United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women - Concluding Observations
20 November 2015
ADVANCE UNEDITED VERSION
Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination
Concluding observations on the combined sixth and seventh periodic reports of Madagascar[*]
1. The Committee considered the combined sixth and seventh periodic reports of Madagascar (CEDAW/C/MDG/6-7) at its 1355th and 1356th meetings, on 10 November 2015 (see CEDAW/C/SR.1355 and 1356). The Committee’s list of issues and questions are contained in CEDAW/C/MDG/Q/6-7 and the responses of Madagascar are contained in CEDAW/C/MDG/Q/6-7/Add.1.
2. The Committee appreciates that the State party submitted its combined sixth and seventh periodic reports. It also appreciates the State party’s written replies to the list of issues and questions raised by its pre-sessional working group. It welcomes the oral presentation of the delegation and the further clarifications provided in response to the questions posed orally by the Committee during the dialogue.
3. The Committee commends the high-level State party delegation which was headed by Ms. Noeline Ramanantenasoa, Minister of Justice. The delegation also included representatives from the Ministry of Justice; Population, Social Protection and the Promotion of Women; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the Ministry of National Education; and of the Permanent Mission of Madagascar to the United Nations Office at Geneva.
B. Positive Aspects
4. The Committee welcomes the progress achieved since the consideration in 2008 of the State party’s combined second to fifth periodic reports (CEDAW/C/MDG/5) in undertaking legislative reforms, in particular the adoption of:
(a) The law to combat human trafficking, which criminalizes forced marriages, among other forms of exploitation, in 2014; and
(b) The law establishing the Independent National Commission of Human Rights (July 2014).
5. The Committee welcomes the State party’s efforts to improve its institutional and policy framework aimed at accelerating the elimination of discrimination against women and promoting gender equality, such as the adoption of:
(a) The national plan to combat human trafficking, in 2015; and
(b) The “Gender and Elections” strategy 2015-2020, which aims to enhance the representation and participation of women in decision-making.
6. The Committee welcomes the State party’s ratification of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families and of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in May and June 2015, respectively.
C. Principal areas of concern and recommendations
7. The Committee stresses the crucial role of the legislative power in ensuring the full implementation of the Convention (see the statement by the Committee on its relationship with parliamentarians, adopted at the forty-fifth session, in 2010). It invites the Parliament, in line with its mandate, to take necessary steps regarding the implementation of the present concluding observations between now and the next reporting period under the Convention.
8. The Committee notes that the period of political and institutional crisis in the State party prevented the implementation of most of its previous recommendations. The Committee welcomes the efforts by the State party to strengthen the rule of law. The Committee is concerned however, that corruption, weak governance, insufficient integration of gender equality in the process of consolidation, and wide-spread poverty constitute serious obstacles to the full enjoyment of women’s rights in the State party.
9. In light of the importance of the respect for and enjoyment of their human rights by all women and girls in the ongoing reconciliation and institution-building processes and the return to constitutional order, the Committee recommends that the State party:
(a) Prioritize gender equality and ensure women’s participation in its current transition to constitutional order and the normalization of relations with its principal partners;
(b) Strengthen the protection of women’s rights including through the reinforcement of the rule of law and the fight against corruption and impunity jeopardising democracy;
(c) Reinforce the fight against corruption within the judiciary, the police and other public institutions, including through proper investigations and prosecution of perpetrators;
(d) Ensure that the Independent National Commission of Human Rights has a strong mandate to advance women’s human rights and promote equality between women and men, including addressing multiple discrimination and bringing legal cases before the courts, and that it has sufficient resources to carry out its work;
(e) Integrate the recommendations contained in the present concluding observations into its operationalization plan for the implementation of recommendations emanating from human rights mechanisms, with a clear timetable and ranking criteria, and as a matter of priority, ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women as already announced during the Universal Periodic Review (A/HRC/14/13, para. 72.4); and
(f) Continue cooperation with non-governmental and community-based organizations, in particular women’s organizations to ensure the full implementation of the State party’s obligations under the Convention.
Definition of equality and non-discrimination
10. The Committee welcomes that the State party’s Constitution enshrines the principle of equality of women and men. However, it regrets that the State party does not apply the definition of equality provided in article 1 of the Convention, even though its Constitution guarantees the integration of ratified international treaties into the legal order from the moment of their publication, as well as the superior authority of treaties to that of national laws. It is concerned about the persistence of discriminatory provisions in a number of laws such as the Law on Nationality, the Inheritance Law and the Law on Marriage. The Committee is also concerned about the absence of a clear time frame for the adoption of pending bills that impact the enjoyment of women’s rights, including on gender equality, violence against women, nationality, proportional gender representation in decision-making bodies, and family planning.
11. The Committee recommends that the State party:
(a) Make use of the definition of discrimination against women, encompassing both direct and indirect discrimination in the public and private spheres, contained in article 1 of the Convention;
(b) Repeal all discriminatory provisions, including those contained in the Law on Nationality, the Inheritance Law, and the Law on Marriage;
(c) Speedily adopt the pending bills that impact the enjoyment of women’s rights mentioned in paragraph 10 above;
(d) Ensure the effective enforcement of existing legislation aimed at eliminating discrimination against women; and
(e) Develop and implement capacity-building programmes for judges, prosecutors and lawyers on women’s human rights, including on the Convention.
Access to Justice
12. The Committee notes that the State party intends to strengthen and increase the number of legal clinics. However, it notes with concern the persistence of many barriers to women’s access to justice, particularly in cases of divorce and gender-based violence, such as women’s legal illiteracy, the lack of awareness in the State party of women’s rights and relevant domestic legislation and gender stereotyping, including among law enforcement personnel, and traditional chiefs, the subjection of women to customary and traditional legal systems, corruption within the judiciary, the unavailability of courts in rural areas, legal fees, and the cost of medical certificates borne by victims of violence.
13. Recalling its general recommendation No. 33 (2015) on women’s access to justice, the Committee recommends that the State party:
(a) Strengthen and increase the number of legal aid clinics, enhance their availability and quality in all provinces, and ensure appropriate resources for their operation and for the free provision of effective legal aid before all courts;
(b) Enhance women’s awareness of their human rights and implement legal literacy programmes to empower women to claim their rights under the Convention;
(c) Remove obstacles faced by women victims of violence in gaining access to justice including through an exemption from fees for medical certificates;
(d) Develop and implement gender-sensitive capacity-building programmes for judges, prosecutors, lawyers, the police and for legal practitioners providing legal aid;
(e) Allow women’s organizations with qualified legal expertise to prosecute cases on behalf of women victims; and
(f) Extend current plans for data collection concerning violations of women’s rights of in criminal cases to cover civil case as well.
National machinery for the advancement of women
14. The Committee is concerned about the coordination between the National Development Plan, the National Policy for the Advancement of Women and the National Plan on Gender Development (PANAGED) as well as about the delays in updating the latter two and in adopting the national plan of action for the implementation of Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) on women, peace and security. The Committee is also concerned about the lack of information on the role of the Ministry of Population in its capacity as National machinery for the advancement of women to coordinate activities under the National Development Plan with efforts for the advancement of women to ensure gender mainstreaming throughout the government departments of the State party.
15. The Committee recommends that the State party:
(a) Allocate appropriate human, technical and financial resources for the effective functioning of the national machinery for the advancement of women;
(b) Renew and effectively implement the National Gender Policy and its plan of action;
(c) Adopt and validate the national plan of action for the implementation of Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) on women, peace and security; and
(d) Give the Ministry of Population the competence to coordinate policies on gender mainstreaming and, particularly, activities under the National Gender Policy and the National Development Plan.
Temporary special measures
16. The Committee reiterates its concern about the absence of temporary special measures aimed at accelerating substantive equality of women and men (CEDAW/C/MDG/CO/5, para. 14) in all areas where women are underrepresented or disadvantaged in the State party.
17. The Committee calls upon the State party to adopt and implement temporary special measures to increase the representation of women in governance and other sectors, in accordance with article 4, paragraph 1 of the Convention, and in line with the Committee's general recommendation No. 25 (2004) on temporary special measures, such as targets and incentives, outreach and support programmes, quotas and other proactive and results-oriented measures, as well as to ensure special budget allocations for measures in the field of education, health, economic and social development, and in all areas covered by the Convention where women are underrepresented or disadvantaged.
Stereotypes and harmful practices
18. The Committee reiterates its concern at the persistence of discriminatory stereotypes concerning the roles and responsibilities of women and men in society and in the family, such as the concept of “the head of the household” assigning this role to men and perpetuation of “the father’s name and estate” through male heirs. The Committee notes efforts undertaken under guidance of the Ministry of Justice with various stakeholders, the signing of “roadmaps” and the drafting of plans of action to address some harmful practices. However, the Committee is deeply concerned about the persistence of harmful practices such as child and/or forced marriage, sale of wives, girl markets and “moletry” (bride price), and polygamy (CEDAW/C/MDG/CO/5, para. 16).
19. In accordance with Joint General Recommendation No. 31 of the Committee/General Comment No. 18 of the Committee on the Rights of the Child on harmful practices (2014), the Committee recommends the State party to:
(a) Put in place a comprehensive national strategy with proactive and sustained measures targeted at women and men at all levels of society, including traditional leaders, to combat discriminatory stereotypes such as the concept of “the head of the household” and “perpetuation of the father’s name and estate” and harmful practices, in particular child and/or forced marriage, sale of wives, girl markets and “moletry” (bride price), and polygamy;
(b) Make effective use of the Criminal code and the Anti-Trafficking Law to punish all harmful practices;
(c) Design and implement, in collaboration with civil society, public education programmes, in particular in rural and isolated areas to develop understanding of women’s equality with men to enhance positive and non-stereotypical portrayals of women; and
(d) Establish a mechanism to monitor and assess the implementation of the measures adopted to overcome gender stereotypes.
Violence against women
20. The Committee is concerned that:
(a) There is no legislation specifically criminalizing violence against women, in particular child and/or forced marriage, and marital rape, and that there is no comprehensive policy framework to address such violence;
(b) Gender-based violence against women in the domestic sphere is not considered by courts in child custody or visitations decisions, thus forcing women to continue facing their abusers and risking further exposure of children to violence;
(c) Domestic and sexual violence appear to be socially legitimized and accompanied by a culture of silence and impunity;
(d) Cases of violence against women continue to be underreported, due to an apparent lack of trust in the judicial institutions (CEDAW/C/MDG/CO/5, para. 18), and that the frequent resort to conciliation in cases of violence against women may be detrimental to women due to the prevailing gender bias in society; and
(e) There is a lack of data on the crimes investigated, prosecuted and sanctioned as well as the reparation offered to the victims by the police and before the courts.
21. The Committee calls upon the State party to:
(a) Adopt legislation to criminalize all acts of violence against women, specifically criminalizing domestic violence, including marital rape, child and/or forced marriage, and all forms of sexual abuse, and formulate a comprehensive strategy to ensure the implementation of legislation;
(b) Adopt and implement legislation requiring that gender-based violence against women in the domestic sphere be taken into account in child custody proceedings or visitation decisions, and sensitize the judiciary on the relationship between that kind of violence and the development of the child;
(c) Ensure that women and girls who are victims of violence have access to effective redress, including compensation, and protection, and that perpetrators are prosecuted and adequately punished;
(d) Guarantee resources for finalizing and implementing the national strategy to combat gender-based violence;
(e) Provide adequate assistance and protection to women victims of violence by establishing shelters and providing counselling and rehabilitation to victims of violence, especially in rural areas, and through coordination of interventions and of support services and cooperation with non-governmental organizations and international partners;
(f) Continue to raise public awareness, through the media and educational programmes and implement mandatory capacity-building programmes for law enforcement officials, health-service providers, teachers and traditional chiefs on gender-sensitive support to victims, and ensure that victims are de-stigmatized and encouraged to report incidents of domestic and sexual violence against women; and
(g) Collect statistical data on violence against women disaggregated by age, nationality and relationship between victim and perpetrator, and undertake studies and/or surveys on the extent of violence against women and its root causes.
Trafficking and exploitation of prostitution
22. The Committee welcomes efforts undertaken by the State party, in collaboration with civil society and the international community, to combat trafficking and exploitation of prostitution and to establish an electronic database with the countries of the Southern African Development Community. It also welcomes the creation of the National Bureau to Combat Human Trafficking (the Bureau). The Committee, however, is concerned that the Bureau is not yet operational and lacks resources. It reiterates its concern at the prevalence of sex tourism in the State party and the lack of information on efforts to prevent the exploitation of prostitution and to address its root causes as well as the lack of disaggregated statistical data on trafficking and exploitation of prostitution.
23. The Committee calls upon the State party:
(a) Ensure sufficient human, technical and financial resources for the effective implementation of Law No. 2014-040 to combat human trafficking, its National Plan of Action and the national database on trafficking and ensure the speedy functioning of the Bureau;
(b) Continue its efforts to ensure international, regional and bilateral cooperation with countries of origin, transit and destination to prevent trafficking through information exchange and to harmonize legal procedures aiming at prosecution of traffickers;
(c) Provide ongoing capacity-building programmes for law enforcement officials on the identification of and assistance to victims;
(d) Carry out nationwide education and awareness-raising campaigns about the risks and criminal nature of trafficking; and
(e) Address the root causes of trafficking and exploitation of women, including poverty, in order to eliminate the vulnerability of girls and women to sexual exploitation and trafficking, and strive to ensure the recovery and social integration of victims, by providing them with adequate assistance, rehabilitation and shelters (CEDAW/C/MDG/CO/5, para. 21).
Participation in political and public life
24. The Committee remains concerned at the low representation of women in decision-making positions, in particular in the diplomatic service (0% ambassadors) and in other international organizations as well as at the community level (0% regional heads, 5% elected mayors, 2.6% heads of Fokontany). It is particularly concerned that past efforts to introduce measures, including temporary special measures, to remedy the unequal participation of women in political and public life have not succeeded before the National Assembly.
25. The Committee recommends that the State party:
(a) Amend its Electoral Law so as to introduce statutory quotas with sanctions for non-compliance, for increased women’s representation in political and public life, in particular at the community and national levels and ensure an open and transparent process for the nomination of candidates to represent the State party in international organizations;
(b) Implement the “Gender and elections” national strategy to promote and empower women at all levels of political and public life, in particular in decision-making positions, including in the planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of development policies and community projects and introduce measures, including temporary special measures, in accordance with article 4, paragraph 1, and the Committee’s general recommendations No. 23 (1997) on women in political and public life and No. 25 (2004) on temporary special measures;
(c) Build capacity of politicians, journalists, teachers and community chiefs on gender equality, to enhance their understanding that full, free and democratic participation of women on an equal basis with men in political and public life is a requirement for the full implementation of the Convention and the economic and social development of the State party; and
(d) Provide capacity building programmes for potential women candidates on political campaigning and leadership skills to increase their interest in participating in elections as candidates.
26. The Committee reiterates its concern (CEDAW/C/MDG/CO/5, para. 24) that the current nationality legislation discriminates against Malagasy women, who cannot transmit their nationality to their foreign or stateless spouse and to their children on an equal basis with men. The Committee notes the efforts made by the State party to increase birth registrations but is concerned that 20% of births remain unregistered, increasing the risk of statelessness, and about the difficulties faced by women to ensure registration of their children.
27. The Committee recommends that the State party:
(a) Amend its nationality law to enable Malagasy women to transmit their nationality to their foreign or stateless spouse and to their children on an equal basis with men, in accordance with article 9 of the Convention (CEDAW/C/MDG/CO/5, para. 25);
(b) Ensure the retroactive application of the law to ensure that all the persons presently stateless due to the discriminatory law are granted nationality; and
(c) Facilitate birth registration of all children by allocating adequate resources to registration centres, providing mobile registration services, and by reducing the fees and simplifying the birth registration procedure.
28. The Committee notes the efforts of the State party to increase participation of girls and women in education. The Committee is, however, concerned that from the primary level, the enrolment and completion rates of girls are lower than of boys, and that girls are often victims of sexual abuse and harassment on the way to/from or at school. It is also concerned about the high dropout rate among girls due to early pregnancy, extreme poverty and child labour of girls (CEDAW/C/MDG/CO/5, para. 26) and the practice of expelling pregnant girls from school and refusal to reintegrate them after delivery. The Committee further notes with concern the lack of age-appropriate information, at all levels of education, on sexual and reproductive health and rights that adopts a gender perspective.
29. The Committee calls on the State party to:
(a) Improve provision of basic education for girls, particularly in rural and remote areas with special attention to the provision of adequate sanitary facilities and clean water, especially in schools catering to adolescent females;
(b) Strengthen awareness-raising programmes for parents and the wider community on the importance of education for girls’ life choices and career options;
(c) Ensure that girls are not expelled from school on account of pregnancy and that they are reintegrated after giving birth;
(d) Provide safe educational environments free from discrimination and sexual violence, including in and around school settings;
(e) Establish reporting and accountability mechanisms to ensure that teachers and peer students who sexually abuse or harass girls at school are adequately punished; and
(f) Integrate age-appropriate education on sexual and reproductive health and rights in school curricula, including education on responsible sexual behaviour, sexually transmitted diseases and on the right of women to make their own choices with regard to reproductive and sexual health, and train teachers to address such topics in a gender-sensitive manner.
30. The Committee welcomes the detailed legal framework for workers employed in the formal sector but notes with concern discriminatory practices of employers against pregnant women, the high rate of unemployment among women and strong vertical and horizontal segregation in the labour market, as well as lack of implementation of laws, including on equal pay, evidenced by the persistence of wage gaps between women and men in both public and private sectors. The Committee reiterates its concern about the high proportion of women in the informal sector where they face persistent poverty and are not covered by social protection. The Committee is also concerned about the precarious situation of women and girls in domestic work in private households.
31. The Committee recommends that the State party:
(a) Integrate a gender perspective in the National Development Plan, particularly through the integration of measures to combat discrimination against women in employment and to ensure that women benefit from job creation and entrepreneurship schemes;
(b) Further strengthen the capacities of labour inspectors to monitor workplaces, including in private households and to enforce labour standards through adequate sanctions, when applicable, and use their findings for policy review and development of best practices;
(c) Take measures to close the existing wage gap between women and men and implementing equality (equal pay for work of equal value), in line with the Committee’s General Recommendation No. 13 (1989); and
(d) Adopt a regulatory framework for the informal sector, to ensure that women in that sector have access to social protection and benefits (CEDAW/C/MDG/CO/5, para. 29).
Sexual harassment in the workplace
32. The Committee notes with concern that the current legislation in the State party does not seem clear and may not adequately protect women against sexual harassment in the workplace. It also notes with concern the lack of statistical data on and the difficulties faced by women to prove sexual harassment in the workplace.
33. The Committee recommends that the State party:
(a) Amend and clarify its legislation to broadly define sexual harassment in the workplace, ease the burden of proof for victims, and provide victims with effective redress, including compensation;
(b) Widely disseminate information on the procedures for reporting cases of sexual harassment in the workplace;
(c) Conduct regular labour inspections aimed at enforcing labour laws and codes of conduct on sexual harassment; and
(d) Collect statistical data on the extent of sex-based discrimination and sexual harassment in the workplace and conduct studies to improve the effectiveness of the legislation.
Women domestic workers
34. The Committee is concerned at the precarious working conditions of women domestic workers, including women migrant workers abroad, and their heightened risk of abuse and trafficking for sexual and labour exploitation. The Committee is also concerned that women and girls migrating abroad are often victimized by fraudulent recruitment agencies and brokers and face barriers in filing complaints and accessing justice.
35. The Committee recommends that the State party:
(a) Ratify ILO Convention No. 189 (2011) on decent work for Domestic Workers;
(b) Ensure that women domestic workers, including women migrant workers have access to social protection and other employment-related benefits;
(c) Effectively regulate and monitor the practices of recruitment agencies, to prevent women migrant workers from abuse and exploitation;
(d) Raise awareness of women and girls, in particular rural women and girls, on the risks that they may face on their migration journey and on the remedies available to complain about violations of their human rights; and
(e) Address the root causes of women’s migration through alternatives such as the creation of conditions for sustainable livelihoods and income generating opportunities.
36. The Committee reiterates its concern about the limited access to adequate health-care services, including sexual and reproductive health services, the persistence of teenage pregnancies, the high and almost unchanged infant and maternal mortality rates, especially among young women and girls, which are due mostly to pregnancy or childbirth-related complications as well as unsafe abortions. The Committee is concerned that medical fees and costs for treatment or medication continue to limit the majority of women’s access to health care. The Committee notes the intention of the State party to lower the level of sanctions for abortion and consider introducing further grounds for which abortion could be legal. The Committee is, however, concerned about the high prevalence of abortion, the restrictive laws governing abortion and the ensuing high rate of health complications among women and girls.
37. The Committee reiterates its previous recommendation (CEDAW/C/MDG/CO/5, para. 31) and calls on the State party to:
(a) Reduce maternal mortality by improving access to basic pre- and ante-natal care, emergency obstetric care and ensuring the presence of skilled birth attendants at birth, particularly in rural areas, taking into consideration the Technical Guidance of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights on the application of a human rights-based approach to the implementation of policies and programmes to reduce preventable maternal morbidity and mortality (A/HRC/21/22 and corr. 1 and 2);
(b) Increase the access of women and girls to basic health care services giving priority to rural areas and ensure sufficient resources to promote and protect women’s health;
(c) Adopt measures to prevent teenage pregnancies and increase access of women and girls to sexual and reproductive health services, affordable modern contraceptives and family planning services, including in rural areas;
(d) Legalize abortion, at least in cases when pregnancy is harmful to the mother’s health and in instances of incest, rape and severe foetal impairment and remove punitive measures for women who undergo abortion;
(e) Mandate, support and finance research and data collection on the scope, causes and consequences of unsafe, illegal abortion and its impact on girls’ and women’s health and life, to obtain evidence-based elements to support the extension of the grounds for legalization of abortion;
(f) Address the negative influence of customary, traditional or religious considerations that may be invoked to stigmatize women and hamper their exercise of their sexual and reproductive health rights; and
(g) Improve women’s access to quality post-abortion care, especially in cases of complications resulting from unsafe abortions, in line with the Committee’s general recommendation No. 24 (1999) on women and health.
38. The Committee notes the State party’s measures to provide early diagnosis and care to pregnant girls and women living with HIV/AIDS. The Committee is, however, concerned about the absence of a general policy of equal access to preventive care and treatment for all women living with HIV/AIDS and of a strategy to promote age-appropriate education on reproductive and sexual health for young persons. It is also concerned at the persistence of stigma and discrimination against women living with HIV/AIDS, including pregnant women, and the fact that men’s role as active transmitters of HIV is rarely addressed.
39. The Committee recommends that the State party ensure equal access for men and women to HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention, including prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS. It recommends that the State party develop age-appropriate educational programmes targeting the youth, on reproductive and sexual health and rights, including responsible sexual behaviours. The Committee also recommends that the State party combat persistent stigma and discrimination against women living with HIV/AIDS and raise awareness among men, including those with risky sexual behaviours and those living with HIV, on their role in reducing transmission of HIV to their sexual partners.
Economic empowerment of women
40. The Committee is concerned that the majority of women, particularly in rural areas, have limited or no access to training opportunities, financial credit and loans, as well as steady income, pension and social security schemes, in the State party. It is concerned that single women heads of households, in particular in rural areas, are more at risk of poverty.
41. The Committee recommends that the State party:
(a) Repeal all legislation that discriminates against women’s economic empowerment;
(b) Adopt measures to ensure equal access for women and men to training opportunities, such as vocational training and financial resources, including income-generating opportunities, credit and loans, pension and social benefits schemes;
(c) Conduct capacity building programmes to increase the number of women entrepreneurs; and
(d) Integrate initiatives aimed at women’s economic empowerment throughout the State party’s development strategies and include consideration for targeted groups of women, such as single women heads of households, according to their specific needs and the multiple discrimination they face.
42. The Committee reiterates its concern that rural women face additional challenges to access justice, health care, education, credit and loans, economic opportunities and community services, which often prevent them from fully participating and benefitting from rural and agricultural policies on an equal basis with men. The Committee notes with concern that:
(a) Discriminatory practices regarding land ownership and the administration of property and inheritance continue to limit women’s access to economic resources and financial services (CEDAW/C/MDG/CO/5, para. 32);
(b) Land tenure and rural development policies in the State party lack a gender perspective and under law 68-012 (1968) related to inheritance, co-heirs may agree that female heirs receive a lump sum instead of an equal share of inherited land;
(c) Law No. 2007-036 on foreign investment may have an adverse impact on women’s access to land and resources; and
(d) Climate change and recurring natural disasters, including extreme weather events and drought have a disproportioned impact on women.
43. The Committee recommends that the State party:
(a) Repeal discriminatory provisions in Law No. 68-012 (1968) and amend Law No. 2007-037 to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women with respect to land ownership and administration, property and inheritance, and to facilitate women’s acquisition and retention of land and natural resources;
(b) Ensure that the promotion of gender equality is an explicit component of its land tenure and rural development policies, plans and programmes, in particular those aimed at poverty reduction and sustainable development, ensuring the full participation of rural women in their formulation and implementation (CEDAW/C/MDG/CO/5, para. 33);
(c) Pay special attention to the situation of rural women ensuring their participation in decision-making processes in the community and the family, as well as their full access to financial services and capacity-building opportunities, including in the farming and cattle rearing sector;
(d) Take proactive measures to ensure that rural women’s access to justice, health care, education and community services; and
(e) Ensure the integration of a gender perspective and the empowerment of rural women into any efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
Women with disabilities
44. The Committee is concerned about intersecting forms of discrimination against women and girls with disabilities who are often victims of prejudice, violence and neglect. The Committee notes with concern the obstacles faced by women and girls with disabilities to participate in social life and the absence of a clear strategy or policy for the promotion of their human rights.
45. The Committee recommends that the State party expedite the elaboration and adoption of the proposed plan to include a disability perspective in national policies and strategies and ensure its implementation, with a view to protect the rights of women and girls with disabilities and to eliminate discrimination and violence against them.
Marriage and family relations
46. The Committee notes the State party’s efforts to regulate some aspects of traditional marriages, including their registration and the equitable distribution of property upon dissolution. However, it remains concerned that traditional marriages remain largely unregistered, resulting in lack of access for women to protection by Law No. 2007-022 on marriage. It is also concerned that due to customary and traditional attitudes women are considered inferior to men and do not benefit from the right to an equal treatment in marriage and family matters including divorce, inheritance, and custody, and that cases of polygamy persist. It reiterates its concern about the overall lack of awareness of the law on marriage among the population as well as about its enforcement.
47. The Committee recalls its general recommendations No. 21 (1994) on equality in marriage and family relations and No. 29 (2013) on the economic consequences of marriage, family relations and their dissolution and recommends that the State party:
(a) Ensure the equal rights of women and men in all matters relating to marriage and family relations, as well as to inheritance, divorce and custody of children, without further delay;
(b) Increase knowledge and awareness of the law on marriage, ensure its enforcement, facilitate the registration of all marriages to protect the rights of women in de facto unions as well as enforce the prohibition of polygamy;
(c) Carry out wide-reaching awareness-raising and education campaigns to change attitudes and behaviour about practices related to marriage and family relations among traditional leaders and the population in general; and
(d) Conduct awareness-raising campaigns targeting women and girls to make them aware of their rights with regard to family relations and marriage.
Child and/or forced marriages
48. The Committee notes that the legal minimum age of marriage is 18 years. However, it remains concerned by the pervasiveness of child and/or forced marriages, and that girls and women are deprived of their right to freely choose their spouse and to enter into marriage.
49. In accordance with Joint General Recommendation No. 31 of the Committee/General Comment No. 18 of the Committee on the Rights of the Child on harmful practices (2014), the Committee calls on the State party to:
(a) Adopt all measures to combat child and/or forced marriages in a sustained manner whilst tackling the root causes;
(b) Disseminate and raise awareness about the law prohibiting marriage under 18 years, including by sensitizing the general public on the harmful effects of child and/or forced marriage on girls’ mental and reproductive health and the pursuit of their education; and
(c) Strengthen awareness-raising and sensitization activities on the harmful impact of child and/or forced mariage for women and girls, in cooperation with traditional or religious leaders and the media, in order to encourage change conducive to the elimination of this harmful practice and include making girls and women aware of their right to freely enter into marriage.
Data collection and analysis
50. The Committee is concerned at the general lack of gender-disaggregated data which is necessary for an accurate assessment of the situation of women and identification of discrimination, for informed and targeted policymaking, and for the systematic monitoring and evaluation of progress achieved towards the realization by women of substantive equality.
51. The Committee recommends that the State party enhance the collection, analysis and dissemination of comprehensive data, disaggregated by sex, age, disability, ethnicity, location and socioeconomic status, and the use of measurable indicators to assess trends in the situation of women and progress towards the realization by women of substantive equality in all areas covered by the Convention.
Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action
52. The Committee calls upon the State party to utilize the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, in its efforts to implement the provisions of the Convention.
2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
53. The Committee calls for the realization of substantive gender equality, in accordance with the provisions of the Convention, throughout the process of implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
54. The Committee recalls the obligation of the State party to systematically and continuously implement the provisions of the Convention. It urges the State party to give priority attention to the implementation of the present concluding observations and recommendations between now and the submission of the next periodic report. The Committee therefore requests the timely dissemination of the concluding observations, in the official language(s) of the State party, to the relevant state institutions at all levels (national, regional, local), in particular to the Government, the ministries, the Parliament and to the judiciary, to enable their full implementation. It encourages the State party to collaborate with all stakeholders concerned, such as employers’ associations, trade unions, human rights and women’s organisations, universities and research institutions, media, etc. It further recommends that its concluding observations be disseminated in an appropriate form at the local community level, to enable their implementation. In addition, the Committee requests the State party to continue to disseminate the CEDAW Convention, its Optional Protocol and jurisprudence, and the Committee’s General Recommendations to all stakeholders.
55. The Committee recommends that the State party link the implementation of the Convention to its development efforts and that it avail itself of regional or international technical assistance in this respect. The Committee also calls on the State party to continue its cooperation with specialized agencies and programmes of the United Nations system, including the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women), the United Nations Statistics Division, the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Children’s Fund, the United Nations Population Fund, the World Health Organization, the International Labour Organization, and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights as well as the International Organization for Migration.
Ratification of other treaties
56. The Committee notes that the adherence of the State party to the nine major international human rights instruments would enhance the enjoyment by women of their human rights and fundamental freedoms in all aspects of life. The Committee therefore encourages the State party to consider ratifying the Convention on the Protection of Persons from Enforced Disappearances, the 1954 Convention on the Status of Stateless Persons and the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness to which it is not yet a party.
Follow-up to concluding observations
57. The Committee requests the State party to provide, within two years, written information on the steps undertaken to implement the recommendations contained in paragraphs 27a and 37d and e above.
Preparation of the next report
58. The Committee invites the State party to submit its eighth periodic report in November 2019.
59. The Committee requests the State party to follow the “Harmonized guidelines on reporting under the international human rights treaties, including guidelines on a common core document and treaty-specific documents” (HRI/MC/2006/3 and Corr.1).
[*] Adopted by the Committee at its sixty-second session (26 October-20 November 2015).
 The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination; the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women; the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment; the Convention on the Rights of the Child; the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families; the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance; and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.