17 January 2000

Press Release


Background Release

The twenty-second session of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women takes place at United Nations Headquarters beginning today and running until 4 February.

The Committee will review the reports of eight State parties to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, including: the initial reports of India and Myanmar; the initial and second periodic reports of Jordan; and the initial, second and third periodic reports of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Committee will also examine the combined second and third periodic reports of Burkina Faso, the third periodic reports of Belarus and Luxembourg, and the combined second and third periodic reports and fourth periodic report of Germany.

The Committee is the only United Nations human rights body dealing exclusively with women's rights. Its 23 experts monitor the implementation of the Convention, which was adopted by the General Assembly in 1979 and came into force in 1981. Ratified or acceded to by 165 countries as of last December, the Convention requires States to eliminate discrimination against women in the enjoyment of all civil, political, economic and cultural rights.

Besides reviewing reports and evaluating progress made, the Committee formulates general recommendations to the States parties as a whole in eliminating discrimination against women. It may also invite United Nations specialized agencies to submit reports for consideration and receive information from non-governmental organizations.

In pursuance of the Convention's goals, State parties are encouraged to introduce affirmative action measures designed to promote equality between women and men.

The Committee has met twice annually since 1997. To date, it has considered 101 initial, 70 second, 46 third and 14 fourth periodic reports. It has also received five reports on an exceptional basis -- Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Rwanda, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

States Parties to Convention

The following are among the 165 States that have either ratified or acceded to the Convention, which entered into force on 3 September 1981:

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Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Israel and Italy.

Also included are: Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Yugoslavia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Committee Membership

The Committee's 23 expert members serve in their personal capacity. They are: Charlotte Abaka, Ghana; Ayse Feride Acar, Turkey; Emma Aouij, Tunisia; Carlota Bustelo Garcia del Real, Spain; Silvia Rose Cartwright, New Zealand; Ivanka Corti, Italy; Feng Cui, China; Naela Gabr, Egypt; Yolanda Ferrer Gomez, Cuba; Aida Gonzalez Martinez, Mexico; Savitri Goonesekere, Sri Lanka; Rosalyn Hazelle, Saint Kitts and Nevis; Salma Khan, Bangladesh; Yung-Chung Kim, Republic of Korea; Rosario Manalo, Philippines; Mavivi Myakayaka-Manzini, South Africa; Ahoua Ouedraogo, Burkina Faso; Zelmira Regazzoli, Argentina; Anne Lise Ryel, Norway; Hanna Beate Schopp-Schilling, Germany; Carmel Shalev, Israel; Kongit Sinegiorgis, Ethiopia; and Chikako Taya, Japan.

Committee Officers

Aida Gonzalez Martinez of Mexico was elected last January to chair the Committee, whose members serve a two-year term. The three vice-chairpersons are Yung-Chung Kim of the Republic of Korea, Ahoua Ouedraogo of Burkina Faso and Hanna Beate Schopp-Schilling of Germany. Ayse Feride Acar of Turkey is the Rapporteur.

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