Women and girls must be protected from violence, UN official tells rights committee

Rachel Mayanja, Special Adviser on Gender Issues

15 January 2007 – States who have signed on to the United Nations international bill of rights for women must continue to press for an end to gender-based violence, a senior UN official today told experts gathering in New York to evaluate compliance with the treaty.

“Regrettably, violence against women and girls remains unabated in whatever form and manifestation, depriving them of the full enjoyment of their human rights,” said Rachel Mayanja, the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women, according to the text of her remarks.

Ms. Mayanja was addressing the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, a panel comprising 23 international experts on women’s issues, which opened a two-week session at UN Headquarters in New York.

Established in 1982, the Committee tracks the status of women in countries that have ratified the 1979 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). Currently, the Convention has 185 States parties.

Ms. Mayanja also welcomed Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s appointment of three women in top posts within the Organization. “His tenure as Secretary-General has started very auspiciously for women,” she said. “Of the five appointments he has made so far three are women, translating into 60 per cent.”

She pointed out that Deputy Secretary-General designate Asha-Rose Migiro previously served as Committee member.

During this session, the Committee’s 37th, panel members will examine the reports of 15 countries – Austria, Azerbaijan, Colombia, Greece, India, Kazakhstan, Maldives, Namibia, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Peru, Poland, Suriname, Tajikistan and Viet Nam – regarding their implementation of measures to eliminate discrimination against women.

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