CEDAW inquiry into grave violence against Aboriginal women in Canada

This post, authored by Meghan Campbell, was first published on the Oxford Human Rights Hub on 25 March 2015 and is republished here with the permission of the author. 

On March 6, 2015 the CEDAW Committee released its second inquiry into grave and systemic violations of CEDAW under the Article 8 of the OP-CEDAW. This inquiry was initiated by the Feminist Alliance for International Action and the Native Women’s Association of Canada. These two organisations alleged grave and systematic violations of CEDAW in relation to the disproportionately high levels of violence experienced by Aboriginal women and girls in Canada. Particularly, they argued Canada was in breach of CEDAW because (i) there was no co-ordinated national action plan to address the root causes of violence; (ii) the failures of law enforcement to protect and prevent violence against Aboriginal women and (iii) there was no national public inquiry into missing and murdered Aboriginal women.

The CEDAW inquiry found a firm factual basis for these allegations. Between 1960 and 2013, 663 Aboriginal women have gone missing or being murdered (para 4). In the period 2000-2008 the murders of Aboriginal women represent 10 per cent of the total number of female homicides, despite the fact that Aboriginal women make up only 3 per cent of the total female population (para 7). Aboriginal women are 3.5 times more likely to experience domestic violence and sexual assault than non-Aboriginal women and 5 times more likely to die of violence (para 3).

Canada did not deny the factual claims but argued that its response to violence against women was sufficient to discharge its obligations under CEDAW. The government provided extensive evidence of the funding, programmes and government studies undertaken to prevent further violence against Aboriginal women (para 32-81).

The main focus of the inquiry was the appropriateness of the Canada’s response. After a country visit, the inquiry concluded that Canada’s efforts to address violence against Aboriginal women and girls were inadequate in light of the gravity of the situation. To meet the due diligence standard under Article 2 of CEDAW the formal framework established by Canada must be in practice be effective and available.

The report provides numerous examples of where Canada has failed Aboriginal women and this post highlights a just a few of the findings from the inquiry. First, the Committee concluded that the federal and provincial studies on violence against Aboriginal often had a limited mandate; the recommendations were at times general or ignored and never implemented (para 100-104). Second, the high incidence of poverty, inadequate housing, lack of education and employment opportunities increases Aboriginal women’s vulnerability to violence (para 112). Although Canada has taken step, the measures ‘have not gone far enough’ (para 117). For example, when asked for information on anti-poverty programmes, Canada it did not provide any specific reference to the needs of Aboriginal women and girls (para 118-19). Third, Aboriginal women are reluctant to report violence to the police ‘mainly due to police behaviour and bias’ (para 138). Stereotypical attitudes of Aboriginal women as prostitutes or runaways engaging in high-risk lifestyles often negatively impacted the quality of the police investigation. (para 136-37, 205). While Canada has taken steps to provide gender sensitivity training for police and has developed protocols on investigating cases of missing and murdered Aboriginal women, these are of limited efficiency due to their non-binding nature and lack of oversight and enforcement mechanisms (para 144).

The inquiry also made important contributions to the development of CEDAW. It re-emphasises the importance of substantive equality by holding that it is not sufficient for Canada to apply the same standards to Aboriginal women as have been applied to others. Aboriginal women are particularly vulnerable and Canada’s response needs to account for their disadvantaged position in society. The Committee also highlighted the importance of addressing poverty in protecting Aboriginal women from violence. While there are no substantive obligations in CEDAW on poverty, the Committee is employing a rich interpreting of the treaty to address an underlying cause of violence against Aboriginal women. The inquiry noted that achieving equality before the law (Article 15) is ‘necessarily related to positive obligations…to fulfil economic and social rights enshrined in CEDAW’ (para 199). At the same time, the full development and advancement of women (Article 3) requires Canada to take positive measures to ensure access to education, housing, transportation and support to families and children.

The inquiry offers a series of recommendations to combat violence, improve socio-economic conditions and eliminate discrimination against Aboriginal women and called for a national public inquiry and plan of action. Canada accepted 34 of the 38 recommendations, but unfortunately it still resists holding a national inquiry and plan of action. Notwithstanding this, the CEDAW inquiry is an important contribution to understanding intersectional discrimination and gender inequality. Hopefully it can form the basis for continued dialogue between government officials and the Aboriginal community so as to end violence against Aboriginal women and girls.

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CEDAW Committee finds violations of CEDAW concerning domestic violence, child visitation rights and child support (Angela González Carreño v. Spain)

In 1999, Angela González Carreño left her husband, F.R.C., because he had subjected her to domestic violence over several years. She reported the violence to the authorities. A trial separation was ordered between Angela and F.R.C. Angela was given custody and guardianship of Andrea, their daughter, and F.R.C was ordered to pay child support. A limited regime of supervised visits between F.R.C. and Andrea was ordered.

The violence against Angela continued, some of which Andrea witnessed, and included repeated death threats. During his visits with Andrea, F.R.C. questioned Andrea about her Angela’s private life, spoke ill of Angela and made accusations about her. As a result, Andrea became afraid of her father and did not want to spend time with him outside the visitation regime. He then accused Angela of manipulating Andrea. Despite many complaints, F.R.C. was only convicted once on a charge of harassment and then fined only 45 euros.

Angela repeatedly sought protective orders before local courts to keep F.R.C. away from her and Andrea, a regime of supervised visits and child support payments. The courts issued protective orders for Angela, but F.R.C. violated them without legal consequence to him. Only one order included Andrea, but the court left this order unenforced following an appeal by F.R.C., since it considered the order hampered the visit regime and could harm relations between F.R.C and Andrea.

In January 2001, the Court of First Instance No. 1 of Navalcarnero drew up a provisional schedule of supervised visits monitored by social services. In September 2001, a psychological evaluation report proposed that visits between F.R.C. and Andrea should be normalised gradually.

In November 2001, the court entered the order of marital separation. The order did not take the domestic violence into account or identify it as the cause of the separation. The order maintained the supervised visit regime for one month, gradually expanding it in line with F.R.C.’s behaviour. It did not address F.R.C.’s continued non-payment of child support.

In May 2002, Court No. 1 of Navalcarnero authorised unsupervised visits between F.R.C. and Andrea, despite many violent incidents by F.R.C. during the period of supervised visits. Angela appealed the decision without success.

In April 2003, F.R.C. murdered Andrea and committed suicide. In June 2003, Investigative Court No. 3 of Navalcarnero declared F.R.C.’s criminal liability for Andrea’s death extinguished on account of his suicide.

In April 2004, Angela filed with the Ministry of Justice a claim for compensation for miscarriage of justice. Angela claimed that the authorities were negligent and failed in their obligation to protect the life of Andrea, despite being repeatedly informed of the danger she faced. The Ministry denied the claim, concluding that the authorities acted properly regarding the visitation regime. It noted that Angela could pursue her claim for compensation only if the Supreme Court found judicial error. An appeal, filed by Angela, was denied. In June 2007, Angela lodged an administrative appeal before the High Court, alleging improper functioning of the administration of justice. This and subsequent appeals, including to the Constitutional Court, were also denied.

Angela’s subsequently submitted a communication to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW Committee). She claimed to be a victim of a violation by Spain of articles 2(a)-2(f), 5(a) and 16 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). Among other things, she asserted that:

  • the authorities failed to act with due diligence to prevent, investigate, prosecute and punish the known violence experienced by Angela and Andrea and the murder of Andrea
  • the authorities failed to provide an effective judicial response to Andrea’s murder and appropriate redress for the damages Angela suffered through the State Party’s negligence
  • the State Party had inadequate protections against domestic violence at the relevant time and that victims continued to experience discrimination
  • stereotyping by the authorities meant that, inter alia, they: did not investigate Andrea’s situation as a direct and indirect victim of violence; prioritised F.R.C.’s wishes over Andrea’s rights and best interests; and questioned Angela’s creditability
  • the authorities discriminated against Angela in the decisions on her separation and divorce, including by not taking the violence into account and ensuring F.R.C. paid child support.

State Party’s observations on admissibility

The State Party contested the admissibility of the communication on several grounds. First, it claimed that the Committee should declare the communication inadmissible because Angela had failed to exhaust domestic remedies, specifically by alleging judicial error before the Supreme Court. Second, it claimed that Angela’s complaint was not sufficiently substantiated. Specifically, it asserted that F.R.C., and not Spanish authorities, committed the acts of which Angela complained and, further, that its authorities did not act negligently. Third, it claimed that the Committee was unable to consider a communication concerning events that occurred prior to the entry into force of the Optional Protocol for the State Party and which were not continuing.

Committee’s decision on admissibility

The CEDAW Committee declared the communication admissible under the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (Optional Protocol or Protocol).

Ratione temporis

In declaring the communication admissible ratione temporis, the Committee acknowledged that some of the abuses and complaints occurred prior to the Protocol’s entry into force for the State Party. However, it determined that key facts and decisions leading up to the murder of Andrea, including judicial decisions authorising the regime of unsupervised visits and refusing Angela’s appeal, occurred after the relevant entry into force date. It explained that it would take the prior abuses and complaints into account only insofar as they explained the context of events occurring after the Protocol’s entry into force for Spain.

Exhaustion of domestic remedies

The Committee determined that Angela had exerted reasonable efforts to exhaust domestic remedies. In this connection, it noted that Angela had filed several appeals, including before the Constitutional Court, all of which were rejected by national authorities. The Committee also noted the State Party’s failure to identify other remedies that it believed could respond effectively to Angela’s complaint about the establishment of unsupervised visits between F.R.C and Andrea and the lack of redress for Andrea’s death.

Sufficiently substantiated

In the Committee’s expert view, Angela had sufficiently substantiated her complaints, for the purposes of admissibility.

State Party’s observations on merits

The State Party asserted that it had not violated CEDAW. Among other things, it claimed that: F.R.C.’s behaviour was unforeseeable and nothing could lead it to predict a danger to the life or physical or mental health of Andrea; its authorities had not acted negligently; and the acts of which Angela complained were committed by F.R.C. It further claimed that Angela had wrongly asserted that Spain had no protections against gender-based violence at the time and provided the Committee with a list of actions undertaken to eradicate discrimination against women.

Committee’s decision on the merits

The CEDAW Committee determined that the State Party had violated articles 2(a)-2(f), 5(a) and 16(1)(d) of CEDAW, read with article 1 and its General Recommendation No. 19.

Gender-based violence against women

In reaching its determination, the Committee recalled its General Recommendation No. 19, in which it defined gender-based violence as a form of discrimination, within the meaning of article 1 of CEDAW. It also reiterated that States Parties have a due diligence obligation to take all appropriate measures to prevent, investigate, punish and provide reparations for gender-based violence perpetrated by non-state actors. According to the Committee, public officials must respect the due diligence obligation, if women are to enjoy substantive equality and protections against violence in practice. This obligation, the Committee explained, includes investigating the existence of failures, negligence or omissions on the part of public authorities that may have deprived victims of protection against such violence.

Turning to the facts, the Committee concluded that the violence committed by F.R.C. against Angela and the murder of Andrea was foreseeable. It noted, for instance, that F.R.C.: committed numerous acts of violence against Angela, which Andrea often witnessed; was not held legally liable for ignoring court protective orders; and had been diagnosed with an “obsessive-compulsive disorder with aspects of pathological jealousy and a tendency to distort reality which could degenerate into a disorder similar to paranoia”. It also noted a social services report regarding the need for continuous monitoring of visits between F.R.C. and Andrea. According to the Committee, the State Party’s due diligence obligations were not meet, since no reasonable steps were taken to protect Angela and Andrea against the violence and, in Andrea’s case, murder. Moreover, the State Party had not investigated whether its authorities failed to protect, or were negligent in protecting, Angela and Andrea against violence.

Unsupervised visits

In reaching its determination, the Committee affirmed that child custody and visitation decisions should be based on the best interests of the child, not on stereotypes, with domestic violence being a relevant consideration. In addition, it stressed that stereotypes affect women’s right to an impartial judicial process and the judiciary must not apply inflexible standards based on preconceived notions about what constitutes domestic violence.

Turning to the facts, the Committee concluded that the decision to grant F.R.C. unsupervised visits with Andrea: was based on stereotypes about domestic violence that prioritised his (male) interests and minimised his abusive behaviour, over the safety of Andrea and Angela; did not take into account the long-term pattern of domestic violence; and did not specify necessary safeguards.

Lack of reparation

The Committee determined that Angela’s efforts to obtain redress for the serious and irreparable harm she had suffered had been futile, resulting in further violations of her rights under CEDAW.

Recommendations 

The Committee recommended that the State Party provide Angela reparations and investigate whether failures in its structures and practices led to Angela and Andrea being denied appropriate protection. Other recommendations included: ensuring domestic violence is taken into account in custody and visitation matters and that the best interests of the child prevail in related decisions; ensuring that its authorities exercise due diligence and respond appropriately to domestic violence; and providing mandatory training for judges and administrative personnel on the legal framework concerning domestic violence and gender stereotyping.

Communication No. 47/20 12, UN Doc. CEDAW/C/58/D/47/2012 (2014)

Decision

CEDAW Committee declares asylum communication inadmissible (N. v. The Netherlands)

In 2007, N began working for L in his hotel in Mongolia. In 2008, she also began working as his personal housekeeper.

In 2008, L raped N, after which she became pregnant. N filed a complaint with police, but they released L after questioning him. L told N she could not do anything to him because he was wealthy, well connected and had her passport and other key documents. L then forced N to return to his house, locked her in a small room, and sexually and physically abused her regularly.

N escaped two months later and complained to police, but, as she had nowhere to go, returned to L’s house. L told N he had bribed the police and that they would not protect her. Her again abused her.

In February 2009, N escaped again. She stayed with a former colleague, before two men forcibly returned her to L. N later escaped, but, in March 2009, two men again forcibly returned her to L. L then tried to induce a miscarriage by forcing N to take pills and, when that did not work, by beating her.

In June 2009, after escaping a further time, N travelled to, and sought asylum in, the Netherlands. In March 2011, the Immigration and Naturalization Service denied her asylum claim on the basis that there was no reason to believe that Mongolia is unable to protect N effectively. N appealed the decision unsuccessfully.  

N then submitted a communication to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW Committee). She claimed that the denial of her asylum claim by the Netherlands violated articles 1, 2(e), 3 and 6 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. In particular, she claimed that: she experienced gender-based violence in Mongolia; Mongolian authorities are reluctant to address abuse against women; and the Netherlands was required under CEDAW to grant her asylum claim to protect her against discrimination and, by denying the claim, had failed to protect her rights.

State Party’s observations on admissibility

The Netherlands challenged the admissibility of the communication on several grounds.

It claimed that the communication was inadmissible ratione materiae and that the CEDAW Committee lacked jurisdiction to consider the communication. It submitted that it cannot be held liable for violations of CEDAW by Mongolia and that CEDAW should not be interpreted as encompassing the non-refoulement principle.

The State Party also claimed that N had failed to exhaust domestic remedies, as required by article 4(1) of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. Specifically, it submitted that N had failed to raise a claim of sex discrimination as part of her asylum claim and that it had, therefore, not been afforded an opportunity to address and remedy the alleged violation. 

The State Party also made several submissions on the communication’s merits.

CEDAW Committee’s decision on admissibility

The CEDAW Committee concluded that N had failed to sufficiently substantiate her claim and, therefore, declared the communication inadmissible under article 4(2)(c) of the Optional Protocol. 

Sufficiently substantiated (art 4(2)(c))

In line with article 4(2)(c) of the Optional Protocol, the CEDAW Committee concluded that N had failed, for the purposes of admissibility, to sufficiently substantiate her claims that:

  • the denial of her asylum application by the Netherlands exposed her to a personal and foreseeable risk of serious gender-based violence
  • Mongolian authorities have failed, or would fail, to protect her effectively against such violence.

The Committee determined that, based on the facts, it was not open to it to conclude that: Mongolia lacked an effective legal system capable of prosecuting and sanctioning L; N was at risk of persecution by L; or Mongolia was unable to protect N against such a risk, if returned. According to the Committee, N had failed to show:

  • how the denial of her asylum application violated her CEDAW rights
  • that L was still a real threat to her
  • that Mongolian authorities had not protected her previously and that there was a real risk they could not protect her effectively, if she was returned
  • why she had not followed-up her complaints with the police or complained to the prosecuting authorities or courts.

Notwithstanding its decision to declare the communication inadmissible under article 4(2)(c), the CEDAW Committee addressed several other admissibility criteria.

Exhaustion of domestic remedies (art 4(1))

The Committee concluded that N had satisfied the exhaustion of domestic remedies requirement in article 4(1) of the Optional Protocol.

It explained that even assuming N had not specifically alleged sex discrimination at the national level, she had raised gender-based violence, sexual slavery and physical abuse, “directed against her as a woman …when seeking asylum and that the competent authorities had thus an opportunity to examine those claims”. It also noted that the State Party had not challenged the suggestion that there is no other procedure available domestically that N could have used to raise a sex discrimination claim in substance.

Ratione materiae, ratione loci and extraterritoriality

The CEDAW Committee declared itself competent to examine the communication, having regard to the definition of gender-based violence against women and its jurisprudence on the applicability of CEDAW ratione materiae, ratione loci and extraterritorially.

Communication No. 39/2012, UN Doc. CEDAW/C/57/D/39/2012 (12 March 2014)

Decision

 

Communication concerning the right to work of a foreign national declared inadmissible (Maïmouna Sankhé v. Spain)

In 2000, Maïmouna Sankhé, a Senegalese national, travelled to Spain under a student visa to undertake postgraduate studies.  She later married S.A.A., a Nigerian citizen with permanent legal residency in Spain.  They have two children together.

In January 2009, the Government Delegate Office in Madrid refused to renew Sankhé’s temporary residence and work permit because she had not certified that she had been employed for more than six months in the preceding year, as required by law.  The Office informed Sankhé that she had three months to apply for a new residence permit, without permission to work, or any type of residence permit on exceptional grounds. 

Administrative appeal

In February 2009, Sankhé filed an administrative appeal with the Ministry of Labour and Immigration.  She claimed that she met all the permit requirements, even though she could not certify that she had been employed for more than six months in the preceding year.  She further claimed that the permit failed to take into account “the fact that her ability to work had been subject to instances of force majeure, arbitrarily disregarded her work and family situation, and interfered with the right and duty of parents to protect and care for their minor children.”  Lastly, she maintained that the decision not to renew her permit did not take into account the principle of equality enshrined in the State Party’s Civil Code. 

The Ministry dismissed the appeal in March 2010 because Sankhé had not certified that she had been employed for the required period of time or fell into any of the other eligibility categories recognised under domestic law.

Judicial review

In May 2009, Sankhé submitted an application to the Administrative Court for judicial review of the original refusal to renew her temporary residence and work permit.  Sankhé claimed a violation of right to equality in article 14 of the Spanish Constitution, arguing that she, as a foreign national with dependent minor children, had been treated differently to similarly situated Spanish citizens.   

In August 2009, the Prosecutor of the High Court of Justice of the Community of Madrid intervened in the proceedings in support of Sankhé’s equality claim.  The Prosecutor stated that the comparison made by Sankhé “was valid and that the right to equality was based on the fact that both [Spanish nationals and foreign nationals] were guardians of Spanish citizens who were minors and that both therefore should enjoy the same rights.”  The Prosecutor concluded that the Administrative Court should consider the application because it revealed a violation of the right to equality guaranteed by article 14 of the Spanish Constitution. 

In September 2009, Administrative Court No 22 dismissed Sankhé’s application.  It determined that Sankhé’s legal status, as a foreign national, was not identical to that of Spanish citizens and that foreign nationals did not enjoy the same rights as Spanish citizens.  Sankhé appealed the decision.

In July 2010, the High Court of Justice of Madrid dismissed the appeal and ordered Sankhé to pay court costs.  In doing so, it rejected the equality claim, explaining that Spanish law provides “for differential treatment of citizens and foreign nationals in relation to the right to work (a difference that is constitutionally legitimate…), which precludes a demand of equal treatment in that respect between Spanish nationals and foreigners.”  The Court also noted that Sankhé had not been absolutely deprived of the possibility of working in the State Party, as there were other avenues available to her to obtain the necessary authorisation to work.

Amparo application

In September 2010, Sankhé filed an application for amparo with the Constitutional Court, alleging violations of her rights to effective judicial protection and to equality before the law.  In addition, she requested that either she be allowed to represent herself in the proceedings, as she claimed to be unable to afford legal representation and was ineligible for court-appointed counsel, or that the Court appoint a procurador and lawyer to her case in the interests of justice. 

The Court requested the Madrid Bar Association to designate a procurador or lawyer, but both the Association and the Central Committee on Free Legal Assistance denied the request because Sankhé did not satisfy their means test based on her household income.     

In December 2010, Sankhé informed the Constitutional Court of the decision to deny her representation and requested recognition of her right to legal assistance.  The Court informed Sankhé that she must appear before it within 10 days, represented by counsel, failing which the case would be dismissed.   

In late December 2010, Sankhé submitted a communication to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW Committee) (see below for further information).

In the meantime, in January 2011, the Constitutional Court issued a new ruling that temporarily suspended the amparo proceedings until such time as Sankhé’s appeal against the denial of free legal assistance was resolved.  In July 2012, Administrative Court No. 22 of Madrid confirmed the Central Committee’s decision to deny Sankhé’s request for free legal assistance because she failed the means test.  In January 2013, the Constitutional Court dismissed Sankhé’s case based on her failure to appear before the Court, as instructed.

Communication to the CEDAW Committee

In her communication to CEDAW Committee, Sankhé claimed that the State Party had violated articles 1, 2, 3, 6, 9(1), 10(a), 11(1)(a), 11(1)(d), 11(2)(c), 15(1), 15(2), 16(1)(c), 16(1)(d) and 16(1)(f) of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). 

Sankhé claimed that, as a foreign national, she was treated differently when applying for a work permit than a similarly situated Spanish national would have been treated, contrary to the right to equal treatment.  She further claimed that the decision to deny her a work permit was unlawful and arbitrary, as she met the relevant requirements to obtain such a permit (i.e., she is a spouse of a foreign national who had a permanent residence and work permit and a guardian of a minor who is a Spanish national).  In addition, Sankhé claimed that the decision jeopardised her family rights, the rights of her children and her ability to perform her equal duties as a parent, contrary to the State Party’s Civil Code and CEDAW’s preamble.  Lastly, Sankhé claimed that she had been discriminated against because she cannot afford legal assistance to pursue her claim and is not entitled to free legal assistance.   

In February 2011, acting in accordance with article 5 of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (Optional Protocol), the CEDAW Committee requested the State Party adopt interim measures to prevent irreparable harm to Sankhé.  Specifically, it requested that the State Party refrain from deporting her to Senegal while it considered her communication.  

State Party’s observations on admissibility

The State Party challenged the admissibility of the communication on several grounds.

Failure to exhaust domestic remedies (art 4(1))

The State Party claimed that the communication should be declared inadmissible under article 4(1) of the Optional Protocol because Sankhé had not exhausted domestic remedies, specifically the amparo proceeding before the Constitutional Court.  According to the State Party, the Constitutional Court had not yet ruled on the merits on Sankhé’s case, but had simply suspended proceedings until such time as her appeal against the Central Committee’s decision to deny her free legal assistance had been heard and it had been informed of the final appeal outcome.

Failure to substantiate claim (art 4(2)(c))

The State Party further claimed that the communication should be declared inadmissible under article 4(2)(c) of the Optional Protocol.  It explained that Sankhé had failed to “provide sufficient justification or grounds for her complaint” to the CEDAW Committee and the reasons underpinning her claim were “entirely general in nature.” 

Abuse of the right to submit a communication (art 4(2)(d)) 

According to the CEDAW Committee’s summary of the communication, the State Party claimed that the communication was an abuse of the right to submit a communication.  Specifically, it claimed that the communication did not contain information about a specific violation of CEDAW, but was, rather, “an abstract questioning of the legal system as a whole.”  However, it is not clear whether or not the State Party specifically submitted that the communication should be declared inadmissible under article 4(2)(d) of the Optional Protocol.   

[NB: The State Party also made submissions on the merits of the communication.  However, as the Committee ultimately declared the communication inadmissible, this summary does not address those submissions.]

CEDAW Committee’s decision on admissibility

The CEDAW Committee determined that Sankhé had failed to exhaust domestic remedies (i.e., the amparo proceedings) and subsequently declared the communication inadmissible, in accordance with article 4(1) of the Optional Protocol.  

In doing so, the CEDAW Committee noted that Sankhé had not explained why she had failed to appear before the Constitutional Court within 10 days, as instructed by the Court.  It indicated that it had taken note of Sankhé’s claim of financial difficulties and her unsuccessful attempts to obtain free legal assistance in order to appear before the Court.  However, the CEDAW Committee noted that Sankhé’s claim of financial difficulties was “very general in nature” and she had failed to demonstrate through the provision of specific information that she was unable to afford to engage a lawyer or obtain affordable legal representation by other means. 

Communication No. 29/2011, UN Doc. CEDAW/C/56/D/29/2011 (2013)

Decision

 

 

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