Below is a round-up of recent jurisprudence and scholarship on CEDAW and its Optional Protocol
NEW OPTIONAL PROTOCOL CASES
The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women declared a communication against the UK inadmissible for failure to exhaust domestic remedies. The communication was initiated by a man and concerned the ability to have his mother’s nationality conferred on him.
The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women held Bulgaria accountable under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women for its failure to provide effective protection against domestic violence.
The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women held Bulgaria accountable under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women for its treatment of a victim/survivors of rape/sexual violence.
OPTIONAL PROTOCOL RESOURCES
Center for Reproductive Rights, “The Sins of Peru” (5 November 2012)
The Center for Reproductive Rights discusses Peru’s response to the decision of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women in L.C. v. Peru.
Jane Connors, “Development of CEDAW Jurisprudence under the Optional Protocol” (Speech delivered at CEDAW: 30 Years of Working for Women’s Rights, Istanbul, 1-3 November 2012)
Jacqui Hunt and Shanta Bhavnani, “Using the Inquiry Procedure to Ensure Gender Equality” (19 August 2012)
Jacqui Hunt and Shanta Bhavnani of Equality Now explain the background to the first inquiry undertaken 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. The inquiry concerned the abduction, rape and murder of women in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico.
Sille Jansen, “The Optional Protocol to the Women’s Convention: An Assessment of Its Effectiveness in Protecting Women’s Rights” in Ingrid Westendorp (ed), The Women’s Convention Turned 30: Achievements, Setbacks, and Prospects (Intersentia, 2012), 435
Madhu Mehra, “The Optional Protocol to CEDAW: Not a Big, Bad Wolf but an Indispensable Guide Dog” (26 September 2012)
Madhu Mehra of Partners for Law in Development in India debunks a number of myths related to the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
Kelly Reeve, “Wrongful Gender Stereotyping in Rape Trials: Vertido as One Tentative Step Towards ‘Equality as Transformation’“, Optional Protocol to CEDAW website (10 October 2012)
Kelly Reeve analyses the decision of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women in Karen Tayag Vertido v. The Philippines and its implications for transformative equality.
Aleksandra Solik, “CEDAW Committee Needs to Play a Greater Role in Addressing the Barriers that Impede Women’s Access to Justice” (25 June 2012)
Aleksandra Solik discusses barriers that impede women’s access to justice and the role of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women in assisting States Parties to overcome these barriers.
Ben Warwick, “Vertido v Philippines: Prompting a Re-Examination of Models of Rape Law” Optional Protocol to CEDAW website (14 December 2012)
Ben Warwick analyses the decision of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women in Karen Tayag Vertido v The Philippines and its implications for rape law.
On the occasion of its 54th session, to be held in Geneva from 11 February to 1 March 2013, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women will hold a half-day general discussion on access to justice in the context of the following provisions of the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination against Women
For a copy of the concept and information about attending and making written submissions, see here
Asia Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions, Video Interview with Naela Gabr, Member of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (November 2012)
Samar El-Masri, “Challenges Facing CEDAW in the Middle East and North Africa” (2012) 16(7) The International Journal of Human Rights
The rights of women are still being violated in the Arab countries of Middle East and North Africa (MENA), despite their ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). This article addresses the challenges facing the attainment of gender equality in this region, arguing not only that culture plays a major role in determining this inferior status of women, but also that the ratification of CEDAW did not bring any qualitative change because of the weakness of this legal instrument per se, and because of the numerous reservations placed by the Arab MENA states on it.
Naela Gabr, “General Recommendation on Article 14 of CEDAW: Rural Women” (Speech delivered at CEDAW: 30 Years of Working for Women’s Rights, Istanbul, 1-3 November 2012)
Ruth Halperin-Kaddari, “CEDAW General Recommendation on the Economic Consequences of Marriage, Family Relations and Their Dissolution” (Speech delivered at CEDAW: 30 Years of Working for Women’s Rights, Istanbul, 1-3 November 2012)
Partners for Law in Development, “CEDAW in Action: A Blog to Facilitate Collective Thinking and Exchange,” CEDAW South Asia
Victoria Popescu, “General Recommendation on Women’s Access to Justice” (Speech delivered at CEDAW: 30 Years of Working for Women’s Rights, Istanbul, 1-3 November 2012)
Patricia Schulz, “Gender-Related Dimensions of Refugee Status, Asylum and Statelessness” (Speech delivered at CEDAW: 30 Years of Working for Women’s Rights, Istanbul, 1-3 November 2012)
Ingrid Westendorp (ed), The Women’s Convention Turned 30: Achievements, Setbacks, and Prospects (Intersentia, 2012)
The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women is a treaty for all girls and women in this world. After 30 years it is still valid and necessary both in developed and in developing States. This image is clearly conveyed by the authors of this book, who represent a wide variety of national and cultural backgrounds, and who have put the implementation of the provisions in the Convention to the test both in modern and in traditional societies. In addition, some chapters pay attention to issues that are not contained in the treaty itself but that greatly impact the realization of women’s human rights, such as gender mainstreaming, gender-based violence, and corruption. The strengths and weaknesses, and the future potential of the Convention as well as the work of its monitoring body are critically analyzed and compared to other human rights treaties and organs. It becomes clear that, irrespective of the existing flaws, the Convention is the best option for achieving women’s equality.
With contributions by Margreet de Boer, Martine Boersma, Marjolein van den Brink, Fons Coomans, Tilly Draaisma, Cees Flinterman, Gerard-René de Groot, Sille Jansen, Menno T. Kamminga, Jasper Krommendijk, Pauline Kruiniger, Fleur van Leeuwen, Phyllis Livaha, Zoé Luca, Nishara Mendis, Jule Mulder, Rolanda Oostland, Kate Rose-Sender, Samira Sakhi, Dagmar Schiek, Jennifer Sellin, Laura Visser, Lisa Waddington, Antonia Waltermann, Ingrid Westendorp, Anja Wiesbrock, Marjan Wijers.
Dianne Otto, “International Human Rights Law: Towards Rethinking Sex/Gender Dualism and Asymmetry” in M. Davies and V. Munro (eds.), A Research Companion to Feminist Legal Theory (Ashgate, forthcoming 2013)
This chapter rethinks the tradition of sex/gender dualism and asymmetry in international human rights law. By charting a genealogy of feminist engagement with this body of law, the issues thrown up by the dualistic and asymmetrical assumptions of feminist advocacy focused on women’s rights are critically examined. It is argued that this approach has become counter-productive because it reinforces the naturalized moorings of sex/gender and supports concomitant conceptions of women (and men) that justify protective and imperial, rather than rights-based, responses to women’s human rights violations. Duality and asymmetry also have exclusionary effects, silencing gendered discrimination and human rights abuses suffered by men and others, whose gender expressions and identities are erased or demonized by gender binaries. Further, despite widespread acceptance that sex/gender is a social rather than biological category, the conflation of gender with women continues to dominate feminist human rights theory and advocacy. Efforts over the last two decades, by feminists and others, to rethink sex/gender in the context of international human rights law are then examined through two developments: the formal adoption of the language of ‘gender’, and the implementation of ‘gender mainstreaming’. This examination shows that reconceiving sex/gender as plural rather than binary, and fluid rather than static, does not mean forsaking feminism’s long-standing commitments. Rather, cognizance of the whole spectrum of harms that flow from gendered hierarchies and power will strengthen the feminist project in law. A framework of gender pluralism provides a better means of troubling the persistent reproduction of protective, victimized and formally equal representations of women, and challenging conservative views about women’s sexuality, homophobia and trans-phobia. Only by treating gender as a fully de-naturalized social category will human rights law realize its potential, if it exists, to operate as a language of emancipation and justice.
WHRI (six week institute): May 22 – June 28, 2013
CEDAW for Change (one week institute): Nov 5 – Nov 9, 2012 and June 3-7, 2013
14 December 2012