United Nations

E/CN.6/1995/13


Commission on the Status of Women

 Distr. GENERAL
13 March 1995
ORIGINAL: ENGLISH



COMMISSION ON THE STATUS OF WOMEN
Thirty-ninth session
New York, 15 March-4 April 1995
Item 5 of the provisional agenda*

     *   E/CN.6/1995/1.


         MONITORING THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE NAIROBI FORWARD-LOOKING
                    STRATEGIES FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF WOMEN


        Steps to be taken by the Division for the Advancement of Women
        to ensure that relevant human rights mechanisms of the United
        Nations regularly address violations of the rights of women,
        including progress in preparing a joint work plan on women's
        human rights for the Centre for Human Rights and the Division
                         for the Advancement of Women

                        Report of the Secretary-General


                                    Summary

     In resolution 38/2, the Commission requested the Secretary General to see
to the preparation of a joint work plan on women's human rights for the Centre
for Human Rights and the Division for the Advancement of Women.  Subsequently,
the General Assembly, in resolution 49/161, requested the Secretary-General to
prepare a report on steps to be taken by the Division for the Advancement of
Women, in cooperation with other United Nations bodies, specifically the
Centre for Human Rights to ensure that relevant human rights mechanisms of the
United Nations regularly addressed violations of the rights of women.  The
present report describes measures taken by both the Division for the
Advancement of Women and the Centre for Human Rights, discusses possible
additional steps and concludes with a proposed joint work plan for 1995.  


                                   CONTENTS

                                                              Paragraphs  Page

INTRODUCTION ...............................................    1 - 3       3

 I.   POSSIBLE MEASURES TO HELP ENSURE THAT VIOLATIONS OF
      THE HUMAN RIGHTS OF WOMEN ARE REGULARLY ADDRESSED BY
      RELEVANT HUMAN RIGHTS MECHANISMS .....................    4 - 29      3

      A. Support for the work of mechanisms dealing with
         women's human rights as a primary concern ........     7 - 15      4

      B. Support for mechanisms dealing with human rights 
         generally ........................................    16 - 29      6

II.   INTEGRATION OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS OF WOMEN INTO EXISTING
      HUMAN RIGHTS MECHANISMS AND PROCEDURES ...............   30 - 62      9

      A. Activities of United Nations human rights treaty
         bodies ...........................................    32 - 42      9

      B. Consideration of the human rights of women by the
         Commission on Human Rights .......................    43 - 51     12

      C. Activities of the Centre for Human Rights relating
         to integration of the equal status and human 
         rights of women into the mainstream of United
         Nations system-wide activities ...................    52 - 62     13

III.  JOINT WORK PLAN OF THE DIVISION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF
      WOMEN AND THE CENTRE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS FOR 1995 .......   63 - 66     16


                                 INTRODUCTION


1.   In resolution 38/2, the Commission on the Status of Women requested the
Secretary-General to see to the preparation of a joint work plan on women's
human rights for the Centre for Human Rights and the Division for the
Advancement of Women on an annual basis and to inform both the Commission on
Human Rights and the Commission on the Status of Women at their annual
sessions, beginning in 1995, of those plans; the Commission also requested the
Secretary-General to promote the mutual availability of documentation, as well
as the development of a public information strategy. 1/

2.   The General Assembly, in resolution 49/161, requested the Commission on
the Status of Women to continue to examine the implications of the World
Conference on Human Rights and the Vienna Declaration and Programme of
Action 2/ adopted by the Conference for its central role in matters related to
the rights of women within the United Nations system and to report to the
Economic and Social Council at its substantive session of 1995.  The Assembly
also requested the Secretary-General to prepare a report for the Commission,
for consideration at its thirty-ninth session, on steps to be taken by the
Division for the Advancement of Women, in cooperation with other United
Nations bodies, specifically the Centre for Human Rights of the Secretariat,
to ensure that the relevant human rights mechanisms of the United Nations,
such as treaty-monitoring bodies, rapporteurs and working groups, regularly
addressed violations of the rights of women, including gender-specific abuses.

3.   The present report first describes some of the measures considered by
the Division for the Advancement of Women in order to carry out its mandate
from the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action.  It then provides
information, prepared by the Centre for Human Rights, on ways in which women's
human rights are being integrated into the human rights regime.  Finally, it
describes the main joint activities of the Division for the Advancement of
Women and the Centre for Human Rights for 1995. 


          I.  POSSIBLE MEASURES TO HELP ENSURE THAT VIOLATIONS OF THE
              HUMAN RIGHTS OF WOMEN ARE REGULARLY ADDRESSED BY       
              RELEVANT HUMAN RIGHTS MECHANISMS                       

4.   The Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action reiterated that the human
rights of women are an inalienable, integral and indivisible part of universal
human rights.  They specifically highlighted human rights violations, such as
violence against women, that are particular to women or gender-specific, and
made clear that women's human rights are subject to violations in all spheres.

Women are denied the enjoyment of their political and civil rights generally
and on an equal basis with men; they also suffer violations of their economic,
social and cultural rights.  The obstacles women face that are particular to
their sex must be made visible and recognized.  Both de jure and de facto
discrimination and violations of rights must be examined.

5.   A number of recent events and actions taken in intergovernmental bodies
now provide a solid basis for systematic cooperation between the Division for
the Advancement of Women and the Centre for Human Rights.  These events and
actions include, in particular, the Vienna Declaration and Programme of
Action, adopted by the World Conference on Human Rights; Commission on Human
Rights resolutions 1993/46 on integrating the rights of women into the human
rights mechanisms of the United Nations 3/ and 1994/45 on the question of
integrating the rights of women into the human rights mechanisms of the United
Nations and the elimination of violence against women; 4/ Commission on the
Status of Women resolutions 37/4 on the World Conference on Human Rights 5/
and 38/2 on mainstreaming women's human rights; 1/ Economic and Social Council
resolution 1992/20 on the advancement of women and human rights and General
Assembly resolutions 48/104 on the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence
against Women and 49/161 on the implementation of the Nairobi Forward-looking
Strategies for the Advancement of Women, paragraphs 21 and 22.  

6.   The means of bringing women's human rights into the mainstream of the
work of human rights mechanisms are similar to those in any area where matters
of concern to women are being integrated, in that there must be special
sensitivity to gender-related concerns and there must be access to the maximum
amount of gender-related information.  The measures proposed below are based
on the premise, in particular, that the Division for the Advancement of Women
can be of special assistance in this respect by providing appropriate inputs
on women's human rights to the work of the human rights mechanisms.


              A.  Support for the work of mechanisms dealing with
                  women's human rights as a primary concern      

7.   At present, three mechanisms deal with women's human rights as their
primary concern:  the Commission on the Status of Women, the Committee on the
Elimination of Discrimination against Women and the Special Rapporteur on
violence against women.

8.   The Commission on the Status of Women, the main intergovernmental
policy-making body concerned with the advancement of women has, since its
inception, and in accordance with its mandate, dealt with the rights of women.

Much of its work has focused on establishing the necessary international legal
and policy framework for ensuring women's full and equal enjoyment of their
rights in the political, economic, civil, social and educational fields.  It
is anticipated that the Commission, in accordance with the Vienna Declaration
and Programme of Action, General Assembly resolution 49/161, and the Platform
for Action (to be adopted at the Fourth World Conference on Women), one of
whose critical areas of concern is the lack of awareness of and commitment to 
internationally and nationally recognized women's human rights, will continue
to exercise its policy-making function with regard to the rights of women. 
Furthermore, the Commission is expected to assume the lead role in monitoring
the implementation of the Platform for Action and to assist the general human
rights regime in addressing the gender dimensions of the Vienna Declaration
and Programme of Action.

9.   In order to fully assume its role in matters related to the rights of
women, the Commission will have to be apprised regularly of the approach,
methodology and efforts of the human rights mechanisms with regard to the
rights of women and violations of the human rights of women, including
gender-specific abuses.  In reporting on the issue to the Economic and Social
Council, as requested by the General Assembly in resolution 49/161, the
Commission will help strengthen the Council's policy coordination function and
ensure that a consistent approach to the subject of women's human rights is
applied throughout the United Nations intergovernmental machinery.  This
monitoring function of the Commission should be based on an annual analytical
report reviewing developments in the general human rights regime from a gender
perspective, prepared by the Division for the Advancement of Women in
cooperation with the Centre for Human Rights.  The report could also be
submitted to the Commission on Human Rights for information.

10.  The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women is the
mechanism established to monitor implementation of the Convention on the
Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. 6/  Its work in
reviewing States parties' reports and in preparing general recommendations,
and its contributions to international conferences and other events is
essential to ensuring the enjoyment by women of their human rights.  The
Committee has been serviced by the Division for the Advancement of Women since
it was established.  This has included the preparation of background analyses,
for Committee members, of each State party report to be considered at a given
session, as well as analyses of articles of the Convention on which the
Committee is preparing a general recommendation.  The analyses draw on the
Division's work on policy issues related to the advancement of women, as well
as reports of States parties.  Regardless of any decision relating to the
servicing of the Committee in the future, it will continue to be important for
the Division for the Advancement of Women to provide information and other
inputs of this type with a view to facilitating the work of the Committee.

11.  In resolution 1994/49, the Commission on Human Rights decided to appoint
a Special Rapporteur on violence against women. 4/  In the same resolution,
the Commission invited the Special Rapporteur to carry out his mandate within
the framework of, inter alia, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms
of Discrimination against Women and the Declaration on the Elimination of
Violence against Women. 7/  It also invited the Special Rapporteur to
cooperate and consult with the Commission on the Status of Women and the
Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women.  The appointment
of the Special Rapporteur builds on the work of the Commission and the
Committee, both of which have long been concerned with the problem of violence
against women and have developed, respectively, the Declaration on the
Elimination of Violence against Women, and general recommendations 12 8/ and
19 9/ on violence against women.

12.  The Division, as secretariat of both the Commission and the Committee,
has undertaken extensive information collection and policy research on the
issue of violence against women in general, as well as on such aspects as
violence against migrant women workers and refugee women and domestic
violence.  Information collection has been facilitated by the Committee's
general recommendations 12 and 19, whereby States parties' reports are
expected to contain specific information on actions to deal with violence
against women. 

13.  In 1994 and early in 1995, discussions took place between the Special
Rapporteur and staff of the Division concerning support to be provided by the
Division to the Rapporteur in the preparation of her reports.  It was agreed
to establish in the Division a procedure for the automatic and regular
exchange of information between the Division and the Special Rapporteur. 

14.  In order to support the work of the Special Rapporteur, the Division
will issue in September each year a compilation of the material it receives or
prepares on violence against women.  The compilation will include relevant
excerpts from States parties' reports submitted in accordance with article 18
of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against
Women; information contained in national reports submitted to the Secretariat
in preparation for the Fourth World Conference on Women; information to be
submitted in the future in connection with monitoring the implementation of
the Platform for Action to be adopted at the Conference, which contains a
critical area of concern on violence against women; reports to be prepared in
the future by the Division in accordance with intergovernmental mandates; and
materials collected and prepared in the framework of United Nations crime
prevention and criminal justice efforts.  The computerized database of
available and future material that the Division is in the process of
developing will facilitate the preparation of the report.  The database is
expected to become operational in 1995. 

15.  The Division will also explore the possibility, in cooperation with a
non-governmental organization, of preparing regularly an annotated
bibliography on violence against women, which would include data already
collected by the Division, as well as academic, research and non-governmental
materials collected on a global basis.


        B.  Support for mechanisms dealing with human rights generally

16.  Relevant mechanisms within the wider human rights regime whose work
would be facilitated by input from the Division for the Advancement of Women
include human rights treaty bodies, the Commission on Human Rights and the
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.


                        1.  Human rights treaty bodies

17.  Support for the five human rights treaty bodies other than the Committee
on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women would involve the provision
of information or other inputs regarding gender-related aspects of their work.

18.  A first step in this direction could be the preparation of an analysis
indicating those articles of conventions that are particularly relevant to
women's human rights, with a view to identifying and analysing their
potentially different impact on men and women in the enjoyment of human
rights. 

19.  In order to assist the treaty bodies in carrying out their stated
intention to strengthen the monitoring of the human rights of women, it is
proposed to prepare a report for the forthcoming meeting of the persons
chairing the human rights treaty bodies containing an analysis, from a gender
perspective, of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural
Rights, 10/ the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 10/ the
International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial
Discrimination, 11/ the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or
Degrading Treatment or Punishment, 12/ and the Convention on the Rights of the
Child. 13/  The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination
against Women would serve as the normative framework for this analysis.

20.  A second step could be to provide as part of the pre-session
documentation for all human rights treaty bodies, inputs on gender issues
along the lines of those currently provided for the Committee on the
Elimination of Discrimination against Women, which contain information on the
situation of women relative to men in the States concerned.

21.  It is proposed to provide inputs to the Centre for Human Rights on a
pilot basis for inclusion in the documentation to be prepared for both the
Human Rights Committee and the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural
Rights for consideration at a session in 1995.  Depending on the opinion
expressed by those bodies regarding the utility of the analyses, similar data
could be provided to the Centre for submission to other treaty bodies.

22.  A further step would be to provide background analyses on gender issues
to assist treaty bodies in preparing their general comments, recommendations
and suggestions to serve as an input into the discussion of experts once an
article or topic has been chosen for preparation of a general comment.  For
example, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights recently
adopted a general comment on the rights of the ageing, an issue which has a
clear gender dimension.  Similarly, the Human Rights Committee has decided to
address itself again to article 3 of the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights (the equal right of men and women to the enjoyment of all the
rights set forth in the Covenant) and the Committee on the Elimination of
Discrimination against Women has adopted a general recommendation on articles
9, 15 and 16 of the Convention and is preparing recommendations on articles 2,
7 and 8.  


                        2.  Commission on Human Rights

23.  In recent years, the Commission on Human Rights has emphasized the need
to integrate the human rights of women into the mainstream of the United
Nations human rights regime, while the appointment of the Special Rapporteur
on violence against women, its causes and its consequences, has identified
violence against women as an issue of human rights.  In view of its
responsibility for implementing the Vienna Declaration and Programme of
Action, the Commission on Human Rights may request an annual overview report
on women's human rights as they are dealt with and addressed outside the
United Nations human rights system.  The report could also be made available
to the Commission on the Status of Women. 

24.  With regard to thematic and country-specific rapporteurs, working groups
of the Commission and the Subcommission on Prevention of Discrimination and
Protection of Minorities, information could be provided by the Division to
those dealing with the equal status and human rights of women.  Such
information could consist of specific analyses intended to serve as a
contribution to the work of the human rights mechanisms.


             3.  United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

25.  In accordance with the mandate given to him by the General Assembly in
resolution 48/141, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has 
the responsibility of protecting the effective enjoyment by all of all civil,
cultural, economic, political and social rights.  In his activities, the High
Commissioner has given special importance to promoting the equal status of
women and respect for the human rights of women.  The High Commissioner
attaches particular importance to these issues when visiting countries, and
systematically raises them with government officials and non-governmental
organizations, appealing for the ratification of the Convention on the
Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.  He draws special
attention to the impact on the rights of women of economic adjustment or
transitional policies.  The High Commissioner is also making a direct
contribution to the preparations for the Fourth World Conference on Women. 
One objective of the Conference is to encourage universal ratification of the
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and
of all human rights treaties.  The basic human rights treaties such as the
International Covenants on Human Rights not only contain anti-discrimination
provisions, but also identify areas of specific gender discrimination that
require that States parties enact legal and administrative measures, including
affirmative action, to achieve equality between men and women.  The
ratification and implementation of all human rights treaties would thus
directly assist in promoting respect for women's rights.

26.  Another area of specific concern to the High Commissioner with regard to
women's rights is development, since there can be no genuine development
without the equal and meaningful participation of women in the development
process.  Thus, discrimination against women in access to health care,
education, employment, property and land rights, inter alia, constitutes an
obstacle to the realization of the right to development.  In addition, within
his mandate to coordinate human rights education and information activities
and especially in connection with the United Nations Decade for Human Rights
Education, the High Commissioner stresses the need to ensure women's equal
access to education and that education should be free from gender stereotypes.
Educational opportunities offered to the girl child and women must be
significantly increased as part of the broad range of activities needed to
combat discrimination.

27.  In the area of technical cooperation, the High Commissioner has also
stressed the need to take into account the situation and rights of women in
the country concerned, to include those aspects in the projects developed and
to prepare programmes and projects specifically designed to address the
dimensions of women's equality and rights.

28.  In accordance with the objective set by the World Conference on Human
Rights, the High Commissioner gives close attention to integrating the equal
status of women and the human rights of women into the mainstream of United
Nations activities system-wide.  In particular, he is studying ways to
increase cooperation and promote further integration of objectives and goals
between the Commission on the Status of Women, the Commission on Human Rights,
the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, the United
Nations Development Fund for Women, the United Nations Development Programme
and other United Nations bodies.  This also includes strengthening cooperation
and coordination between the Centre for Human Rights and the Division for the
Advancement of Women.

29.  Finally, in the context of his mandate to rationalize, adapt, strengthen
and streamline the United Nations machinery in the field of human rights with
a view to improving its efficiency and effectiveness, the High Commissioner
will seek ways of reinforcing the organs dealing specifically with the equal
status and rights of women on the one hand and, on the other, of strengthening
and deepening the consideration given by other human rights bodies and their
mechanisms to gender-specific issues, non-discrimination and the equal
enjoyment by women of human rights.


          II.  INTEGRATION OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS OF WOMEN INTO EXISTING
               HUMAN RIGHTS MECHANISMS AND PROCEDURES                

30.  The World Conference on Human Rights urged the full and equal enjoyment
by women of all human rights, as a priority objective for both Governments and
the United Nations, and that the equal status and human rights of women should
be integrated into the mainstream of United Nations system-wide activities. 
It also stressed the need to strengthen cooperation and coordination between
United Nations bodies and mechanisms, in particular between the Commission on
the Status of Women, the Commission on Human Rights, the Committee on the
Elimination of Discrimination against Women, the United Nations Development
Programme, the United Nations Development Fund for Women and other relevant
bodies, as well as between the Centre for Human Rights and the Division for
the Advancement of Women.  A number of steps have been taken to achieve that
end.

31.  Within his mandate to promote and protect the effective enjoyment by
women of all civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights, the
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights attaches special importance
to the promotion of the equal status and human rights of women.  He has given
priority to activities related to the integration of women's human rights into
the mainstream of the programme of work of the Centre for Human Rights.  When
visiting countries, the High Commissioner systematically holds discussions
about the status and human rights of women with government officials and
non-governmental organizations, drawing attention in particular to the adverse
impact on the rights of women of economic structural adjustment.


          A.  Activities of United Nations human rights treaty bodies

32.  In compliance with the provision of the Vienna Declaration and Programme
of Action, the fifth meeting of persons chairing the human rights treaty
bodies, held in September 1994, adopted a number of recommendations relevant
to women's human rights. 14/  It should be noted that discussion of this issue
has never been so extensive.  The chairpersons stressed that all human rights
contained in the international instruments applied fully to women, and that
the equal enjoyment of those rights should be closely monitored by each treaty
body within the competence of its mandate and that a common strategy should be
developed by the treaty bodies in that regard.  As reports submitted by States
parties often did not contain adequate information on the actual enjoyment by
women of their human rights and such information had not been forthcoming from
other sources, they recommended that each treaty body consider amending, where
appropriate, its guidelines for the preparation of States parties' reports to
request information, including disaggregated statistical data, from States
parties on the situation of women under the terms of each instrument.

33.  The chairpersons decided to devote their 1995 meeting to ways of
monitoring the human rights of women more effectively.  In preparation for
that meeting, the chairpersons invited each treaty body to consider, within
the competence of its mandate, how the monitoring of the human rights of women
might be enhanced.  

34.  With regard to specific action, a number of steps have been taken by the
human rights treaty bodies to address all forms of discrimination that women
suffer in violation of the provisions of international human rights treaties. 
Examples are provided below.  

35.  The Human Rights Committee attaches great importance to the monitoring
of States parties' compliance with the provisions of the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and, in general, to the promotion of
the rights of women.  The lists of issues prepared in conjunction with the
consideration of States parties' reports always contain questions concerning
the participation of women in the political, economic, social and cultural
life of the country, and the proportion of males and females in schools and
universities.  Similarly, in the concluding observations, States are
frequently urged to adopt further measures to improve respect for the rights
of women under the Covenant.

36.  On 14 October 1994, the pre-sessional working group of the Human Rights
Committee took note of the various recommendations made by the World
Conference on Human Rights with regard to the integration of the equal status
and human rights of women into the work of the human rights treaty bodies and
recommended (a) that a general comment be adopted on the status and human
rights of women under the International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights; (b) that lists of issues include concrete questions on the equal
status and human rights of women; and (c) that the guidelines of the Committee
be examined, with a view to requesting States parties to provide
gender-specific information in their reports.  The Human Rights Committee
considered the recommendations at its fifty-second session and agreed to
discuss them further at its fifty-third session, in March 1995.  

37.  The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights pays particular
attention to the measures taken by States parties to ensure the equal right of
men and women to the enjoyment of all economic, social and cultural rights. 
In its examination of States parties' reports, the Committee takes into
account information provided by States in their reports under the Convention
on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, as well as
the deliberations and findings of the Committee on the Elimination of
Discrimination against Women.

38.  In 1990, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights revised
its reporting guidelines, inter alia, to bring them into line with article 3
of the Covenant and with its own practice.  In its revised guidelines and
written lists of issues, submitted to States parties prior to the
consideration of reports, the Committee always requests gender-specific data
from States parties.  In its written lists of issues, the Committee requests
information about equality of remuneration, problems women are facing on the
labour market, measures taken to protect women migrant workers, women's rights
to inheritance and gender-disaggregated statistical data on the number of
persons affected by HIV/AIDS.  

39.  The Committee has decided to prepare a statement for the Fourth World
Conference on Women, in which it will stress the importance of the
implementation of the provisions of the International Covenant on Economic,
Social and Cultural Rights in promoting and ensuring the equal status and
human rights of women.

40.  A number of activities carried out by the Committee on the Rights of the
Child have a direct bearing on the rights of women.  For example, the
Committee, when examining reports submitted by States parties on the
implementation of the Convention, stresses the need to ensure equality on the
basis of sex in all matters related to the child, and to protect and promote
effectively the human rights of the girl child.  Problems such as
discrimination against girl children, their exploitative use in child labour,
early marriage, harmful traditional health practices and denial of educational
opportunities, and the need for concerted efforts to deal with them, are
frequently referred to in the Committee's discussions.

41.  In recommendations 4, adopted at its fourth session and 3, adopted at
its fifth session, the Committee decided to be actively involved in, and
contribute to, the preparatory process for the Fourth World Conference on
Women. 15/  As a contribution to the Conference, the Committee held a one-day
general discussion on the girl child during its eighth session, in
January 1995.  At the end of the discussion, the Committee prepared a set of
conclusions and suggestions reflecting the main areas addressed, for inclusion
in its report.  The Committee also adopted a recommendation by which it
decided to transmit the content of the general discussion on the girl child to
the secretariat of the Fourth World Conference on Women, with a view to
ensuring that particular emphasis was given to the priority measures
discussed.  The recommendation has been transmitted separately to the
Commission on the Status of Women.

42.  There has also been noticeable progress with regard to the gender
composition of the treaty bodies.  One of the 10 members of the Committee
Against Torture is a woman.  As at 31 December 1994, 6 of the 18 members of
the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights were women.  All
23 members of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women
are women.  Of the 18 members of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial
Discrimination, only one is a woman.  The Committee on the Rights of the Child
consists of 10 experts, 6 of whom are women.  As of January 1995, the Human
Rights Committee has 18 members, 4 of whom are women.


             B.  Consideration of the human rights of women by the
                 Commission on Human Rights                       

43.  The Commission on Human Rights, in resolution 1994/45 on the question of
integrating the rights of women into the human rights mechanisms of the United
Nations and the elimination of violence against women, decided to appoint, for
a three-year period, a Special Rapporteur on violence against women, including
its causes and its consequences. 4/  A preliminary report prepared by the
Special Rapporteur (E/CN.4/1995/42) is under consideration by the Commission
at its fifty-first session (Geneva, 30 January-10 March 1995).

44.  In a number of resolutions, the Commission has also drawn attention to
the situation of women, as well as to practices of discrimination against
women - for example, resolutions 1994/18 on the implementation of the
Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of
Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief, 1994/51 on the proclamation of a
decade for human rights education, 1994/49 on the protection of human rights
in the context of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired
immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and 1994/34 on human rights in the
administration of justice. 4/  In decision 1994/104, the Commission decided to
endorse the recommendation of the Subcommission on Prevention of
Discrimination and Protection of Minorities concerning harmful traditional
practices affecting the health of women and children. 16/  At its fifty-first
session, the Commission is to consider the recommendation of the Subcommission
concerning the extension of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on
traditional practices.

45.  In resolution 1994/53 on human rights and thematic procedures, the
Commission, having noted that some human rights violations were specific to or
primarily directed against women, and that the identification and reporting of
those violations demanded specific awareness and sensitivity, called on
thematic special rapporteurs and working groups to include in their reports
gender- disaggregated data and to address the characteristics and practice of
human rights violations that were specifically or primarily directed against
women or to which women were particularly vulnerable. 4/  Moreover, the
Commission has encouraged the representative of the Secretary-General on
internally displaced persons, the Special Rapporteur on torture and other
cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and the Special Rapporteur
on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions to pay special attention to
the situation of women.

46.  In compliance with the Commission's requests, several thematic and
country special rapporteurs have devoted particular attention to the status
and human rights of women.  They have stressed the importance of eliminating
the discrimination that women are still facing in the educational,
occupational, social and political spheres.  Some of them reported that the
lack of educational opportunities for girls compared with boys, which has
resulted in the high rate of illiteracy among women, is an obstacle to women's
participation in productive activities, in the public sector and in the
decision-making process.  Violence against women was a subject of grave
concern to some rapporteurs, who referred to numerous cases of rape and child
prostitution in certain regions of the world.  Discrimination in the enjoyment
of the right to freedom of movement, the right to health and the right to
inheritance, as well as such marriage-related customs as bride-price and their
consequences for the girl child, have also been reported by certain
rapporteurs.

47.  The importance of women's participation in the development process has
been emphasized by the Working Group on the Right to Development.  The Working
Group discusses this issue regularly and indicates that the continuing
discrimination against women, which prevents their full participation in
economic, political, social and cultural life, constitutes a major obstacle to
the implementation of the Declaration on the Right to Development.

48.  The Working Group on Contemporary Forms of Slavery discusses sexual
exploitation of women, especially during wartime, and the importance of
compensation for the victims.  It also raises issues such as discrimination of
women in the family and early marriage. It recommended that treaty bodies pay
particular attention to respect for the provisions of international
instruments concerning the prohibition of slavery and the slave-trade, the
elimination of traffic in women, suppression of exploitation of women,
equality in marriage, protection against economic exploitation, and sexual
abuse.

49.  In August 1994, the Subcommission on Prevention of Discrimination and
Protection of Minorities decided to consider the human rights of women and the
girl child under every relevant item of its agenda and in all relevant
studies.  It requested that in all the reports they submit, States provide a
gender perspective in their analyses and recommendations.

50.  Articles 22 and 43 of the draft declaration on the rights of indigenous
peoples, adopted by the Subcommission, refers to the special situation of
indigenous women.  These provisions require that attention be paid to the
rights and special needs of indigenous women when determining appropriate
measures to improve the economic and social condition of indigenous peoples,
and to ensure respect or equality between indigenous men and women.

51.  The Subcommission continues to examine the problem of harmful
traditional practices affecting the health of women and children.  It adopted
a plan of action for the elimination of those practices and recommended the
extension of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur for two more years in order
to enable her to undertake an in-depth study to assess, inter alia, the
differences and similarities between traditional practices affecting the
health of women and children in many parts of the world.


           C.  Activities of the Centre for Human Rights relating to
               integration of the equal status and human rights of  
               women into the mainstream of United Nations system-  
               wide activities                                      

52.  The plan of activities prepared by the Centre for Human Rights for the
implementation of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action provided for
the establishment of a focal point in charge of executing activities relating
to the equal status and human rights of women.  Since February 1994, a staff
member has been serving as the provisional focal point on human rights of
women in the Office of the Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights in
order to coordinate action within the Centre on women's issues and liaise
within the United Nations system, particularly in cooperation and coordination
with the Division for the Advancement of Women and other United Nations bodies
related to women, especially in view of the Fourth World Conference on Women
and its follow-up.  The Focal Point ensures that various human rights
mechanisms, as well as the staff of the Centre, address in their work the
human rights of women and systematically integrate a gender dimension in their
working methods.  The focal point represents the Centre at relevant meetings
organized by the Division for the Advancement of Women and participates in the
annual sessions of the Commission on the Status of Women, as well as the
inter-agency meetings on women and the major non-governmental organization
forums on women.  Among other tasks, the Focal Point also has to coordinate
activities relevant to the human rights of women, with United Nations bodies,
in particular the Division for the Advancement of Women, and with
non-governmental organizations related to women, especially with a view to
elaborating a system-wide plan of action to implement the recommendations of
the World Conference on Human Rights with regard to the equal status of women
and men, as well as the recommendations of the Fourth World Conference on
Women relating to the human rights of women.

53.  The Centre for Human Rights has contributed to relevant documentation in
preparation for the Fourth World Conference on Women.  Also as a contribution
to the Conference, the Centre has issued a fact sheet on the Convention on the
Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the work of the
Committee on the Convention and a fact sheet on United Nations activities for
the elimination of harmful traditional practices affecting the health of women
and the girl child.

54.  In cooperation with the Division for the Advancement of Women, the
Centre and the United Nations Development Fund for Women will organize an
expert group meeting on the drafting of specific gender-sensitive guidelines
for the integration of the status and human rights of women into United
Nations human rights activities and programmes of work.  The meeting will
bring together experts from treaty bodies and practitioners in women's human
rights from both human rights and women's rights organizations to examine and
address problems faced and obstacles to be overcome in the mainstreaming of
women's human rights into the United Nations human rights mechanisms.  The
expert group will attempt to develop specific gender-sensitive guidelines on
how to identify, document and report gender-based human rights violations,
with a view to building the capacity to analyse all relevant information and
make it available.

55.  The Centre, in compliance with Commission on Human Rights resolutions
1993/46 3/ and 1994/54, 4/ through a consultation process, seeks to ensure
that all United Nations human rights bodies and mechanisms, including the
treaty bodies, are fully apprised of the particular ways in which the rights
of women are violated and that they use gender-disaggregated data in their
work.  In this regard, the Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights
addressed letters to all the special rapporteurs, representatives of the
Secretary-General for human rights and the chairpersons of treaty bodies
regarding the need to implement the provisions of the Vienna Declaration and
Programme of Action adopted by the World Conference on Human Rights.  He
stressed the importance of examining systematically the violations of human
rights suffered by women and, in particular, of seeking and including
information on de jure and de facto discrimination against women.  Recalling
the existence of a generally accepted international obligation to eliminate
discrimination and violation of women's rights, as provided for in
international human rights law, he stressed the need to examine systematically
the structural causes of women's inequality in society and to reinforce
international human rights law in order to attain the formal requirement of
equal treatment of men and women.

56.  Since the adoption of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action,
the Centre for Human Rights has increased its effectiveness in addressing,
throughout its programmes of work, the promotion and protection of human
rights from a gender perspective - in training courses, teaching and training
manuals, seminars, project design, evaluation and many other areas, such as
building up regional human rights institutions and the provision of technical
assistance for the protection of human rights.

57.  Further efforts will be made to provide Governments, at their request,
with advisory services and technical assistance in order to, for instance,
build up or strengthen national institutions, strengthen the administration of
justice, develop national laws, in keeping with international standards,
strengthen ratification and implementation of human rights instruments and
incorporate the human rights component in an integrated approach to
development strategies.

58.  Persons conducting needs assessment missions for technical assistance
are instructed to take particular account of the situation of women in the
target country and to incorporate measures designed to improve the human
rights situation of women in all recommendations for assistance.  All training
courses and seminars in the administration of justice now contain a practical
component that focuses specifically on the human rights of women.  In an
effort to ensure the equal participation of professional groups in the
training courses, the Centre has recently taken the initiative of including
specific requirements to this effect in legal agreements concluded between the
United Nations and the host country.  Under this clause, the host Government
is required to ensure that the authorities responsible for selecting
participants make every effort to guarantee the participation of women.

59.  Expertise has been developed within the Centre for the organization and
delivery of briefings on the human rights of women to students, delegations,
non-governmental organizations and other groups visiting the United Nations
Office at Geneva.  The human rights of women are specifically incorporated in
all relevant publications and in the Professional Training Series.

60.  The Centre for Human Rights will develop training materials, in
particular a manual for the training of international civil servants in human
rights, including gender sensitivity.  Other educational and training
materials will be developed to organize specific training activities focusing
on peace-keeping, peacemaking, humanitarian and relief operations.  Training
will also be provided for United Nations human rights and humanitarian relief
personnel to assist them in recognizing and dealing with human rights abuses
particular to women and to enable them to carry out their work without gender
bias.

61.  For the purpose of implementing the above-mentioned activities in the
most effective way, staff of the Centre have established and strengthened
contacts with relevant United Nations bodies, in particular, the Division for
the Advancement of Women, and non-governmental organizations involved in the
human rights of women.

62.  With regard to the recruitment of consultants and trainers, the Centre
has strived to utilize the services of qualified women as much as possible.  A
roster of experts in the field of women's rights for use in technical and
assistance projects is currently being developed.


           III.  JOINT WORK PLAN OF THE DIVISION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT
                 OF WOMEN AND THE CENTRE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS FOR 1995  

63.  Most of the activities described above are, by their nature, mutually
reinforcing and do not require a special effort of joint planning, once agreed
upon.  A number of activities, however, can build on the respective
competences of the Division for the Advancement of Women and the Centre for
Human Rights and, when jointly planned, can lead to particularly positive
results.  Because of the physical distance between the two units, resource
constraints, and their heavy workloads, the jointly planned activities have
been kept limited in number and have focused on high priority areas.  The
initial work plan covers only 1995.  Following the Fourth World Conference on
Women, a longer term work plan will be elaborated as part of the
implementation of both the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action and the
Platform for Action of the Conference.

64.  The first joint activity is in the area of training.  The Centre for
Human Rights organizes training courses on reporting and other matters for
States parties to human rights treaties.  The Division for the Advancement of
Women will provide staff to the Centre to assist in gender aspects of
reporting for at least one course in 1995.  For several years, the Division
has been organizing subregional seminars on the Convention on the Elimination
of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, some on reporting and others for
States considering becoming parties to the Convention.  One such seminar will
be organized jointly by the two bodies, with the participation of staff from
both, late in 1995.

65.  Second, the Centre for Human Rights organizes advisory services missions
to requesting countries.  When these missions include a focus on gender, the
Division for the Advancement of Women will be involved in selecting experts
and, where feasible, may participate itself.

66.  Third, the Division for the Advancement of Women will work with the
Centre for Human Rights to develop material on women's human rights for
inclusion in activities related to the Decade for Human Rights Education.


                                     Notes

     1/  Official Records of the Economic and Social Council, 1994,
Supplement No. 7 (E/1994/27), chap. I, sect. C.

     2/  Report of the World Conference on Human Rights, Vienna,
14-25 June 1993 (A/CONF.157/24 (Part I)), chap. III.

     3/  Official Records of the Economic and Social Council, 1993,
Supplement No. 3 and corrigenda (E/1993/23 and Corr.2 and 4), chap. II,
sect. A.

     4/  Ibid., 1994, Supplement No. 4 and corrigendum (E/1994/24 and Corr.1)
chap. II, sect. A.

     5/  Ibid., 1993, Supplement No. 7 (E/1993/27) chap. I, sect. C.

     6/  General Assembly resolution 34/180, annex.

     7/  General Assembly resolution 48/104.

     8/  Official Records of the General Assembly, Forty-fourth Session,
Supplement No. 38 (A/44/38), chap. V.

     9/  Ibid., Forty-seventh Session, Supplement No. 38 (A/47/38), chap. I.

     10/ General Assembly resolution 2200 A (XXI), annex.

     11/ General Assembly resolution 2106 A (XX), annex.

     12/ General Assembly resolution 39/46, annex.

     13/ General Assembly resolution 44/25, annex.

     14/ See the report of the fifth meeting of persons chairing the human
rights treaty bodies (A/49/537), annex.

     15/ Official Records of the General Assembly, Forty-ninth Session,
Supplement No. 41 (A/49/41), chap. I, sect. G.

     16/ Official Records of the Economic and Social Council, 1994,
Supplement No. 4 and corrigendum (E/1994/24 and Corr.1), chap. II, sect. B.


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