CEDAW and the Rights to Non-Discrimination and Equality (Simone Cusack and Lisa Pusey)

Abstract

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (‘Committee’) is the leading United Nations treaty body responsible for monitoring the implementation of women’s human rights.  This article analyses how the Committee has interpreted the rights to non-discrimination and equality and how it has applied those rights when addressing the situation of individual women under the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.  The analysis shows that the Committee has interpreted the rights to non-discrimination and equality generously and has also adopted a broad approach to the application of those rights in individual communications concerning reproductive health or violence against women.  It also shows that the Committee has applied those rights conservatively in communications concerning civil, political or economic matters and in doing so has contributed to the low success rate of those communications.  The article argues that the strength of the Committee’s gender analysis has been a determining factor in whether its application of the rights to non-discrimination and equality fulfils the promise of its broad interpretative practice.  It urges the Committee to strengthen its gender analysis of individual communications, particularly those concerning civil, political or economic matters, so it can preserve its broad vision of gender equality and ensure women are afforded maximum opportunity to claim their rights under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

http://www.law.unimelb.edu.au/files/dmfile/03Cusack1.pdf

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