all appropriate steps to foster responsible sexual behaviour and take all appropriate steps to stop the use of abortion as a means of birth control.

54. The Committee is particularly concerned that deeply rooted patriarchal attitudes in the family and society persist despite the high level of education that women have achieved.

55. The Committee recommends that the State party take urgent and wide-ranging measures, such as the revision of curricula and textbooks and the implementation of awareness-raising programmes, including specific programmes targeting men and boys, to change stereotypical and discriminatory attitudes and perceptions about the roles and responsibilities of women and girls and men and boys in the family and in society.

56. The Committee expresses concern at the higher level of women’s unemployment than men’s. The Committee is concerned at the lack of sex-disaggregated data relating to specific employment issues, in particular wages. It is concerned that there is no equal employment opportunities legislation, providing appropriate civil and criminal remedies for discrimination in hiring, promotion, dismissal and sexual harassment in the public and private sectors. The Committee is also concerned that some of the protective provisions for women in employment are formulated in a way that perpetuates disadvantageous stereotypes.

57. The Committee recommends that the State party adopt equal employment opportunities legislation. The Committee also recommends the setting up of training programmes aiming to facilitate women’s employment and urges the State party to collate sex-disaggregated data on all aspects of women’s employment, and especially wages, so as to address the employment situation in an informed way. In addition, the Committee recommends that the State party review its protective legislation in order to address any negative impact it may have on women’s employment.

58. The Committee expresses concern regarding the situation of rural women, including their access to health-care services and income-generating activities.

59. The Committee encourages the State party to develop special policies and programmes aimed at the economic empowerment of rural women and their access to health-care services.

60. The Committee is concerned that the situation of growing economic hardship and extreme poverty in the country, especially the feminization of poverty, negatively impacts on women’s enjoyment of their human rights.

61. The Committee urges the States party to develop poverty reduction programmes targeted to women, including for the predominantly female refugee population.

62. The Committee notes the insufficiency of sex-disaggregated statistical data in all fields. It is also concerned that the impact of policies and programmes aimed at the advancement of women has not been assessed.

63. The Committee recommends a comprehensive compilation of sex-disaggregated data and urges the State party to include relevant statistics and data in its next report. It also recommends the introduction of regular impact assessments of legislation, policies and programmes.

64. The Committee is concerned that the minimum legal age for marriage is 17 years for women and 18 years for men. It is also concerned that in exceptional circumstances girls may marry at 16.

65. The Committee recommends that the State party raise the age of marriage for women to 18 years.

66. The Committee urges the State party to sign and ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention and to deposit, as soon as possible, its instrument of acceptance of the amendment to article 20, paragraph 1 of the Convention on the Committee’s meeting time.

67. The Committee requests the State party to respond to the concerns expressed in these concluding comments in its next periodic report under article 18 of the Convention.

68. Taking account of the gender dimension of declarations, programmes and platforms for action adopted by relevant United Nations conferences, summits and special sessions (such as the special session of the General Assembly to review and appraise the implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (the twenty-first special session), the special session on children (the twenty-seventh special session), the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance and the Second World Assembly on Ageing), the Committee requests the State party to include information on the implementation of aspects of these documents relating to relevant articles of the Convention in its next periodic report.

69. The Committee requests the wide dissemination in Armenia of the present concluding comments in order to make the people of Armenia, and particularly government administrators and politicians, aware of the steps that have been taken to ensure de jure and de facto equality for women and the future steps required in that regard. It also requests the Government to continue to disseminate widely, in particular to women’s and human rights organizations, the Convention and its Optional Protocol, the Committee’s general recommendations, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, and the results of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, entitled “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace in the twenty-first century”.

Czech Republic

70. The Committee considered the second periodic report of the Czech Republic (CEDAW/C/CZE/2) at its 573rd and 574th meetings, on 8 August 2002 (see CEDAW/C/SR.573 and 574).

(a) Introduction by the State party

71. In introducing the second periodic report, the representative of the Czech Republic stated that his country was in a period of economic and social transformation, but that significant progress had been made during the last four years in areas covered by the Convention. Emphasis had been placed on the creation and enhancement of legal and institutional frameworks for the application of human rights and the achievement of equality between women and men.

72. The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs had been made responsible for the coordination of government policy relating to women and had developed a National Action Plan for the Advancement of Equality between Men and Women in 1998. The Plan was based on the concluding comments adopted by the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women on the previous report submitted to it by the Czech Republic. The Plan formed the basis for government priorities and procedures in achieving equality between men and women and was reviewed and updated annually. All ministries were required to develop, by the end of 2001, similar departmental priorities and procedures and to set up gender focal points. In March 2002, the Government adopted a National Plan for Employment, which included policy measures on equal opportunity in employment.

73. In relation to the protection of women’s human rights, the Government had, in 1998, established an advisory Human Rights Council, with a working committee on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women with membership drawn from both government officials and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). In 2000, the Office of the Public Human Rights Protector had been established, and in 2001 an advisory Government Council for Equal Opportunities for Women and Men had been created. The aim of the Council was the enhancement of institutional support for gender mainstreaming and gender equality. In 2002 and 2003, the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs would be undertaking a project to evaluate and remodel existing institutional mechanisms for the advancement of gender equality.

74. The representative indicated that the general elections of June 2002 provided an opportunity for the advancement of women’s representation in political life, with women gaining 17 per cent of parliamentary seats — four more seats than in the preceding period — and two ministerial positions. While women headed a number of other national institutions, such as the Supreme Court, the National Prosecutor’s Office, the National Statistics Bureau, the National Nuclear Safety Bureau and the National Academy of Science, there was still insufficient representation of women at decision-making levels.

75. A number of improvements had been made in the national legal system with regard to women’s rights. In May 2001, the Optional Protocol to the Convention had entered into force for the Czech Republic. The principle of gender equality had been introduced into the legal system through the revision of acts including the Employment Act, the Labour Code and the Wages and Salaries Acts. The position of plaintiffs in court proceedings relating to gender-based discrimination had been improved with the revision of the Civil Court Proceedings Act, which shifted the burden of proof from plaintiff to defendant. In response to the Committee’s concern that Czech legislation did not include a definition of discrimination, identified in its concluding comments on the previous report, a general act on protection against discrimination had been drafted and would be submitted to the Government by the end of 2002.

76. The representative stated that one of the main challenges to fulfilling the obligations under the Convention was the low level of public awareness on gender equality issues and indicated that the Government recognized that education and awareness campaigns should be the first step in implementing gender-based policies and affirmative action. In April 2001, the Government had agreed to incorporate, where appropriate, positive (affirmative) measures in relevant draft legislation.

77. With regard to violence against women, the suppression of trafficking in women was of great importance to the Government since the Czech Republic had become a country of origin, transit and, more recently, of destination of victims. The efforts of women’s NGOs and a public awareness campaign launched in 2001 highlighted the issue of domestic violence. In April 2001, an inter-ministerial working group had been set up to create interdisciplinary teams allowing for health care, social, legal and police cooperation in detecting and prosecuting cases of violence against women. The Government was preparing a new Penal Code in which domestic violence would be specifically addressed.

78. The representative noted that, while the Czech Republic had a high rate of employment among women, the stereotyped view of gender roles which persisted in society resulted in a double burden being placed on women in terms of their working and family lives. Particular importance was therefore being given to promoting legislative measures and changes in public opinion towards more active involvement of men in family life. To that end, the Government planned to support various measures focused on reconciliation of family and employment responsibilities which would assist in the promotion of equality of women and men in employment, politics and society.

79. In concluding, the representative emphasized the key role of international cooperation in formulating and advancing national policy in the area of gender equality and acknowledged the assistance the Czech Republic derived from such cooperation in identifying and formulating its policies in that area.

(b) Concluding comments of the Committee

80. The Committee expresses appreciation to the State party for submitting its second periodic report, which follows the Committee’s guidelines for the preparation of periodic reports. It commends the State party for the written replies to the issues raised by the pre-session working group and its oral presentation, which provided additional information on the current situation of the implementation of the Convention in the Czech Republic.

81. The Committee commends the State party on its delegation, which was headed by the Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Affairs and included officials from various branches of the Government.

Positive aspects

82. The Committee commends the efforts by the State party to implement the Convention. It welcomes the range of legislative reforms, policies, plans and assessment analyses, including the revisions to the Employment Act, the Labour Code, the Civil Procedure Code and the Criminal Procedure Code, and the Priorities and Proceedings of the Government in the Enforcement of the Equality between Men and Women, to eliminate discrimination against women. It welcomes the efforts at strengthening gender mainstreaming, and those undertaken to elaborate a draft general act on the protection against discrimination, including the introduction of temporary special measures in accordance with article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention, which are also to be considered in all other draft legal regulations, where appropriate.

83. The Committee welcomes the progressive development of the national machinery for the advancement of women and gender equality. It welcomes the establishment of mechanisms, including the Government Human Rights Council and the Office of the Public Human Rights Protector, for monitoring the promotion and protection of human rights, including the human rights of women.

84. The Committee commends the State party’s collaboration with and recognition of the important role of non-governmental organizations working on women’s issues.

85. The Committee notes with satisfaction the high level of women’s educational achievement and the reduction in maternal and infant mortality rates.

86. The Committee commends the State party for having ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention.

Principal areas of concern and recommendations

87. The Committee is concerned that women have seldom used laws to challenge acts of discrimination and that there is a lack of court decisions in which women have obtained redress for such acts. The Committee is also concerned that there is still a lack of familiarity with both the Convention itself and the opportunities for its application and enforcement, as well as with legislative reforms aimed at eliminating discrimination against women, including among the judiciary, law enforcement personnel and women themselves.

88. The Committee urges the State party to ensure that Czech law provides adequate and accessible enforcement procedures and legal remedies for violations of women’s rights. The Committee recommends the strengthening of education and training programmes in particular for judges, lawyers and law enforcement personnel on the Convention and on the legislative reforms aimed at eliminating discrimination against women. It urges the State party to ensure that Czech law provides adequate enforcement procedures and legal remedies for violation of women’s rights. It recommends that awareness-raising campaigns targeted at women be undertaken so that women can avail themselves of procedures and remedies for violations of the rights under the Convention. The Committee invites the State party to provide, in its next report, information about complaints filed in courts based on the Convention, as well as any court decisions that refer to the Convention. It encourages the State party to further reflect, within the framework of the intended legislation on discrimination, on the establishment of quasi-judicial mechanisms.

89. While recognizing the efforts of the State party to strengthen the national machinery for the advancement of women, the Committee remains concerned that the existing national machinery does not have sufficient power, visibility or financial and human resources to effectively promote the advancement of women and gender equality.

90. The Committee recommends that the State party strengthen the existing national machinery in order to make it more effective by providing it with adequate power, visibility and human and financial resources at all levels and enhancing coordination among the existing mechanisms for the advancement of women and the promotion of gender equality. It also recommends the strengthening of the State party’s gender mainstreaming efforts, and encourages, within the framework of the State party’s efforts at decentralization, the establishment of regional and local equal opportunities machinery.

91. While recognizing that the number of women in the Chamber of Deputies has increased and that there are currently two women ministers in the Government, the Committee is concerned about the low representation of women in high-level elected and appointed bodies, including Parliament, and as high-ranking officials within the executive bodies, the judiciary, the civil and diplomatic services and international organizations.

92. The Committee urges the State party to take measures, including improvements in the election law, to increase the representation of women in elected and appointed bodies through, inter alia, the implementation of temporary special measures, in accordance with article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention, in order to realize women’s right to participation in all areas of public life and, particularly, at high levels of decision-making. The Committee recommends that the State party increase its efforts in offering or supporting training programmes for current and future women leaders and carry out awareness-raising campaigns regarding the importance of women’s participation in political decision-making. The Committee also recommends that, parallel to efforts at the local level, efforts at promoting gender balance in the public sector at the national level be introduced.

93. While recognizing current legal and other efforts by the State party to address violence against women, the Committee is concerned about the persisting prevalence of violence against women and girls, including domestic violence. It is particularly concerned that domestic violence deprives women of their personal security and their access to safe accommodation.

94. In the light of its general recommendation 19, the Committee urges the State party to place high priority on the introduction of comprehensive and holistic measures to address violence against women in the family and in society. The Committee calls upon the State party to ensure that such violence is prosecuted and punished with the required seriousness and speed, and that women victims of violence have immediate means of redress and protection, including protection orders. The Committee requests the State party to enact legislation on domestic violence. It recommends that measures be taken to provide shelters for women victims of violence in sufficient numbers and to ensure that public officials, especially law enforcement officials, the judiciary, health-care providers and social workers, are fully sensitized to all forms of violence against women. The Committee invites the State party to undertake awareness-raising measures through the media and public education programmes, including a campaign of zero tolerance, to make such violence socially and morally unacceptable.

95. The Committee is concerned that the current attitudes towards incest, as expressed, inter alia, in the light penalties for this crime, as well as the penalties for rape, give an impression to the community that these infringements of human rights are not serious crimes. The Committee is concerned that the definition of the crime of rape is based on the use of force, rather than lack of consent and that rape within marriage is not currently considered a specific crime.

96. The Committee urges the State party to review and strengthen the penalties for the crimes of incest and rape in order to emphasize that these crimes are serious violations of women’s human rights. The Committee urges the State party to define the crime of rape as sexual intercourse without consent and to explicitly address the crime of rape within marriage.

97. Recognizing the efforts made by the State party to address the issue of trafficking in women and girls, the Committee remains concerned about the prevalence of this problem. The Committee is concerned about reports that the Czech Republic has become a country of origin, transit and destination of trafficked women and girls. It notes with concern that there is still not enough information on the subject.

98. The Committee urges the State party to continue its efforts to combat trafficking in women and girls and requests the State party to include in its next report comprehensive information and data on the issue and on progress made in this area. It recommends the formulation of a comprehensive strategy to combat trafficking in women and girls, including within the territory of the State party, which should include the prosecution and punishment of offenders and increased international regional and bilateral cooperation with other countries of origin, transit and destination of trafficked women and girls. It recommends the introduction of measures aimed at improving the economic situation of women so as to eliminate their vulnerability to traffickers, education initiatives for vulnerable groups, including teenage girls, and social support, rehabilitation and reintegration measures for women and girls who have been victims of trafficking. It calls on the Government to ensure that trafficked women and girls have the support they need so that they can provide testimony against their traffickers. It urges that training of border police and law enforcement officials provide them with the requisite skills to recognize victims of trafficking and to provide them with support.

99. While welcoming the high labour force participation rate of women and the legislative reforms in the area of employment, including the amendments to the Employment Act, the Labour Code, the Act on Wages and the Act on Salaries, the Committee expresses concern about the situation of women in the labour market, including women’s high unemployment rate as compared with that of men and the strong vertical and horizontal segregation and wage differentials between women and men. The Committee is concerned at the lack of enforcement mechanisms and thus at the lack of de facto enforcement of the equal opportunity standards which have been introduced by law.

100. The Committee urges the State party to ensure de facto equal opportunities for women and men in the labour market through, inter alia, use of temporary special measures in accordance with article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention. The Committee recommends that efforts be made to eliminate occupational segregation, horizontal and vertical, through, inter alia, education, training and retraining and enforcement mechanisms. It also recommends wage increases in female-dominated sectors of public employment to close the wage gap between these and male-dominated sectors. The Committee recommends that measures allowing for the reconciliation between family and professional responsibilities be strengthened and that the equal sharing of domestic and family tasks between women and men be promoted. The Committee requests the State party to provide information in its next report on the implementation of the legislative reforms in the area of employment and the impact of such reforms, including an analysis of the efforts of the relevant monitoring bodies.

101. The Committee is concerned about the status of women’s health, especially their reproductive health. While recognizing the 60 per cent decrease in abortion since 1994 and the progressive increase in the use of intrauterine and hormonal contraceptives, the Committee is concerned that the current abortion rate may suggest that abortion is still being used as a means of birth control. It is also concerned that voluntary sterilization for women is permitted solely for health reasons. The Committee is concerned about the rate of consumption among women of prescribed sedative and barbiturate drugs.

102. The Committee draws attention to its general recommendation No. 24 on women and health and recommends the collection of data disaggregated by sex as well as comprehensive research into the specific health needs of women, including their reproductive health, the full implementation of a life-cycle approach to women’s health, the financial and organizational strengthening of family planning programmes, the provision of wide access to safe and affordable contraceptives for all women and men, and the lifting of the restrictions on voluntary sterilization. The Committee urges the State party to reinforce programmes of sexual and reproductive education for both girls and boys. The Committee calls on the State party to encourage responsible sexual behaviour and further discourage abortion as a means of birth control. The Committee requests more information on the prevalence of, and measures taken against, abuse of sedative and barbiturate drugs among women and on the mental health situation of women.

103. The Committee is concerned about the persistence of traditional stereotypes regarding the role and tasks of women and men in the family and in society at large.

104. The Committee urges the State party to design and implement comprehensive programmes in the educational system and to encourage the mass media to promote cultural changes with regard to the roles and responsibilities attributed to women and men, as required by article 5 of the Convention. It recommends that policies be developed and programmes implemented to ensure the eradication of traditional sex role stereotypes in the family, in employment, in politics and in society.

105. The Committee expresses concern about the lack of information in the report on Roma women.

106. The Committee requests the State party to provide, in its next report, information on the situation of Roma women as compared with non-Roma women and Roma men, especially as regards their health, educational and employment status.

107. The Committee expresses concern about the lack of information in the report on older women.

108. The Committee requests the State party to provide, in its next report, information on the situation of older women as compared with older men, especially as regards their health, educational and employment status, including social security benefits.

109. The Committee urges the State party to accept the amendment to article 20, paragraph 1, of the Convention, concerning the meeting time of the Committee.

110. Taking account of the gender dimension of declarations, programmes and platforms for action adopted by relevant United Nations conferences, summits and special sessions (such as the special session of the General Assembly to review and appraise the implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (the twenty-first special session), the special session on children (the twenty-seventh special session), the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance and the Second World Assembly on Ageing), the Committee requests the State party to include information on the implementation of aspects of these documents relating to relevant articles of the Convention in its next periodic report.

111. The Committee requests the State party to respond to the concerns expressed in the present concluding comments in its next periodic report to be submitted under article 18 of the Convention. It also requests that the report address the general recommendations of the Committee and provide information on the impact of legislation, policies and programmes to implement the Convention.

112. The Committee requests the wide dissemination in the Czech Republic of the present concluding comments in order to make the people of the Czech Republic, in particular government administrators and politicians, aware of the steps that have been taken to ensure the de jure and de facto equality of women and the further steps required in this regard. It also requests the State party to continue to disseminate widely, in particular to women’s and human rights organizations, the Convention, its Optional Protocol, the Committee’s general recommendations and the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, as well as the results of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, entitled “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century”.

2. Third periodic report

Uganda

113. The Committee considered the third periodic report of Uganda (CEDAW/C/UGA/3) at its 575th and 576th meetings on 9 August 2002 (see CEDAW/C/SR.575 and 576).

(a) Introduction by the State party

114. In introducing the third report, the Minister for Gender, Labour and Social Development indicated that her country had made significant progress in the 17 years since its ratification of the Convention in 1985, and that great strides had been taken towards the implementation of the provisions of the Convention despite some obstacles.

115. Since the last presentation, in February 1995, several measures had been taken to strengthen the legal and policy framework for implementation. The Government had adopted the National Gender Policy and formulated a National Action Plan on Women, which provided guidance on strategies and interventions for the empowerment of women. Measures had been taken to strengthen the legal framework, and proposed laws on domestic relations, sexual offences and employment were currently under consideration.

116. Through the affirmative action policy, the number of women in decision-making positions had risen from 17 per cent in 1994 to 39 per cent in 2002. Women now held key posts, including those of the Vice-President, Deputy Chief Justice, Deputy Speaker of Parliament and Deputy Inspector-General of Police. The representative also noted that civil society organizations had supported the Government’s affirmative action policy of strengthening women’s political participation through capacity-building programmes, including training in leadership skills.

117. Among the most important advances was the adoption of a new Constitution considered globally as one of the most gender-sensitive. The new Constitution, inter alia, emphasized respect for human rights and freedoms, affirmed the equality of all persons and obliged the State to institute affirmative action measures in favour of disadvantaged groups for purposes of redressing structural and social inequality.

118. As part of the Government’s commitment to social and economic development, a Poverty Eradication Action Plan containing mechanisms for eradicating absolute poverty by 2017, had been developed to ensure sustainable livelihoods for all Ugandans, including women. Gender mainstreaming was a guiding principle of the plan.

119. The Government had responded to the Committee’s call for the eradication of gender-based abuse and violence. Violations against women and children were now dealt with under the Penal Code Act. Family protection units had been established at police posts, and sensitization and awareness-raising measures had been introduced.

120. Through a multisectoral approach to the HIV/AIDS pandemic, prevalence rates had fallen to an average of 6.1 per cent in 2002 from 22 per cent 10 years before. Special attention had been given to awareness-raising, voluntary testing and counselling, and the prevention of mother-to-child transmission.

121. In compliance with commitments in the Beijing Platform for Action, a national machinery now oversaw gender mainstreaming and advancement of women initiatives, thereby facilitating the promotion of the status of women within the policy and institutional framework. The representative indicated that, although the national machinery had undergone structural and institutional changes, the goal of achieving women’s advancement and gender equality had been retained.

122. The Government had formulated a Universal Primary Education Programme to provide free education for all children in primary school, which had enabled 6.9 million children, 3.37 million of whom were female, to enrol in school by 2001. The strategy emphasized the provision of adequate facilities to meet the needs of the girl child and children with disabilities.

123. Despite achievements made in the past few years to promote gender equality and the advancement of women, obstacles still existed. Challenges faced by the Government included, inter alia, poverty, lack of sex-disaggregated data, gender-specific information for informed policy and programme formulation, and the persistence of traditional attitudes and practices. Despite these challenges, the Government remained committed to meeting its international obligations, including the implementation of all of the provisions of the Convention.

(b) Concluding comments of the Committee

Introduction

124. The Committee commends the State party for its third periodic report, which was prepared in accordance with the Committee’s guidelines for the preparation of periodic reports. It also commends the State party for the comprehensive written replies to the questions of the Committee’s pre-session working group. The Committee commends the State party for its high-level delegation headed by the Minister for Gender, Labour and Social Development of Uganda and expresses appreciation for the oral presentation, which provided additional information on the implementation of the Convention and the current situation of women in Uganda.

Positive aspects

125. The Committee commends the State party for the promulgation in 1995 of a new Constitution, which incorporates a gender-sensitive approach to the definition of discrimination on the grounds of sex, in harmony with the Convention.

126. The Committee commends the State party for the measures taken to address the HIV/AIDS pandemic and notes with satisfaction the decrease in HIV/AIDS prevalence rates from 22 per cent in 1992 to an average of 6.1 per cent in 2002.

127. The Committee welcomes the adoption of the 1997 National Gender Policy and the formulation of the National Action Plan on Women in 1999, which provide guidelines for the development of strategies and interventions for the empowerment of women. It also welcomes the adoption of the affirmative action policy, resulting in an increase in women’s representation in decision-making positions from 16.9 per cent in 1994 to 39 per cent in 2002. The Committee welcomes the fact that women occupy a number of key high-level positions.

128. The Committee commends the State party for formulating and implementing the Universal Primary Education Programme, which facilitated the enrolment of 3.3 million girls in school by 2001. It also welcomes the application of temporary special measures in accordance with article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention to increase the population of women students in tertiary education and the Functional Adult Literary Programme, which has particularly benefited women.

Principal areas of concern and recommendations

129. The Committee is concerned that, despite the adoption of its gender-sensitive Constitution in 1995, legislative provisions that discriminate against women continue to exist. It is also concerned that, although progress has been made towards the preparation of legislation to eliminate discrimination, much of this has not been enacted. It is particularly concerned at the slow progress in removing de jure discrimination and preventing and eliminating de facto discrimination against women.

130. The Committee recommends that the State party accelerate its law reform process to harmonize its domestic legislation with its constitutional principles relating to non-discrimination and equality between women and men. It recommends the speedy enactment of the draft Land Act, the Domestic Relations Bill and the Sexual Offences Bill. The Committee further recommends that the State party introduce public education and legal literacy campaigns relating to the Convention and the Constitution to raise awareness of the State party’s international and national commitments on the elimination of discrimination against women.

131. The Committee is concerned that, although laws and customs which contravene the constitutional guarantees on equality are considered to be void, mechanisms to enforce the constitutional provisions on non-discrimination are not widely known and are inaccessible to women.

132. The Committee recommends the adoption of an accessible complaints procedure to enforce constitutional guarantees. It also calls for the introduction of legal literacy campaigns to make women aware of their rights under the Constitution and the means to enforce them. The Committee recommends the development, in cooperation with women’s groups, of legal aid programmes to enable women to demand enforcement of their rights.

133. Noting the State party’s efforts in this context, the Committee is concerned at the persistence of patriarchal patterns of behaviour in the State party and at the existence of stereotypes relating to the role of women in the home and society, and expectations of women’s subordination to men.

134. The Committee calls upon the State party to strengthen existing efforts to address stereotypical attitudes about the roles and responsibilities of women and men that perpetuate direct and indirect discrimination against women. These should include educational measures, at all levels, beginning at an early age, the revision of school text books and curricula and awareness-raising and public education campaigns directed at women and men designed with the involvement of the media and civil society, including non-governmental organizations, to address traditional stereotypes regarding the role of women. The Committee also calls upon the State party to undertake an assessment of the impact of these measures in order to identify shortcomings, and improve these measures accordingly.

135. The Committee expresses concern about the high incidence of violence against women, such as domestic violence, rape, including marital rape, incest, sexual harassment in the workplace and other forms of sexual abuse of women. The Committee is also concerned at the lack of legal and other measures to address violence against women. The Committee is also concerned that, despite successes achieved in reducing female genital mutilation in some districts in 1996, this practice continues to exist.

136. The Committee urges the State party to place high priority on comprehensive measures to address violence against women and girls in accordance with its general recommendation 19 on violence against women. The Committee calls on the State party to enact legislation on domestic violence, including marital rape, as soon as possible in order to ensure that violence against women and girls constitutes a criminal offence, that women and girls who are victims of violence have access to immediate means of redress and protection and that perpetrators are prosecuted and punished. The Committee also recommends gender-sensitive training for all public officials, in particular law enforcement personnel, the judiciary and health workers. The Committee recommends the establishment of counselling services for victims of violence; the implementation of public awareness campaigns, through the media and public education programmes, and the adoption of a zero tolerance policy on all forms of violence against women. The Committee also recommends that the State party enhance its efforts to address female genital mutilation in order to eradicate this harmful traditional practice.

137. While noting the increasing number of women in decision-making positions as a result, inter alia, of temporary special measures in accordance with article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention, the Committee expresses concern that this number remains low. It is also concerned that the persistence of patriarchal attitudes that view men as natural leaders may preclude women from seeking positions of leadership.

138. The Committee urges the State party to intensify its efforts to encourage women to take up leadership positions through further temporary special measures in accordance with article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention. The Committee recommends that the State party offer or support programmes for current and future women leaders and undertake awareness-raising campaigns on the importance of women’s participation in decision-making.

139. The Committee is concerned at the low number of women in the diplomatic service, particularly in postings outside Uganda, and the fact that few Ugandan women work in international organizations.

140. The Committee recommends that the State party take measures, including in accordance with article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention, to encourage women to enter the diplomatic service. It also recommends the introduction of measures to encourage women to seek employment in international organizations.

141. While welcoming the constitutional provisions and the amended Uganda Immigration and Control Act, 1999 that provide for equal citizenship and nationality rights for women and men, the Committee expresses concern that the Passport Regulations contravene these provisions and discriminate against women. It is concerned that a married woman will not be issued a passport without her husband’s written consent, and that the father as legal guardian must consent to the inclusion of a women’s minor children in her passport.

142. The Committee urges the State Party to take urgent steps to reconcile its Passport Regulations with the provisions of the Constitution and article 9 of the Convention in order to eliminate all provisions that discriminate against women in the area of nationality and citizenship. It requests the State party to report on the implementation of these measures in its next periodic report.

143. The Committee expresses concern at the limited information provided by the State party on employment of women and notes the lack of statistical data disaggregated by sex. It expresses concern at the high rate of unemployment among women, disparities between the wages of men and women, even in the public sector, disparities in social security and the lack of legal protection for women against sexual harassment at the workplace. It also expresses concern that the draft national employment policy, which promotes equal employment opportunities for men and women, has still not been adopted. It is also concerned that legislation required by article 40 of the Constitution to provide the right to work under satisfactory and safe and healthy conditions, equal pay for equal work, paid leave and maternity protection have still to be enacted.

144. The Committee encourages the State party to provide in its next periodic report information, including, as far as possible, data disaggregated by sex, on women’s participation in the labour market and employment conditions, including wages in, inter alia, the private and informal sectors. It urges the State party to enact legislation to protect the rights of persons in employment which complies with the provisions of article 11 of the Convention. The Committee also urges the State party to adopt the draft national employment policy. It further urges the State party to introduce temporary special measures in accordance with article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention to create employment opportunities for women. The Committee recommends that the State party introduce specific legislation, with accessible procedures and compensation for victims, and penalties for perpetrators, to address sexual harassment in the workplace.

145. The Committee is concerned that exploitation of women and girls in prostitution is increasing. The Committee is also concerned that the prevalence of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases among prostitutes is increasing.

146. The Committee recommends the development of programmes of action relating to prostitution and the introduction of legislation to ensure the prosecution of, and stronger penalties for, exploitation of female prostitutes. The Committee invites the State party to expand its programmes for women’s economic empowerment. The Committee urges the State party to pay full attention to the provisions of health services for prostitutes, so as to curb the rise in HIV/AIDS.

147. The Committee is concerned about the high rate of teenage pregnancy and its consequences for girls’ enjoyment of the rights in the Convention, particularly in the spheres of education and health. It is also concerned at the high rate of maternal mortality among teenage girls, particularly in the rural areas, frequently as a result of clandestine abortion.

148. The Committee recommends that the State party design and implement national health, including reproductive health, programmes to prevent early pregnancies and induced abortions in rural and urban areas. The Committee also urges the State party to reinforce programmes of sexual and reproductive health education for both girls and boys. It also calls on the State party to provide safe and affordable contraceptives.

149. Despite the State party’s development strategy, the Poverty Eradication Action Plan, for improving the livelihoods of all Ugandans, including women, the Committee is concerned that poverty is widespread among women, inter alia, as a consequence of gender-insensitive privatization and the implementation of structural adjustment policies.

150. The Committee urges the State Party to continue to intensify the implementation of gender-sensitive poverty reduction programmes in rural and urban areas. The Committee also recommends that the State party continue to develop targeted policies and support services for women aimed at alleviating and reducing poverty.

151. The Committee expresses concern at the situation of rural women, who constitute the majority of the female population in the country. The Committee also expresses concern that customs and traditional practices, prevalent in rural areas, prevent women from inheriting or acquiring ownership of land and other property.

152. The Committee urges the State party to pay increased attention to the needs of rural women so as to ensure that they benefit from policies and programmes adopted in all spheres, as well as participate in decision-making, have full access to education and health services and credit facilities. The Committee also urges the State party to eliminate all forms of discrimination with respect to the ownership, co-sharing and inheritance of land. It also urges the introduction of measures to address negative customs and traditional practices, especially in rural areas, which affect full enjoyment of the right to property by women.

153. While noting that Article 33 (6) of the Constitution “prohibits laws, customs or traditions which are against the dignity, welfare or interest of women”, the Committee notes with concern the continued existence of legislation, customary laws and practices on inheritance, land ownership, widow inheritance, polygamy, forced marriage, bride price, guardianship of children and the definition of adultery that discriminate against women and conflict with the Constitution and the Convention.

154. The Committee urges the State party, in line with Article 33 (6) of the 1995 Constitution, to amend these laws and prohibit such practices. The Committee requests the State party to work with the relevant ministries and non-governmental organizations, including lawyers’ associations and women’s groups, to create an enabling environment for legal reform and effective law enforcement and legal literacy.

155. While noting the positive involvement of women in peace-building initiatives, the Committee notes with concern that some areas of northern and western Uganda continue to experience insecurity as a result of civil strife. The Committee is particularly concerned that many women and girls in the conflict areas have been victims of violence, including abduction and sexual slavery.

156. The Committee urges the State party to include women in national reconciliation and peace-building initiatives. The Committee recommends that the State party include women from all ethnic groups affected by armed conflict in peace negotiations. It also recommends that the State party include in peace negotiations measures of accountability, redress and rehabilitation for women and girls who have been victims of violence, including enslavement, in those conflicts.

157. While recognizing the progress that has been made in the implementation of the Convention in the State party, the Committee is concerned that, without comprehensive, systematic strategies and support mechanisms, the programme for implementation may not be sustainable in the long term.

158. The Committee recommends that the State party introduce a comprehensive programme of gender mainstreaming in all government ministries and a comprehensive awareness campaign, including for civil servants with regard to the Convention.

159. The Committee urges the State party to sign and ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention and to deposit as soon as possible its instrument of acceptance of the amendment to article 20, paragraph 1, of the Convention on the meeting time of the Committee.

160. The Committee requests the State party to respond to the concerns expressed in the present concluding comments in its next periodic report under article 18 of the Convention.

161. Taking account of the gender dimensions of declarations, programmes and platforms for action adopted by relevant United Nations conferences, summits and special session (such as the special session of the General Assembly to review and appraise the implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (the twenty-first special session), the special session on children (the twenty-seventh special session), the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance and the Second World Assembly on Ageing), the Committee requests the State party to include information on the implementation of aspects of these documents relating to relevant articles of the Convention in its next periodic report.

162. The Committee requests the wide dissemination in Uganda of the present concluding comments in order to make the people of Uganda, and in particular government administrators and politicians, aware of the steps that have been taken with regard to de jure and de facto equality for women and the future steps that are required in that regard. It also requests the State party to continue to disseminate widely, and in particular to women’s and human rights organizations, the Convention and its Optional Protocol, the general recommendations of the Committee, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the results of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, entitled “Women 2002: gender, equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century”.

3. Combined third and fourth, and fifth periodic reports

Guatemala

163. The Committee considered the combined third and fourth report and the fifth periodic reports of Guatemala (CEDAW/C/GUA/3-4 and CEDAW/C/GUA/5) at its 577th and 578th meetings, on 12 August 2002 (see CEDAW/C/SR.577 and 578).

(a) Introduction by State party

164. In introducing the periodic reports, the representative of Guatemala noted that although some obstacles undoubtedly persisted, important achievements had been made, in particular those relating to women’s reproductive health, rural women in the context of the strategy for poverty reduction and rural development, and emerging political participation by women.

165. In the legal sphere, the representative said that equality between women and men was enshrined in the Constitution, as was the predominance of international treaties and conventions over domestic law; in that connection, she noted the ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention in 2001 and the adoption of the following laws: Act on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Domestic Violence, Act on Dignity and Integral Promotion of Women, Policy relating to the Advancement and Development of Guatemalan Women and Equity Plan 2001-2006, Act and Policy on Social Development and Population, Act on Urban and Rural Development Councils and Municipal Code.

166. Although women’s oppression had been given greater visibility in the legal sphere, the representative of Guatemala noted that lack of knowledge of legislation and the weak judicial system in the country were ongoing obstacles in this connection. In that context, she listed various proposals for reforming the Labour, Civil and Penal Codes, which included measures for the protection of mothers and women subjected to sexual harassment, the characterization of violence against women as an offence and the expansion of the penalties set forth for traffic in persons, encouragement of and recruitment for prostitution, discrimination, and especially, the proposal for reforming the Elections and Political Parties Act, which establishes a system of quotas.

167. With regard to institutional mechanisms, the representative of Guatemala referred to the Presidential Secretary for Women and People’s Advocate for Indigenous Women of the Presidential Commission on Human Rights, and to specific monitoring bodies at both the political and legal/administrative levels, and, especially, the establishment of the Office of the National Coordinator for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, responsible for coordinating work on preventing violence at the governmental level and in society at large. However, she noted that lack of trained human resources in specialized areas and weak coordination of national mechanisms were important difficulties that needed to be addressed.

168. In the area of education, the representative of Guatemala indicated that the State guaranteed equal opportunities in the granting of scholarships and educational aid. She also noted the adoption of the Act on the Dignity and Advancement of Women, which incorporated the specific rights of women into the curriculum, scholarships for women and specific measures for women who drop their studies, and the establishment of the Subcommission on Gender of the Advisory Commission on Educational Reform in 2001. Other significant changes in that area were the increase in educational coverage for girls, the implementation of various types of affirmative action and the proposal for elaboration of a post-literacy programme on reproductive health.

169. In the area of health, the representative referred to the progress achieved in implementing various programmes, among which she cited the Programme on Reproductive Health, which included the Comprehensive Health Programme for Children and Adolescents with special attention to Indigenous Women, the Programme on Post-Abortion and HIV/AIDS Care at the hospital level, the rules for addressing domestic violence in the framework of an integrated health system and the establishment of the Responsible Fatherhood Network. She added that, although the fertility rate was tending to drop, health care for women was still fragmented and there was a lack of coordination in addressing the problems of violence against women and health.

170. The representative of Guatemala also noted that, in the labour sphere, current legislation guaranteed equal conditions of work for women and men, including the extension of postpartum maternity leave, prohibition of the dismissal of pregnant or breastfeeding women and access to non-traditional employment. The representative noted as significant changes the training of women workers in their rights and complaint mechanisms and the tripartite inter-institutional coordination body for the promotion and defence of women’s labour rights, which was an important forum for dialogue between society at large and the State.

171. With regard to rural women, the representative of Guatemala noted in particular the Act and Policy on Social Development and Population and the Act on Urban and Rural Development Councils, which were an attempt to ensure participation by women in the formulation of development policies, access by women to productive assets, provision of basic infrastructure services in the poorest areas and the implementation and promotion of the Programme on Reproductive Health. Important changes in that area were: affirmative action for the education of girls in rural areas, the rising trend in access to credit and the quantitative and qualitative progress achieved by women in participatory processes.

(b) Concluding comments of the Committee

172. The Committee commends the State party for its combined third and fourth, and fifth periodic reports. It also commends the State party for the written replies to the questions of the Committee’s pre-session working group. The Committee notes, however, that the reports were not drafted in accordance with the Committee’s guidelines for the preparation of periodic reports.

173. The Committee congratulates the State party on the high-level delegation, headed by the Presidential Secretary for Women and including officials from various branches of the Government. The Committee appreciates the oral presentation of the delegation and the open and informative dialogue that took place between the delegation and the members of the Committee which sought to clarify the current situation of women in Guatemala and provided additional information on the implementation of the Convention. The Committee commends the State party for its political will to implement the Convention in difficult circumstances of post-conflict reconstruction and shortage of resources.

Positive aspects

174. The Committee commends the State party for its ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on 9 May 2002 and the acceptance of the amendment to article 20, paragraph 1, of the Convention on the Committee’s meeting time, on 3 June 1999.

175. The Committee welcomes the efforts made by the State party to implement the Convention, as reflected in a range of laws, institutions, policies and programmes to address discrimination against women in Guatemala. The Committee particularly notes and commends the promulgation of the Act on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Domestic Violence and the inclusion of a definition of discrimination in the Act on Dignity and Integral Promotion of Women of 1999.

176. The Committee commends the State party for involving women in the negotiation of the peace accords and for ensuring the incorporation of gender issues in the various components of those accords.

177. The Committee commends the State party for the steps taken to introduce coownership and the positive measures in granting housing subsidies to female-headed households.

Principal areas of concern and recommendations

178. Although noting that the existence of numerous national mechanisms at various levels is a positive step towards institutionalizing women’s rights and gender mainstreaming, the Committee expresses concern at the apparent lack of coordination among them. The Committee also notes that the State party’s reports were unclear about the mandate and levels of authority and resources (both financial and human) invested in each of those bodies.

179. The Committee recommends that the State party review and assess the coordination among its existing institutional mechanisms for the advancement of women and provide them with the necessary financial and human resources for the sustainability of the programmes initiated and include in the next report clearer information on this issue.

180. The Committee expresses concern that, while the State party’s reports and its oral presentation contained extensive information on programmes and measures introduced for the development and advancement of women on the basis of equal opportunity, very little information was provided on the impact of those programmes and measures.

181. The Committee calls upon the State party to evaluate the impact of existing programmes and measures for the advancement of women and to include information on the results of such evaluations in its next report.

182. The Committee notes with concern that, while the Constitution refers to the principle of equality, the terms “equity” and “equality” appear to be used synonymously in the State party’s reports and programmes.

183. The Committee calls upon the State party to recognize that the terms “equity” and “equality” are not synonymous and interchangeable and that the Convention is aimed at the elimination of discrimination and ensuring equality of women and men.

184. The Committee expresses concern about the ambiguity of laws dealing with prostitution, particularly child prostitution, which prohibit but do not establish sanctions commensurate with the gravity of the offences. It is further concerned about the high level of child prostitution and sexual exploitation of minors.

185. The Committee recommends that the State party review existing legislation relating to the criminalization of child prostitution and sexual exploitation of minors and take steps to implement its National Plan of Action against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents in Guatemala.

186. The Committee expresses concern that, while the human rights of women are explicitly recognized in a number of laws, there does not appear to be wide awareness among women of their rights under these laws or the means by which those laws can be enforced. The Committee notes that, despite the introduction of protections and social security rights in the area of labour, including domestic workers and those working in the maquila industries, this legislation is not complied with or enforced and that some employers in this industry require women seeking employment to undergo pregnancy tests. The Committee notes that non-enforcement of such labour legislation constitutes “discrimination of effect” as defined in article 1 of the Convention.

187. The Committee calls upon the State party to ensure that State authorities implement all current legislation concerning women’s human rights, in particular labour legislation through proactive investigations of alleged violations of female workers’ rights and take measures to strengthen the enforcement powers of labour inspection authorities. The Committee further urges the State party to take appropriate measures, including the promotion of stronger private sector codes of conduct, to ensure compliance with existing legislation, in particular with regard to the rights of women enshrined in the Convention, which forms part of Guatemalan law. The Committee also calls upon the State party to take steps to raise awareness among women of their legal rights and the means by which those rights can be enforced.

188. While the Committee welcomes the development by the National Office for Women’s Affairs of a methodology for eliminating sexual stereotypes in teaching materials and school textbooks, and the creation of a multisectoral commission for the application of the methodology, it expresses concern at the persistence of stereotypes concerning the role of women in the family and society. It notes that those stereotypes are particularly strong within the indigenous population. The Committee is also concerned that, notwithstanding the various efforts being made to achieve equality between women and men through legislative reform, the execution of gender-sensitive programmes, the training of officials and the creation of national machineries, the persistence of such stereotypes will impede the advancement of women in Guatemala, in particular among indigenous women, and the enjoyment of their human rights.

189. The Committee urges the State party to make the raising of awareness among the general public of the rights of women a priority in its strategy for the advancement of women by building upon existing media campaigns and introducing new awareness-raising and education campaigns on various women’s human rights issues. Such campaigns must target men as well as women at all levels of society in particular among the indigenous population.

190. Although recognizing the introduction of temporary special measures for the advancement of women in the area of education, the Committee notes the reduced participation of women in political activities, in particular the minimum participation in the Congress and at decision-making levels in both the public and the private sectors.

191. The Committee recommends that the State party strengthen current measures and adopt and implement further measures in accordance with article 4.1 of the Convention to promote women’s participation in public and political life in Guatemala, in particular by promoting the adoption of the proposed quota system for women candidates in the next five federal elections, offering or supporting training programmes for current and future women leaders and undertaking awareness-raising campaigns on the importance of women’s participation in decision-making aimed at decision makers in both the public and private sectors.

192. The Committee expresses concern about the high rate of infant and maternal mortality in Guatemala.

193. The Committee recommends that the State party make every effort to increase access to health-care facilities and medical assistance by trained personnel, particularly in rural areas and especially in the areas of pre- and post-natal care.

194. The Committee also expresses concern about the limited autonomy that women have over decisions on the number and spacing of their children, and the limited sex education and knowledge of family planning. The Committee is also concerned about prevalent social attitudes that measure a man’s masculinity by the number of children he fathers.

195. The Committee calls upon the State party to improve its family planning and reproductive health policy and programmes by, inter alia, making affordable contraceptive means widely available and accessible to both women and men, in particular in the rural areas. It encourages the State party to redouble its efforts to eliminate the view that the sole role of women is reproduction, as stated in its combined third and fourth periodic report.

196. The Committee expresses concern about the disparity between the legal age of marriage for girls and boys, which is discriminatory. The Committee is further concerned that the minimum age at which a girl can legally contract matrimony — 14 years — is too low and can impact negatively on their health and impede their education.

197. The Committee urges the State party to take steps to remove the disparity in the legal age of marriage of women and men and take measures to raise the minimum age of marriage for girls, in line with article 1 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which defines a child as being below the age of 18, and the provision on child marriage in article 16, paragraph 2, of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. The Committee urges the State party to develop awareness campaigns on the negative implications of early marriage on the health and education of girls.

198. The Committee notes with concern the persistence of illiteracy among certain groups of women in Guatemala, particularly among the indigenous population.

199. The Committee calls on the State party to enhance its efforts to combat illiteracy, especially in the rural areas and among indigenous people, and to develop more programmes to address illiteracy among adult women.

200. The Committee expresses concern about the lack of information provided in the State party’s reports and oral presentation about the number and the levels of women in the academic field and the distribution among different disciplines.

201. The Committee calls upon the State party to include information on these issues in its next periodic report.

202. The Committee notes with concern the high incidence of child labour in Guatemala, in particular among girls, and its implications for their personal development and enjoyment of the right to education and health care.

203. The Committee urges the State party to take steps to ensure that all children, especially girls, have access to basic education, health care and the protection of minimum labour standards elaborated by the International Labour Organization.

204. The Committee notes with concern that the Guatemalan health care system has no mental health programme specifically for women. It is also concerned about the lack of information on the incidence and possible impact of drug and substance abuse on women and gender relations in Guatemala.

205. The Committee recommends that the State party take steps to introduce a mental health care programme for women, particularly in view of the specific traumas suffered by women in conflict situations, such as that which took place in Guatemala for more than 30 years. The Committee also calls upon the State party to include in their next report information on the incidence and possible effects of drug and substance abuse among women in Guatemala.

206. Taking account of the gender dimensions of declarations, programmes and platforms for action adopted by relevant United Nations conferences, summits and special sessions (such as the special session of the General Assembly to review and appraise the implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (the twenty-first special session), the special session on children (the twenty-seventh special session), the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance and the Second World Assembly on Ageing), the Committee requests the State party to include information on the implementation of aspects of these documents relating to relevant articles of the Convention in its next periodic report.

207. The Committee requests the State party to respond to the concerns expressed in the present concluding comments in its next periodic report under article 18 of the Convention.

208. The Committee requests the wide dissemination in Guatemala of the present concluding comments in order to make the people of Guatemala, and particularly government administrators and politicians, aware of the steps that have been taken to ensure de jure and de facto equality for women and the future steps required in that regard. It also requests the State party to continue to disseminate widely, in particular to women’s and human rights organizations, the Convention and its Optional Protocol, the Committee’s general recommendations, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, and the results of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, entitled “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century”.

4. Fourth periodic report

Barbados

209. The Committee considered the fourth periodic report of Barbados (CEDAW/C/BAR/4) at its 579th meeting, on 13 August 2002 (CEDAW/C/SR.579).

(a) Introduction by State party

210. In introducing the fourth periodic report, the representative of Barbados indicated that ratification of the Convention by Barbados in 1980 was one of the steps forward in the process to ensure equality for women. Before signing the Convention, the Government had already established a mechanism on gender, namely a National Commission, which had been created in 1976 to inquire into and report on the status of women in the country. After the Commission’s dissolution in 1978, its secretariat, the Bureau of Women’s Affairs, had been mandated to monitor the implementation of its recommendations. With the establishment of the Bureau of Women’s Affairs, Barbados had attempted to advance the equality of women not only through legal reform, but also policy intervention, and programmes had been developed focusing on vocational skills training and small-scale income-generating projects. Additionally, Barbados became a member of the International Labour Organization in 1967, which led to a focus on the protection of workers’ rights, including the elimination of discrimination against women in the field of employment, and had consistently participated in and supported the outcomes of international summits and conferences on women.

211. The representative highlighted aspects of the Platform for Action adopted by the Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995 and indicated that Barbados had identified five areas of priority: institutional mechanisms; women in poverty; violence against women; women in decision-making; and women and health.

212. In 1999, the Ministry of Social Transformation had been established and included the national machinery, renamed the Bureau of Gender Affairs, which was tasked with mainstreaming the concept of gender into all policies, plans and programmes, monitoring that process and carrying out sensitivity training in the public and private sectors. A National Advisory Council on Gender had been created to assist the Bureau and advise the Government, and focal points had been identified in the public service who would form an Inter-ministerial Committee and ensure that programmes within their agencies and departments were gender focused. Non-governmental organizations, particularly women’s organizations, were involved in advocacy, were often part of official delegations to regional and international conferences and had a good consultative relationship with the national machinery.

213. The representative indicated that women living in poverty were generally the principal, if not sole, breadwinners for the family and that 44.4 per cent of households in Barbados were headed by women. Under its social policy, the Government had introduced services and programmes to meet the needs of the most vulnerable in the society. They included welfare grants and childcare services; a poverty eradication fund had introduced measures to improve entrepreneurial activities; the “Relief 2000” initiative focused on the needs of recipients of social assistance in respect of employment, training, financial assistance and housing; and the “Welfare to work” programme sought to provide training and counselling for women on welfare.

214. Violence against women pervaded all levels of society and was basically the result of inequality in relations between men and women. Prior to the Fourth World Conference on Women, legislation against domestic violence had been enacted. The Domestic Violence (Protection Orders) Act and the Sexual Offences Act of 1992 sought to bring domestic violence to an end by protecting victims of domestic violence, changing public and private attitudes, which had failed to discourage domestic violence, and changing police attitudes so they intervened and treated complaints seriously. The Government was currently seeking to combat violence against women on two levels: the eradication of inequality between women and men; and the provision of services for victims and offenders. Activities to raise awareness and combat violence against women were handled mainly by non-governmental organizations, which had provided support services for victims and offenders, including temporary shelter, crisis hotlines, counselling and educational training. In 1999, the Government established a shelter to house battered women which was managed by a non-governmental organization. Counselling and referral for legal aid and other services were handled by the Welfare Department, and attempts were being made to develop programmes for perpetrators.

215. Women were active participants in the political process as supporters, campaigners and voters but continued to be relatively invisible or absent from the centres of power and decision-making, with four women members of Parliament out of a total of 28; six women senators out of a total of 21; one woman serving on the High Court, while 4 out of 10 magistrates were women; and 31 per cent women at the decision-making level of the public service, while women dominated the junior level of the service.

216. Health care was viewed as a fundamental right, and Barbados had recognized the need to move away from a narrow focus on women as mothers and to emphasize the provision of services that met a broader definition of women’s reproductive health and took account of the differences in the health profiles of women and men. The representative highlighted a number of programmes, policies and initiatives in the area of health, including the family clinics, which offered Pap smears and educated women and their partners with a view to reducing the number of unplanned pregnancies. The Government recognized the need to investigate the effects of the work environment on women’s health, and the Ministry of Health was committed to the provision of adequate and affordable measures for prevention and control of HIV/AIDS and for rendering care to its victims, while giving due consideration to the protection of fundamental human rights. The representative indicated that chronic non-communicable diseases continued to be the leading causes of morbidity and mortality among the population and obesity was a major risk factor, with surveys showing 30 per cent of women were obese and 58 per cent overweight.

217. The representative indicated that legal reform had been extensive and that a bill on sexual harassment was being considered. The Family Law Act was being reviewed to ensure maintenance of children, and other laws, such as the Domestic Violence Act, would be reviewed to assess their effectiveness.

218. In closing, the representative informed the Committee that, with the acceptance of the gender and development paradigm and the attempt to mainstream the concept of gender, it was believed that greater strides would be made towards removing unintentional discrimination against women, changing gender attitudes and establishing gender equality.

(b) Concluding comments of the Committee

Introduction

219. The Committee expresses appreciation to the State party for its fourth periodic report. It commends the State party for the written replies to the issues raised by the pre-session working group.

220. The Committee commends the State party for its delegation and expresses appreciation for the oral presentation, which provided additional information on the current situation of implementation of the Convention in Barbados.

Positive aspects

221. The Committee welcomes legislation that promotes and protects women’s rights, such as the Domicile Reform Act, the Domestic Violence (Protection Orders) Act, the Change of Name Act and the Maintenance Act, which recognizes the same maintenance rights in family relations for couples who have lived together for five years or more as married spouses.

222. The Committee commends the State party for providing free education, cash grants, school uniforms and grant assistance for textbooks for those in need in order to facilitate school attendance and to ensure that children, in particular girl children, up to the age of 16 years receive an education. It notes with satisfaction the female literacy rate of approximately 97 per cent.

223. The Committee congratulates the State party on having achieved a maternal mortality rate of zero.

224. The Committee also commends the State party for viewing health care as a fundamental right and for providing a range of family health services in the polyclinic setting, including free ante- and post-natal care for all citizens and residents of the country. It also commends the State party for the services that target women and girls, for example the Maternal and Child Health Programme, which monitors progress throughout pregnancy.

Principal areas of concern and recommendations

225. The Committee is concerned that the Constitution, which recognizes women’s right to equality before the law and guarantees the fundamental rights and freedoms of all individuals, does not prohibit discrimination on the grounds of sex, and that there is no legislative definition of “discrimination against women” reflecting article 1 of the Convention, which prohibits both direct and indirect discrimination. It is further concerned about the lack of information provided about procedures available to women to enforce their rights under the Convention, challenge discrimination and obtain redress.

226. The Committee recommends that the State party take steps to include in the Constitution and/or legislation a specific right of non-discrimination on the grounds of sex, defined in accordance with article 1 of the Convention. It calls on the State party to introduce procedures that will allow the enforcement of the prohibition on discrimination based on sex and to introduce effective measures, including public awareness-raising campaigns about the Convention, the Constitution and remedies to implement women’s right to equality. The Committee requests that the State party report on progress made in this regard in its next periodic report and that it provide information on whether the Convention has been invoked before domestic courts.

227. The Committee notes the lack of information on whether the Office of the Ombudsman established to address public grievances has received and considered complaints of violations of women’s rights.

228. The Committee requests the State party to include in its next periodic report information on the work and cases considered by the Office of the Ombudsman relating to discrimination against women. The Committee also recommends that the State party take measures to ensure that the Office of the Ombudsman incorporates a gender perspective in its work.

229. The Committee is concerned that the Bureau of Gender Affairs within the Ministry of Social Transformation, tasked with mainstreaming the concept of gender into all policies, plans and programmes of the Government, monitoring their implementation and carrying out sensitivity training in public and private agencies, does not have adequate human, financial and material resources. It notes that a National Advisory Committee on Gender Affairs has been created to assist the Bureau and advise the Government on trends and developments in gender issues, and that focal points have been appointed to form an inter-ministerial committee and ensure that programmes within their agencies and departments are gender-focused.

230. The Committee recommends that the State party ensure that the Bureau of Gender Affairs is provided with adequate human, financial and material resources to give it sustainability, visibility and effectiveness and to ensure continual effective implementation of governmental policies and programmes related to gender equality. It also encourages gender mainstreaming in all ministries.

231. While recognizing the existence of a range of services and programmes designed to eliminate discrimination against women, and the identification of five priority areas based on the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the Committee is concerned that no overall national plan of action has been formulated. It is also concerned that the impact of existing measures and programmes has yet to be evaluated.

232. The Committee recommends that the State party formulate an integrated national plan of action to fully address the issue of discrimination against women in all its aspects. It also urges the State party to make an assessment of the measures already implemented with a view to further improvements.

233. The Committee remains concerned about entrenched stereotypical attitudes and behaviour, which tend to reinforce women’s inferior status in all spheres of life, and regrets that the State party has not undertaken sustained programmes to change these social and cultural attitudes and patterns of behaviour that lead to stereotyping.

234. The Committee calls upon the State party to strengthen measures aimed at changing stereotypical attitudes about the roles and responsibilities of women and men, including through sustained awareness-raising designed in collaboration with the media and women’s non-governmental organizations and educational campaigns directed at both women and men. The Committee emphasizes that a policy of gender equality in compliance with the Convention will require the recognition that women can have various roles in society, not only the important role of mother and wife, exclusively responsible for children and the family, but also as an individual person and actor in the community and in the society in general.

235. The Committee is concerned at the limited information provided on trafficking in women and girls and their exploitation in prostitution in the State party’s report. The Committee is concerned that there is no data on prostitution and that the issue is not being addressed.

236. The Committee recommends the introduction of policies to ensure the prosecution of, and strong penalties for, those who exploit prostitutes. In view of the growing emphasis on tourism in the State party, the Committee requests it to provide in its next report comprehensive information and data on the trafficking of women and girls and their exploitation in prostitution and the measures taken to prevent and combat these activities.

237. Despite the extensive work of NGOs and other and community organizations and the facilitating role played by the State party, the Committee expresses concern that violence against women, including domestic violence, remains a serious reality in Barbados. The Committee is concerned that the bulk of the statistical data on violence and abuse collected by the Probation Department, the Police and the Registration Department is not disaggregated by sex.

238. The Committee urges the State party to place a high priority on measures to address violence against women in the family and in society in accordance with the Committee’s general recommendation 19. The Committee urges the State party to strengthen its activities and programmes to focus on sexual violence, sexual crimes, incest and prostitution, especially prostitution associated with tourism, and to provide comprehensive training for the judiciary, the police, medical personnel and other relevant groups on all forms of violence against women, including domestic violence. The Committee recommends that the State party devise a structure for systematic data collection on violence against women, including domestic violence, disaggregated by sex. It also calls on the State party to provide this data in its next periodic report.

239. While welcoming the recognition of marital rape as a sexual offence, the Committee notes with concern that, under the Sexual Offences Act, marital rape is recognized as a crime only after the issuance of a decree of divorce, a separation order or a separation agreement, or where the husband is subject to a non-molestation order.

240. The Committee urges the State party to consider defining marital rape to include circumstances of de facto separation, and to create awareness of the legal remedies so that offenders can be prosecuted and punished. The Committee requests information on cases prosecuted under the Sexual Offences Act in the State party’s next periodic report.

241. The Committee is concerned that, despite the fact that the State party has identified women’s participation in decision-making as one of its five priorities and despite the high level of education of Barbadian women, little has been achieved in terms of women’s representation in decision-making positions in the political sphere. In this context, the Committee expresses concern that the State party lacks a clear understanding of the application of temporary special measures, according to article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention.

242. The Committee recommends the adoption of strategies to increase the number of women in decision-making positions, both in appointed and elected government bodies. The Committee recommends that the State party adopt temporary special measures in accordance with article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention to increase women’s representation. It also recommends that the State party organize special training programmes for women and to conduct, on a regular basis, awareness-raising campaigns in this regard. It recommends that the State party sensitize political parties and social partners about the importance of these measures.

243. The Committee notes the absence of statistical data on wages disaggregated by sex, the absence of statutory parental leave for fathers and the apparent lack of equal employment opportunity legislation.

244. The Committee recommends broad collection of data disaggregated by sex with regard to wages and urges the State party to include these in the next report. The Committee also recommends the adoption of an equal employment opportunity law and a legislative provision on parental leave for fathers.

245. While acknowledging the State party’s social policy, which has introduced services and programmes, including the Poverty Eradication Fund, to boost entrepreneurial activities and increase self-employment and create more employment among women and youth, the Committee is concerned at the feminization of poverty and, in particular, that women head approximately 44.4 per cent of households.

246. The Committee recommends that the State party ensure that governmental policies to eradicate poverty are sustainable, incorporate a gender perspective and do not marginalize women.

247. While noting the State party’s adolescent health programme, which covers a wide range of issues, including human sexuality and HIV/AIDS, and other policies and activities with respect to AIDS education and sensitization, the Committee is concerned that the number of women infected with HIV/AIDS has been increasing more rapidly than that of men.

248. The Committee urges the State party to address the gender dimensions of HIV/AIDS, including the power differential between women and men, which often prevents women from insisting on safe and responsible sex practices. It encourages the State party to strengthen its efforts to raise awareness and educate women and girls on ways of self-protection.

249. The Committee is concerned about the increasing number of teenage pregnancies and its consequences for girls’ enjoyment of the rights guaranteed by the Convention, particularly in the spheres of education and health.

250. The Committee recommends that the State party increase efforts to include age-appropriate sex education in school curricula and to conduct awareness campaigns so as to prevent teenage pregnancy. The Committee requests the State party to include information on the impact of programmes to prevent teenage pregnancy in its next periodic report.

251. The Committee notes that the report does not address the Committee’s concluding comments on the second and third periodic reports. It also notes the limited amount of sex-disaggregated data in several areas.

252. The Committee urges the State party to respond in its next periodic report to the outstanding issues that were brought up in the constructive dialogue and the specific issues raised in the present concluding comments. It also urges the State party to improve the collection and analysis of statistical data, disaggregated by gender and age, and to submit such data to the Committee in its next report.

253. The Committee encourages the State party to continue its procedures towards ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention and acceptance of the amendment to article 20, paragraph 1, of the Convention, relating to the Committee’s meeting time.

254. Taking account of the gender dimensions of declarations, programmes and platforms for action adopted by relevant United Nations conferences, summits and special sessions (such as the special session of the General Assembly to review and appraise the implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (the twenty-first special session), the special session on children (the twenty-seventh special session), the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance and the Second World Assembly on Ageing), the Committee requests the State party to include information on the implementation of aspects of these documents relating to relevant articles of the Convention in its next periodic report.

255. The Committee requests that the text of the present concluding comments be widely disseminated in Barbados so as to inform the public, in particular administrators, officials and politicians, of the measures taken to guarantee de jure and de facto equality between men and women and of the supplementary measures to be adopted in that area. The Committee also urges the State party to give broad publicity to the Convention, its Optional Protocol, the general recommendations of the Committee, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, and the results of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, entitled “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century”, which was held in June 2000, particularly among women’s associations and human rights organizations.

5. Combined fourth and fifth periodic reports

Greece

256. The Committee considered the combined fourth and fifth periodic report of Greece (CEDAW/C/GRC/4-5) at its 585th meeting, on 19 August 2002 (see CEDAW/C/SR.585).

(a) Introduction by the State party

257. In introducing the fourth and fifth periodic report, the Secretary-General of the General Secretariat for Gender Equality stated that gender equality was one of the State party’s major goals and that its gender equality policy reflected the State party’s political will, which was based on democracy, economic and social integration, participation, non-discrimination, tolerance and social justice.

258. The representative noted that the General Secretariat for Gender Equality, which functioned as the government body responsible for women’s rights and gender issues, had been established within the Ministry of Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization. Its six-year action plan for gender equality concentrated on four major areas of concern: women and politics, women and the economy, social rights and stereotypes.

259. Work in the area of gender equality had broadened to accommodate new and emerging issues brought about by globalization, such as trafficking in human beings, the new information technology and migration, as well as new strategies, such as gender mainstreaming.

260. Since the presentation of its second and third periodic reports in 1999, the representative stated that the State party had taken measures to strengthen its legal and policy framework. It had been among the first 23 countries to sign the Optional Protocol to the Convention on 10 December 1999, which it ratified in 2001. In addition, the amendment to article 20, paragraph 1, of the Convention had been accepted domestically and was awaiting action at the international level. Article 116, paragraph 2, of the Constitution had been revised to ensure fully the legal basis for positive measures and policies for the elimination of gender inequalities. The revised provision had been adopted by Parliament on 16 April 2001.

261. Taking note of the importance of women’s participation in the decision-making process, the representative indicated that two laws had been adopted, in 2000 and 2001, which established the following:

(a) Balanced participation of a percentage equal to at least one third of each sex in decision-making councils, committees of public administration, public organizations and local authorities;

(b) Balanced participation of a percentage equal to at least one third of each sex in the candidates’ lists for municipal and prefectural elections.

262. In the education sector, the representative noted that, in 2001, 61 per cent of the graduates from Greek universities had been women. The representative also noted that the General Secretariat, through its Research Centre for Gender Equality and in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, had produced a large number of studies and pilot projects which were being used for the advancement of women in education and future gender mainstreaming policies.

263. The General Secretariat, in collaboration with non-governmental organizations, had been working on the issue of violence against women for many years. The representative informed the Committee that the General Secretariat had also been cooperating with the National Centre for Public Administration on the design and implementation of new awareness-raising seminars on violence against women for police officers, judges, social workers, hospital doctors and civil servants in the health and welfare areas.

264. Trafficking in persons was a complex problem that had been given high priority on the political agenda. In April 2001, a Special Committee Against Human Trafficking had been established to study, design and oversee the impact of specific anti-trafficking measures to combat the problem. The Special Committee consisted of high-ranking police officials, representatives from relevant Ministries, the academic community, the International Organization for Migration, and the General Secretariat for Equality. Its main objective had been to update the State party’s anti-trafficking legislation to bring it in line with existing international legal instruments. Greece had signed the United Nations Convention on International Organized Crime and the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, and draft legislation on trafficking had also been submitted to Parliament in July 2002.

265. In concluding, the representative assured the Committee that the State party was making systematic efforts to promote gender equality and mainstream gender, generally, at all stages of the policy-making process, and in its policies.

(b) Concluding comments of the Committee

Introduction

266. The Committee commends the Government of Greece for its combined fourth and fifth periodic report. It also commends the State party for the written replies to the questions of the Committee’s pre-session working group, and the oral presentation of the delegation that sought to clarify the current situation of women in Greece, and provided additional information on the implementation of the Convention.

267. The Committee commends the State party on its delegation headed by the Secretary-General of the General Secretariat for Equality. The Committee appreciates the frank and open dialogue that took place between the delegation and the members of the Committee.

Positive aspects

268. The Committee welcomes the 1999 revision of the Constitution, particularly the revision of article 116, paragraph 2, which legalizes the use of temporary special measures as provided for by article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention in order to achieve substantive equality between women and men.

269. The Committee appreciates the close links between the General Secretariat for Equality, other governmental bodies, civil society and the Research Centre on Equality Matters.

270. The Committee welcomes the growing number of non-governmental organizations that play a prominent role in promoting women’s empowerment in Greece.

271. The Committee notes with appreciation the numerous policies implemented through the six-year action plan in order to promote gender equality and the advancement of women. It particularly commends the State party for its successful policies in reducing the illiteracy rate generally and among women in particular.

272. The Committee also commends the State party for having ratified the Optional Protocol.

Principal areas of concern and recommendations

273. While noting initiatives to eliminate stereotypes, the Committee is concerned that deep-rooted patriarchal attitudes persist.

274. The Committee recommends that the State party intensify its efforts, inter alia by strengthening specific programmes targeting men and boys, to change stereotypical roles and discriminatory attitudes and perceptions about the roles and responsibilities of women and girls and men and boys in the family and in society.

275. The Committee expresses concern at the prevalence of violence against women, and at the lack of specific provisions on domestic violence and marital rape in the current legislation on violence. The Committee is also concerned that no comprehensive plans to address all forms of violence against women have been adopted by the State party.

276. The Committee requests the State party to place a high priority on the introduction and implementation of comprehensive and holistic measures to address violence against women and girls in the family and society in accordance with its general recommendation 19. It calls on the State party to include specific provisions on domestic violence, including marital rape, in the new draft legislation on violence against women and to ensure its speedy enactment. The Committee recommends that the State party increase its awareness-raising measures, including zero-tolerance campaigns through the media and public education programmes, to ensure all forms of violence against women and girls, including domestic violence, are regarded as morally and socially unacceptable.

277. The Committee is concerned about the absence of specific legal provisions and measures to address sexual harassment, especially in the workplace.

278. The Committee urges the State party to take all necessary measures, including introducing specific legislation, in order to empower women to take action with regard to sexual harassment.

279. The Committee is concerned that the State party is increasingly becoming a country of transit and destination for trafficked women and girls, inter alia for purposes of sexual exploitation, and that the draft legislation on “the elimination of trafficking in human beings, of crimes against sexual freedom, of pornography against minors, and generally sexual exploitation and assistance to victims of these crimes” insufficiently protects the human rights of women and girls who have been trafficked.

280. The Committee urges the State party to design and implement a holistic approach to combat trafficking in women and girls. It urges the State party to review the draft legislation in order to strengthen the provisions on assistance and to ensure the protection of the human rights of trafficked women and girls. It also urges the State party to further strengthen provisions related to the sexual exploitation of trafficked women and girls.

281. The Committee is concerned about the limitations women face in gaining access to employment in the police and the fire brigade.

282. The Committee recommends that the law governing women’s employment in police and the fire brigade be reviewed in order to eliminate discrimination against women.

283. While noting a major decline in unemployment during 1999-2001, especially among women, the Committee expresses concern that women, especially young women holding university diplomas, still constitute the majority of the unemployed in the State party. It is also concerned about the persisting wage gap between women and men, and that women are paid lower salaries than men for the same work and work of equal value.

284. The Committee urges the State party to continue developing policies and adopting proactive measures to increase the employment rate of women, in particular young women, and accelerate the elimination of the wage gap between women and men. It also requests the State party to provide more information in its next periodic report on measures taken to eliminate the wage gap.

285. The Committee is concerned that fathers are not taking childcare leave and that this reinforces negative stereotypes regarding working matters.

286. The Committee requests that the State party introduce individualized paid paternal leave for childcare.

287. While noting the high rate of women acquiring degrees, the Committee is concerned about the underrepresentation of women in decision-making and political bodies, particularly in Parliament, the economic sector and academia.

288. The Committee recommends that the State party take measures, inter alia in accordance with article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention, in order to realize women’s right to participation in all areas of public life and, particularly, at high levels of decision-making. It also urges the State party to adopt proactive measures to encourage more qualified women to apply for high-ranking posts in academia and to implement temporary special measures, such as quotas, with goals and timetables, where necessary.

289. The Committee is concerned at the low number of women in the diplomatic service, particularly in postings abroad, and the fact that few Greek women work in international organizations.

290. The Committee recommends that the State party take measures, including in accordance with article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention to encourage women to enter the diplomatic service and to provide opportunities to access the highest rank of the diplomatic service. It also recommends the introduction of measures to provide information to women on options for employment in international organizations.

291. Noting that the rate of abortion has decreased by 30 per cent during the years 1994 through 2000, the Committee is concerned that abortion is still perceived as a means of birth control. It also notes with concern that an unusually high percentage of women deliver through Caesarean section.

292. The Committee recommends that the State party ensure the availability and accessibility of affordable contraceptive means for both women and men as part of a comprehensive health policy, including reproductive health. The Committee encourages the State party to promote programmes of sex education for both girls and boys. It calls on the State party to encourage responsible sexual behaviour and take all appropriate steps to eliminate the use of abortion as a means of birth control. The Committee also recommends that the State party implement awareness-raising programmes on the benefit of natural birth in order to decrease the number of deliveries through Caesarean section.

293. The Committee expresses concern at the discrimination against minority women living in Greece, particularly Roma women, including with respect to access to education, who suffer from double discrimination based on both their sex and ethnic background, in society at large and within their communities.

294. The Committee urges the Government to take effective measures to eliminate discrimination against minority women. It urges the State party to respect and promote the human rights of women and to take effective and proactive measures, including awareness-raising programmes, to sensitize public opinion at large, and particularly the police, on the issue of minority women. It also urges the State party to address the forms of discrimination including with regard to access to education, by minority women through its legal, administrative and welfare systems.

295. The Committee is concerned about the marginalization of Muslim women with regard to education, employment, and by the non-application of the general law of Greece to the Muslim minority on matters of marriage and inheritance, resulting particularly in the practice of polygamy and repudiation. The Committee is concerned that this situation leads to discrimination against Muslim women and negatively impacts on the realization of their human rights as protected under the Greek Constitution and the Convention.

296. The Committee urges the State party to accelerate its efforts aimed at improving Muslim women’s education and employment opportunities. The Committee also urges the State party to increase the awareness of Muslim women of their rights and remedies and to ensure that they benefit from the provisions of Greek law.

297. The Committee urges the State party to deposit, as soon as possible, its instrument of acceptance of the amendment to article 20, paragraph 1, of the Convention on the Committee’s meeting time.

298. The Committee requests the State party to respond to the concerns expressed in the present concluding comments in its next periodic report under article 18 of the Convention.

299. Taking account of the gender dimension of declarations, programmes and platforms for action adopted by relevant United Nations conferences, summits and special sessions (such as the special session of the General Assembly to review and appraise the implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (the twenty-first special session), the special session on children (the twenty-seventh special session), the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance and the Second World Assembly on Ageing), the Committee requests the State party to include information on the implementation of aspects of these documents relating to relevant articles of the Convention in its next periodic report.

300. The Committee requests the wide dissemination in Greece of the present concluding comments in order to make the people of Greece, and particularly government administrators and politicians, aware of the steps that have been taken to ensure de jure and de facto equality for women and the future steps required in that regard. It also requests the State party to continue to disseminate widely, in particular to women’s and human rights organizations, the Convention and its Optional Protocol, the Committee’s general recommendations, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, and the results of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, entitled “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century”.

Hungary

301. The Committee considered the combined fourth and fifth periodic report of Hungary (CEDAW/C/HUN/4-5) at its 586th and 587th meetings, on 20 August 2002 (see CEDAW/C/SR.586 and 587).

(a) Introduction by State party

302. Introducing the combined fourth and fifth periodic report, the representative of Hungary indicated that her Government remained strongly committed to international protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms. She emphasized that the protection of women’s rights, the promotion of equal opportunities for women and the elimination of all forms of discrimination against them was a priority and began at home.

303. The representative stated that Hungary considered that the periodic dialogues with the Committee provided a unique opportunity for States parties to highlight achievements and discuss any difficulties confronting the implementation of the Convention at the national level. Consideration of reports also effectively contributed to the elaboration of more appropriate ways to accelerate the enjoyment by women of the rights enshrined in the Convention.

304. The representative informed the Committee that, since Hungary’s elections in May 2002, major changes had occurred. The number of women elected to Parliament was higher than ever before. The current parliamentary Speaker was a woman, and a number of women had been elected to chair parliamentary committees. Women also headed the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources and the Ministry of Welfare, Social and Family Affairs.

305. Since 16 June 2002, when the newly elected Government had taken office, several structural changes to the institutional framework for women’s advancement had been initiated. A new Directorate-General for Equal Opportunities had been established within the Ministry of Employment Policy and Labour. The Director had been tasked with the elaboration of government policy to promote equality for women, rehabilitation of persons with disabilities and the employment of Roma. The Directorate-General was expected to propose a special anti-discrimination law, which would bring together existing anti-discriminatory provisions and modifications to existing norms. It would also develop a new national plan of action in conformity with the Government’s agenda. The Directorate-General had already announced a project aimed at developing employment opportunities for women over 40, and for those re-entering the labour market after raising their children.

306. The representative stated that experience had indicated that discrimination could not be addressed by governmental measures alone. Accordingly, it was important that civil society become active in combating discrimination, including that against women. The Government gave high priority to the involvement of civil society in improving equal opportunities for women in all spheres and at all levels of life, and encouraged cooperation between civil society, academia, women parliamentarians and others in the development of programmes to promote gender equality. Anti-discrimination legislation and policies would not be fully effective unless they were accompanied by activities which sought to address deep-rooted social attitudes and increase mutual understanding within society. She also said that changing attitudes required public awareness and education.

307. The representative indicated that the situation of the Roma community in Hungary differed from that of other minorities. The social integration of the Roma was a question of both minority and social policy; at the same time, it required the establishment of a tolerant social environment. As the great majority of Hungarian society was still not aware of the problems confronting the Roma community, education was essential so that the foundations of prejudice could be exposed. Positive results in that context could only be achieved through a long-term economic development policy and mobilization of additional financial resources.

308. The representative informed the Committee that Hungary had ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention in 2001 but that greater efforts with respect to its dissemination were required. As a signal of Hungary’s commitment to improving the situation of women and ensuring their equality with men, regular mass media programmes, conferences and seminars on violence, trafficking in human beings, prostitution and the elimination of stereotypes were being convened in order to raise awareness of the Convention, the Optional Protocol and the aims of those instruments and to ensure their implementation.

(b) Concluding comments of the Committee

Introduction

309. The Committee expresses its appreciation to the State party for its combined fourth and fifth periodic report. It commends the State party for the extensive written replies to the issues raised by the pre-session working group.

310. The Committee commends the State party for its delegation and expresses appreciation for the oral presentation, which provided additional information on the current status of the implementation of the Convention in Hungary. It also appreciates the frank and constructive dialogue that took place between the delegation and the members of the Committee.

Positive aspects

311. The Committee commends the State party for its accession on 22 December 2000 to the Optional Protocol to the Convention.

312. The Committee commends the State party for its recent legislative measures on trafficking in persons, especially women and girls, including changing the definition of trafficking in persons to reflect the definition in article 3 (a) of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, and the introduction of victim and witness protection measures.

Principal areas of concern and recommendations

313. The Committee expresses concern that, although the State party indicated that the Convention is incorporated in domestic law and the Constitution contains a provision prohibiting discrimination based on sex, there is no legislative definition of “discrimination against women” reflecting article 1 of the Convention. The Committee is further concerned that Hungarian law does not provide for procedures accessible to women to enforce their rights under the Convention or the Constitution or provide remedies to redress violations of their rights as set forth in these instruments.

314. The Committee recommends that the State party take steps to include in its legislation a specific right to non-discrimination on the grounds of sex, defined in accordance with article 1 of the Convention. It calls on the State party to introduce procedures that will allow effective enforcement of the prohibition on discrimination based on sex and introduce measures, including awareness-raising campaigns about the Convention, the Constitution and remedies to uphold women’s right to equality, including for, inter alia, the judiciary and parliamentarians. The Committee requests that the State party report on progress made in this regard in its next periodic report, as well as information on whether the Convention has been invoked before domestic courts.

315. Taking into account the recent restructuring of the national machinery for the advancement of women in June 2002, the Committee is concerned that the Directorate-General for Equal Opportunities and its Department of Equal Opportunity for Women, newly established within the Ministry of Employment Policy and Labour, unless supported by enhanced supplementary mechanisms, may lack sufficient power to promote effectively the advancement of women and gender equality. The Committee is concerned that the national mechanism may have inadequate financial and human resources.

316. The Committee recommends that the State party assess the capacity of the national machinery for the advancement of women, including its mandate and resources. The Committee recommends that the national machinery be given the power, visibility and human and financial resources required to advance the State party’s efforts to implement the Convention. It also recommends that the State party fully implement gender mainstreaming strategies, inter alia, by clearly defining the coordinating role and mandate of the Council of Women’s Representation, composed of government representatives and representatives of non-governmental organizations, scholars and other members of civil society concerned with women’s issues.

317. While welcoming the fact that the Parliamentary Commissioner for Civil Rights (Ombudsman) may investigate cases of violations of women’s rights and may recommend remedies in this context, the Committee notes that the Commissioner has only considered one case of discrimination against women. The Committee is concerned that the Parliamentary Commissioner for Civil Rights has not made efforts to initiate legislation or regulations concerning gender issues.

318. The Committee recommends that the State party take measures to ensure that the institution of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Civil Rights actively and fully incorporates a gender perspective in its work.

319. The Committee is concerned about the persistence of entrenched traditional stereotypes regarding the role and responsibilities of women and men in the family and in society at large.

320. The Committee urges the State party to design and implement comprehensive programmes in the educational system, including human rights education and gender training, which includes dissemination of information on the Convention, with a view to changing existing stereotypical attitudes, including advancing the notion of parenting as a social responsibility of both mothers and fathers. It recommends awareness-raising campaigns directed at both women and men as required by article 5 of the Convention. The Committee recommends that men be encouraged through measures, such as non-transferable parental leave, to make this transformation.

321. The Committee is concerned about the prevalence of violence against women and girls, including domestic violence. It is particularly concerned that no specific legislation has been enacted to combat domestic violence and sexual harassment and that no protection or exclusion orders or shelters exist for the immediate protection of women victims of domestic violence.

322. The Committee urges the State party to place high priority on comprehensive measures to address violence against women in the family and in society, and to recognize that such violence, including domestic violence, constitutes a violation of the human rights of women under the Convention. In the light of its general recommendation 19 on violence against women, the Committee calls upon the State party to ensure that such violence constitutes a crime punishable under criminal law, that it is prosecuted and punished with the required severity and speed, and that women victims of violence have immediate means of redress and protection, including access to shelters that provide them with effective and confidential protection from their abusers. It recommends that training measures be taken to ensure that public officials, especially law enforcement officials, the judiciary, the medical profession and social workers, are fully sensitized to all forms of violence against women. The Committee invites the State party to undertake awareness-raising measures in cooperation with women’s human rights NGOs, including a campaign of zero tolerance, to make such violence socially and morally unacceptable. It recommends the introduction of a specific law prohibiting domestic violence against women, which would provide for protection and exclusion orders and access to legal aid as well as specific legislation prohibiting sexual harassment.

323. Noting that the State party is considering a new draft law on prostitution, the Committee is still concerned that current regulations establishing so-called “zones of protection” where prostitution is prohibited and “zones of tolerance” where prostitution is permitted may be rendering the exploitation of women in prostitution difficult to punish, thereby worsening their situation.

324. The Committee requests the State party to include in its next report information on the review of its draft law on prostitution and information on any legislative changes to ensure that the exploitation of women in prostitution is effectively prohibited and that they are provided with access to health and social services and alternative means of support for the protection of their human rights.

325. While noting that there has been an increase of three seats occupied by women in Parliament since the latest elections, in May 2002, and that the Speaker of Parliament is a woman and three women are ministers in the Government, the Committee is concerned about the overall low representation of women in high-level elected and appointed bodies and in the diplomatic service.

326. The Committee urges the State party to take measures to increase the representation of women in elected and appointed bodies through, inter alia, the implementation of temporary special measures, in accordance with article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention, in order to realize women’s right to participation in all areas of public and political life and, particularly, at high levels of decision-making. The Committee recommends that the State party increase its efforts to offer or support programmes for current and future women leaders and to carry out awareness-raising campaigns targeting both women and men regarding the importance of women’s equal participation in political decision-making as a sine qua non of democracy. In this regard, the Committee urges the State party to carry out research into the obstacles to the participation particularly of young women in political decision-making.

327. The Committee expresses concern about women’s disadvantaged position in the labour market, including the decline in women’s employment and vertical and occupational segregation with wage differentials between women and men. The Committee is also concerned that government policy regarding these wage differentials rests on general job classification schemes and does not specifically address the need for women to be guaranteed equal pay for work of equal value. The Committee is concerned about discrimination in hiring women of childbearing age, mothers with small children and older women.

328. The Committee urges the State party to ensure equal opportunities for women and men in the labour market, inter alia, through the use of temporary special measures in accordance with article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention. It recommends that efforts be made to eliminate occupational segregation, inter alia, through education, training and retraining. The Committee urges the State party to collate sex-disaggregated data regarding the type and extent of wage differentials and to apply job classification analysis to eliminate the practice of women receiving unequal pay for work of equal value. The Committee recommends that measures allowing for reconciliation between family and professional responsibilities be strengthened and that the sharing of domestic and family tasks between women and men be promoted.

329. While noting that abortion rates have fallen in the reporting period, the Committee remains concerned about the high rate of abortion among women, including young women without children, and the possible connection to difficulties in accessing family planning methods and the prohibitive cost of contraceptives, particularly for women with low incomes. The Committee is concerned that the report does not include data on women’s general health situation, access to health care or information about the general health policy of the State party, including information on the access to health care of rural women. Furthermore, it notes that the report lacks statistical data on the prevalence of alcohol, drug and substance abuse by women of different age groups or detailed information on the main causes of death among women.

330. The Committee draws attention to its general recommendation 24 on women and health and recommends that comprehensive research be undertaken into the specific health needs of women, including reproductive health, HIV/AIDS, the financial and organizational strengthening of family planning programmes addressed to women and men and the provision of wide access to contraceptives for all women. The Committee urges the State party to reinforce programmes on sexual education for both girls and boys. The Committee calls on the State party to take all appropriate measures to foster responsible sexual behaviour and take all appropriate steps to stop the use of abortion as a means of birth control. The Committee requests the State party to provide in its next report detailed information on women’s general health, government policy on health, access to health care and the major causes of death among women, in particular rural women, as well as information and statistical data disaggregated by sex and age on the prevalence of alcohol, drug and substance abuse and measures aimed at preventing and reducing such abuse, the availability of counselling and rehabilitation measures for these women and girls.

331. Noting that the report contains extensive information about the overall situation of the Roma minority and a range of programmes and initiatives of the State party, particularly with regard to education, the Committee regrets the lack of information and statistical data disaggregated by sex on Roma women.

332. The Committee requests the State party to include in its next report statistical data disaggregated by sex and information about the situation of Roma women and any gender-specific policies and programmes aimed at their economic empowerment and ensuring their access to health-care services, social security, adequate housing and educational opportunities.

333. While welcoming the State party’s comprehensive review of its current law on sexual crimes, the Committee remains concerned that the Hungarian Penal Code currently treats sexual crimes as crimes against decency rather than violations of women’s rights to bodily security. It is particularly concerned that the definition of rape, including that within marriage, is based on the use of force rather than lack of consent, as well as the issue of seduction of girls below the age of 14 years. The Committee is also concerned that Hungarian law permits early marriage of girls between the ages of 16 and 18 in certain circumstances.

334. The Committee recommends that the State party reform its law to define sexual crimes as crimes involving violations of women’s rights to bodily security and that the State party define the crime of rape as sexual intercourse without consent, and amend its law on seduction of girls less than 14 years of age to incorporate the concept of statutory rape and prohibit sexual intercourse with underage girls. The Committee also urges the State party to take measures to raise the minimum age of marriage for girls in line with article 1 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which defines a child as being below the age of 18, and the provision on child marriage in article 16, paragraph 2, of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. The Committee urges the State party to develop awareness campaigns on the negative implications of early marriage on the health and education of girls.

335. The Committee encourages the State party to accept the amendment to article 20, paragraph 1, of the Convention, relating to the Committee’s meeting time.

336. The Committee requests that the State party respond in its next periodic report to the specific issues raised in the present concluding comments. It also requests that the report address the general recommendations of the Committee and provide information on the impact of legislation, policies and programmes to implement the Convention.

337. Taking account of the gender dimensions of declarations, programmes and platforms for action adopted by relevant United Nations conferences, summits and special sessions (such as the special session of the General Assembly to review and appraise the implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (the twenty-first special session), the special session on children (the twenty-seventh special session), the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance and the Second World Assembly on Ageing), the Committee requests the State party to include information on the implementation of aspects of these documents relating to relevant articles of the Convention in its next periodic report.

338. The Committee requests that the text of the present concluding comments be widely disseminated in Hungary so as to inform the public, in particular administrators, officials and politicians, of the measures taken to guarantee de jure and de facto equality between men and women and of the supplementary measures to be adopted in that area. The Committee also urges the State party to give broad publicity to the Convention, its Optional Protocol, the general recommendations of the Committee, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, and the results of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, entitled “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century”, which was held in June 2000, particularly among women’s associations and human rights organizations.

6. Fourth and fifth periodic reports

Argentina

339. The Committee considered the fourth and fifth periodic reports of Argentina (CEDAW/C/ARG/4 and CEDAW/C/ARG/5) at its 584th meeting, on 16 August 2002 (see CEDAW/C/SR.584).

(a) Introduction by the State party

340. In introducing the fourth and fifth periodic reports, the representative of Argentina pointed out that the fourth and fifth periodic reports provided information on implementation of the Convention during two presidential periods under different political parties. However, the National Women’s Council, created 10 years before as an agency within the national executive, had been continuously working on specific objectives related to the implementation of the Convention regardless of changes in political leadership.

341. The representative provided an overview of her country’s institutional, social and economic situation with regard to serious crisis which had erupted in December 2001 and noted the ways in which the crisis had affected women in particular. Unemployment rates had been increasing since 1995 and had reached an historic high in 2002. Sex-disaggregated data on that phenomenon was available only for the areas of Greater Buenos Aires, where the impact was higher among men (23.2 per cent) than among women (20.1 per cent). Despite the current crisis, the Government had taken steps to increase the number of working women by fixing quotas for women in unemployment plans and professional training.

342. A number of emergency plans had been implemented by the Government in response to the crisis, including a food emergency plan to provide people with financial assistance in purchasing food; and a “Male and female heads of household plan” to guarantee to eligible households the social inclusion family right, including school attendance, health care, training and placement in occupations. A health emergency had been declared in order to guarantee access to basic heath-care goods and services.

343. The representative stated that women’s mechanisms in Argentina were vulnerable to reductions in public expenditure and that the National Women’s Council had suffered budget cuts of 75 per cent in 2000 and a further 27 per cent in 2001. The representative noted, however, that the Council had continued to implement most of its projected plans and programmes and had developed others.

344. The national Government, through the National Women’s Council as executing agency, had been implementing the Federal Plan for Women, which was aimed at institutional strengthening of national, provincial and municipal women’s machineries. Although the Plan had undergone a total reduction of funding from 15 million to 10 million pesos, causing delays and the postponement of some activities, accomplishments included the acquisition and distribution of computers for all provincial Women’s Area offices; the holding of seminars, workshops and gender-related training and technical assistance, and financial support for local projects dealing with gender-sensitive public policies. Two externally funded programmes had also been developed to mainstream gender into projects financed by the World Bank and promote gender-sensitive family development.

345. With regard to the Committee’s concluding comments on the second and third periodic reports in 1997, the representative described a number of actions which had been taken by the Government. They included the enactment and implementation of a quota law providing for the election of a minimum of 30 per cent of women to the National Congress. The results of the reform had been demonstrated in the national elections of 2001 in which women’s participation reached the minimum level of 30 per cent.

346. The Government had also taken steps to adjust the country’s penal code to the provisions of the Convention by passing the 1999 Crimes Against Sexual Integrity Act, and had been developing procedures and indicators for sex-disaggregated data collection and a gender gap indicator system for monitoring and policy formulation.

347. With regard to violence against women, the representative stated that legislatures in 20 provinces had passed relevant laws dealing with, inter alia, civil law jurisdiction, formal and informal marriages, mechanisms for reporting violations of the law, family interaction, educational and therapeutic programmes and treatments, and free medical and psychological assistance. At the national level, the tax reform law of 2000 contained provisions for medical insurance, retirement and pensions for domestic workers, and the Congress was considering approximately 10 bills dealing with the issue of sexual harassment. Since 1999, legislation had been introduced addressing the problem of alimony and penalties imposed for delinquency in payments.

348. The representative acknowledged that there were fundamental issues which needed to be addressed with regard to violence against women. They included specialized assistance for women victims of violence, coordination among various State agencies, easy and free-of-charge access to legal protection and wider awareness of women’s human rights.

349. With regard to the Optional Protocol to the Convention, the representative stated that, in April 2002, a request had been made by the Government to withdraw the Protocol from consideration by the Congress. However, the bill was still in the Senate, where an exchange of views on its future approval was taking place.

(b) Concluding comments of the Committee

Introduction

350. The Committee thanks the State party for its fourth and fifth periodic reports under the Convention, which were prepared in accordance with the Committee’s guidelines for the preparation of reports, and for its replies to the questions of the pre-session working group.

351. The Committee thanks the State party for having sent a delegation headed by the President of the National Women’s Council of Argentina, despite the serious crisis the country is experiencing.

352. The Committee evaluated the serious economic, financial, political and social crisis which Argentina has been experiencing since 2001 and endorsed the decision of the pre-session Working Group to request the States party to submit expanded and updated information on the impact of the crisis on the country’s female population; it decided accordingly to adapt its method of work for analysing reports as the content of the reports was not up-to-date.

Request for a follow-up report

353. In the framework of a constructive dialogue, the Committee expressed its dissatisfaction with the lack of information provided on the impact of the crisis on the country’s female population, which negatively affected the implementation of the Convention; consequently, it decided to request the State party, in conformity with article 18, paragraph 1 (b), of the Convention, to submit a follow-up report in January 2004 for consideration by the Committee in June 2004.

354. The Committee made it clear that in no case was the follow-up report to replace the submission of a sixth periodic report by Argentina, scheduled for 14 August 2006, in accordance with article 18 of the Convention.

355. The follow-up report should take into account the areas of concern under the Convention as indicated in the paragraphs below and reply to the recommendations made by the Committee in these concluding comments, and should include expanded, updated and systematized information, including sex-disaggregated data as far as possible, about the impact of the crisis on the country’s female population and the measures adopted to reduce and overcome its negative effects on women.

Principal areas of concern and recommendations

356. The Committee is concerned at the situation of women resulting from the growing increase in poverty, and extreme poverty, which has spread to more than half the population, and which can have a disproportionately heavy impact on the female population. Of special concern are women heads of household who are living in poverty and unemployed, with dependent children, and women from rural areas, indigenous populations and the most vulnerable sectors of the population.

357. The Committee recommends that the State party should pay special, ongoing attention to the situation of women and should take the necessary measures to prevent women, especially those from rural areas, indigenous populations and the most vulnerable sectors of the population, from bearing the heaviest burden of the crisis. It also requests the State party to ensure that the Programme for unemployed heads of household with children under 18 or disabled children includes a gender perspective in order that the few resources that are available for social allowances may be distributed without discrimination.

358. The Committee is concerned at the precarious nature of women’s employment, in particular the situation of unemployed women in the informal sector.

359. The Committee recommends that the State party should make all necessary efforts to guarantee compliance with the labour legislation and protect women from the violation of their basic labour rights and from discriminatory dismissals.

360. The Committee is concerned at the high maternal mortality rate and at the fact that, with the increasing deterioration in health services, women, in particular those in situations of vulnerability, are losing their right to comprehensive health care, in particular as regards sexual and reproductive health. The Committee is also concerned because, in this critical context, the incidence of HIV/AIDS is tending to increase, especially among women.

361. The Committee recommends that the State party should guarantee women’s access to health services, including sexual and reproductive health services, and that it should adopt the necessary measures to reduce the high maternal mortality rate. The Committee recommends that the State party should pay special attention to preventing and combating HIV/AIDS.

362. The Committee is concerned at the fact that the crisis has affected access by women, particularly girls, to public education because they lack the resources needed either to begin or continue their studies.

363. The Committee recommends that the State party should make every possible effort to guarantee access by girls to education under conditions equal to those of boys, with special attention to girls from the most vulnerable sectors.

364. The Committee is concerned that, although the State party has extensive legislation in the area of prevention and treatment of domestic violence, this problem has worsened. The Committee is concerned that the crisis might increase the risk of trafficking in women and girls and their exploitation for purposes of prostitution.

365. The Committee requests the State party to ensure that its Recommendation No. 19 on violence against women is taken into account and that all necessary measures are taken to provide full protection to the victims, punish those responsible and check the growing trend towards violence against women. The Committee requests the State party, especially, to evaluate the trafficking of women and girls and to strengthen domestic measures and, if necessary, international measures in cooperation with other countries that are countries of origin, transit or destination for the exploitation of women and girls for purposes of trafficking, in particular to prevent the exploitation of prostitution.

366. The Committee notes with concern the attempt to downgrade the National Women’s Council and the lack of a formal strategy for coordination of the different State agencies.

367. The Committee notes the importance of continuity, autonomy management and coordination of the national mechanism for the advancement of women at this time of crisis in the country and recommends that they should be strengthened.

368. The Committee recommends that the State party should include and involve women in the process of economic, financial, political and social reconstruction of the country.

369. The Committee requests that the present concluding comments be widely disseminated in Argentina in order to inform the public, in particular public officials and politicians, of the measures taken to guarantee and to be adopted to guarantee the de facto and de jure equality of women and of the measures to be adopted for that purpose.

Yemen

370. The Committee considered the fourth and fifth periodic reports of Yemen (CEDAW/C/YEM/4 and CEDAW/C/YEM/5) at its 580th and 581st meetings, on 14 August 2002 (see CEDAW/C/SR.580 and 581).

(a) Introduction by the State party

371. In introducing the reports, the representative of Yemen emphasized the great progress made in the country since its unification in 1990 through an approach that allowed for democratic participation and freedom of expression as well as the full participation of civil society. The representative informed the Committee that, from the moment Yemen acceded to the Convention in 1984, many policies had been introduced in order to enhance the status of women, particularly in legal reforms. The Constitution of Yemen granted rights to all citizens, without distinguishing them on the basis of sex. Many proposals had been made by the National Women’s Council with respect to legislative changes, including the elimination of a provision in the Penal Code which gave a husband the right to kill his wife in cases of adultery. A Social Care Law had been introduced which allowed single women and widows to make full use of social care programmes. In order to improve their standard of living, women received a monthly stipend. Furthermore, a revision of the Nationality Law to grant widowed and divorced women the right to give their nationality to their foreign-born children was under consideration.

372. The representative informed the Committee that prostitution and trafficking in women were prohibited under the Islamic law — Sharia — which provided the basis for all legislation in the country. She noted that, despite the fact that the current electoral law granted women and men the same rights to vote, to be nominated for office and to be elected, many traditions, especially in the rural areas, where 75 per cent of the population lived, limited women’s political participation. It was pointed out that, no more than 15 per cent of women participated in political parties. However, some progress had been made recently. In the 2001 local elections, for example, 125 women were nominated, of whom 35 elected. Women’s participation in the Government had increased and there was now one female minister and several female deputy ministers. Women’s participation in trade unions continued to be limited as women did not understand the significance of such work.

373. The representative informed the Committee that the National Women’s Council, which had been established after the Fourth World Conference on Women in order to set policies and strategies for the development of women in the fields including education and health and on such issues as violence against women, had been expanded in March 2002. The National Women’s Council, headed by the Prime Minister, worked in close cooperation with non-governmental organizations and executives from departments active in the field of women’s development. In addition, there were other non-governmental mechanisms working for the advancement of women. Most of them concentrated their work in urban areas, despite the fact that the urgent need for development was in rural areas.

374. The representative stressed that the education gap between boys and girls continued to be very wide, with only 34 per cent of girls attending primary school. Many girls, especially in the rural areas, dropped out of school in order to help their families in the fields. Girls were also withdrawn from schools because most were co-educational and parents opposed the mixing of the sexes in schools. The representative also stated that, owing to the persistence of stereotypical gender roles, girls did not usually attend vocational or technical training courses. She noted that it was important to change girls’ perception of that type of training as it was very important for the promotion of development in the country.

375. The representative informed the Committee that life expectancy was 64 years for women and 60 years for men. Fertility rate continued to be very high: 5.8 in the cities and 7.4 in the rural areas. Less than 20 per cent of women used family planning services. Maternal and infant mortality was high due, inter alia, to the fact that women were reluctant to visit health-care centres as most doctors were male. The representative also stated that female genital mutilation is not a common practice in Yemen, and it is limited to the coastal area of Yemen. The Minister of Health had prohibited female genital mutilation in government hospitals, and an awareness-raising campaign on the dangers of female genital mutilation had also been launched.

376. The representative stated that Yemen had a per capita income of $300 a year and 23 per cent of the population lived below the poverty line. In order to combat poverty, different mechanisms and programmes, including the Social Fund for Development and the Fund for Microcredit, had been established, aimed at providing income for poor women. The representative indicated that the work of women in agriculture was not valued and considered as part of a woman’s reproductive role, with food being grown for family needs rather than for market purposes. In order to assist rural women who worked hard and had limited access to health-care services and education, a division catering specifically to their needs had been set up in the Ministry of Agriculture. She added that it was hoped that the situation of rural women would improve through the implementation of the 2002-2005 strategy to combat poverty.

377. The representative noted that laws related to social status still discriminated against women, although most were taken from Sharia, which contained positive provisions for women, such as the right to inheritance and to manage money. However, the National Women’s Council, assisted by civil society organizations, was working to bring about law reform. The representative assured the Committee that the National Women’s Council considered the Convention as well as the Beijing Platform for Action as basic tools for improving the status of women, and had convened a symposium on the Convention and would shortly be publishing a simplified version of the treaty.

(b) Concluding comments of the Committee

Introduction

378. The Committee expresses its appreciation to the State party for submitting its fourth and fifth periodic reports which are in accordance with the Committee’s guidelines for the preparation of periodic reports and which were prepared in cooperation with civil society. The Committee also expresses appreciation for the written replies to the issues raised by the pre-session working group.

379. The Committee commends the State party for its delegation, headed by the Deputy to the President of the National Women’s Committee, and appreciates the frank and constructive dialogue that took place between the delegation and the members of the Committee, which provided additional information on the implementation of the Convention in Yemen.

Positive aspects

380. The Committee welcomes the State party’s commitment to implementing the provisions of the Convention as reflected in a range of policies, plans and programmes.

381. The Committee welcomes the establishment of the National Women’s Committee as the national machinery for the advancement of women and gender equality. It notes with appreciation the National Women’s Committee’s ongoing review of discriminatory legislation.

382. The Committee commends the appointment of a woman as Minister of State for Human Rights and the appointment of women as judges and prosecutors and to the foreign service.

383. The Committee welcomes the State party’s ongoing cooperation with women’s organizations in efforts to implement the Convention effectively.

Principal areas of concern and recommendations

384. The Committee is concerned at the existence of many discriminatory legal provisions which contradict the Constitution and the Convention.

385. The Committee recalls the State party’s obligation to implement the provisions of the Convention, particularly to ensure that article 1 of the Convention is fully reflected in the Constitution or other legislation. The Committee also urges the State party to engage in and continue the process of comprehensive legislative review and reform to ensure that all laws are in harmony with the Constitution and the Convention.

386. While acknowledging the statement made by the State party that education is a cornerstone for development and a key element in the improvement of the status of women and the achievement of equality between women and men, the Committee notes with concern the high levels of illiteracy among women and girls, particularly in rural areas, and the high rate at which girls drop out of school.

387. The Committee calls upon the State party to strengthen its efforts to eradicate female illiteracy, especially among girls, particularly in rural areas, and to take general as well as temporary special measures to ensure primary and secondary education for girls and lower the high dropout rate among girls. The Committee recommends the introduction of measures to create an environment that increases the enrolment and retention rates of girls in schools at all levels through increased training and employment of women teachers, addressing parents’ concerns related to co-education and the setting of precise targets and timetables to measure progress.

388. The Committee notes with concern that the persistence of patriarchal stereotypes and discriminatory traditional cultural and social norms, particularly those relating to the role and responsibilities of women, impedes progress in the implementation of the Convention and the full enjoyment of women’s human rights.

389. The Committee urges the State party to take measures to change stereotypical attitudes and negative cultural norms about the responsibilities and roles of women and men and to design and implement awareness-raising programmes directed at all levels of society.

390. The Committee expresses concern that several provisions of the Penal Code discriminate against women. It notes in particular article 232, which provides that a husband or other male relative who kills his wife in relation to adultery is not charged with murder.

391. The Committee urges the Government to eliminate any discriminatory penal provisions, and in particular article 232 as proposed by the National Women’s Committee, in line with the Convention and to ensure that homicides committed against women by their husbands or male relatives are prosecuted and punished in the same way as other murders.

392. Noting the link between women’s subordination in the family and their ability to participate fully at all levels of society, the Committee is concerned about discriminatory provisions in the Law of Personal Status, which permits polygamy and sets differential standards for women and men in marriage and family life. The Committee is also concerned that the 1999 amendment to the Law of Personal Status has led to further discrimination against women in the family by denying women the right to equality in marriage and divorce.

393. The Committee urges the State party to review existing legislation and amend discriminatory provisions affecting women’s rights within the family in order to bring them into harmony with the Constitution and the Convention. The Committee urges the State party to ensure that laws, policies and programmes with regard to the family affirm and incorporate the principle of equality and partnership between women and men and the full realization of women’s human rights. The Committee also encourages the State party to obtain information on comparative jurisprudence, where the link between Islamic law has been codified in legislative reforms and Court decisions.

394. The Committee is concerned about the high rate of early marriages, which creates a serious health risk for girls and prevents them from completing their education.

395. The Committee urges the State party to take measures to raise the minimum age of marriage for girls, in line with article 1 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which defines a child as being below the age of 18, and the provision on child marriage in article 16, paragraph 2, of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. The Committee urges the State party to develop awareness campaigns on the negative implications of early marriage on the health and education of girls.

396. The Committee notes with concern the high maternal mortality rates.

397. The Committee recommends that the State party take urgent measures to develop health programmes aimed at reducing the maternal mortality rate and to make contraceptives affordable and accessible.

398. The Committee is concerned about all forms of violence against women, including domestic violence, sexual violence and female genital mutilation, and notes with concern the lack of information and systematic data on these matters.

399. The Committee recommends that the State party conduct research into the extent of violence against women and girls and collect data on all forms of violence, including violence committed within the family. With regard to the practice of female genital mutilation, the Committee calls on the State party to enhance its activities to eradicate this harmful, traditional practice, especially through awareness-raising campaigns. In the light of its general recommendation 19, the Committee calls upon the State party to ensure that all forms of violence against women are prosecuted and punished adequately and that victims have immediate access to redress and protection. The Committee requests the State party to ensure the full sensitization of law enforcement officials, the judiciary and the public on all forms of violence against women and girls.

400. In view of the fact that rural women constitute the majority of women in Yemen, the Committee notes with concern that the traditional division of labour in agricultural production disadvantages women and that, for cultural and social reasons, women do not control the means of production and face difficulties in obtaining loans. The Committee is concerned that rural women have little or no access to health-care services.

401. The Committee urges the State party to take special measures to support the integration of rural women in all sectoral policies and programmes and to eliminate discriminatory practices through awareness-raising and educational programmes targeted at women and men. The Committee also recommends the State party to take urgent measures to increase rural women’s access to health-care services.

402. While welcoming the State party’s plans to ensure women’s participation in the upcoming electoral registration process, the Committee is concerned about the low rate of registration of women as voters and their low representation on electoral lists and in political decision-making bodies.

403. The Committee requests the State party to take measures to increase the political representation of women as voters and as candidates at all levels. It also calls upon the State party to explore the use of temporary special measures in accordance with article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention, such as quotas, in order to increase women’s access to decision-making positions. The Committee also suggests that the State party offer support and training programmes to women leaders and candidates to future elections and carry out awareness-raising programmes on the importance of women’s participation in political decision-making aimed at both women and men and throughout the society.

404. While acknowledging the economic difficulties faced by the State party, the Committee notes the close connection between the success of development policies and the promotion of gender equality. The Committee considers that the combined effects of high illiteracy rates among women and girls, the high rate of school dropouts and early marriage of girls, the high rate of child labour among girls and the low level of women’s political participation negatively impact on the implementation of national development policies.

405. The Committee encourages the State party to ensure that measures to achieve the goal of gender equality are fully integrated into all national development policies and programmes in line with the provisions of the Convention and welcomes the National Women’s Committee’s plan to increase awareness of the human rights of women within the public at large.

406. The Committee urges the State party to sign and ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention and invites the State party to accept the amendment to article 20, paragraph 1, of the Convention, concerning the meeting time of the Committee.

407. Taking account of the gender dimension of declarations, programmes and platforms for action adopted by relevant United Nations conferences, summits and special sessions (such as the special session of the General Assembly to review and appraise the implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (the twenty-first special session), the special session on children (the twenty-seventh special session), the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance and the Second World Assembly on Ageing), the Committee requests the State party to include information on the implementation of aspects of these documents relating to relevant articles of the Convention in its next periodic report.

408. The Committee requests the State party to respond to the concerns expressed in the present concluding comments in its next periodic report submitted under article 18 of the Convention. It also requests that the report address the general recommendations of the Committee and provide information on the impact of legislation, policies and programmes to implement the Convention.

409. The Committee requests the wide dissemination in Yemen of the present concluding comments in order to make the people of Yemen, and particularly government administrators and politicians, aware of the steps that have been taken to ensure de jure and de facto equality for women and the future steps required in that regard. It also requests the Government to continue to disseminate widely, in particular to women’s and human rights organizations, the Convention and its Optional Protocol, the Committee’s general recommendations, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, and the results of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, entitled “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century”.

7. Fifth periodic report

Mexico

(a) Introduction by the State party

410. The Committee considered the fifth periodic report of Mexico (CEDAW/C/MEX/5) at its 569th and 570th meetings, on 6 August 2002 (see CEDAW/C/SR.569 and 570).

411. In introducing the fifth periodic report, the representative of Mexico stated that her country had made significant progress in the twenty years since its ratification of the Convention on 3 September 1981 and that, since July 2000, Mexico had been in a process of democratic transition following a change of government. The head of the new government had articulated its political will by describing support for progress for women as “an ethical responsibility and a demand of democracy and justice”. Mexico had amended the first article of the Constitution to prohibit all forms of discrimination, including on the grounds of gender, and had created the National Women’s Institute (INMUJERES) with a mandate to foster, in society and its institutions, a culture of gender equity.

412. Among the most important advances achieved by INMUJERES had been the strengthening of institutions in matters of gender through the creation of a six-year work plan, the National Programme for Equality of Opportunities and Non-discrimination against Women, 2001-2006 (PROEQUIDAD), which applied to all sectors of the federal public administration. The Government had signed the National Agreement for Equality between Men and Women, by which the Cabinet and the judicial and legislative branches of the federal Government undertook to comply with the general aims of PROEQUIDAD. Thirty laws dealing with women’s political participation, sexual harassment, social security, social development, job discrimination and violence had been tabled. An Inter-institutional Panel of Gender Liaisons had been created to evaluate and follow-up compliance by the executive with commitments on gender issues. INMUJERES was creating a gender indicators model to evaluate the living conditions of women, the integration of a gender perspective in State activities, the position of women in decision-making bodies and their access to justice and participation in its administration.

413. In relation to compliance with obligations under the Convention and commitments in the Beijing Platform for Action, the Government had, inter alia, ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention on 15 March 2002; designed and implemented various programmes to combat stereotypical gender roles; approved a draft decree to amend the Federal Electoral Institutions and Procedures Code to make gender quotas obligatory in the next five federal election processes; created a scholarship programme in the Ministry of Education as an affirmative action measure to bridge the gender gap in educational retention; established a women and health programme in the Ministry of Health; and created an integrated, gender-sensitive poverty eradication policy known as CONTIGO (“with you”) guaranteeing a better quality of life for Mexicans.

414. Combating violence against women was one of the priorities of PROEQUIDAD. INMUJERES had created an Institutional Panel to Coordinate Preventive Action and Attention to Domestic Violence and Violence against Women, which provided a national framework for coordinated action against violence against women. Within that framework, a National Programme for a Life Without Violence 2002-2004 was currently under discussion with civil society, and legislation dealing with domestic violence had been passed in 15 states. Specific programmes to deal with domestic violence in 16 states had also been created, as had various campaigns and national programmes against domestic violence.

415. The Government was particularly concerned at the level of violence against women in Ciudad Juárez in Chihuahua state. A special commission had been created to investigate the murders of women perpetrated in that region. A panel to coordinate action to prevent and eradicate violence, based on the National Panel, had also been established with the objective of designing a plan to restore the social fabric in Ciudad Juárez, and to improve the living conditions of the children of women who had been murdered, and of the city’s residents as a whole.

416. The representative stated that several measures had been implemented to eradicate traffic in women and prostitution of women across the country. They included the introduction of an inter-institutional action plan to prevent, give attention to and eradicate the commercial sexual exploitation of minors; the creation of cybernetic police; the creation of an inter-institutional coordination body for the eradication of child pornography; amendments to the Federal Criminal Code; and the approval of the Law for the Protection of the Rights of Children and Adolescents, and the ratification of Agreement 182 of the International Labour Organization.

417. The representative noted that the Government had made an enormous effort to build a new relationship between Mexico’s indigenous population, the State and society as a whole. The National Programme for the Development of Indigenous Peoples had been designed. A constitutional amendment to the Indigenous Plan recognizing the disadvantaged social and economic conditions of the indigenous peoples had also been introduced, but it was currently being challenged in the Supreme Court. Within the framework of the Inter-sectoral Programme for Attention to Indigenous Women, INMUJERES had signed an inter-institutional agreement with the Representative Office for the Development of Indigenous Peoples and the National Indigenist Institute under which various projects were being carried out.

418. As part of the Government’s efforts to form new alliances with civil society, the representative indicated that INMUJERES, in collaboration with civil society, had created the Agenda for Permanent Dialogue between the Institute, Federal Government Departments and Non-Governmental Organizations, Universities and Research Centres. The representative added that, within the framework of the Mechanism for Dialogue with Civil Society Organizations for the Defence of Human Rights, created by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, INMUJERES would coordinate a panel on women’s rights and compliance with the Convention.

419. In concluding, the representative assured the Committee that the Government recognized that much remained to be done in ensuring and sustaining progress and empowerment of women. Challenges which faced the current administration included: improving the administration of justice and solving the crimes committed against the women of Ciudad Juárez; bringing Mexican judicial decision-making in line with the international treaties and agreements signed and ratified by the Government of Mexico concerning the defence, protection and promotion of women’s rights; incorporating a gender perspective into public spending and budgeting; promoting affirmative action for women in the regulation of credit institutions; modernizing labour legislation to ensure the fullest possible social security coverage for working mothers in all sectors and geographical regions of the country; promoting compensation programmes to allow women to have equal access to job opportunities, particularly in the formal economy; ensuring access to health and education services for rural and indigenous women and those residing in poorer municipalities; and fostering changes in sexist and discriminatory attitudes, values and practices.

(b) Concluding comments of the Committee

Introduction

420. The Committee expresses its appreciation to the State party for the creative way in which its fifth periodic report was presented, in accordance with the Committee’s guidelines for the preparation of reports, and for its frank oral report. The Committee also commends the State party for providing full replies to the questions formulated in writing by the Committee.

421. The Committee also commends the State party for having sent a large, high-level delegation, headed by the president of INMUJERES and including representatives of different government agencies, legislators from various political parties, researchers and non-governmental organizations.

Positive aspects

422. The Committee welcomes the State party’s ratification on 15 March 2002 of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and its acceptance of the amendment to article 20, paragraph 1, of the Convention.

423. The Committee notes with satisfaction the constitutional reform carried out on 14 August 2001 which incorporated a special prohibition against discrimination based on sex into Mexican law.

424. The Committee welcomes the establishment in law in January 2001 of the National Women’s Institute (INMUJERES), constituted as an autonomous, decentralized national mechanism with ministerial rank, its own budget and a cross-sectoral impact on all government institutions, thereby mainstreaming a gender perspective within national policy. The Committee also notes with satisfaction the cross-sectoral design of the National Programme for Equality of Opportunities and Non-discrimination against Women, 2001-2006 (PROEQUIDAD) as the linchpin of national policy on gender.

425. The Committee appreciates the effort made by the State party to bridge the gap between girls and boys in terms of school retention and promotion, particularly through the National Programme of Scholarships for Higher Education.

426. The Committee commends the State for putting into effect in its cooperation programme with INMUJERES the initiative put forward by the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) of establishing an interactive monitoring system for the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women as a mechanism for monitoring and exchanges of information on the reports submitted to the Committee by Latin American and Caribbean States parties to the Convention.

Principal areas of concern and recommendations

427. Although the Committee takes note of the reforms, legislative initiatives, plans and programmes that are being carried out, it is especially concerned at the lack of evaluation of the various programmes put in place and their specific impact on women.

428. The Committee urges the State party to pay special attention to promoting the implementation and evaluation of policies at the country’s three levels of government, particularly in municipalities, and to the establishment of a specific timetable for monitoring and evaluating the progress achieved in compliance with the obligations under the Convention.

429. The Committee expresses its concern at the fact that no instances are mentioned in which the Convention has been invoked before the courts and the lack of a compilation of judicial decisions in this regard.

430. The Committee calls on the State party to undertake dissemination, education and awareness-raising campaigns on the provisions of the Convention aimed at society as a whole, particularly officials responsible for the administration and protection of justice and especially Mexican women, in order to make them aware of their rights in the judicial arena at the national and state levels.

431. While noting that the problem of violence is regarded as one of the priority areas of PROEQUIDAD and that major reforms have been enacted to the Penal Code, the Committee expresses great concern at violence against women in Mexico, including domestic violence, which continues to go unpunished in several states.

432. The Committee requests the State party to take into account its Recommendation No. 19 on violence against women and take the steps required to ensure that the law provides appropriate penalties for all forms of violence against women and that appropriate procedures exist for investigating and prosecuting such offences. It recommends that the State party promote the enactment of federal and state laws, as appropriate, to criminalize and punish domestic violence and the perpetrators thereof, and take steps to ensure that women victims of such violence can obtain reparation and immediate protection, particularly by establishing 24-hour telephone hotlines, increasing the number of shelters and conducting zero-tolerance campaigns on violence against women, in order that it may be recognized as an unacceptable social and moral problem. The Committee also considers it especially important that steps be taken to train health-care workers, police officers and staff of special prosecutors’ offices in human rights and dealing with violence against women.

433. The Committee is concerned that while the State party has implemented poverty reduction strategies, poverty constitutes a serious obstacle to enjoyment of rights by women, who make up the majority of the most vulnerable sectors, especially in rural and indigenous areas.

434. The Committee calls on the State party to give priority to women in its poverty eradication strategy, with special attention to women in rural and indigenous areas; in this context, measures and specific programmes should be adopted to ensure that women fully enjoy their rights on an equal footing in the areas of education, employment and health, with special emphasis on joint work with non-governmental organizations and on women’s participation not only as beneficiaries, but also as agents of change in the development process.

435. The Committee notes with great concern the problems of exploitation of prostitution, child pornography, and trafficking of women and girls in Mexico and the lack of sex-disaggregated statistics on the incidence and growth of these phenomena.

436. The Committee encourages the State party to take steps to combat trafficking of women and girls and the exploitation of prostitution, both outside and inside the country, and to compile and systematize sex-disaggregated data in order to formulate a broad strategy for putting an end to such degrading practices and punishing their perpetrators.

437. In view of the growing number of Mexican women emigrating to other countries in search of greater job opportunities, the Committee is concerned that this may make them especially vulnerable to situations of exploitation or trafficking.

438. The Committee urges the State party to focus on the causes of that phenomenon by adopting measures to alleviate poverty and strengthen and promote the economic input of women, as well as fully guarantee the recognition and exercise of their rights. The Committee further encourages the State party to seek bilateral and multilateral agreements with the receiving countries.

439. The Committee expresses great concern at the incidents in Ciudad Juárez and at the continuing murders and disappearances of women. It is especially concerned at the apparent lack of results of the investigations into the causes of the numerous murders of women and the failure to identify and bring to justice the perpetrators of such crimes with a view to protecting women against this type of violence.

440. The Committee calls on the State party to promote and accelerate compliance with Recommendation No. 44/98 of the Mexican National Human Rights Commission in relation to the investigation and punishment of the Ciudad Juárez murders. The Committee also calls on the State party to protect women from such violations of their human right to personal safety.

441. The Committee expresses its concern about the poor conditions of employment of Mexican women, particularly the wage discrimination, the vertical and horizontal segregation to which they are exposed and the inadequate social benefits they receive. The Committee is especially concerned about women working in the informal sector, including domestic workers, and those employed in the maquila industry whose basic labour rights are not respected; in particular, the Committee is concerned about the pregnancy test demanded by employers which exposes women to the risk of being let go or fired in the event that it proves positive.

442. The Committee recommends that the State party speed up the adoption of the reforms that must be made in the Labour Act, including the prohibition of discrimination against women, in an effort to ensure their participation in the labour market on a footing of genuine equality with men. It also urges the State party to give effect to the labour rights of women in all sectors. To that end, it recommends that the State party strengthen and promote the role of INMUJERES in negotiating the Labour Act so as to give special attention to the needs of women workers and to implement the principle of equal pay for work of equal value and prohibit the requirement of a pregnancy test for maquiladora workers.

443. The Committee expresses its concern about the small percentage of women in high-level posts in all activities, namely political, legislative, trade union and educational.

444. The Committee recommends the adoption of strategies for increasing the number of women in decision-making posts at all levels, particularly in the municipalities, by taking temporary special measures as specified in article 4, paragraph l, of the Convention; it recommends further that the State party strengthen its efforts to promote women to management positions in the public and private sectors through special training programmes and sensitivity campaigns stressing the importance of women’s participation in decision-making at all levels.

445. The Committee notes with concern the high maternal mortality rate, particularly as a result of abortions among adolescents and the inadequate education, dissemination, accessibility and supply of contraceptive devices especially to poor women in rural and urban areas and to adolescents. The Committee further notes with concern the increase in HIV/AIDS, mostly among adolescent girls.

446. The Committee recommends that the State party consider the situation of the adolescent population as a matter of priority and urges it to adopt measures guaranteeing access to reproductive and sexual health services with attention to the information needs of adolescents; it recommends further that it implement programmes and policies to increase the knowledge of the various contraceptive methods and their availability on the understanding that family planning is the responsibility of both partners. It further urges the State party to promote sex education for adolescents with particular attention to the prevention and elimination of HIV/AIDS.

447. The Committee notes the lack of sufficient data disaggregated by sex in many of the areas covered by the fifth report, notwithstanding that it is the Committee’s understanding that the Mexican National Census is based on statistics disaggregated by sex.

448. The Committee recommends that data disaggregated by sex should be compiled and urges the State party to include relevant statistics indicating the evolving impact of the programmes.

449. The Committee notes with concern that the minimum legal age of marriage, which is set at 16 in most of the states, is very young and not the same for girls and boys.

450. The Committee recommends that the law be revised by raising the minimum legal age of marriage in order to bring it into line with the provisions of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Convention on the Rights of the Child and make it equally applicable to girls and boys.

451. The Committee requests the State party, in its next periodic report required under article 18 of the Convention, to respond to the specific questions raised in these concluding comments.

452. Taking into account the gender dimension of declarations, programmes and platforms of action adopted by relevant United Nations conferences, summits and special sessions (such as the special session of the General Assembly to review and appraise the implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (the twenty-first special session), the special session of the General Assembly on children (the twenty-seventh special session), the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance and the Second World Assembly on Ageing), the Committee requests the State party to include information on the implementation of aspects of these documents relating to relevant articles of the Convention in its next periodic report.

453. The Committee requests the State party to widely disseminate these concluding comments, in order to inform the Mexican population, especially public officials and politicians, of the steps that have been taken to ensure de jure and de facto equality of women and of other measures that need to be taken to that end. It also requests the State party to continue to disseminate widely, especially among women’s and human rights groups, the Convention and its Optional Protocol, the General Recommendations of the Committee, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the outcome of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, entitled “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century”.

Peru

454. The Committee considered the fifth periodic report of Peru (CEDAW/C/PER/5) at its 583rd and 584th meetings, held on 15 August 2002 (see CEDAW/C/SR.583 and 584).

(a) Introduction by State party

455. In introducing the fifth periodic report, the representative of Peru noted the following significant changes that had occurred during the period covered by the reports: the large number of norms, policies and mechanisms adopted relating to discrimination against women and the special interest paid to women’s political participation through the establishment of 30 per cent quotas in an effort to include a minimum number of women or men on candidate lists for the National Congress.

456. With regard to legislation, the representative of Peru referred to the ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention of 9 April 2001 and other international human rights instruments and to the legislation on the civil rights of adolescents adopted in 1999, which corrected the discriminatory difference in the legal age for marriage, the Educational Development of Rural Girls and Adolescents Act, promulgated in 2001, aimed at eliminating discrimination in the area of education with special attention to rural areas, the Act granting compulsory health insurance to women in grass-roots social organizations, a police directive on avoiding sexual harassment which establishes a procedure for administrative sanctions when such cases arise within the National Police and the Law relating to Educational Policy in the Area of Human Rights, which establishes a national plan for the human rights dissemination and education.

457. The representative of Peru also mentioned, in the area of civil legislation, the adoption of an act establishing new grounds for divorce and an act withdrawing the possibility of conciliation procedures in cases of domestic violence, and said that the Act on Equality of Opportunity, the act setting forth criminal penalties for sexual harassment and the act withdrawing the possibility of conciliation in cases of domestic violence were currently under debate.

458. With regard to new mechanisms, the representative of Peru stressed the importance of the establishment of the Ministry of Women and Social Development, whose mandate was to promote gender equality and equality of opportunity, principally for adult women of full age, children, adolescents and other social groups suffering discrimination or exclusion, as well as the establishment and upgrading of the post of Deputy Public Defender for Women’s Rights of the Office of the Public Defender. In this context, she also referred to the establishment of an agency for combating discrimination against policewomen and the Commission on Women of the Congress of the Republic, in addition to various cross-sectoral and inter-institutional bodies working on coordination and cooperation for the advancement of women’s rights.

459. With regard to policies recently instituted, the representative of Peru referred to the signing in July 2002, by the different political forces in the country, of the Governance Agreement, which contains 29 concerted State policies for the next 20 years; the eleventh policy, supported by the Ministry of Women and Social Development, refers explicitly to the promotion of equal opportunities without discrimination. The representative also noted the adoption of numerous plans, including the 2002-2007 National Plan of Action against violence towards women, the National Plan of Action for Children and Adolescents, which was intended to be a framework document for actions, programmes and strategies which the different sectors and institutions of government and civil society would be responsible for implementing to ensure the human rights of Peruvian children and adolescents and the 2000-2006 National Plan for Adults of Full Age, which contains special measures for adult women of full age and takes their conditions and gender needs into account in the framework of a proposal for healthy ageing.

460. The representative of Peru went on to inform the Committee of the promulgation in February 2000 of the National Equal Opportunity Plan for Women and Men 2000-2005, in response to international commitments accepted by the Peruvian State, the coordination, follow-up and evaluation of which was under the responsibility of the Ministry of Women and Social Development. She also referred to the inter-ministerial commitment for the Advancement of Women, signed by the heads of the various ministries on International Women’s Day, 8 March, in order to help achieve equality of opportunity for women.

461. The representative of Peru then listed a series of programmes conducted, including the National Programme against Family Violence and Sexual Abuse, the National Wawa Wasi Programme which provided comprehensive day care for children under three years of age whose mothers worked, the national PRO JOVEN programme of the Ministry of Labour and Promotion of Employment, which in 1996 began to dispense vocational training to young men and women with special emphasis on disabled youth and women with family responsibilities, PROFECE, a female employment consolidation programme, BONOPYME, which focused on businesses with fewer than 20 workers, in which most of the small and microscale businesses were run by women, and, lastly, the literacy programme, which was transferred to the Ministry of Education in 2002, which had a total of 44,200 women beneficiaries in 2002.

462. In conclusion, she listed various diagnostic and other studies carried out to gain a full appreciation of the various problems affecting Peruvian women and, on that basis, undertake policy design and implementation, including a diagnostic study on the situation of rural women and gender and racial stereotypes.

(b) Concluding comments of the Committee

Introduction

463. The Committee expresses appreciation to the State party for its fifth periodic report, which followed the Committee’s guidelines on the preparation of reports, as well as for the frank and open oral presentation given by the State party. The Committee also commends the breadth of the replies to the written questions put by the Committee to the State party, which provided additional information on the status of implementation of the Convention in Peru.

464. The Committee commends the State party for having sent the delegation headed by the Adviser for Gender Affairs and Human Rights in the Ministry of Women and Social Development.

Positive aspects

465. The Committee congratulates the State party on the ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women on 9 April 2001 and on the conduct of campaigns to publicize its content.

466. The Committee commends the State party on the efforts made to implement the Convention through the formulation and adoption of numerous programmes, laws, plans and policies for the advancement of women, including the Educational Development of Rural Girls and Adolescents Act promulgated in 2001, the 2002-2006 National Plan for Adults of Full Age, which contains special measures for adult women of full age, the 2002-2007 National Plan of Action against violence towards women and the National Programme against Family Violence and Sexual Abuse created in April 2001.

467. The Committee welcomes the strengthening of national machinery, in particular the creation of the Ministry of Women and Social Development, and the upgrading of the post of Deputy Defender for Women’s Rights.

468. The Committee commends the State party for the establishment of norms envisaging a minimum quota of 30 per cent for women on candidate lists for the National Congress, which resulted in an increase in the participation of women in decision-making at the municipal level and in their representation in Congress.

469. The Committee notes with satisfaction the inclusion of the promotion of equal opportunities without discrimination in the “Governance Agreement”, which contains 29 concerted State policies for the next 20 years.

Principal areas of concern and recommendations

470. Although the Committee welcomes the creation of the Ministry of Women and Social Development with responsibility for overseeing fulfilment of the international commitments concerning women’s rights, it is concerned to note that the Ministry does not play its rightful role as guiding and normative agency for the formulation and development of policies and programmes to promote equality, or have a large enough budget. It is also concerned that the Ministry does not have an explicit mandate enabling it to guarantee and require the various sectors of government to promote plans and programmes geared to gender equality.

471. The Committee encourages the State party to strengthen the role of the Ministry of Women and Social Development as a guiding and normative body, with an adequate budget, and to give it the necessary funding for the formulation and development of policies and programmes geared to gender equality. The Committee also recommends that the State party should give the Ministry greater authority within the framework of the State institutions to ensure effective gender mainstreaming in all sectors of government and to promote gender equality.

472. The Committee is concerned that, although the report states that the National Equal Opportunity Plan for Women and Men 2000-2005 remains in force, the Plan lacks a strategic vision designed to achieve fundamental changes in the status and position of women and that policies have not been proposed to the State for the promotion of equality and gender mainstreaming in the various sectors of government.

473. The Committee recommends that the process of review and consultation should continue for the elaboration of a new plan, including civil society and in particular women’s organizations, with a view to its prompt approval scheduled for 2002.

474. Although there is a new poverty relief strategy for 2001-2006, the Committee is concerned about the lack of poverty eradication programmes geared specifically to the female population.

475. The Committee recommends that the State party include a gender perspective in poverty eradication strategies and programmes and, when appropriate, introduce temporary special measures, in conformity with article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention, with a view to eradicating poverty among women, especially rural women.

476. The Committee is concerned that, although there is an Act for prevention, protection and attention to violence in the family and another Act requiring public criminal proceedings in cases of crimes against sexual freedom, as well as a National Programme against Family Violence and Sexual Abuse, the figures for violence towards women are still very high. The Committee is concerned that there is no centralized register for sex crimes, that proper attention has not been given to sexual abuse and that incest has not been characterized as a specific offence. Moreover, the Committee is concerned about the lack of specific legislation to combat sexual harassment.

477. The Committee requests the State party to take into account General Recommendation No. 19 on violence towards women, and to guarantee systematic implementation of the National Programme of Action and of all the laws and measures relating to violence towards women and to monitor their impact. The Committee also urges the State party to guarantee that such violence will be prosecuted and punished with due speed and severity and to ensure that women subjected to such violence receive compensation and immediate protection and that the conciliation procedure envisaged in the law on family violence is not used to exonerate the perpetrators. The Committee recommends that the State party should conduct campaigns to increase awareness, including zero-tolerance campaigns, with the aim of making violence towards women socially and morally unacceptable. The Committee recommends that the State party should reinforce measures to guarantee that public officials — in particular the judiciary, health sector workers, police and social workers — are alert to all types of violence towards women. The Committee also recommends that the State party should collect specific data on all types of violence against women. The Committee requests the State party to categorize incest as a specific crime under the Penal Code and to promulgate specific legislation to combat sexual harassment.

478. The Committee notes with concern that gender-based discrimination persists in the labour market, including limited and low-level job access for women and their reduced access to resources and new technologies. The Committee is also concerned about wage discrimination and vertical and horizontal segregation. The Committee is concerned at the precarious conditions of women working in the informal sector and at part-time work, who have no labour protection, no access to social security and no due respect for their labour rights. It is also of concern to the Committee that legislation preventing discrimination in employment appears to be based on criminal penalties only and that appropriate civil remedies do not exist.

479. The Committee recommends that the necessary measures should be taken to guarantee implementation of the provisions of article 11 of the Convention and application of the International Labour Organization Conventions, in particular those on non-discrimination in employment and equal remuneration for women and men. The Committee recommends that measures should be taken to eliminate occupational segregation, in particular through education and training.

480. The Committee is concerned that, although progress is observed in the composition of Congress and in local government, as a result of the provisions adopted, the participation of women in Congress, in the judicial area and at the country’s senior levels of politics and administration still seems inadequate.

481. The Committee recommends that strategies should be adopted to increase the number of women involved in decision-making at all levels, through the adoption of temporary special measures in accordance with article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention, and that the State party should strengthen its activities to promote women to posts of responsibility in both the public and private sectors, with special training programmes and publicity campaigns on the importance of women’s participation in development planning and decision-making.

482. The Committee is concerned about the situation of women’s health and particularly their reproductive health. The Committee is especially concerned about the disappearance of the Women, Health and Development Programme. The Committee notes with concern the high maternal mortality rate and particularly mortality resulting from illegal abortions, including among adolescents, and the requirements that may prevent women from obtaining medical treatment in abortion cases. The Committee is also concerned about the inadequacy of sex education and the limited dissemination, availability and supply of all contraceptive methods, particularly among indigenous women and in the most vulnerable sectors of the population, as well as among adolescents. The Committee notes with concern that the rate of HIV/AIDS infection among women is increasing, particularly among young women.

483. The Committee urges the State party to consider the possibility of reviving the Women, Health and Development Programme. The Committee recommends that the State party should give priority to the situation of the adolescent population and also urges it to adopt measures to strengthen the family planning programme and to guarantee access to sexual and reproductive health services, attending to the information needs of the population, particularly adolescents, by pursuing programmes and policies geared to increasing knowledge about various contraceptive methods and their availability, on the understanding that family planning is the responsibility of both partners. It also urges the State party to promote sex education for the entire population, including adolescents, giving special attention to efforts to prevent and combat HIV/AIDS and to improve the dissemination of information about risks and ways of transmission.

484. The Committee notes with concern that, in the period covered by the report, mention is made of numerous cases of sterilization of women without prior informed consent, using psychological violence or the promise of financial incentives, thus affecting women’s right to decide the number and spacing of their children. The Committee is also concerned that, although the Deputy Defender for Women’s Rights and other organs have condemned these practices, those responsible have not been punished.

485. The Committee recommends that all necessary measures should be taken to continue to provide the service of surgical sterilization so as to give women the right of free choice as regards their reproductive health, after they have been duly informed of the medical details and consequences of the operation and have given their consent. The Committee also recommends that a recurrence of these incidents should be avoided in the future. It further recommends that efforts should be continued to bring before the courts the persons responsible for this violation of the right to health.

486. The Committee is concerned about the dearth of information on the treatment of women and girls and the exploitation of prostitution.

487. The Committee requests the State party to include information and data in its next report on steps taken to prevent and combat trafficking in women and girls and the exploitation of prostitution, and on steps taken to protect and, where applicable, rehabilitate and reintegrate women and girls who are victims of these abuses. The Committee urges the State party to apply the laws prohibiting the exploitation of the prostitution of women.

488. The Committee notes with concern that the minimum age at which a girl can legally contract matrimony — 16 years, and in exceptional cases 14 years — is very young, resulting in serious risks to girls’ health and preventing them from completing their education.

489. The Committee urges the State party to take measures to raise the minimum legal age for girls to contract matrimony in order to bring it into line with article 1 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which defines a “child” as anyone under the age of 18 years, and with article 16, paragraph 2, of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. The Committee urges the State party to conduct awareness-raising campaigns on the negative implications of early marriage for the health and education of girls.

490. Despite the reduction in the general illiteracy rate, the Committee expresses its concern at the high rate of illiteracy in the female population, especially in rural areas. Another matter of concern to the Committee is the high number of school dropouts among girls and adolescents in rural areas.

491. The Committee requests the State party to set up programmes specially designed to reduce female illiteracy, in particular among women and girls in rural areas, and to keep girls in school.

492. The Committee is concerned at the persistence of traditional stereotypes associated with women’s and men’s roles and responsibilities in the family and in society in general.

493. The Committee requests the State party to design and implement comprehensive educational programmes and to urge the communications media to help modify cultural patterns of conduct in the publicizing and planning of entertainment in relation to women’s and men’s roles and responsibilities, in accordance with article 5 of the Convention. The Committee also recommends that policies should be developed and programmes implemented to ensure the elimination of stereotypes associated with traditional roles in the family, workplace, politics and society in general.

494. Although the Committee recognizes that the State party is taking action in the Amazon region, through the National Institute for Family Well-Being, primarily for children and adolescents living in situations of risk or abandonment, it is concerned that there are no specific programmes for indigenous women.

495. The Committee recommends that the State party should strengthen the current programme and set up specific programmes for indigenous women in order to improve their economic, social and family situation and develop their economic skills, and to promote respect for their rights on an equal footing with men.

496. The Committee is concerned at the lack of data in the reports on the emigration of women and girls, in order that their rights may be ensured on an equal footing with those of men.

497. The Committee requests the Government to include data in its next report on the emigration of women and girls and on the measures the State is adopting to ensure their protection.

498. The Committee is concerned that the report does not contain sufficient information on the situation of women belonging to minority groups, in particular women of African descent.

499. The Committee requests the State party to provide information in its next periodic report on the situation of women belonging to minority groups, especially on the situation of women of African descent in terms of health, education and employment.

500. The Committee requests the State party to respond to the specific concerns expressed in these concluding comments in its next periodic report, in accordance with article 18 of the Convention. The Committee urges the State party to deposit, as soon as possible, its instrument of acceptance of the amendment to article 20, paragraph 1, of the Convention on the Committee’s meeting time.

501. Taking into account the gender dimensions of declarations, programmes and platforms for action adopted by relevant United Nations conferences, summits and special sessions (such as the special session of the General Assembly to review and appraise the implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (the twenty-first special session), the special session of the General Assembly on children (the twenty-seventh special session), the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance and the Second World Assembly on Ageing), the Committee requests the State party to include information on the implementation of aspects of these documents relating to relevant articles of the Convention in its next periodic report.

502. The Committee requests the State party to widely disseminate these concluding comments, in order to inform the Peruvian population, especially public officials and politicians, of the steps that have been taken to ensure de jure and de facto equality of women and of other measures that need to be taken to that end. It also requests the State party to continue to disseminate widely, especially among women’s and human rights groups, the Convention and its Optional Protocol, the General Recommendations of the Committee, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the outcome of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, entitled “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century”.

Chapter V

Implementation of article 21 of the Convention

503. The Committee considered agenda item 5, on the implementation of article 21 of the Convention, at its 568th meeting, on 5 August 2002.

504. The item was introduced by the Chief of the Women’s Rights Section of the Division for the Advancement of Women, Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat, who drew attention to a note by the Secretary-General on the reports of specialized agencies (CEDAW/C/2002/EXC/3) and the reports of specialized agencies on the implementation of the Convention in areas falling within the scope of their activities (CEDAW/C/2002/EXC/Add.1, 3 and 4).

Chapter VI

Adoption of the report

505. The Committee considered the draft report on its exceptional session (CEDAW/C/2002/EXC/CRP.3 and Add.1-10) at its 588th meeting (see CEDAW/C/SR.588) and adopted it, as orally revised during the discussion.

Annex I

States parties to the Convention on the Elimination of

All Forms of Discrimination against Women, as at

15 September 2002

States parties
Date of receipt of the instrument of ratification or accession (a), succession (b)
Date of entry into force



Albania
11 May 1994a
10 June 1994
Algeria
22 May 1996a
21 June 1996
Andorra
15 January 1997a
14 February 1997
Angola
17 September 1986a
17 October 1986
Antigua and Barbuda
1 August 1989a
31 August 1989
Argentina
15 July 1985
14 August 1985
Armenia
13 September 1993a
13 October 1993
Australia
28 July 1983
27 August 1983
Austria
31 March 1982
30 April 1982
Azerbaijan
10 July 1995a
9 August 1995
Bahamas
8 October 1993a
7 November 1993
Bahrain
18 June 2002a
18 July 2002
Bangladesh
6 November 1984a
6 December 1984
Barbados
16 October 1980
3 September 1981
Belarus
4 February 1981
3 September 1981
Belgium
10 July 1985
9 August 1985
Belize
16 May 1990
15 June 1990
Benin
12 March 1992
11 April 1992
Bhutan
31 August 1981
30 September 1981
Bolivia
8 June 1990
8 July 1990
Bosnia and Herzegovina
1 September 1993b
1 October 1993
Botswana
13 August 1996a
12 September 1996
Brazil
1 February 1984
2 March 1984
Bulgaria
8 February 1982c
10 March 1982
Burkina Faso
14 October 1987a
13 November 1987
Burundi
8 January 1992
7 February 1992
Cambodia
15 October 1992a
14 November 1992
Cameroon
23 August 1994
22 September 1994
Canada
10 December 1981
9 January 1982
Cape Verde
5 December 1980a
3 September 1981
Central African Republic
21 June 1991a
21 July 1991
Chad
9 June 1995a
9 July 1995
Chile
7 December 1989
6 January 1990
China
4 November 1980b
3 September 1981
Colombia
19 January 1982
18 February 1982
Comoros
31 October 1994a
30 November 1994
Congo
26 July 1982
25 August 1982
Costa Rica
4 April 1986
4 May 1986
Côte d’Ivoire
18 December 1995
17 January 1996
Croatia
9 September 1992b
9 October 1992
Cuba
17 July 1980
3 September 1981
Cyprus
23 July 1985a
22 August 1985
Czech Republicc
22 February 1993b
24 March 1993
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
27 February 2001a
29 April 2001
Democratic Republic of the Congod
17 October 1986
16 November 1986
Denmark
21 April 1983
21 May 1983
Djibouti
2 December 1998a
1 January 1999
Dominica
15 September 1980
15 October 1980
Dominican Republic
2 September 1982
2 October 1982
Ecuador
9 November 1981
9 December 1981
Egypt
18 September 1981
18 October 1981
El Salvador
19 August 1981
18 September 1981
Equatorial Guinea
23 October 1984a
22 November 1984
Eritrea
5 September 1995a
5 October 1995
Estonia
21 October 1991a
20 November 1991
Ethiopia
10 September 1981
10 October 1981
Fiji
28 August 1995a
27 September 1995
Finland
4 September 1986
4 October 1986
France
14 December 1983
13 January 1984
Gabon
21 January 1983
20 February 1983
Gambia
16 April 1993
16 May 1993
Georgia
26 October 1994a
25 November 1994
Germanye
10 July 1985
9 August 1985
Ghana
2 January 1986
1 February 1986
Greece
7 June 1983
7 July 1983
Grenada
30 August 1990
29 September 1990
Guatemala
12 August 1982
11 September 1982
Guinea
9 August 1982
8 September 1982
Guinea-Bissau
23 August 1985
22 September 1985
Guyana
17 July 1980
3 September 1981
Haiti
20 July 1981
3 September 1981
Honduras
3 March 1983
2 April 1983
Hungary
22 December 1980
3 September 1981
Iceland
18 June 1985
18 July 1985
India
9 July 1993
8 August 1993
Indonesia
13 September 1984
13 October 1984
Iraq
13 August 1986a
12 September 1986
Ireland
23 December 1985a
22 January 1986
Israel
3 October 1991
2 November 1991
Italy
10 June 1985
10 July 1985
Jamaica
19 October 1984
18 November 1984
Japan
25 June 1985
25 July 1985
Jordan
1 July 1992
31 July 1992
Kazakhstan
26 August 1998a
25 September 1998
Kenya
9 March 1984a
8 April 1984
Kuwait
2 September 1994a
2 October 1994
Kyrgyzstan
10 February 1997a
12 March 1997
Lao People’s Democratic Republic
14 August 1981
13 September 1981
Latvia
14 April 1992a
14 May 1992
Lebanon
16 April 1997a
16 May 1997
Lesotho
22 August 1995
21 September 1995
Liberia
17 July 1984a
16 August 1984
Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
16 May 1989a
15 June 1989
Liechtenstein
22 December 1995a
21 January 1996
Lithuania
18 January 1994a
17 February 1994
Luxembourg
2 February 1989
4 March 1989
Madagascar
17 March 1989
16 April 1989
Malawi
12 March 1987a
11 April 1987
Malaysia
5 July 1995a
4 August 1995
Maldives
1 July 1993a
31 July 1993
Mali
10 September 1985
10 October 1985
Malta
8 March 1991a
7 April 1991
Mauritania
10 May 2001a
9 June 2001
Mauritius
9 July 1984a
8 August 1984
Mexico
23 March 1981
3 September 1981
Mongolia
20 July 1981
3 September 1981
Morocco
21 June 1993a
21 July 1993
Mozambique
21 April 1997a
21 May 1997
Myanmar
22 July 1997a
21 August 1997
Namibia
23 November 1992a
23 December 1992
Nepal
22 April 1991
22 May 1991
Netherlands
23 July 1991
22 August 1991
New Zealand
10 January 1985
9 February 1985
Nicaragua
27 October 1981
26 November 1981
Niger
8 October 1999a
7 November 1999
Nigeria
13 June 1985
13 July 1985
Norway
21 May 1981
3 September 1981
Pakistan
12 March 1996a
11 April 1996
Panama
29 October 1981
28 November 1981
Papua New Guinea
12 January 1995a
11 February 1995
Paraguay
6 April 1987a
6 May 1987
Peru
13 September 1982
13 October 1982
Philippines
5 August 1981
4 September 1981
Poland
30 July 1980
3 September 1981
Portugal
30 July 1980
3 September 1981
Republic of Korea
27 December 1984
26 January 1985
Republic of Moldova
1 July 1994a
31 July 1994
Romania
7 January 1982
6 February 1982
Russian Federation
23 January 1981
3 September 1981
Rwanda
2 March 1981
3 September 1981
Saint Kitts and Nevis
25 April 1985a
25 May 1985
Saint Lucia
8 October 1982a
7 November 1982
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
4 August 1981a
3 September 1981
Samoa
25 September 1992a
25 October 1992
Saudi Arabia
7 September 2000
7 October 2000
Senegal
5 February 1985
7 March 1985
Seychelles
5 May 1992a
4 June 1992
Sierra Leone
11 November 1988
11 December 1988
Singapore
5 October 1995a
4 November 1995
Slovakia
28 May 1993a
27 June 1993
Slovenia
6 July 1992b
5 August 1992
Solomon Islands
6 May 2002a

South Africa
15 December 1995
14 January 1996
Spain
5 January 1984
4 February 1984
Sri Lanka
5 October 1981
4 November 1981
Suriname
1 March 1993a
31 March 1993
Sweden
2 July 1980
3 September 1981
Switzerland
27 March 1997
26 April 1997
Tajikistan
26 October 1993a
25 November 1993
Thailand
9 August 1985a
8 September 1985
The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
18 January 1994b
17 February 1994
Togo
26 September 1983a
26 October 1983
Trinidad and Tobago
12 January 1990
11 February 1990
Tunisia
20 September 1985
20 October 1985
Turkey
20 December 1985a
19 January 1986
Turkmenistan
1 May 1997a
31 May 1997
Tuvalu
6 October 1999a
5 November 1999
Uganda
22 July 1985
21 August 1985
Ukraine
12 March 1981
3 September 1981
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
7 April 1986
7 May 1986
United Republic of Tanzania
20 August 1985
19 September 1985
Uruguay
9 October 1981
8 November 1981
Uzbekistan
19 July 1995a
18 August 1995
Vanuatu
8 September 1995a
8 October 1995
Venezuela
2 May 1983
1 June 1983
Viet Nam
17 February 1982
19 March 1982
Yemenf
30 May 1984a
29 June 1984
Yugoslavia
12 March 2001b
11 April 2001
Zambia
21 June 1985
21 July 1985
Zimbabwe
13 May 1991a
12 June 1991

a Ratification, accession.

b Succession.

c Before becoming separate States on 1 January 1993, the Czech Republic and Slovakia formed part of Czechoslovakia which had ratified the Convention on 16 February 1982.

d Effective 17 May 1997, Zaire was renamed Democratic Republic of the Congo.

e With effect from 3 October 1990, the German Democratic Republic (which ratified the Convention on 9 July 1980) and the Federal Republic of Germany (which ratified the Convention on 10 July 1985) united to form one sovereign State, which acts in the United Nations under the designation Germany.

f On 22 May 1990, Democratic Yemen and Yemen merged to form a single State, which acts in the United Nations under the designation Yemen.

Annex II

States parties which have deposited with the

Secretary-General instruments of acceptance of

the amendment to article 20, paragraph 1, of the Convention

States parties
Acceptance date


Australia
4 June 1998
Austria
11 September 2000
Brazil
5 March 1997
Canada
3 November 1997
Chile
8 May 1998
China
10 July 2002
Cyprus
30 July 2002
Denmark
12 March 1996
Egypt
2 August 2001
Finland
18 March 1996
France
8 August 1997
Germany
25 February 2002
Guatemala
3 June 1999
Iceland
8 May 2002
Italy
31 May 1996
Jordan
11 January 2002
Lesotho
12 November 2001
Liechtenstein
15 April 1997
Madagascar
19 July 1996
Maldives
7 February 2002
Mali
20 June 2002
Malta
5 March 1997
Mexico
16 September 1996
Mongolia
19 December 1997
Netherlandsa
10 December 1997
New Zealand
26 September 1996
Niger
1 May 2002
Norway
29 March 1996
Panama
5 November 1996
Portugal
8 January 2002
Republic of Korea
12 August 1996
Sweden
17 July 1996
Switzerland
2 December 1997
Turkey
9 December 1999
United Kingdom of Great Britain and
Northern Irelandb
19 November 1997

a For the Kingdom in Europe, the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba.

b For the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man, the British Virgin Islands, and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Annex III

States parties which have signed, ratified or acceded to the Optional Protocol to the Convention

States parties
Date signed
Ratification, accessiona



1. Andorra
9 July 2001

2. Argentina
28 February 2000

3. Austria
10 December 1999
6 September 2000
4. Azerbaijan
6 June 2000
1 June 2001
5. Bangladesh
6 September 2000
6 September 2000
6. Belarus
29 April 2002

7. Belgium
10 December 1999

8. Benin
25 May 2000

9. Bolivia
10 December 1999
27 September 2000
10. Bosnia and Herzegovina
7 September 2000
4 September 2002
11. Brazil
13 March 2001
28 June 2002
12. Bulgaria
6 June 2000

13. Burkina Faso
16 November 2001

14. Burundi
13 November 2001

15. Cambodia
11 November 2001

16. Chile
10 December 1999

17. Colombia
10 December 1999

18. Costa Rica
10 December 1999
20 September 2001
19. Croatia
5 June 2000
7 March 2001
20. Cuba
17 March 2000

21. Cyprus
8 February 2001
26 April 2002
22. Czech Republic
10 December 1999
26 February 2001
23. Denmark
10 December 1999
31 May 2000
24. Dominican Republic
14 March 2000
10 August 2001
25. Ecuador
10 December 1999
5 February 2002
26. El Salvador
4 April 2001

27. Finland
10 December 1999
29 December 2000
28. France
10 December 1999
9 June 2000
29. Georgia

1 August 2002a
30. Germany
10 December 1999
15 January 2002
31. Ghana
24 February 2000

32. Greece
10 December 1999
24 January 2002
33. Guatemala
7 September 2000
9 may 2002
34. Guinea-Bissau
12 September 2000

35. Hungary

22 December 2000a
36. Iceland
10 December 1999
6 March 2001
37. Indonesia
28 February 2000

38. Ireland
7 September 2000
7 September 2000
39. Italy
10 December 1999
22 September 2000
40. Kazakhstan
6 September 2000
24 August 2001
41. Kyrgyzstan

22 July 2002a
42. Lesotho
6 September 2000

43. Liechtenstein
10 December 1999
24 October 2001
44. Lithuania
8 September 2000

45. Luxembourg
10 December 1999

46. Madagascar
7 September 2000

47. Malawi
7 September 2000

48. Mali

5 December 2000a
49. Mauritius
11 November 2001

50. Mexico
10 December 1999
15 March 2002
51. Mongolia
7 September 2000
28 March 2002
52. Namibia
19 May 2000
26 May 2000
53. Nepal
18 December 2001

54. Netherlands1
10 December 1999
22 May 2002
55. New Zealand2
7 September 2000
7 September 2000
56. Nigeria
8 September 2000

57. Norway
10 December 1999
5 March 2002
58. Panama
9 June 2000
9 May 2001
59. Paraguay
28 December 1999
14 May 2001
60. Peru
22 December 2000
9 April 2001
61. Philippines
21 March 2000

62. Portugal
16 February 2000
26 April 2002
63. Romania
6 September 2000

64. Russian Federation
8 May 2001

65. Sao Tome and Principe
6 September 2000

66. Senegal
10 December 1999
26 May 2000
67. Seychelles
22 July 2002

68. Sierra Leone
8 September 2000

69. Slovakia
5 June 2000
17 November 2000
70. Slovenia
10 December 1999

71. Solomon Islands

6 May 2002a
72. Spain
14 March 2000
6 July 2001
73. Sweden
10 December 1999

74. Tajikistan
7 September 2000

75. Thailand
14 June 2000
14 June 2000
76. The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
3 April 2000

77. Turkey
8 September 2000

78. Ukraine
7 September 2000

79. Uruguay
9 May 2000
26 July 2001
80. Venezuela
17 March 2000
13 May 2002

1 For the Kingdom in Europe and the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba.

2 With a declaration to the effect that “consistent with the constitutional status of Tokelau and taking into account its commitment to the development of self-government through an act of self-determination under the Charter of the United Nations, this ratification shall not extend to Tokelau unless and until a Declaration to this effect is lodged by the Government of New Zealand with the depositary on the basis of appropriate consultation with that territory”.

Annex IV

Membership of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women

Name of member
Country of nationality


Charlotte Abaka*
Ghana
Ayse Feride Acar**
Turkey
Sjamsiah Achmad**
Indonesia
Emna Aouij*
Tunisia
Ivanka Corti*
Italy
Feng Cui*
China
Naela Gabr*
Egypt
Françoise Gaspard**
France
Yolanda Ferrer Gómez**
Cuba
Aída González Martínez**
Mexico
Savitri Goonesekere*
Sri Lanka
Rosalyn Hazelle*
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Christine Kapalata**
Tanzania
Fatima Kwaku**
Nigeria
Rosario Manalo*
Philippines
Göran Melander**
Sweden
Mavivi Myakayaka-Manzini*
South Africa
Frances Livingstone Raday*
Israel
Zelmira Regazzoli*
Argentina
Fumiko Saiga*
Japan
Hanna Beate Schöpp-Schilling**
Germany
Heisoo Shin**
Republic of Korea
Maria Regina Tavares da Silva**
Portugal

* Term of office expires in 2002.

** Term of office expires in 2004.

Annex V

Revised reporting guidelines

(For the text of the revised reporting guidelines, see part II, annex)

Annex VI

Documents before the Committee at its twenty-sixth,

twenty-seventh and exceptional sessions

Document number
Title or description


A. Twenty-sixth session
CEDAW/C/2002/I/1
Annotated provisional agenda
CEDAW/C/2002/I/2
Report of the Secretary-General on the status of submission of reports by States parties under article 18 of the Convention
CEDAW/C/2002/I/3
Note by the Secretary-General on reports provided by specialized agencies on the implementation of the Convention in areas falling within the scope of their activities
CEDAW/C/2002/2/3/Add.1
Report of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
CEDAW/C/2002/I/3/Add.2
Report of the World Health Organization
CEDAW/C/2002/I/3/Add.3
Report of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
CEDAW/C/2002/I/3/Add.4
Report of the International Labour Organization
CEDAW/C/2002/I/4
Report of the Secretariat on ways and means of expediting the work of the Committee
Reports of States parties
CEDAW/C/FJI/1
Initial report of the Republic of Fiji
CEDAW/C/EST/1-3
Combined initial, second and third periodic report of Estonia
CEDAW/C/TTO/1-3
Combined initial, second and third periodic report of Trinidad and Tobago
CEDAW/C/URY/2-3
Combined second and third periodic report of Uruguay
CEDAW/C/ICE/3-4
Combined third and fourth periodic report of Iceland
CEDAW/C/LKA/3-4
Combined third and fourth periodic report of Sri Lanka
CEDAW/C/PRT/4 and
CEDAW/C/PRT/5
Fourth and fifth periodic reports of Portugal
CEDAW/C/USR/5
Fifth periodic report of the Russian Federation
B. Twenty-seventh session
CEDAW/C/2002/II/1
Annotated provisional agenda
CEDAW/C/2002/II/2
Report of the Secretary-General on the status of submission of reports by States parties under article 18 of the Convention
CEDAW/C/2002/II/3
Note by the Secretary-General on reports provided by specialized agencies on the implementation of the Convention in areas falling within the scope of their activities
CEDAW/C/2002/II/3/Add.1
Report of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
CEDAW/C/2002/II/3/Add.2
Report of the World Health Organization
CEDAW/C/2002/II/3/Add.3
Report of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
CEDAW/C/2002/II/3/Add.4
Report of the International Labour Organization
CEDAW/C/2002/II/4
Report of the Secretariat on ways and means of improving the work of the Committee
Reports of States parties
CEDAW/C/SUR/1-2
Combined initial and second periodic report of Suriname
CEDAW/C/KNA/1-4
Combined initial, second, third and fourth periodic report of Saint Kitts and Nevis
CEDAW/C/BEL/3-4
Combined third and fourth periodic report of Belgium
CEDAW/C/TUN/3-4
Combined third and fourth periodic report of Tunisia
CEDAW/C/ZAM/3-4
Combined third and fourth periodic report of Zambia
CEDAW/C/UKR/4-5 and
CEDAW/C/UKR/4-5/Corr.1
Combined fourth and fifth periodic report of Ukraine
CEDAW/C/DEN/4,
CEDAW/C/DEN/5,
CEDAW/C/DEN/5/Corr.1 and
CEDAW/C/DEN/5/Add.1
Fourth and fifth periodic reports of Denmark
C. Exceptional session
CEDAW/C/2002/EXC/1
Annotated provisional agenda
CEDAW/C/2002/EXC/3
Note by the Secretary-General on reports provided by specialized agencies on the implementation of the Convention in areas falling within the scope of their activities
CEDAW/C/2002/EXC/Add.1
Report of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
CEDAW/C/2002/EXC/3/Add.2
Report of the World Health Organization
CEDAW/C/2002/EXC/3/Add.3
Report of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
CEDAW/C/2002/EXC/3/Add.4
Report of the International Labour Organization
CEDAW/C/2002/EXC/4
Report of the Secretariat on ways and means of improving the work of the Committee
Reports of States parties
CEDAW/C/ARM/2
Second periodic report of Armenia
CEDAW/C/CZE/2
Second periodic report of the Czech Republic
CEDAW/C/UGA/3
Third periodic report of Uganda
CEDAW/C/GUA/3-4 and CEDAW/C/GUA/5
Combined third and fourth periodic reports and fifth periodic report of Guatemala
CEDAW/C/BAR/4
Fourth periodic report of Barbados
CEDAW/C/GRC/4-5
Combined fourth and fifth periodic report of Greece
CEDAW/C/HUN/4-5
Combined fourth and fifth periodic report of Hungary
CEDAW/C/ARG/4 and CEDAW/C/ARG/5
Fourth and fifth periodic reports of Argentina
CEDAW/C/YEM/4 and CEDAW/C/YEM/5
Fourth and fifth periodic reports of Yemen
CEDAW/C/MEX/5
Fifth periodic report of Mexico
CEDAW/C/PER/5
Fifth periodic report of Peru

Annex VII

Status of submission and consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 18 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, as at 15 September 2002

States parties
Date duea
Date of submission
Considered by Committee (session (year))

A. Initial reports
Albania
10 June 1995
20 May 2002
(CEDAW/C/ALB/1-2)

Algeria
21 June 1997
1 September 1998 (CEDAW/C/DZA/1)
1 December 1998 (CEDAW/C/DZA/1/Add.1)
Twentieth (1999)
Andorra
14 February 1998
23 June 2000
(CEDAW/C/AND/1)
Twenty-fifth (2001)
Angola
17 October 1987


Antigua and Barbuda
31 August 1990
21 September 1994 (CEDAW/C/ANT/1-3)
Seventeenth (1997)
Argentina
14 August 1986
6 October 1986 (CEDAW/C/5/Add.39)
Seventh (1988)
Armenia
13 October 1994
30 November 1994 (CEDAW/C/ARM/1)
10 February 1997 (CEDAW/C/ARM/1/Corr.1)
Seventeenth (1997)
Australia
27 August 1984
3 October 1986 (CEDAW/C/5/Add.40)
Seventh (1988)
Austria
30 April 1983
20 October 1983 (CEDAW/C/5/Add.17)
Fourth (1985)
Azerbaijan
9 August 1996
11 September 1996 (CEDAW/C/AZE/1)
Eighteenth (1998)
Bahamas
5 November 1994


Bangladesh
6 December 1985
12 March 1986 (CEDAW/C/5/Add.34)
Sixth (1987)
Barbados
3 September 1982
11 April 1990 (CEDAW/C/5/Add.64)
Eleventh (1992)
Belarus
3 September 1982
4 October 1982 (CEDAW/C/5/Add.5)
Second (1983)
Belgium
9 August 1986
20 July 1987 (CEDAW/C/5/Add.53)
Eighth (1989)
Belize
15 June 1991
19 June 1996
(CEDAW/C/BLZ/1-2)
Twenty-first (1999)
Benin
11 April 1993


Bhutan
30 September 1982


Bolivia
8 July 1991
8 July 1991
(CEDAW/C/BOL/1)
26 August 1993 (CEDAW/C/BOL/1/Add.1)
Fourteenth (1995)
Bosnia and Herzegovina
1 October 1994


Botswana
12 September 1997


Brazil
2 March 1985


Bulgaria
10 March 1983
13 June 1983 (CEDAW/C/5/Add.15)
Fourth (1985)
Burkina Faso
13 November 1988
24 May 1990 (CEDAW/C/5/Add.67)
Tenth (1991)
Burundi
7 February 1993
1 June 2000
(CEDAW/C/BDI/1)
Twenty-fourth (2001)
Cambodia
14 November 1993


Cameroon
22 September 1995
9 May 1999
(CEDAW/C/CMR/1)
Twenty-third (2000)
Canada
9 January 1983
15 July 1983 (CEDAW/C/5/Add.16)
Fourth (1985)
Cape Verde
3 September 1982


Central African Republic
21 July 1992


Chad
9 July 1996


Chile
6 January 1991
3 September 1991 (CEDAW/C/CHI/1)
Fourteenth (1995)
China
3 September 1982
25 May 1983 (CEDAW/C/5/Add.14)
Third (1984)
Colombia
18 February 1983
16 January 1986 (CEDAW/C/5/Add.32)
Sixth (1987)
Comoros
30 November 1995


Congo
25 August 1983
8 April 2002
(CEDAW/C/COG/1-5)

Costa Rica
4 May 1987
10 July 2001
(CEDAW/C/CRI/1)

Côte d’Ivoire
17 January 1997


Croatia
9 October 1993
10 January 1995 (CEDAW/C/CRO/1)
Eighteenth (1998)
Cuba
3 September 1982
27 September 1982 (CEDAW/C/5/Add.4)
Second (1983)
Cyprus
22 August 1986
2 February 1994 (CEDAW/C/CYP/1-2)
Fifteenth (1996)
Czech Republic
24 March 1994
30 October 1995 (CEDAW/C/CZE/1)
Eighteenth (1998)
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
27 March 2002
11 September 2002
(CEDAW/C/PRK/1)

Democratic Republic of the Congob
16 November 1987
1 March 1994 (CEDAW/C/ZAR/1)
Twenty-second (2000)
Denmark
21 May 1984
30 July 1984 (CEDAW/C/5/Add.22)
Fifth (1986)
Djibouti
2 January 2000


Dominica
3 September 1982


Dominican Republic
2 October 1983
2 May 1986 (CEDAW/C/5/Add.37)
Seventh (1988)
Ecuador
9 December 1982
14 August 1984 (CEDAW/C/5/Add.23)
Fifth (1986)
Egypt
18 October 1982
2 February 1983 (CEDAW/C/5/Add.10)
Third (1984)
El Salvador
18 September 1982
3 November 1983 (CEDAW/C/5/Add.19)
Fifth (1986)
Equatorial Guinea
22 November 1985
16 March 1987 (CEDAW/C/5/Add.50)
Eighth (1989)
Eritrea
5 October 1996


Estonia
20 November 1992
14 June 2001
(CEDAW/C/EST/1-3)
Twenty-sixth (2002)
Ethiopia
10 October 1982
22 April 1993
(CEDAW/C/ETH/1-3)
16 October 1995
(CEDAW/C/ETH/1-3/Add.1)
Fifteenth (1996)
Fiji
27 September 1996
29 February 2000 (CEDAW/C/FJI/1)
Twenty-sixth (2002)
Finland
4 October 1987
16 February 1988 (CEDAW/C/5/Add.56)
Eighth (1989)
France
13 January 1985
13 February 1986 (CEDAW/C/5/Add.33)
Sixth (1987)
Gabon
20 February 1984
19 June 1987 (CEDAW/C/5/Add.54)
Eighth (1989)
Gambia
16 May 1994


Georgia
25 November 1995
9 March 1998 (CEDAW/C/GEO/1)
6 April 1999 (CEDAW/C/GEO/1/Add.1)
21 May 1999 (CEDAW/C/GEO/1/Add.1/Corr.1)
Twenty-first (1999)
Germany
9 August 1986
15 September 1988 (CEDAW/C/5/Add.59)
Ninth (1990)
Ghana
1 February 1987
29 January 1991 (CEDAW/C/GHA/1-2)
Eleventh (1992)
Greece
7 July 1984
5 April 1985 (CEDAW/C/5/Add.28)
Sixth (1987)
Grenada
29 September 1991


Guatemala
11 September 1983
2 April 1991
(CEDAW/C/GUA/1-2 and Corr.1)
7 April 1993
(CEDAW/C/GUA/1-2/Amend.1)
Thirteenth (1994)
Guinea
8 September 1983
4 August 2000 (CEDAW/C/GIN/1-3 and Corr.1)
Twenty-fifth (2001)
Guinea-Bissau
22 September 1986


Guyana
3 September 1982
23 January 1990 (CEDAW/C/5/Add.63)
Thirteenth (1994)
Haiti
3 September 1982


Honduras
2 April 1984
3 December 1986 (CEDAW/C/5/Add.44)
Eleventh (1992)
Hungary
3 September 1982
20 September 1982 (CEDAW/C/5/Add.3)
Third (1984)
Iceland
18 July 1986
5 May 1993
(CEDAW/C/ICE/1-2)
Fifteenth (1996)
India
8 August 1994
2 February 1999 (CEDAW/C/IND/1)
Twenty-second (2000)
Indonesia
13 October 1985
17 March 1986 (CEDAW/C/5/Add.36)
Seventh (1988)
Iraq
12 September 1987
16 May 1990 (CEDAW/C/5/Add.66/Rev.1)
Twelfth (1993)
Ireland
22 January 1987
18 February 1987 (CEDAW/C/5/Add.47)
Eighth (1989)
Israel
2 November 1992
12 January 1994c
7 April 1997
(CEDAW/C/ISR/1-2)
Seventeenth (1997)
Italy
10 July 1986
20 October 1989 (CEDAW/C/5/Add.62)
Tenth (1991)
Jamaica
18 November 1985
12 September 1986 (CEDAW/C/5/Add.38)
Seventh (1988)
Japan
25 July 1986
13 March 1987 (CEDAW/C/5/Add.48)
Seventh (1988)
Jordan
31 July 1993
27 October 1997 (CEDAW/C/JOR/1)
Twenty-second (2000)
Kazakhstan
25 September 1999
26 January 2000 (CEDAW/C/KAZ/1)
Twenty-fourth (2001)
Kenya
8 April 1985
4 December 1990
(CEDAW/C/KEN/1-2)
Twelfth (1993)
Kuwait
1 October 1995


Kyrgyzstan
12 March 1998
26 August 1998 (CEDAW/C/KGZ/1)
Twentieth (1999)
Lao People’s Democratic Republic
13 September 1982


Latvia
14 May 1993


Lebanon
21 May 1998


Lesotho
21 September 1996


Liberia
16 August 1985


Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
15 June 1990
18 February 1991 (CEDAW/C/LIB/1)
4 October 1993 (CEDAW/C/LIB/1/Add.1)
Thirteenth (1994)
Liechtenstein
21 January 1997
4 August 1997
(CEDAW/C/LIE/1)
Twentieth (1999)
Lithuania
17 February 1995
4 June 1998
(CEDAW/C/LTU/1)
Twenty-third (2000)
Luxembourg
4 March 1990
13 November 1996
(CEDAW/C/LUX/1)
Seventeenth (1997)
Madagascar
16 April 1990
21 May 1990 (CEDAW/C/5/Add.65)
8 November 1993 (CEDAW/C/5/Add.65/Rev.2)
Thirteenth (1994)
Malawi
11 April 1988
15 July 1988
(CEDAW/C/5/Add.58)
Ninth (1990)
Malaysia
4 August 1996


Maldives
1 July 1994
28 January 1999
(CEDAW/C/MDV/1)
Twenty-fourth (2001)
Mali
10 October 1986
13 November 1986
(CEDAW/C/5/Add.43)
Seventh (1988)
Malta
7 April 1992
1 August 2002
(CEDAW/C/MLT/1-3)

Mauritania
9 June 2002


Mauritius
8 August 1985
23 February 1992
(CEDAW/C/MAR/1-2)
Fourteenth (1995)
Mexico
3 September 1982
14 September 1982
(CEDAW/C/5/Add.2)
Second (1983)
Mongolia
3 September 1982
18 November 1983
(CEDAW/C/5/Add.20)
Fifth (1986)
Morocco
21 July 1994
14 September 1994
(CEDAW/C/MOR/1)
Sixteenth (1997)
Mozambique
16 May 1998


Myanmar
21 August 1998
14 March 1999
(CEDAW/C/MNR/1)
Twenty-second (2000)
Namibia
23 December 1993
4 November 1996
(CEDAW/C/NAM/1)
Seventeenth (1997)
Nepal
22 May 1992
16 November 1998
(CEDAW/C/NPL/1)
Twenty-first (1999)
Netherlands
22 August 1992
19 November 1992
(CEDAW/C/NET/1)
17 September 1993
(CEDAW/C/NET/1/Add.1)
20 September 1993
(CEDAW/C/NET/1/Add.2)
9 October 1993
(CEDAW/C/NET/1/Add.3)
)
)
)
) Thirteenth (1994)
)
)
)
)
New Zealand
9 February 1986
3 September 1986
(CEDAW/C/5/Add.41)
Seventh (1988)
Nicaragua
26 November 1982
22 September 1987
(CEDAW/C/5/Add.55)
Eighth (1989)
Niger
8 November 2000


Nigeria
13 July 1986
1 April 1987
(CEDAW/C/5/Add.49)
Seventh (1987)
Norway
3 September 1982
18 November 1982
(CEDAW/C/5/Add.7)
Third (1984)
Pakistan
11 April 1997


Panama
28 November 1982
12 December 1982
(CEDAW/C/5/Add.9)
Fourth (1985)
Papua New Guinea
11 February 1996


Paraguay
6 May 1988
4 June 1992
(CEDAW/C/PAR/1-2)
23 August 1995
(CEDAW/C/PAR/1-2/Add.1)
20 November 1995
(CEDAW/C/PAR/1-2/Add.2)
Fifteenth (1996)
Peru
13 October 1983
14 September 1988 (CEDAW/C/5/Add.60)
Ninth (1990)
Philippines
4 September 1982
22 October 1982
(CEDAW/C/5/Add.6)
Third (1984)
Poland
3 September 1982
10 October 1985
(CEDAW/C/5/Add.31)
Sixth (1987)
Portugal
3 September 1982
19 July 1983
(CEDAW/C/5/Add.21)
Fifth (1986)
Republic of Korea
26 January 1986
13 March 1986
(CEDAW/C/5/Add.35)
Sixth (1987)
Republic of Moldova
31 July 1995
26 September 1998
(CEDAW/C/MDA/1)
Twenty-third (2000)
Romania
6 February 1983
14 January 1987
(CEDAW/C/5/Add.45)
Twelfth (1993)
Russian Federation
3 September 1982
2 March 1983
(CEDAW/C/5/Add.12)
Second (1983)
Rwanda
3 September 1982
24 May 1983
(CEDAW/C/5/Add.13)
Third (1984)
Saint Kitts and Nevis
25 May 1986
18 January 2002
(CEDAW/C/KNA/1-4)
Twenty-seventh (2002)
Saint Lucia
7 November 1983


Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
3 September 1982
27 September 1991
(CEDAW/C/STV/1-3)
28 July 1994
(CEDAW/C/STV/1-3/Add.1)
Sixteenth (1997)
Samoa
25 October 1993


Saudi Arabia
7 July 2001


Senegal
7 March 1986
5 November 1986
(CEDAW/C/5/Add.42)
Seventh (1988)
Seychelles
4 June 1993


Sierra Leone
11 December 1989


Singapore
4 November 1996
1 December 1999
(CEDAW/C/SGP/1)
Twenty-fifth (2001)
Slovakia
27 June 1994
29 April 1996
(CEDAW/C/SVK/1)
11 May 1998
(CEDAW/C/SVK/1/Add.1)
Nineteenth (1998)
Slovenia
5 August 1993
23 November 1993
(CEDAW/C/SVN/1)
Sixteenth (1997)
South Africa
14 January 1997
5 February 1998
(CEDAW/C/ZAF/1)
Nineteenth (1998)
Spain
4 February 1985
20 August 1985
(CEDAW/C/5/Add.30)
Sixth (1987)
Sri Lanka
4 November 1982
7 July 1985
(CEDAW/C/5/Add.29)
Sixth (1987)
Suriname
31 March 1994
13 February 2002
(CEDAW/C/SUR/1-2)
Twenty-seventh (2002)
Sweden
3 September 1982
22 October 1982
(CEDAW/C/5/Add.8)
Second (1983)
Switzerland
26 April 1998
20 February 2002
(CEDAW/C/CHE/1-2)

Tajikistan
25 October 1994


Thailand
8 September 1986
1 June 1987
(CEDAW/C/5/Add.51)
Ninth (1990)
The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
17 February 1995


Togo
26 October 1984


Trinidad and Tobago
11 February 1991
23 January 2001
(CEDAW/C/TTO/1-3)
Twenty-sixth (2002)
Tunisia
20 October 1986
17 September 1993
(CEDAW/C/TUN/1-2)
Fourteenth (1995)
Turkey
19 January 1987
27 January 1987
(CEDAW/C/5/Add.46)
Ninth (1990)
Turkmenistan
31 May 1998


Uganda
21 August 1986
1 June 1992
(CEDAW/C/UGA/1-2)
Fourteenth (1995)
Ukraine
3 September 1982
2 March 1983
(CEDAW/C/5/Add.11)
Second (1983)
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
7 May 1987
25 June 1987
(CEDAW/C/5/Add.52)
Ninth (1990)
United Republic of Tanzania
19 September 1986
9 March 1988
(CEDAW/C/5/Add.57)
Ninth (1990)
Uruguay
8 November 1982
23 November 1984
(CEDAW/C/5/Add.27)
Seventh (1988)
Uzbekistan
18 August 1996
19 January 2000
(CEDAW/C/UZB/1)
Twenty-fourth (2001)
Vanuatu
8 October 1996


Venezuela
1 June 1984
27 August 1984
(CEDAW/C/5/Add.24)
Fifth (1986)
Viet Nam
19 March 1983
2 October 1984
(CEDAW/C/5/Add.25)
Fifth (1986)
Yemen
29 June 1985
23 January 1989
(CEDAW/C/5/Add.61)
Twelfth (1993)
Yugoslavia
11 April 2002


Zambia
21 July 1986
6 March 1991
(CEDAW/C/ZAM/1-2)
Thirteenth (1994)
Zimbabwe
12 June 1992
28 April 1996
(CEDAW/C/ZWE/1)
Eighteenth (1998)
B. Second periodic reports
Albania
10 June 1999
20 May 2002
(CEDAW/C/ALB/1-2)

Algeria
21 June 2001


Andorra
14 February 2002


Angola
17 October 1991


Antigua and Barbuda
31 August 1994
21 September 1994
(CEDAW/C/ANT/1-3)
Seventeenth (1997)
Argentina
14 August 1990
13 February 1992
(CEDAW/C/ARG/2)
27 May 1994
(CEDAW/C/ARG/2/Add.1)
19 August 1994
(CEDAW/C/ARG/2/Add.2)
Seventeenth (1997)
Armenia
13 September 1998
23 August 1999
(CEDAW/C/ARM/2)
Exceptional (2002)
Australia
27 August 1988
24 July 1992
(CEDAW/C/AUL/2)
Thirteenth (1994)
Austria
30 April 1987
18 December 1989
(CEDAW/C/13/Add.27)
Tenth (1991)
Azerbaijan
9 August 2000


Bahamas
5 November 1998


Bangladesh
6 December 1989
23 February 1990
(CEDAW/C/13/Add.30)
Twelfth (1993)
Barbados
3 September 1986
4 December 1991
(CEDAW/C/BAR/2-3)
Thirteenth (1994)
Belarus
3 September 1986
3 March 1987
(CEDAW/C/13/Add.5)
Eighth (1989)
Belgium
9 August 1990
9 February 1993
(CEDAW/C/BEL/2)
Fifteenth (1996)
Belize
15 June 1995
19 June 1996
(CEDAW/C/BLZ/1-2)
Twenty-first (1999)
Benin
11 April 1997


Bhutan
30 September 1986


Bolivia
8 July 1995


Bosnia and Herzegovina
1 September 1998


Botswana
12 September 2001


Brazil
2 March 1989


Bulgaria
10 March 1987
6 September 1994
(CEDAW/C/BGR/2-3)
Eighteenth (1998)
Burkina Faso
13 November 1992
11 December 1997
(CEDAW/C/BFA/2-3)
Twenty-second (2000)
Burundi
7 February 1997


Cambodia
14 November 1997


Cameroon
22 September 1999


Canada
9 January 1987
20 January 1988
(CEDAW/C/13/Add.11)
Ninth (1990)
Cape Verde
3 September 1986


Central African Republic
21 July 1996


Chad
9 July 2000


Chile
6 January 1995
9 March 1995
(CEDAW/C/CHI/2)
Twenty-first (1999)
China
3 September 1986
22 June 1989
(CEDAW/C/13/Add.26)
Eleventh (1992)
Colombia
18 February 1987
14 January 1993
(CEDAW/C/COL/2-3)
2 September 1993
(CEDAW/C/COL/2-3/Rev.1)
Thirteenth (1994)
Comoros
30 November 1999


Congo
25 August 1987
8 April 2002
(CEDAW/C/COG/2-5)

Costa Rica
4 May 1991
10 July 2001
(CEDAW/C/CRI/1-3)

Côte d’Ivoire
17 January 2001


Croatia
9 October 1997


Cuba
3 September 1986
13 March 1992
(CEDAW/C/CUB/2-3)
30 November 1995
(CEDAW/C/CUB/2-3/Add.1)
Fifteenth (1996)
Cyprus
22 August 1990
2 February 1994
(CEDAW/C/CYP/1-2)
Fifteenth (1996)
Czech Republic
24 March 1997
10 March 2000
(CEDAW/C/CZE/2)
Exceptional (2002)
Democratic Republic of the Congob
16 November 1991
24 October 1996
(CEDAW/C/ZAR/2)
27 August 1998
(CEDAW/C/ZAR/2/Add.1 and Corr.1)
Twenty-second (2000)
Denmark
21 May 1988
2 June 1988
(CEDAW/C/13/Add.14)
Tenth (1991)
Dominica
3 September 1986


Dominican Republic
2 October 1987
26 April 1993
(CEDAW/C/DOM/2-3)
Eighteenth (1998)
Ecuador
9 December 1986
28 May 1990
(CEDAW/C/13/Add.31)
Thirteenth (1994)
Egypt
18 October 1986
19 December 1986
(CEDAW/C/13/Add.2)
Ninth (1990)
El Salvador
18 September 1986
18 December 1987
(CEDAW/C/13/Add.12)
Eleventh (1992)
Equatorial Guinea
22 November 1989
6 January 1994
(CEDAW/C/GNQ/2-3)

Eritrea
5 October 2000


Estonia
20 November 1996
14 June 2001
(CEDAW/C/EST/1-3)
Twenty-sixth (2002)
Ethiopia
10 October 1986
22 April 1993
(CEDAW/C/ETH/1-3)
16 October 1995
(CEDAW/C/ETH/1-3/Add.1)
Fifteenth (1996)
Fiji
27 September 2000


Finland
4 October 1991
9 February 1993
(CEDAW/C/FIN/2)
Fourteenth (1995)
France
13 January 1989
10 December 1990
(CEDAW/C/FRA/2 and Rev.1)
Twelfth (1993)
Gabon
20 February 1988


Gambia
16 May 1998


Georgia
25 November 1999


Germany
9 August 1990
8 October 1996
(CEDAW/C/DEU/2-3)
Twenty-second (2000)
Ghana
1 February 1991
29 January 1991
(CEDAW/C/GHA/1-2)
Eleventh (1992)
Greece
7 July 1988
1 March 1996
(CEDAW/C/GRC/2-3)
Twentieth (1999)
Grenada
29 September 1995


Guatemala
11 September 1987
2 April 1991
(CEDAW/C/GUA/1-2 and Corr.1)
7 April 1993
(CEDAW/C/GUA/1-2/Amend.1)
Thirteenth (1994) Thirteenth (1994)
Guinea
8 September 1987
4 August 2000
(CEDAW/C/GIN/1-3 and Corr.1)
Twenty-fifth (2001)
Guinea-Bissau
22 September 1990


Guyana
3 September 1986
20 September 1999
(CEDAW/C/GUY/2)
Twenty-fifth (2001)
Haiti
3 September 1986


Honduras
2 April 1988
28 October 1987
(CEDAW/C/13/Add.9)
Eleventh (1992)
Hungary
3 September 1986
29 September 1986
(CEDAW/C/13/Add.1)
Seventh (1988)
Iceland
18 July 1990
5 May 1993
(CEDAW/C/ICE/1-2)
Fifteenth (1996)
India
8 August 1998


Indonesia
13 October 1989
6 February 1997
(CEDAW/C/IDN/2-3)
Eighteenth (1998)
Iraq
12 September 1991
13 October 1998
(CEDAW/C/IRQ/2-3)
Twenty-third (2000)
Ireland
22 January 1991
6 February 1997
(CEDAW/C/IRL/2-3)
Twenty-first (1999)
Israel
2 November 1996
7 April 1997
(CEDAW/C/ISR/1-2)
Seventeenth (1997)
Italy
10 July 1990
1 March 1994
(CEDAW/C/ITA/2)
Seventeenth (1997)
Jamaica
18 November 1989
17 February 1998
(CEDAW/C/JAM/2-4)
Twenty-fourth (2001)
Japan
25 July 1990
21 February 1992
(CEDAW/C/JPN/2)
Thirteenth (1994)
Jordan
31 July 1997
19 November 1999
(CEDAW/C/JOR/2)
Twenty-second (2000)
Kenya
8 April 1989
4 December 1990
(CEDAW/C/KEN/1-2)
Twelfth (1993)
Kuwait
2 October 1999


Kyrgyzstan
12 March 2002


Lao People’s Democratic Republic
13 September 1986


Latvia
14 May 1997


Lebanon
21 May 2002


Lesotho
21 September 2000


Liberia
16 August 1989


Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
15 June 1994
14 December 1998
(CEDAW/C/LBY/2)

Liechtenstein
21 January 2001


Lithuania
17 February 1999
4 April 2000
(CEDAW/C/LTU/2)
Twenty-third (2000)
Luxembourg
4 March 1994
8 April 1997
(CEDAW/C/LUX/2)
Seventeenth (1997)
Madagascar
16 April 1994


Malawi
11 April 1992


Malaysia
4 August 2000


Maldives
1 July 1998


Mali
10 October 1990


Malta
7 April 1996
1 August 2002
(CEDAW/C/MLT/1-3)

Mauritius
8 August 1989
23 January 1992
(CEDAW/C/MAR/1-2)
Fourteenth (1995)
Mexico
3 September 1986
3 December 1987
(CEDAW/C/13/Add.10)
Ninth (1990)
Mongolia
3 September 1986
17 March 1987
(CEDAW/C/13/Add.7)
Ninth (1990)
Morocco
21 July 1998
29 February 2000
(CEDAW/C/MOR/2)

Mozambique
16 May 2002


Myanmar
21 August 2002


Namibia
23 December 1997


Nepal
22 May 1996


Netherlands
22 August 1996
10 December 1998
(CEDAW/C/NET/2)
(CEDAW/C/NET/2/Add.1)
(CEDAW/C/NET/2/Add.2)
Twenty-fifth (2001)
New Zealand
9 February 1990
3 November 1992
(CEDAW/C/NZE/2)
27 October 1993
(CEDAW/C/NZE/2/Add.1)
Thirteenth (1994)
Nicaragua
26 November 1986
16 March 1989
(CEDAW/C/13/Add.20)
Twelfth (1993)
Nigeria
13 July 1990
13 February 1997
(CEDAW/C/NGA/2-3)
Nineteenth (1998)
Norway
3 September 1986
23 June 1988
(CEDAW/C/13/Add.15)
Tenth (1991)
Pakistan
11 April 2001


Panama
28 November 1986
17 January 1997
(CEDAW/C/PAN/2-3)
Nineteenth (1998)
Papua New Guinea
11 February 2000


Paraguay
6 May 1992
4 June 1992
(CEDAW/C/PAR/1-2)
23 August 1995
(CEDAW/C/PAR/1-2/Add.1)
20 November 1995
(CEDAW/C/PAR/1-2/Add.2)
Fifteenth (1996)
Peru
13 October 1987
13 February 1990
(CEDAW/C/13/Add.29)
Fourteenth (1995)
Philippines
4 September 1986
12 December 1988
(CEDAW/C/13/Add.17)
Tenth (1991)
Poland
3 September 1986
17 November 1988
(CEDAW/C/13/Add.16)
Tenth (1991)
Portugal
3 September 1986
18 May 1989
(CEDAW/C/13/Add.22)
Tenth (1991)
Republic of Korea
26 January 1990
19 December 1989
(CEDAW/C/13/Add.28 and Corr.1)
Twelfth (1993)
Republic of Moldova
31 July 1999


Romania
6 February 1987
19 October 1992
(CEDAW/C/ROM/2-3)
Twelfth (1993)
Russian Federation
3 September 1986
10 February 1987
(CEDAW/C/13/Add.4)
Eighth (1989)
Rwanda
3 September 1986
7 March 1988
(CEDAW/C/13/Add.13)
Tenth (1991)
Saint Kitts and Nevis
25 May 1990
18 January 2001
(CEDAW/C/KNA/1-4)
Twenty-seventh (2002)
Saint Lucia
7 November 1987


Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
3 September 1986
27 September 1991
(CEDAW/C/STV/1-3)
28 July 1994
(CEDAW/C/STV/1-3/Add.1)
Sixteenth (1997)
Samoa
25 October 1997


Senegal
7 March 1990
23 September 1991
(CEDAW/C/SEN/2 and Amend.1)
Thirteenth (1994)
Seychelles
4 June 1997


Sierra Leone
11 December 1993


Singapore
4 November 2000
16 April 2001
(CEDAW/C/SGP/2)
Twenty-fifth (2001)
Slovakia
27 June 1998


Slovenia
5 August 1997
26 April 1999
(CEDAW/C/SVN/2)

South Africa
14 January 2001


Spain
4 February 1989
9 February 1989
(CEDAW/C/13/Add.19)
Eleventh (1992)
Sri Lanka
4 November 1986
29 December 1988
(CEDAW/C/13/Add.18)
Eleventh (1992)
Suriname
31 March 1998
13 February 2002
(CEDAW/C/SUR/1-2)
Twenty-seventh (2002)
Sweden
3 September 1986
10 March 1987
(CEDAW/C/13/Add.6)
Seventh (1988)
Switzerland
26 April 2002
20 February 2002
(CEDAW/C/CHE/1-2)

Tajikistan
25 October 1998


Thailand
8 September 1990
3 March 1997
(CEDAW/C/THA/2-3)
Twentieth (1999)
The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
17 February 1999


Togo
26 October 1988


Trinidad and Tobago
11 February 1995
23 January 2001
(CEDAW/C/TTO/1-2)
Twenty-sixth (2002)
Tunisia
20 October 1990
17 September 1993
(CEDAW/C/TUN/1-2)
Fourteenth (1995)
Turkey
19 January 1991
7 February 1994c
3 September 1996
(CEDAW/C/TUR/2-3)
Sixteenth (1997)
Turkmenistan
31 May 2002


Uganda
21 August 1990
1 June 1992
(CEDAW/C/UGA/1-2)
Fourteenth (1995)
Ukraine
3 September 1986
13 August 1987
(CEDAW/C/13/Add.8)
Ninth (1990)
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
7 May 1991
11 May 1991
(CEDAW/C/UK/2 and Amend.1)
Twelfth (1993)
United Republic of Tanzania
19 September 1990
25 September 1996
(CEDAW/C/TZA/2-3)
Nineteenth (1998)
Uruguay
8 November 1986
8 February 1999
(CEDAW/C/URY/2-3)
Twenty-sixth (2002)
Uzbekistan
18 August 2000


Vanuatu
8 October 2000


Venezuela
1 June 1988
18 April 1989
(CEDAW/C/13/Add.21)
Eleventh (1992)
Viet Nam
19 March 1987
2 November 1999
(CEDAW/C/VNM/2)
Twenty-fifth (2001)
Yemen
29 June 1989
8 June 1989
(CEDAW/C/13/Add.24 and Amend.1)
Twelfth (1993)
Zambia
21 July 1990
6 March 1991
(CEDAW/C/ZAM/1-2)
Thirteenth (1994)
Zimbabwe
12 June 1996


C. Third periodic reports
Angola
17 October 1995


Antigua and Barbuda
31 August 1998
21 September 1994
(CEDAW/C/ANT/1-3)
Seventeenth (1997)
Argentina
14 August 1994
1 October 1996
(CEDAW/C/ARG/3)
Seventeenth (1997)
Australia
27 August 1992
1 March 1995
(CEDAW/C/AUL/3)
Seventeenth (1997)
Austria
30 April 1991
25 April 1997
(CEDAW/C/AUT/3-4)
Twenty-third (2000)
Bangladesh
6 December 1993
26 January 1993c
27 March 1997
(CEDAW/C/BGD/3-4)
Seventeenth (1997)
Barbados
3 September 1990
4 December 1991
(CEDAW/C/BAR/2-3)
Thirteenth (1994)
Belarus
3 September 1990
1 July 1993
(CEDAW/C/BLR/3)
Twenty-second (2000)
Belgium
9 August 1994
29 September 1998
(CEDAW/C/BEL/3-4)
Twenty-seventh (2002)
Belize
15 June 1999


Benin
11 April 2001


Bhutan
30 September 1990


Bolivia
7 July 1999


Brazil
2 March 1993


Bulgaria
10 March 1991
6 September 1994
(CEDAW/C/BGR/2-3)
Eighteenth (1998)
Burkina Faso
13 November 1996
11 December 1997
(CEDAW/C/BFA/2-3)
Twenty-second (2000)
Burundi
7 February 2001


Cambodia
14 November 2001


Canada
9 January 1991
9 September 1992
(CEDAW/C/CAN/3)
Sixteenth (1997)
Cape Verde
3 September 1990


Central African Republic
21 July 2000


Chile
6 January 1999
1 November 1999
(CEDAW/C/CHI/3)
Twenty-first (1999)
China
3 September 1990
29 May 1997
(CEDAW/C/CHN/3-4)
Twentieth (1999)
Colombia
18 February 1991
14 January 1993
(CEDAW/C/COL/2-3)
2 September 1993
(CEDAW/C/COL/2-3/Rev.1)
Thirteenth (1994)
Congo
25 August 1991
8 April 2002
(CEDAW/C/COG/1-5)

Costa Rica
4 May 1995
10 July 2001
(CEDAW/C/CRI/1-3)

Croatia
9 October 2001


Cuba
3 September 1990
13 March 1992
(CEDAW/C/CUB/2-3)
30 November 1995
(CEDAW/C/CUB/2-3/Add.1)
Fifteenth (1996)
Cyprus
22 August 1994


Czech Republic
24 March 2001


Democratic Republic of the Congob
16 November 1995
2 July 1998
(CEDAW/C/COD/1)
Twenty-second (2000)
Denmark
21 May 1992
7 May 1993
(CEDAW/C/DEN/3)
Sixteenth (1997)
Dominica
3 September 1990


Dominican Republic
2 October 1991
26 April 1993
(CEDAW/C/DOM/2-3)
Eighteenth (1998)
Ecuador
9 December 1990
23 December 1991
(CEDAW/C/ECU/3)
Thirteenth (1994)
Egypt
18 October 1990
30 January 1996
(CEDAW/C/EGY/3)
Twenty-fourth (2001)
El Salvador
18 September 1990
26 July 2001
(CEDAW/C/SLV/3-4)

Equatorial Guinea
22 November 1993
6 January 1994
(CEDAW/C/GNQ/2-3)

Estonia
20 November 2000
14 June 2001
(CEDAW/C/EST/1-3)
Twenty-sixth (2002)
Ethiopia
10 October 1990
22 April 1993
(CEDAW/C/ETH/1-3)
16 October 1995
(CEDAW/C/ETH/1-3/Add.1)
Fifteenth (1996)
Finland
4 October 1995
28 January 1997
(CEDAW/C/FIN/3)
Twenty-fourth (2001)
France
13 January 1993
5 October 1999
(CEDAW/C/FRA/3)

Gabon
20 February 1992


Gambia
10 May 2002


Germany
9 August 1994
8 October 1996
(CEDAW/C/DEU/2-3)
Twenty-second (2000)
Ghana
1 February 1995


Greece
7 July 1992
1 March 1996
(CEDAW/C/GRC/2-3)
Twentieth (1999)
Grenada
2 September 1999


Guatemala
11 September 1991
20 March 2001
(CEDAW/C/GUA/3-4)
Exceptional (2002)
Guinea
8 September 1991
4 August 2000
(CEDAW/C/GIN/1-3 and Corr.1)
Twenty-fifth (2001)
Guinea-Bissau
22 September 1994


Guyana
3 September 1990


Haiti
3 September 1990


Honduras
2 April 1992
31 May 1991
(CEDAW/C/HON/3)
Eleventh (1992)
Hungary
3 September 1990
4 April 1991
(CEDAW/C/HUN/3)
3 November 1995
(CEDAW/C/HUN/3/Add.1)
Fifteenth (1996)
Iceland
3 July 1994
15 July 1998
(CEDAW/C/ICE/3-4)
Twenty-sixth (2002)
India
8 August 2002


Indonesia
13 October 1993
6 February 1997
(CEDAW/C/IDN/2-3)
Eighteenth (1998)
Iraq
12 September 1995
13 October 1998
(CEDAW/C/IRQ/2-3)
Twenty-third (2000)
Ireland
22 January 1995
7 August 1997
(CEDAW/C/IRL/2-3)
Twenty-first (1999)
Israel
2 November 2000
22 October 2001
(CEDAW/C/ISR/3)

Italy
10 July 1994
21 June 1997
(CEDAW/C/ITA/3)
Seventeenth (1997)
Jamaica
18 November 1993
17 February 1998
(CEDAW/C/JAM/2-4)
Twenty-fourth (2001)
Japan
25 July 1994
28 October 1993
(CEDAW/C/JPN/3)
Thirteenth (1994)
Jordan
31 July 2001


Kenya
8 April 1993
5 January 2000
(CEDAW/KEN/3-4)

Lao People’s Democratic Republic
13 September 1990


Latvia
14 May 2001


Liberia
16 August 1993


Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
15 June 1998


Luxembourg
4 March 1998
12 March 1998
(CEDAW/C/LUX/3)
17 June 1998
(CEDAW/C/LUX/3/Add.1)
Twenty-second (2000)
Madagascar
16 April 1998


Malawi
11 April 1996


Maldives
1 July 2002


Mali
10 October 1994


Malta
7 April 2000
1 August 2002
(CEDAW/C/MLT/1-3)

Mauritius
8 August 1993


Mexico
3 September 1990
1 December 1992
7 April 1997
(CEDAW/C/MEX/3-4)
Eighteenth (1998)
Mongolia
3 September 1990
8 December 1998
(CEDAW/C/MNG/3-4)
Twenty-fourth (2001)
Morocco
21 July 2002


Namibia
23 December 2001


Nepal
22 May 2000


Netherlands
22 August 2000
13 November 2000
(CEDAW/C/NET/3 and Add.1-2)
Twenty-fifth (2001)
New Zealand
9 February 1994
2 March 1998
(CEDAW/C/NZL/3-4)
15 April 1998
(CEDAW/C/NZL/3-4/Add.1)
Nineteenth (1998)
Nicaragua
26 November 1990
15 October 1992
(CEDAW/C/NIC/3)
Twelfth (1993)
Nigeria
13 July 1994
13 February 1997
(CEDAW/C/NGA/2-3)
Nineteenth (1998)
Norway
3 September 1990
25 January 1991
(CEDAW/C/NOR/3)
Fourteenth (1995)
Panama
28 November 1990
17 January 1997
(CEDAW/C/PAN/2-3)
Nineteenth (1998)
Paraguay
6 May 1996


Peru
13 October 1991
25 November 1994
(CEDAW/C/PER/3-4)
Nineteenth (1998)
Philippines
4 September 1990
20 January 1993
(CEDAW/C/PHI/3)
Sixteenth (1997)
Poland
3 September 1990
22 November 1990
(CEDAW/C/18/Add.2)
Tenth (1991)
Portugal
3 September 1990
10 December 1990
(CEDAW/C/18/Add.3)
Tenth (1991)
Republic of Korea
26 January 1994
8 September 1994
(CEDAW/C/KOR/3)
Nineteenth (1998)
Romania
6 February 1991
19 October 1992
(CEDAW/C/ROM/2-3)
Twelfth (1993)
Russian Federation
3 September 1990
24 July 1991
(CEDAW/C/USR/3)
Fourteenth (1995)
Rwanda
3 September 1990
18 January 1991
(CEDAW/C/RWA/3)
Twelfth (1993)
Saint Kitts and Nevis
25 May 1994
18 January 2002
(CEDAW/C/KNA/1-4)
Twenty-seventh (2002)
Saint Lucia
7 November 1991


Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
3 September 1990
27 September 1991
(CEDAW/C/STV/1-3)
28 July 1994
(CEDAW/C/STV/1-3/Add.1)
Sixteenth (1997)
Samoa
25 October 2001


Senegal
7 March 1994


Seychelles
4 June 2001


Sierra Leone
11 December 1997


Slovakia
27 June 2002


Slovenia
5 August 2001


Spain
4 February 1993
20 May 1996
(CEDAW/C/ESP/3)
Twenty-first (1999)
Sri Lanka
4 November 1990
7 October 1999
(CEDAW/LKA/3-4)
Twenty-sixth (2002)
Suriname
13 March 2002


Sweden
3 September 1990
3 October 1990
(CEDAW/C/18/Add.1)
Twelfth (1999)
Thailand
8 September 1994
3 March 1997
(CEDAW/C/THA/2-3)
Twentieth (1999)
Togo
26 October 1992


Trinidad and Tobago
11 February 1999
23 January 2001
(CEDAW/C/TTO/1-3)
Twenty-sixth (2002)
Tunisia
20 October 1994
27 July 2000
(CEDAW/C/TUN/3-4)
Twenty-seventh (2002)
Turkey
19 January 1995
3 September 1996
(CEDAW/C/TUR/2-3)
Sixteenth (1997)
Uganda
21 August 1994
22 May 2000
(CEDAW/C/UGA/3)
Exceptional (2002)
Ukraine
3 September 1990
31 May 1991
(CEDAW/C/UKR/3)
21 November 1995
(CEDAW/C/UKR/3/Add.1)
Fifteenth (1996)
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
7 May 1995
16 August 1995
(CEDAW/C/UK/3)
8 August 1997
(CEDAW/C/UK/3/Add.1)
14 July 1998
(CEDAW/C/UK/3/Add.2)
Twenty-first (1999)
United Republic of Tanzania
19 September 1994
25 September 1996
(CEDAW/C/TZA/2-3)
Nineteenth (1998)
Uruguay
8 November 1990
8 February 1999
(CEDAW/C/URY/2-3)
Twenty-sixth (2002)
Venezuela
1 June 1992
8 February 1995
(CEDAW/C/VEN/3)
Sixteenth (1997)
Viet Nam
19 March 1991
6 October 2000
(CEDAW/C/VNM/3-4)
Twenty-fifth (2001)
Yemen
29 June 1993
13 November 1992
(CEDAW/C/YEM/3)
Twelfth (1993)
Zambia
21 July 1994
12 August 1999
(CEDAW/C/ZAM/3-4)
Twenty-seventh (2002)
Zimbabwe
12 June 2000


D. Fourth periodic reports
Angola
17 October 1999


Antigua and Barbuda
13 August 2002


Argentina
14 August 1998
18 January 2000
(CEDAW/C/ARG/4)
Exceptional (2002)
Australia
27 August 1996


Austria
30 April 1995
25 April 1997
(CEDAW/C/AUT/3-4)
Twenty-third (2000)
Bangladesh
6 December 1997
27 March 1997
(CEDAW/C/BGD/3-4)
Seventeenth (1997)
Barbados
3 September 1995
24 November 2000
(CEDAW/C/BAR/4)
Exceptional (2002)
Belarus
3 September 1994


Belgium
9 August 1998
29 October 1998
(CEDAW/C/BEL/3-4)
Twenty-seventh (2002)
Bhutan
30 September 1994


Brazil
2 March 1997


Bulgaria
10 March 1995


Burkina Faso
13 November 2000


Canada
9 January 1995
2 October 1995
(CEDAW/C/CAN/4)
Sixteenth (1997)
Cape Verde
3 September 1994


China
3 September 1994
29 May 1997
(CEDAW/C/CHN/3-4)
Twentieth (1999)
Colombia
18 February 1995
8 July 1997
(CEDAW/C/COL/4)
Twentieth (1999)
Congo
25 August 1995
8 April 2002
(CEDAW/C/COG/1-5)

Costa Rica
4 May 1999


Cuba
3 September 1994
27 September 1999
(CEDAW/C/CUB/4)
Twenty-third (2000)
Cyprus
22 August 1998


Democratic Republic of the Congob
16 November 1999


Denmark
21 May 1996
9 January 1997
(CEDAW/C/DEN/4)
Twenty-seventh (2002)
Dominica
3 September 1994


Dominican Republic
2 October 1995
29 October 1997
(CEDAW/C/DOM/4)
Eighteenth (1998)
Ecuador
9 December 1994
8 January 2001
(CEDAW/C/ECU/4-5)

Egypt
18 October 1994
30 March 2000
(CEDAW/C/EGY/4-5)
Twenty-fourth (2001)
El Salvador
18 October 1994
26 July 2001
(CEDAW/C/SLV/3-4)

Equatorial Guinea
22 November 1997


Ethiopia
10 October 1994


Finland
4 October 1999
23 November 1999
(CEDAW/C/FIN/4)
Twenty-fourth (2001)
France
13 January 1997
5 October 1999
(CEDAW/C/FRA/3-4)

Gabon
20 February 1996


Germany
9 August 1998
27 October 1998
(CEDAW/C/DEU/4)
Twenty-second (2000)
Ghana
1 February 1999


Greece
7 July 1996
19 April 2001
(CEDAW/C/GRC/4-5)
Exceptional (2002)
Guatemala
11 September 1995
20 March 2001
(CEDAW/C/GUA/3-4)
Exceptional (2002)
Guinea
8 September 1995


Guinea-Bissau
22 September 1998


Guyana
3 September 1994


Haiti
3 September 1994


Honduras
2 April 1996


Hungary
3 September 1994
19 September 2000
(CEDAW/C/HUN/4-5)
Exceptional (2002)
Iceland
3 July 1998
15 July 1998
(CEDAW/C/ICE/3-4)
Twenty-sixth (2002)
Indonesia
13 October 1997


Iraq
12 September 1999


Ireland
22 January 1999


Italy
10 July 1998


Jamaica
18 November 1997
17 February 1998
(CEDAW/C/JAM/2-4)
Twenty-fourth (2001)
Japan
25 July 1998
24 July 1998
(CEDAW/C/JPN/4)

Kenya
8 April 1997
5 January 2000
(CEDAW/C/KEN/3-4)

Lao People’s Democratic Republic
13 September 1994


Liberia
16 August 1997


Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
15 June 2002


Luxembourg
4 March 2002
12 March 2002
(CEDAW/C/LUX/4)

Madagascar
16 April 2002


Malawi
11 April 2000


Mali
10 October 1998


Mauritius
8 August 1997


Mexico
3 September 1994
1 December 1992c
7 March 1997
(CEDAW/C/MEX/3-4)
9 July 1997
(CEDAW/C/MEX/3-4/Add.1)
Eighteenth (1998)
Mongolia
3 September 1994
8 December 1998
(CEDAW/C/MNG/3-4)
Twenty-fourth (2001)
New Zealand
9 February 1998
2 March 1998
(CEDAW/C/NZL/3-4)
15 April 1998
(CEDAW/C/NZL/3-4/Add.1)
Nineteenth (1998)
Nicaragua
26 November 1994
16 June 1998
(CEDAW/C/NIC/4)
Twenty-fifth (2001)
Nigeria
13 July 1998


Norway
3 September 1994
1 September 1994
(CEDAW/C/NOR/4)
Fourteenth (1995)
Panama
28 November 1994


Paraguay
6 May 2000


Peru
13 October 1995
25 November 1994
(CEDAW/C/PER/3-4)
Nineteenth (1998)
Philippines
4 September 1994
22 April 1996
(CEDAW/C/PHI/4)
Sixteenth (1997)
Poland
3 September 1994


Portugal
3 September 1994
23 November 1999
(CEDAW/C/PRT/4)

Republic of Korea
26 January 1998
27 March 1998
(CEDAW/C/KOR/4)
Nineteenth (1998)
Romania
6 February 1995
10 December 1998
(CEDAW/C/ROM/4-5)
Twenty-third (2000)
Russian Federation
3 September 1994
31 August 1994
(CEDAW/C/USR/4)
Fourteenth (1995)
Rwanda
3 September 1994


Saint Kitts and Nevis
25 May 1998
18 January 2002
(CEDAW/C/KNA/1-4)
Twenty-seventh (2002)
Saint Lucia
7 November 1995


Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
3 September 1994


Senegal
7 March 1998


Sierra Leone
11 December 2001


Spain
4 February 1997
20 October 1998
(CEDAW/C/ESP/4)
Twenty-first (1999)
Sri Lanka
4 November 1994
7 October 1999
(CEDAW/C/LKA/3-4)
Twenty-sixth (2002)
Sweden
3 September 1994
21 May 1996
(CEDAW/C/SWE/4)
Twenty-fifth (2001)
Thailand
8 September 1998


Togo
26 October 1996


Tunisia
20 October 1998
27 July 2000
(CEDAW/C/TUN/3-4)
Twenty-seventh (2002)
Turkey
19 January 1999


Turkmenistan
31 May 2000


Uganda
21 August 1998


Ukraine
3 November 1994
2 August 1999
(CEDAW/C/UKR/4-5)
Twenty-seventh (2002)
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
7 May 1999
19 January 1999
(CEDAW/C/UK/4 and Add.1-4)
Twenty-first (1999)
United Republic of Tanzania
19 September 1998


Uruguay
8 November 1994


Venezuela
1 June 1996


Viet Nam
19 March 1995
6 September 2000
(CEDAW/C/VNM/3-4)
Twenty-fifth (2001)
Yemen
29 June 1997
8 March 2000
(CEDAW/C/YEM/4)
Exceptional (2002)
Zambia
21 July 1998
12 August 1999
(CEDAW/C/ZAM/3-4)
Twenty-seventh (2002)
E. Fifth periodic reports
Argentina
14 August 2002
15 January 2002
(CEDAW/C/ARG/5)
Exceptional (2002)
Australia
27 August 2000


Austria
30 April 1999
20 September 1999
(CEDAW/C/AUT/5)
Twenty-third (2000)
Bangladesh
6 December 2001


Barbados
3 September 1999


Belarus
3 September 1998


Belgium
9 August 2002


Bhutan
30 September 1998


Brazil
2 March 2001


Bulgaria
10 March 1999


Canada
9 January 1999
2 April 2002
(CEDAW/C/CAN/5)

Cape Verde
3 September 1998


China
3 September 1998


Colombia
18 February 1999


Congo
25 August 1999
8 April 2002
(CEDAW/C/COG/1-5)

Cuba
3 September 1998


Cyprus
22 August 2002


Denmark
21 May 2000
13 June 2000
(CEDAW/C/DEN/5)
Twenty-seventh (2002)
Dominica
3 September 1998


Dominican Republic
2 September 1999


Ecuador
9 December 1998
8 January 2002
(CEDAW/C/ECU/4-5)

Egypt
9 October 1998
30 March 2000
(CEDAW/C/EGY/4-5)
Twenty-fourth (2001)
El Salvador
18 September 1998
26 July 2001
(CEDAW/C/SLV/5)

Equatorial Guinea
22 November 2001


Ethiopia
10 October 1998


France
13 January 2001
27 August 2002
(CEDAW/C/FRA/5)

Gabon
20 February 2000


Germany
9 August 2002


Greece
7 July 2000
19 April 2001
(CEDAW/C/GRC/4-5)
Exceptional (2002)
Guatemala
11 September 1999
15 January 2002
(CEDAW/C/GUA/5)

Guinea
8 September 1999


Guyana
3 September 1998


Haiti
3 September 1998


Honduras
2 April 2000


Hungary
3 September 1998
19 September 2000
(CEDAW/C/HUN/4-5)
Exceptional (2002)
Iceland
3 July 2002


Indonesia
13 October 2001


Italy
10 July 2002


Jamaica
18 November 2001


Japan
25 July 2002
13 September 2002
(CEDAW/C/JPN/5)

Kenya
8 April 2001


Lao People’s Democratic Republic
13 September 1998


Liberia
16 August 2001


Mali
10 October 2002


Mauritius
8 August 2001


Mexico
3 September 1998
1 December 2000
(CEDAW/C/MEX/5)
Exceptional (2002)
Mongolia
3 September 1998


New Zealand
9 February 2002


Nicaragua
26 November 1998
2 September 1999
(CEDAW/C/NIC/5)
Twenty-fifth (2001)
Nigeria
13 July 2002


Norway
3 September 1998
23 March 2000
(CEDAW/C/NOR/5)

Panama
28 November 1998


Peru
13 October 1999
21 July 2000
(CEDAW/C/PER/5)
Exceptional (2002)
Philippines
4 September 1998


Poland
3 September 1998


Portugal
3 September 1998
13 June 2001
(CEDAW/C/PRT/5)
Twenty-sixth (2002)
Republic of Korea
16 January 2002


Romania
6 February 1999
10 December 1998
(CEDAW/C/ROM/4-5)
Twenty-third (2000)
Russian Federation
31 September 1998
3 March 1999
(CEDAW/C/USR/5)
Twenty-sixth (2002)
Rwanda
3 September 1998


Saint Kitts and Nevis
25 May 2002


Saint Lucia
7 November 1999


Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
3 September 1998


Senegal
7 March 2002


Spain
4 February 2001


Sri Lanka
4 November 1998


Sweden
3 September 1998
8 December 2000
(CEDAW/C/SWE/5)
Twenty-fifth (2001)
Thailand
8 September 2002


Togo
26 October 2000


Uganda
21 August 2002


Ukraine
3 September 1998
2 August 1999
(CEDAW/C/UKR/4-5)
Twenty-seventh (2002)
Uruguay
8 November 1998


Venezuela
1 June 2000


Viet Nam
19 March 1999


Yemen
29 June 2001
3 January 2002
(CEDAW/C/YEM/5)
Exceptional (2002)
Zambia
21 July 2002


F. Reports submitted on an exceptional basis
Democratic Republic of the Congob

16 January 1997 (oral report; see CEDAW/C/SR.317)
Sixteenth (1997)
Croatia

15 September 1994
(CEDAW/C/CRO/SP.1)
Fourteenth (1995)
Rwanda

31 January 1996 (oral report; see CEDAW/C/SR.306)
Fifteenth (1996)
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegr