United Nations


Commission on the Status of Women

9 February 1996

Fortieth session
New York, 11-22 March 1996
Item 5 (b) of the provisional agenda


Elaboration of a draft optional protocol to the Convention on
the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

Report of the Secretary-General


1.   In accordance with Economic and Social Council resolution
1995/29 of 24 July 1995 on the elaboration of a draft optional
protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination against Women, the Secretary-General prepared a
comprehensive report, including a synthesis, on the views
expressed in accordance with paragraph 5 of that resolution
(E/CN.6/1996/10).  After the report was completed, the views of
the Governments of Cuba and China were received.  They are
reported below.

2.   Cuba observed that, in keeping with the attention and
priority given to women's issues in the country, the question of
introducing the right of petition through an optional protocol to
the Convention was being considered by the relevant authorities
of the country with a view to determining the position which Cuba
would take in the working group that was to meet during the
fortieth session of the Commission on the Status of Women, to be
held in March 1996.

3.   The Cuban Government was also giving constant attention to
examining its existing mechanisms and procedures in the light of
international human rights instruments, particularly those
dealing with women's human rights.  To that end, a comprehensive
evaluation of the feasibility of an optional protocol was being
made at the national level, involving a joint effort in which all
institutions concerned with women's issues in Cuba were

4.   Cuba also noted that, in the course of national
consideration of the issue, particular attention would be paid to
existing mechanisms, in order to ensure that the decisions
ultimately taken made a real and substantive contribution to the
handling of human rights issues without unnecessary duplication.

5.   China stated that, since the Commission on the Status of
Women and the Commission on Human Rights had already established
special mechanisms to review communications and since the United
Nations was practising thrift, another mechanism, such as an
optional protocol, might cause a duplication of work and duties
and a waste of human and financial resources.  Those would
certainly add an extra load to the United Nations heavy financial
burden.  The Secretary-General was requested to give serious
consideration to the above-mentioned facts.

6.   In accordance with resolution 1995/29 of the Economic and
Social Council, the Commission on the Status of Women should
establish an in-session open-ended working group at its fortieth
session to consider the report of the Secretary-General with a
view to elaborating a draft optional protocol to the Convention. 
Considering that an optional protocol would be legally binding on
the States parties and should reflect their views, it was
recommended that a drafting group of experts from the States
parties to the Convention be set up.  The composition of the
drafting group should fully embody the principle of equitable and
geographical representation.  When the drafting group had worked
out a draft optional protocol, it should distribute the draft to
the States parties to solicit comments from all sides.




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