Annex I ATTENDANCE Members Algeria Ramtane Lamamra, Sabria Boukadoum, Amina Mesdoua Angola Australia Elaine McKay, Dianne Hariot, Stephen Lloyd, Shirley Lithgow, Kathy Wong, Jane Connors, Jo Wainer Austria Ernst Sucharipa, Aloisia Wo"rgetter, Brigitte Brenner, Ingrid Siess, Irene Freudenschuss-Reichl Bahamas Harcourt L. Turnquest, Sharon Brennen-Haylock, Cora Bain-Colebrooke, Allison Christie Belarus Nataliya Drozd, Igar Gubarevich Belgium Alex Reyn, Dirk Wouters, Lily Boeykens, Nathalie Cassiers Brazil Marcela M. Nicodemos Bulgaria Ludmila Bojkova, Valentin Hadjiyski Chile China Wang Shuxian, Wang Xuexian, Zhang Fengkun, Zou Xiaoqiao, Liu Zhixian, Du Yong, Shi Weiqiang, Xie Bohua, Li Sangu, Huang Shu Colombia Congo Marie-The're`se Avemeka, Daniel Abibi, Corneille E. Moka, Marguerite Tchimbakala, Gise`le Bouanga Kalou Costa Rica Fernando Berrocal Soto, Emilia Castro de Barish, Liliana Herna'ndez Valverde, Ana Isabel Garci'a Cuba Yolanda Ferrer Go'mez, Magalys Arocha Domi'nguez, Ritz M. Pereira Rami'rez, Rodolfo Reyes Rodri'guez, Margarita Valle Camino Cyprus Erato Kozakou-Marcoulli Dominican Republic Ecuador Monica Martinez France Claire Aubin, Caroline Mechin, Danie`le Refuveille, Sylvie Crouzier, Laurent Contini, Fre'de'ric Desagneaux Greece Anna Frangoudaki Guinea Camara Hadja Mahawa Bangoura, Coumbassa Hadj Hawaou Diallo, Mafoula Sylla, Fatoumata Diaraye Diaby, Aissatou Pore'ko Diallo, Balla Moussa Camara Guinea-Bissau India Prakash Shah, Sarala Gopalan, Mitra Vasisht, A. K. Sinha, G. Mukhopadhaya, S. Rama Rao Indonesia Rini Soerojo, Isslamet Poernomo, Sri Tadjudin, Mubyarto Martodinoto, Sutjiptohardjo Donokusumo, Wiwiek Setyawati, R. A. Esti Andayani, Riyadi Asirdin Iran, Islamic Mehdi Danesh Yazdi, Gholam Hossein Dehghani, Republic of Farideh Hassani, Afsaneh Nadipour Japan Makiko Sakai, Fumiko Saiga, Ahniwa Natori, Eiko Nakamura, Fumiko Suzuki, Junko Uchino, Mitsuko Ito, Jiro Usui, Kayo Fujita, Michiko Iino, Kiyoko Kani, Mika Ichihara Kenya Lebanon Samir Moubarak, Fadi Karam Libyan Arab Asmahan Salem Eddib, Jamaleddin A. Hamida Jamahiriya Malaysia Mali Mexico Ai'da Gonza'lez Marti'nez, Yanerit Morgan, Socorro Flores Liera Namibia Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, Maria Kapere, Silba Tjipueja, Hazel de Wet, Frances Matros Norway Karin Stoltenberg, Sissel Salomon, Marianne Loe, Sten Arne Rosnes, Anne Havnțr, Guro Camerer, Else Annette Grannes, Turid Leirvoll Philippines Patricia B. Licuanan, Maria Lourdes V. Ramiro-Lopez, Ruth S. Limjuco, Imelda Nicolas, Myrna Feliciano, Aurora Javate De Dios, Glen Corpin, Eleonor Conda Portugal Republic of Kim Jang-Sook, Hahm Myung Chul, Hwang In-Ja, Lee Kwang Jae, Korea Park Bok Soon, Park Enna, Oh Huun-Joo, Lee Jeong-Shim, Kim Yung-Chung, Kang Sun-Hye Russian L. F. Byezlepkina, A. V. Aparina, G. N. Galkina, Federation B. G. Stepanov, O. Y. Sepelev, U. V. Chriskov, M. O. Korunova Slovakia Zuzana Jezerska Sudan Swaziland Moses M. Dlamini, Joel M. Nhleko, Audrey L. Nhlabatsi, Nonhlanhla P. Tsabedze, Melusie M. Masuku Thailand Asda Jayanama, Saisuree Chutikul, Thakur Phanit, Sriwatana Chulajata, Karn Chiranond, Vanida Suwankiri, Sweeya Santipitaks Togo Kissem Tchanghai-Walla, Katoa Nignigaba Takouda Tunisia Slaheddine Abdellah, Rafika Khouini, Saida Agrebi, Wahid Ben Amor United States Linda Tarr-Whelan, Melinda L. Kimble, Victor Marrero, of America Maria Antonietta Berriozabal, Mary Purcell, Ann Bookman, Iris Burnett, Kathleen Hendrix, Gracia Hillman, Sharon Kotok, Theresa Loar, Nigel Purvis, Lucy Tamlyn, Bisa Williams-Manigault States Members of the United Nations represented by observers Albania, Antigua and Barbuda, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Canada, Co^te d'Ivoire, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, Germany, Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Kazakstan, Lesotho, Liberia, Lithuania, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Poland, Romania, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Syrian Arab Republic, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Zambia, Zimbabwe Non-member States represented by observers Holy See, Switzerland United Nations United Nations Children's Fund, United Nations Development Fund for Women, United Nations Development Programme, Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, Economic Commission for Africa, Economic Commission for Europe, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women, Centre for Human Rights Specialized agencies and related organizations International Labour Organization, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, World Health Organization, International Monetary Fund, United Nations Industrial Development Organization Intergovernmental organizations represented by observers Commonwealth Secretariat, European Community, Organization of African Unity, Organization of American States Other organizations represented by observers Palestine Non-governmental organizations Category I: American Association of Retired Persons, Association for Progressive Communications, Inter-Parliamentary Union, International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, International Council of Women, National Council of Negro Women, Inc., Soroptimist International, World Federation of United Nations Associations, Zonta International Category II: All-China Women's Federation, Anglican Consultative Council, Baha''i' International Community, Education International, International Federation of Settlements and Neighborhood Centres, International Federation of University Women, National Council of German Women's Organizations - Federal Union of Women's Organizations and Women's Groups of German Associations, E.V., Pan-Pacific and South-East Asia Women's Association, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, World Information Transfer Roster: International Women's Anthropology Conference, Inc., Women's Environment and Development Organization Other non-governmental organizations: 3HO Foundation, African Women's Development and Communication Network (FEMNET), AGORA, Agrupacio'n de Mujeres Tierra Viva, Ain O Salish Kendra, Al-Khoei Foundation, Alliance des femmes haitiennes, Alliance for Life, American Jewish Committee, The, American Jewish Congress Commission on Women's Equality, Armenian International Women's Association, Armenian Relief Society, Inc., Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe College, Asociacio'n Espan~ola de Mujeres Juristas (A.E.M.J.), Associacao Nacional das Empresarias, Association de lutte contre les violences faites aux femmes, Association of Interbalkan Women's Cooperation Societies, Association of Women of Kyrgyzstan for Nuclear World and Ecological Security, Association of Women's Organizations of Jamaica, Association Seve savoir et vouloir entreprendre, Associazione Delle Donne Democratiche-Iraniane Residente in Italia, Bangladesh Nari Progati Sangha, Banulacht, British Association of Women Entrepreneurs (BAWE), Business and Professional Women's Club, Camino Foundation, Caribbean People Development Agency (CARIPEDA), Center for the Advancement of Women, Center for Women's Global Leadership, Center of Arab Women for Training and Research (CAWTAR), Central Committee for Women's Rights Movements in Gothenberg/Sweden, Centre d'e'tudes et de recherche sur la population et le de'veloppement, Centre for International Studies/University College of Cape Breton, Centre for Women, the Earth, the Divine (CWED), Centro de Investigacio'n para la Accio'n Femenina, Centro de Investigacion Social, Formacio'n y Estudios de la Mujer (CISFEM), Centro de la Mujer Peruana Flora Tristan, Centro di Cooperazione Familiare, Children and Mothers Welfare Society, China Association of Women Entrepreneurs, China Population Welfare Foundation, China Society for Human Rights Studies, Chinese Education Association for International Exchange, CLADEM - Peru, Coalition of Australian Participating Organizations of Women (CAPOW), Coalition on Women and Religion (CWR)/Church Council of Greater Seattle, Collectif 95 Maghreb egalite, Comite national d'action pour les droits de l'enfant et de la femme, Committee on Family, Women and Demographic Policy to the President of the Republic of Sakha (YAKUTIA), Confederacao das Mulheres Do Brasil (Brazilian Women Confederation), Congregations of Saint Joseph, Congregazione di Nostra Signora di Carita del Buon Pastore, Congress of Black Women of Canada, Coordination francaise pour le Lobby europe'en des femmes (C.L.E.F.), Council of Nordic Trade Unions, Departmento de la Mujer de la Asociacio'n Trabajadores del Estado, Dialogue on Diversity, Inc., Ecological Rights Association (ERA), Educacio'n, Cultura y Ecologi'a A.C., Emakunde/Instituto Vasco de la Mujer, Environmental Women's Assembly, European Union of Women (British Section), Family Care International, Inc., Federacio'n Espan~ola de Asociaciones Pro Vida, Federacio'n Nacional de Asociaciones de Mujeres para la Democracia, Federally Employed Women, Inc., Femme de'veloppement entreprise en Afrique, Femme et monde rural, Ford Foundation, The, Franciscans International, Francois-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights, French Confederation of the Catholic Families Association, Friendship Ambassadors Foundation, Fundacio'n 8 de Marzo, Fundacio'n de Mujeres Profesionales, Fundacio'n Grupo de Estudios Sobre la Condicio'n de la Mujer en el Uruguay, Girls Incorporated, Global Alliance for Women's Health, Grail, The (International Presidency Team), Groupe de recherche d'e'tudes et de formation femmes action (GREFFA), Groupement des femmes d'affaires de Guine'e, Harvard Institute for International Development/MIT Women in Development Group, Humanitarian Law Project, Indian Women's Group of Trinidad and Tobago, Institut africain pour la de'mocratie, Institute for the Study of Women/Mount Saint Vincent University, Institute for Urban Research/Morgan State University, Institute of Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, Instituto Ecuatoriano de Investigaciones y Capacitacio'n de la Mujer (IECAIM), Inter-American Parliamentary Group on Population and Development, International Center for Research on Women, International Coalition on Women and Credit, International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, International Reproductive Rights Research Action Group, International Women Count Network, International Women's Rights Action Watch, Islamic Women's Institute of Iran (IWII), Japan Federation of Bar Associations (JFBA), Karamah: Muslim Women Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, Inc., Korean American Coalition on Jungshindae, Inc., Korean Association of Women Theologians, Korean Institute for Women and Politics (KIWP), Leadership Conference for U.S. Dominican Religious, Maryknoll Sisters of St. Dominic, Inc., Medical Association in Jamaica, Mira Med Institute, Mobility International U.S.A., Moral Rearmament, Inc., NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Naripokkho, National Action Committee on the Status of Women, National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women's Clubs, Inc., National Committee of Women for Democratic Iran, National Council for Research on Women, National Council of African Women, National Council of Women of Canada (NCWC), National Council of Women of the United States, Inc., National Federation of International Organizations for Immigrant Women-Sweden, National Institute of Womanhood (NIW), The, National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States, New Zealand Federation of University Women, NGO Commonwealth Women Network, Nizhny Novgorod League of Business Women, North America Taiwanese Women's Association, Office of Women in Higher Education/American Council on Education, Organisation de la femme istiqlalienne, Organization of Turkish Childrens' Rights Summit, Organizing Committee/People's Decade of Human Rights Education, Pacific Rim Institute for Development and Education (PRIDE), Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, Programme Support Unit Foundation, Red Nacional de Promocio'n de la Mujer - Peru', Republican Counsil of Women's Organizations, Research Action Information Network for Bodily Integrity of Women, Reseau femmes africaines et droits humains (REFAD), Ribbon International, SACH-Struggle for Change, Sahaja Yoga International, Scottish Education and Action Development, Sewa-Nepal, Shanghai Women's Studies Association, Slovak Women's Social Democracy Community, Society for Interbalkan Cooperation of Romanian Women (SICRW), Sociologists for Women in Society, Soroptimist International - Bangladesh, Temple University (Commonwealth), Tunisian Mothers' Association, Ugnayas Ng Kababaihan Sa Politika (Philippines), Union nationale pour le soutien et la promotion de la femme au foyer "Femmes actives au foyer", United Nations Women's Guild, US-China People's Friendship Association (USCPFA), Voice of Women for Peace (Canada), WIN Visible - Women with Visible and Invisible Disabilities, Women Convention Watch Indonesia, The, Women Empowering Women of Indian Nations, Women in International Security (WIIS), Women of Reform Judaism, The Federation of Temple Sisterhoods, Women's Alliance for Democracy, Women's Caucus, International Aids Society (NYS State Psychiatric Institute/HIV Center for Clinic and Behaviour Study), Women's Council of the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), Women's Health in Women's Hands: a Community Health Centre for Women, Women's Network of the International Health Futures Network, Women's Society (Zhinocha Hromada), Working Women National Committee of the Puerto Rican Labor Central, World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC), World Organization for the Family, YWCA of Australia (Young Women's Christian Association of Australia), Zigen Fund, Zonta Club Bratislava-Slovakia (National Network of Zonta International) Annex II LIST OF DOCUMENTS BEFORE THE COMMISSION AT ITS FORTIETH SESSION Document symbol Agenda Item Title or description E/CN.6/1996/1 2 Provisional agenda E/CN.6/1996/2 3 (a) Mandate, methods of work and multi-year work programme of the Commission: report of the Secretary-General E/CN.6/1996/3 3 Ways to enhance the capacity of the Organization and of the United Nations system to support the ongoing follow-up to the Conference: report of the Secretary-General E/CN.6/1996/4 3 Elimination of stereotyping in the mass media: report of the Secretary-General E/CN.6/1996/5 3 Child and dependant care, including the sharing of work and family responsibilities: report of the Secretary-General E/CN.6/1996/6 3 Education for peace: report of the Secretary-General E/CN.6/1996/7 3 (b) Improvement of the status of women in the Secretariat: report of the Secretary-General E/CN.6/1996/8 3 Situation of and assistance to Palestinian women: report of the Secretary-General E/CN.6/1996/9 3 (b) Extent to which violations of women's human rights have been addressed by human rights mechanisms: report of the Secretary-General E/CN.6/1996/10 and 5 Elaboration of a draft optional Corr.1 and Add.1 protocol to the Convention on the and 2 Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women: report of the Secretary- General E/CN.6/1996/11 3 Implementation of General Assembly resolution 50/166 on the role of the United Nations Development Fund for Women in eliminating violence against women: note by the Secretary-General E/CN.6/1996/12 3 Violence against women migrant workers: note by the Secretary-General Document symbol Agenda Item Title or description E/CN.6/1996/13 3 (b) Joint work plan of the Division for the Advancement of Women and the Centre for Human Rights: report of the Secretary-General E/CN.6/1996/14 3 Proposals for the medium-term plan for the period 1998-2001: note by the Secretary- General E/CN.6/1996/L.1 3 Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Ecuador, Egypt, Georgia, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Mozambique, Pakistan, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan and Zimbabwe: draft resolution E/CN.6/1996/L.2 and 7 Draft report of the Commission on its Add.1 fortieth session E/CN.6/1996/L.3 3 United States of America: draft resolution E/CN.6/1996/L.4 3 Australia, Canada and Norway: draft resolution E/CN.6/1996/L.5 3 Fiji, Ghana, Nigeria, Philippines and Thailand: draft resolution E/CN.6/1996/L.6 3 Costa Rica (on behalf of the States Members of the United Nations that are members of the Group of 77 and China): draft resolution E/CN.6/1996/L.7 3 Fiji, Ghana and Philippines: draft resolution E/CN.6/1996/L.8/Rev.1 3 Costa Rica (on behalf of the States Members of the United Nations that are members of the Group of 77 and China): revised draft resolution E/CN.6/1996/L.9 3 Costa Rica (on behalf of the States Members of the United Nations that are members of the Group of 77 and China): draft resolution E/CN.6/1996/L.10 3 Costa Rica (on behalf of the States Members of the United Nations that are members of the Group of 77 and China): draft resolution Document symbol Agenda Item Title or description E/CN.6/1996/L.11 5 Draft resolution submitted by the Chairperson of the Open-ended Working Group on the Elaboration of a Draft Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, on the basis of informal consultations E/CN.6/1996/L.12 3 Conclusions regarding methods of work for dealing with the implementation of the Platform for Action adopted by the Fourth World Conference on Women, submitted by the coordinator of informal consultations on agenda item 3, Patricia Licuanan (Philippines) E/CN.6/1996/L.13 3 Draft resolution submitted by the coordinator of informal consultations on agenda item 3, Patricia Licuanan (Philippines) E/CN.6/1996/L.14 3 (c) (i) Draft resolution submitted by the Chairperson as the basis for informal consultations E/CN.6/1996/L.15 3 Italy (on behalf of the States Members of the United Nations that are members of the European Union): draft resolution E/CN.6/1996/L.16 3 (c) (ii) Draft agreed conclusions submitted by the Vice-Chairperson of the Commission, Ljudmila Boskova (Bulgaria) E/CN.6/1996/L.17 3 Agreed conclusions submitted by the Chairperson on the basis of informal consultations E/CN.6/1996/NGO/1 3 Statement submitted by the following non-governmental organizations in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council: International Federation of Business and Professional Women, Soroptimist International, Zonta International (category I); International Council on Alcohol and Addictions (ICAA), Italian Centre of Solidarity, Socialist International Women (SIW), World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (category II); International Inner Wheel, International Round Table for the Advancement of Counselling (IRTAC) (Roster) Document symbol Agenda Item Title or description E/CN.6/1996/NGO/2 3 Statement submitted by the following non-governmental organizations in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council: International Federation of Business and Professional Women, Soroptimist International, Zonta International (category I); International Council on Alcohol and Addictions (ICAA), Italian Centre of Solidarity, Socialist International Women (SIW), World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (category II); International Inner Wheel, International Round Table for the Advancement of Counselling (IRTAC) (Roster) E/CN.6/1996/NGO/3 3 Statement submitted by the following non-governmental organizations in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council: International Council of Women, International Federation of Business and Professional Women, Soroptimist International, Zonta International (category I); Italian Centre of Solidarity, Socialist International Women (SIW), World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (category II); International Inner Wheel, International Round Table for the Advancement of Counselling (IRTAC) (Roster) E/CN.6/1996/NGO/4 3 Statement submitted by the following non-governmental organizations in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council: International Federation of Business and Professional Women, Zonta International (category I); International Council on Alcohol and Addictions (ICAA), Socialist International Women (SIW), World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (category II); International Inner Wheel, International Round Table for the Advancement of Counselling (IRTAC) (Roster) E/CN.6/1996/NGO/5 3 Statement submitted by the following non-governmental organizations in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council: International Alliance of Women - Equal Rights, Equal Responsibilities, International Federation of Business and Professional Women, Soroptimist International, Zonta International (category I); All India Women's Conference, Arab Lawyers Union, World Federation of Methodist Women (WFMW), World Federation for Mental Health (category II) E/CN.6/1996/NGO/6 5 Statement submitted by the Commission for the Defence of Human Rights in Central America, a non-governmental organization in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council, category II E/CN.6/1996/CRP.1 3 (b) Results of the fifteenth session of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women: note by the Secretary-General E/CN.6/1996/CRP.2 3 (b) Proposed system-wide medium-term plan for the advancement of women 1996-2001: report of the Secretary-General E/CN.6/1996/CRP.3 3 (c) Follow-up to the Fourth World Conference on Women: implementation of strategic objectives and action in the critical areas of concern: poverty: report of the Secretary-General E/CN.6/1996/CRP.4 4 Report of the Working Group on Communications on the Status of Women E/CN.6/1996/WG/L.1 5 Draft report of the Open-ended Working and Add.1 Group on the Elaboration of a Draft Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women Annex III REPORT OF THE OPEN-ENDED WORKING GROUP ON THE ELABORATION OF A DRAFT OPTIONAL PROTOCOL TO THE CONVENTION ON THE ELIMINATION OF ALL FORMS OF DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN 1. The Open-ended Working Group on the Elaboration of a Draft Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women was convened pursuant to Economic and Social Council resolution 1995/29 of 24 July 1995 to consider a comprehensive report by the Secretary- General, including a synthesis, on the views of Governments, intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organizations on an optional protocol to the Convention, including views related to feasibility, taking into account the elements suggested by the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women in suggestion 7, adopted at its fourteenth session. a/ 2. At the 4th plenary meeting, on 12 March, the Vice-Chairperson of the Commission, Karin Stoltenberg (Norway) was designated Chairperson of the Working Group. Mr. Phakiso Mochochoko (Lesotho) presided at the 6th meeting of the Working Group, on 14 March. At the 7th plenary meeting, on 14 March, Aloisia Wo"rgetter (Austria) was designated Chairperson of the Working Group to replace Ms. Stoltenberg (Norway), who had resigned owing to unforeseen circumstances. 3. The Working Group met from 11 to 22 March 1996. It held 10 meetings (1st to 10th) and two informal meetings. It had before it the report of the Secretary-General on the elaboration of a draft optional protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (E/CN.6/1996/10 and Corr.1 and Add.1 and 2). 4. At the 1st meeting, on 11 March, the acting Chairperson opened the meeting and made a statement. The Director of the Division for the Advancement of Women made an introductory statement. 5. At the same meeting, in order to assist it in its deliberations, the Working Group was briefed by a member of the Human Rights Committee on the provisions, procedures and experience of the Committee under the first Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. He also responded to questions raised by delegations. 6. At the 2nd, 5th, 7th and 9th meetings, on 12, 13, 14 and 18 March, the Chairperson of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women made a statement and responded to questions raised by delegations with regard to specific elements proposed by the Committee in suggestion 7, as well as with regard to the working methods of the Committee in the examination of States parties' reports. 7. At the 5th and 7th to 9th meetings, on 13, 14 and 18 March, the representative of the Centre for Human Rights responded to questions raised by delegations with regard to the practice and procedures of other United Nations human rights mechanisms. a/ Official Records of the General Assembly, Fiftieth Session, Supplement No. 38 (A/50/38), chap. I, sect. B. 8. At the 10th meeting, on 19 March, at the invitation of the Working Group, two members of the Human Rights Committee made statements and responded to questions raised by delegations with regard to the subject of justiciability. 9. The Working Group, at the invitation of the Chairperson, first held a general exchange of views on the question of an optional protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, followed by a systematic and in-depth exchange of views on aspects that would need to be addressed in such a protocol, using as a basis for discussion the elements proposed by the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women in suggestion 7. A. General exchange of views 10. Support was expressed in favour of an optional protocol to the Convention and the process initiated for its elaboration. Delegations stated their readiness to cooperate and to participate actively in the Working Group to achieve an effective instrument that would command the greatest possible support and a large number of ratifications. 11. However, delegations raised several obstacles and difficulties to be addressed in the elaboration of a protocol and put forward questions that needed to be clarified and extensively considered in the process. 12. It was argued that an optional protocol would increase the efficacy of the Convention, and lead to more effective protection and promotion of the human rights of women. Such a procedure would strengthen the Convention and put it on an equal footing with other human rights treaty mechanisms. The view was expressed that a communications procedure could place undue attention on individual cases, whereas situations of massive violations needed to be addressed. 13. Many delegations pointed out that the preparation of an optional protocol was a key element in the follow-up to the World Conference on Human Rights and the Fourth World Conference on Women. It represented a unique opportunity to fill procedural gaps in existing mechanisms. During its preparation, the reasons for the low number of ratifications of other complaints mechanisms could be assessed with a view to avoiding them in the instrument. 14. Many delegations pointed out that the question of the relationship between the proposed optional protocol and existing mechanisms providing for a communications procedure needed careful consideration. In that regard, overlapping or duplication would have to be avoided; the need for streamlining of the human rights machinery was noted. Efforts to mainstream women's human rights and a gender perspective into the general human rights activities were mentioned. It was also emphasized that, while the question of overlapping and duplication presented a challenge, it should not stand in the way of the elaboration of such a procedure. The question of overlapping had also been raised, inter alia, at the time of the drafting of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and its reporting procedure, both of which are now widely accepted. 15. The possible complementary role that a well-drafted protocol could play within the human rights system was highlighted, especially given the wider scope of the provisions of the Convention. The scope of other procedures and the fact that the rights of women were not their main focus were noted. The elements proposed by the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and those contained in the Maastricht draft would be useful in the work ahead. 16. Reference was made to procedures under a number of treaty-based and Charter-based human rights mechanisms. It was noted that the different nature of the communications procedure of the Commission on the Status of Women would not overlap with an optional protocol. The view was expressed that an optional protocol should not establish an essentially different approach from the one contained in the first Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. However, further comparison with the mandates and jurisprudence of existing machinery would help to identify where further work was needed to support the realization of women's rights. 17. The question of the justiciability of rights contained in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women under an optional protocol on the right to petition was addressed by many delegations. Several delegations pointed to the diverse nature of States parties' obligations under the various provisions of the Convention, and the implications for their justiciability. It was suggested that some provisions were clearly suited to be the subject of a petition procedure, while other provisions were of a more programmatic nature for which a different procedure might be required. Thus, work on an optional protocol would need to proceed in the light of the various types of provisions contained in the Convention. On the other hand, a number of delegations expressed the view that all substantive provisions of the Convention should be considered justiciable under an optional protocol. 18. Several delegations commended the important work done by the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. The need to strengthen the Committee through, inter alia, an increase in resources and meeting time was expressed. Concern was expressed by some delegations that despite the recent proposal to extend the Committee's meeting time, this might not be sufficient to deal both with the existing backlog in report consideration and with the task of considering communications. 19. Some delegations expressed concern with regard to possible financial implications resulting from the adoption of an optional protocol. The costs involved would need to be estimated. Some delegations expressed the view that the elaboration of an optional protocol might not be the best use of resources for maximizing the effectiveness of women's enjoyment of their rights. Instead, the achievement of universal ratification and better implementation of the Convention should be pursued, including through better and more timely reporting to the Committee. B. In-depth consideration of major aspects to be covered by an optional protocol, following the elements contained in suggestion 7 of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women 20. The Chairperson invited the Working Group, in addressing the specific elements proposed by the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, to take into consideration the cross-cutting themes that had emerged during the general exchange of views, such as the question of overlapping with existing procedures, and the question of justiciability, as applicable. She informed the Working Group of her intention to call also on non-governmental organizations to make their comments on specific elements. Element 5 21. Some delegations considered the element to be generally acceptable. It was proposed to add the option of signing the optional protocol: "... option to sign and ratify or accede to the optional protocol". 22. The question of the status and impact of reservations entered to provisions of the Convention by States parties with regard to the admissibility of communications under the optional protocol was discussed. Delegations considered that ratification of the optional protocol would leave substantive reservations to the Convention unaffected, without prejudice to the permissibility of a reservation and its compatibility with the Convention and with international treaty law. While it was agreed that reservations were permissible under the Convention, reference was made to article 28.2: "A reservation incompatible with the object and purpose of the Convention shall not be permitted." Thus, it was observed that it would be up to the Committee to examine the compatibility of such reservations with the Convention, and, consequently, the admissibility of a communication. 23. With regard to justiciability, it was suggested that this question would be especially relevant to discussions on the type of procedure to be contained in an optional protocol, and its relation to the various provisions of the Convention, including whether the programmatic provisions would be excluded from being justiciable under an individual complaints procedure. The view was expressed that only those provisions of the Convention that established absolute obligations could be justiciable. The types of views expressed by the Committee at the conclusion of an examination would also be relevant in this regard. 24. Some delegations stated that it should be left to the Committee to determine the question of justiciability on the basis of concrete cases, rather than to exclude a priori certain provisions. 25. It was stated that the question of justiciability was not limited to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. It was also relevant to, for example, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, yet in that case, the complaints procedure of article 14 covered the Convention as a whole. In considering it, the importance of the implementation of treaties in good faith and according to the principle of pacta sunt servanda was stressed. Some delegations stated that, while some provisions of the Convention had direct effects and could, as well as should, be implemented immediately, including the non-discrimination provision, other provisions might have to be implemented progressively. The guiding legal principle, however, should be that States parties are under an obligation to take steps towards achieving the goals, an obligation for which they could be held accountable. Element 6 26. On the recommendation of the Chairperson, no in-depth discussion of element 6 took place, as subsequent elements addressed the various aspects of a communications procedure (elements 7-16) and an inquiry procedure (elements 17-23). 27. While some delegations proposed the retention of only the communications procedure, others noted the need for both a communications and an inquiry procedure. 28. The view was stated that the purpose of the optional protocol would determine whether only one, or both procedures, would be needed. The examination of individual complaints, in an approach similar to other existing individual complaints procedures, was seen as the principal purpose of an optional protocol. The view was expressed that only justiciable provisions should fall under the individual complaints procedure, whereas violations of the provisions of the Convention of a more general nature could be addressed, for example, in the framework of the reporting procedure. Element 7 29. With respect to this element, the question of who should have standing to submit a communication was discussed, and whether this should be extended to a person or group having sufficient interest in the matter. 30. Some delegations were of the view that individuals as well as groups should have standing, along the lines of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, as well as of some regional procedures. Standing for groups would be needed in cases of major violations. The language could be specified to read: "groups or organizations with specific interest in women". It was proposed that "groups" could be more specific, such as "groups of persons", or "groups of individuals", or "groups acting on behalf of individuals". Other delegations referred to the example of the first Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which granted standing to individuals only. The view was expressed that only victims themselves should have standing. 31. It was stated that, owing to the quasi-judicial nature of the procedure, an approach that allowed groups of victims to file complaints would not be favoured. The comparison to national judicial processes was made, which also did not allow such group complaints. At the same time, the important role of organizations in assisting victims in filing complaints was stressed. The distinction between the victim having the right to complain, and the person, group, or representative who may file a complaint on the person's behalf, would need to be made clear. In this view, other procedures, such as the communications procedure of the Commission on the Status of Women, were considered more appropriate for widespread or systematic violations. 32. Many delegations stated that the term "organization" needed clarification. Any difference to "groups" would need to be elaborated. If "organization" meant "non-governmental organizations", then it should be so stated, in which case it might be merged with "groups". At the same time, a requirement to have groups file on behalf of their members was also proposed. The Commission was cautioned against broadening the categories of persons who might submit complaints, as the Committee might be flooded with communications, and possible financial implications were noted. On the other hand it was stated that allowing groups to complain could reduce the cost, as the Committee might receive one collective complaint instead of many separate complaints from individuals. Other delegations argued that the inclusion of a third category of "organizations" was called for to address the systematic nature of discrimination and gender-based violence, and would be an innovative element. 33. With regard to the standing criteria of a person or group "having a sufficient interest", many delegations found this to be too vague and broad a formulation. Some delegations found such a provision to be inappropriate. The explanation was offered that this would apply to a situation where the victim herself was not able to complain and a representative would do so on her behalf. 34. The following categories of standing were proposed: a person acting in her own interest; an association acting in the interest of its members; a person acting on behalf of another person who is not in a position to seek relief in her own name; a person acting as a member or in the interest of a group or class of persons; a person acting in the public interest. 35. It was pointed out that the threshold test with regard to the right to complain would depend on the solution of the question of justiciability, and whether all provisions of the Convention would be covered under an optional protocol. It was also emphasized that the optional protocol should empower the Committee to deal with complaints regarding any of the Convention's provisions, as was done when the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination was adopted. It was also pointed out that a compartmentalization of the provisions of the Convention into justiciable and non-justiciable was not desirable as it might create precedents for other human rights treaties. Some delegations emphasized that the result of the Committee's consideration of a complaint would not be a judgement, but the Committee would assess whether a State party had taken the minimum steps necessary to comply with its obligations under the Convention. 36. It was proposed to expand the right to file a communication by allowing filing to be done on the basis of a "threat of violations or infringements of rights contained in the Convention". 37. While it was proposed to qualify the non-compliance provision by characterizing it as "deliberate, widespread, or systematic", it was also emphasized that the purpose of the optional protocol was to establish an individual complaints procedure. 38. The question was raised as to who would bear the cost of proceedings. Element 8 39. As to whether communications should be in writing only, delegations agreed that, in principle, they should be in writing. Some delegations proposed that in exceptional cases, when the Committee deemed that there was no other reasonable way to lodge a communication, some other means could be accepted, such as oral presentation, or taped submissions. The practical difficulties connected with oral presentations were pointed out. 40. With regard to the confidentiality of the communication, some delegations stressed the need to clarify whether this referred to the identity of the author, the confidential treatment of the communication vis-a`-vis third parties, the non-disclosure of the name of the author to the State party, or the outcome of its consideration. It was suggested to clarify the policy objective of this requirement in order to arrive at a solution. The different types of confidentiality requirements contained in various elements, including 8, 9 (b), 11, 12, 15 and 24, was pointed out, and the need for clarity and consistency of concepts in each case was stressed. 41. Some delegations understood the provision to mean confidential treatment of the communication, but not that the communication itself should be confidential. Thus, knowledge of the identity of the author should be limited to the Committee and the State party. This would also be beneficial to the process of mediation. Several delegations emphasized that the State party would need to know the identity of the author in order to reply to the complaint and to initiate remedial action. Other delegations noted that if the aim of the provision was the protection of the author, this could be achieved with the provision contained in element 10, or with some other measure. The need to publicize the facts and findings upon conclusion was stressed. 42. Some delegations spoke in favour of confidentiality along the lines of existing Charter-based procedures, such as the 1503 procedure, or the communications procedure of the Commission on the Status of Women. Others argued that in the light of the purpose of the protocol, the principles and practice of other human rights treaty bodies, such as the Human Rights Committee, should be used as models. Element 9 43. With regard to the admissibility criteria proposed in element 9, it was noted that, while the list proposed in the element is reflective of the present stage in other comparable procedures, the preparation of a new protocol offered an opportunity for progressive development and the reflection of current practice. 44. Element 9 (b): Support was expressed for this formulation. 45. Element 9 (c): While clarification was sought on the conceptual distinction between "alleged violation" and "alleged failure to give effect", it was also noted that the formulation simply reflected a comprehensive view of the provisions of the Convention. Some delegations identified a link between these criteria and the question of standing in element 7, as well as the question whether all the provisions of the Convention would be covered by the protocol. 46. Several delegations foresaw a potentially enormous number of communications under the second standard, and proposed the following formulation: "alleged failure to provide effective remedies to situations caused by violations of rights under the Convention". 47. Element 9 (d): Several delegations noted that such a criterion was absent from other comparable procedures. They found it to be counter to existing norms and agreed that an optional protocol should apply to acts that had occurred after the entry into force of the optional protocol in the State party. Support was expressed for an approach whereby the admissibility criterion would be the entry into force of the Convention, not of the optional protocol, in the State party. 48. Element 9 (f): With regard to the element on the exhaustion of domestic remedies, preference was expressed its for the formulation contained in the first Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Others stated their preference for language as contained in the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment or the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, which stated that the requirement of the exhaustion of domestic remedies should not be the rule where domestic remedies were unreasonably prolonged, or unlikely to bring effective relief. The language contained in the latter would also be in accordance with the practice of the Human Rights Committee, which interpreted its own provision to include the absence of effective domestic remedies, their lack of effectiveness, or denial of a remedy. It was suggested that more general wording might be needed which would include that the victim was unaware of domestic remedies, or of their availability. It was also suggested to include the word "available" before "domestic remedies", as that would be in line with other instruments. The view was expressed that it would not be in line with the role of the Committee to judge whether domestic remedies had been exhausted. 49. With regard to the second sentence, especially the proposed power of the Committee to declare another international procedure "unreasonably prolonged", many delegations agreed that such a provision would be inappropriate as it would give the Committee the power to judge the work of other bodies. Instead, preference for existing language was expressed, such as in the Convention against Torture or in the Migrant Workers Convention, that is, that the same matter "has not been, and is not being, examined by another treaty body". Reference was also made to article 27.1 (b) of the European Convention establishing inadmissibility when a petition "is substantially the same as a matter which has already been examined by the Commission or has already been submitted to another procedure of international investigation or settlement and if it contains no relevant new information". 50. Support was expressed for the proposed addition of two criteria, namely that a communication would be inadmissible when manifestly ill-founded; and the inclusion of a time-limit, that is, that a communication be inadmissible if deposited after 12 months from the date of the decision of the highest domestic instance, or a similar reasonable length of time. 51. The addition of the following criteria was also proposed: "Communications should be in compliance with the principles of objectivity and justice and should include legal remedies or reparations, if any, undertaken by the State party concerned." 52. Element 9 (g): The question was raised as to who would determine, and what would be considered, a "reasonable period". It was suggested that the Committee might have this responsibility. Element 10 53. Several delegations, pointing to the innovative character of element 10 on interim measures, expressed their support for its explicit inclusion in the optional protocol. They noted that that would be in line with existing practice of international, as well as regional, human rights bodies. In order to avoid irreparable harm, the Committee should be empowered to take urgent action when necessary. Noting the positive intention of the provision, other delegations suggested that it should be left to the Committee to include such a provision in its rules of procedure. Such a placement would allow the Committee more flexibility in its practical application. 54. A number of delegations, pointing to the language used in the element, considered it inappropriate to confer upon the Committee power to "request" a State party to take such measures. Instead, the Committee should be able to "recommend" interim measures. Their application should be left to the discretion of the State party. The need for a separate undertaking on the part of the State party was doubted, as States parties were already expected to act bona fide upon ratification of the instrument. 55. Several delegations noted a lack of clarity and precision in the use of the term "preservation of the status quo", suggesting that the intention for recommending such interim measures needed to be further specified. They agreed that it could not mean that an alleged violation be preserved, but rather its termination and avoidance of irreparable harm, or the prevention of a violation. It was proposed to reword the element to give the Committee the right to recommend, or suggest, interim measures so as not to aggravate the situation. It was also proposed to distinguish between interim measures at the admissibility stage, and during the proceedings on the merits of a communication, in accordance with the practice of the Committee against Torture. 56. It was suggested that it might be necessary to monitor the application of such interim measures at the national level. 57. The requirement, contained in the element, that no inference could be drawn from the recommendation of interim measures for the Committee's decision on the merits was emphasized. Element 11 58. With regard to the formulation that the State party would be "informed confidentially", several delegations emphasized that, in the light of the purpose of the procedure as individual procedure, the identity of the author would need to be revealed to the State party to enable it to investigate the allegations, remedy the situation and provide full information to the Committee to determine admissibility, including the exhaustion of domestic remedies. It was also stated that the State party would be able to implement any recommendations of the Committee only if it knew the identity of the complainant. It was further stated that only in exceptional cases, when there appeared to be danger for the author, could this requirement be waived or other cautionary measures taken, such as interim measures. In that sense, confidentiality in the element would seem to refer to confidentiality vis-a`- vis third parties. 59. While some delegations, pointing to a similar provision in the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, emphasized the need to obtain the person's consent before revealing her identity to the State party, they agreed that in most cases, the State party would need to know the author's identity to assume its responsibilities. The representative of the Centre for Human Rights stated that experience with the above Convention showed that of seven cases, in only one had the identity of the author not been revealed to the State party on an exceptional basis. 60. While some delegations proposed that it should be left to the Committee to determine, in its rules of procedure, a reasonable time period for the State party to provide replies, other delegations supported the inclusion of a specified period of time. Reference was made to the first Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (six months) and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (three months). Several delegations expressed a preference for a six-month time-limit. 61. Several delegations welcomed the proposals for mediation contained in element 11. It was, however, stressed that the terms of any settlement would need to be in accordance and compatible with the State party's obligation under the Convention; be acceptable to both parties; and be arrived at without pressure on the author to settle. Those concerns would need to be addressed in relevant provisions of the optional protocol or in the rules of procedure. 62. With regard to the confidential nature of the report on a settlement, some delegations emphasized the importance of a transparent procedure, which would encourage other States parties to take relevant action, and which would build up the Committee's case law. While the name of the author could be withheld, the results of the settlement should be made public in the report of the Committee, if the author and the State party so wished. 63. It was proposed to divide element 11 into two separate elements, whereby the second element would consist of the last sentence. 64. Some delegations pointed out that a State party needed to be informed of the full substance of a communication, and not simply of "the nature of the communication", as suggested in element 11. Thus, it was proposed to state that "the communication as such" be transmitted to the State party. In fact, both parties, that is the State party and the complainant, needed to have the full documentation of a case. 65. Some delegations proposed that the State party be represented in meetings of the Committee when matters affecting it were under consideration. It was suggested that any means which facilitated the full and active participation of the State party would be acceptable. Such a concept could be contained either in the optional protocol, or in the rules of procedure. Other delegations found that it would be inappropriate for the parties to be present at the consideration of a communication. If there were an exception, then it could be only at the specific request of the Committee. The representative of the Centre for Human Rights informed the Working Group that it was not the practice of the Human Rights Committee to have representatives of the State party present during the consideration of a communication. Element 12 66. With regard to a provision that the Committee would examine a communication in the light of information received, inter alia, "from other relevant sources", most delegations emphasized that only information submitted by the author and the State party should be considered. With reference to element 7, it was stated that, as only victims should have the right to submit communications, it would be only the victim and the State party that could provide information on a case. 67. Other delegations pointed out that other relevant sources of information could shed further light on cases where women were disempowered or unable to provide information. Any such information, which could be derived from sources such as reports or deliberations of other United Nations mechanisms, would need to be made available to the parties concerned. Regarding other sources of information it was noted that, as communications would be confidential vis-a`-vis third parties during consideration, only general background information could be made available to the Committee. Such information might be more usefully provided in the framework of the reporting procedure under article 18 of the Convention. 68. Many delegations agreed that a visit to the territory in the examination of a communication would be inappropriate. It was pointed out that such a provision would belong to elements 17-23. Some suggested that, on an exceptional and case-by-case basis, this could be envisaged. There was, however, no need to include such a provision in the optional protocol. That aspect was important, as demonstrated by the successful use of the method under the European system. It was also available in the inter-American system. It was emphasized that such a visit would only take place with the agreement of the State party. The question of the resource implication of such a provision was also raised. 69. With regard to the examination of the communication by the Committee, and in relation to suggestions made by some delegations under element 11 that the State party be present, several delegations emphasized that, in both cases the procedure should be of a written nature and without the presence of the State party. Some delegations stated that, while in principle this should be a written procedure, the Committee should have the power to conduct oral hearings with both parties. The possibility of oral testimony should also not be excluded. 70. It was stated that the use of the term "adopt" in this element was inappropriate. Element 13 71. Some delegations welcomed the addition of the element, especially with regard to reparations. Its inclusion would provide an opportunity, as was the case with certain other elements, for the progressive development and strengthening of international human rights law. Some delegations noted the consistency of the element with the practice of human rights treaty bodies. The well-established practice of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women to adopt recommendations at the conclusion of the consideration of States parties' reports was noted. Reference was also made to General Assembly resolution 41/120, establishing the principle that new international human rights instruments must be consistent with the existing body of international human rights law and may not fall behind existing standards. Some delegations emphasized the importance of the Committee's ability to make recommendations on steps necessary to implement the Convention. 72. Some delegations noted that there was no precedent for a provision on the recommendation of remedial measures in cases of non-compliance with treaty provisions in other human rights instruments. At the same time, delegations agreed that the Committee was not a judicial body, and thus its views were of a recommendatory, albeit authoritative, character. It was emphasized that the States parties to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women already had the legal responsibility to remedy any violations of the Convention. Some delegations stated that it should be left to the States parties to determine the appropriateness of the remedial measures. Others doubted that the Committee should have the power to order a State party to take specific remedial measures. 73. Some delegations noted that the intention of the element would be that the State party take the necessary steps to give effect to its obligations under the Convention, that is, that action be taken by the State party at the national level. Several delegations suggested that the element should be drafted in a way to suggest dialogue, rather than judgement. 74. Several delegations identified a lack of clarity in the use of the term "adequate reparation", including clarity as to who would make the determination. Some proposed the deletion of this term. Information on the understanding of the term "reparation" was provided based on a study conducted by an expert of the Subcommission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities of the Commission on Human Rights. 75. The following formulation was proposed: "... appropriate remedy,including, if need be, adequate reparation". Reference was also made to paragraph 124 (d) of the Platform for Action for possible language on rehabilitation. 76. Some delegations suggested that the period of time within which a State party would inform the Committee about measures taken should be made specific. A few months was suggested as appropriate. 77. Some delegations pointed out that the question of the justiciability of all provisions of the Convention would have a bearing on the formulation of this provision. Element 14 78. Several delegations expressed their support for the inclusion of an element on follow-up, and for the intent and formulation of the element. That would be in accordance with the practice of the Human Rights Committee and the European system. 79. In order to clarify that the element covered the implementation phase of the Committee's views in a case, several delegations proposed the following formulation: "... concerning implementation of such measures ...". 80. In welcoming the element, it was suggested that element 13 be cast along similar lines. The need for ongoing dialogue between the Committee and the State party, and the inclusion of relevant information in the framework of reporting, were welcomed by several delegations. Element 15 81. The Chairperson of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women informed the Working Group of an error contained in element 15 to the effect that it should not refer to a "confidential" report. The element should thus read: The Committee would, in its report, summarize the nature of communications received, its examination of them, the replies and statements of the States parties concerned and its views and recommendations. 82. On the basis of this clarification, several delegations supported the element. They emphasized the need to publicize the availability of the procedure and the work of the Committee, and to disseminate widely the views of the Committee in order to develop jurisprudence on women's human rights. The inclusion of information about the work under the optional protocol in the Committee's annual report would also be in line with the practice of other treaty bodies, which included in their annual reports a summary of cases after their conclusion and the Committee's findings. 83. Some delegations proposed that, instead of a summary of the nature of the communication, the element should use the formulation of article 14.8 of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination: "The Committee shall include in its annual report a summary of such communications and ...". Element 16 84. Several delegations supported the establishment of a working group of the Committee. This would be in line with the practice of the Human Rights Committee, and would be an effective and efficient method for preparing the work of the Committee as a whole. At the same time, several delegations pointed out that the term "its responsibilities", used in the element, was inappropriate as the Committee would not delegate any authority to the working group. A working group could simply have responsibility for preparing or expediting the handling of communications for the Committee as a whole. They emphasized that only the Committee as a whole could have the power to adopt decisions, including decisions on the admissibility of communications. Thus, the following formulation was proposed: "responsibilities for the preparation of consideration of cases ...". 85. Some delegations, noting that the element covered simply a method of work of the Committee, proposed that the provision should be dealt with in the Committee's rules of procedure, instead of in the optional protocol. 86. Some delegations noted the need for further clarification of the nature, function, role and power of a working group of the Committee. The different types and functions of working groups established under human rights treaty bodies, and under Charter-based procedures, were identified. General comments on an inquiry procedure 87. Some delegations supported the inclusion of an inquiry procedure in an optional protocol as a means of dealing with serious and systematic violations of women's human rights. The existence of a similar procedure under the Convention against Torture, article 20, and at regional levels, was noted. The Working Group was informed, however, that this procedure under the Convention against Torture had only been used once. Other delegations expressed doubts about the need to have the inquiry procedure proposed in suggestion 7 included in the optional protocol. Some delegations suggested that alternatives for achieving the intention behind an inquiry procedure should be explored fully. Some delegations noted that any new instrument should enjoy the broad acceptance of States parties. 88. Several delegations suggested that possibilities within the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women itself, which would apply to all States parties, should be pursued, such as developing an inquiry procedure under the Committee's existing mandate and rules of procedure. The establishment of an early warning mechanism under the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination was cited as an example. Introduction of time-bound follow-up to the Committee's concluding comments on States parties reports under article 18 was suggested. Other delegations recommended further study of the possibilities for addressing serious and systematic violations in the framework of reporting under article 18, including follow-up to the Committee's concluding comments, and the request for in accordance with article 18.1 (b). 89. Some delegations proposed that element 7 be drafted to enable the Committee to deal with situations of serious and systematic violations under a communications procedure. Universal accession to existing instruments should be promoted. Other delegations emphasized the need to strengthen existing procedures, including the communications procedure of the Commission on the Status of Women and the 1503 procedure. 90. Some delegations raised the question of possible overlapping between an inquiry procedure and existing mechanisms, especially with the communications procedure of the Commission and the 1503 procedure. Others noted the differences in, and complementarity of, these procedures in regard to the proposed inquiry procedure. They expressed concern about the length of the process under the 1503 procedure, particularly for violations which needed immediate action. The intergovernmental character of the Commission's communications procedure and of the 1503 procedure on the one hand, and of the expert character of the proposed inquiry procedure on the other, were noted. Other delegations emphasized the need to mainstream women's human rights, because the human rights of women were not the main focus of other human rights bodies. Some noted that Charter-based procedures and other treaty-based procedures were based on different instruments, not on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. Element 17 91. Regarding the formulation of element 17, several delegations noted that the threshold for admissibility would need to be both serious and systematic violations, that is, there would be a high threshold to initiate an inquiry. Some noted that an inquiry procedure would enable the Committee to deal with patterns of widespread violations of women's human rights and allow it to address a broader range of issues, including structural causes of violations, than would be the case under the individual procedure. Reliable information would be required to start the procedure. A few delegations expressed concern at the optional nature of many aspects of the proposed inquiry procedure, underlining the need for more active investigation into serious and systematic violations. 92. Some delegations stated that some provisions of the Convention might lend themselves more to an inquiry procedure than to an individual complaints procedure. A more comprehensive discussion of the merits of the inquiry procedure would thus depend on the development of the communications procedure. Some delegations noted that the "serious and systematic" criteria would need to apply both to alleged violations and to alleged failures to comply. Other delegations found the "failure" category to be redundant. The scope of element 17 would be considered too broad if it were to be applied to all of the rights covered by the Convention. Element 18 93. The question was raised as to what mechanisms would be available in case of non-cooperation of a State party. Element 19 94. The need for including a time-limit was raised. Element 20 95. Some delegations noted that only the State party concerned would participate in the inquiry, not "States parties". As to the intention of confidentiality in this element, it was suggested that, contrary to the individual communications procedure, those who submitted information leading to an inquiry procedure would not be involved in its conduct, but that this would be limited to the Committee and the State party. Element 21 96. Some delegations noted a lack of clarity in the meaning of the term "satisfactory outcome". Some delegations raised the question as to the Committee's attitude in case a State party would not provide the requested information. Element 22 97. Some delegations raised the question whether the Committee, at the completion of the process, would be empowered to publish its report even without the agreement of the State party in the Committee's annual report. The practice of the Convention against Torture was noted, which consulted the State party, but was not required to obtain agreement from the State party. Element 23 98. The requirement that a State party undertake to assist the Committee was considered redundant as such cooperation was expected to result from ratification. Element 24 99. Several delegations emphasized the need to publicize widely the optional protocol, and the following additions, or alternative formulations, were proposed: "... making the provision of the optional protocol widely known in their countries", or "the communication and inquiry procedure should be made public as widely as possible". While the role and participation of United Nations bodies and agencies in such efforts were stressed, some delegations were of the opinion that this should be addressed in a resolution rather than in the optional protocol itself. Element 26 100. With reference to a recent amendment to the Convention regarding the Committee's meeting time, it was suggested that that matter should be left to the Committee to decide in its rules of procedure. Other delegations inquired whether there might be a need for additional annual sessions and sought clarification on the amount of time that might be necessary for the Committee to discharge its duties under an optional protocol. Regarding possible sources of funding for the Committee's work under an optional protocol, the question was raised whether it would be funded from the regular budget of the United Nations, or by the States parties to the Convention, or by the State parties to the optional protocol. It was noted that all human rights treaty bodies were funded from the regular budget of the United Nations. 101. Several delegations noted a lack of clarity regarding the scope of the "expert legal advice", referred to in the element. Questions were also raised regarding the composition of the Committee, in particular concerning the need for greater legal expertise to be included in its membership. It was noted that, upon the adoption of the optional protocol, States parties would need to review such expertise when electing members of the Committee. While the Secretariat would be expected to support the work of the Committee, the expertise would also be needed in the Committee itself. Element 27 102. Several delegations suggested that it might be necessary to specify the number of ratifications that would be required for the optional protocol to enter into force. While it was proposed that it could enter into force after five instruments of ratification had been deposited, other delegations suggested that the intention should be to have as many States parties as possible ratify the optional protocol upon adoption. Other delegations also considered that it was necessary to encourage as many ratifications as possible and suggested that a higher threshold for entry into force might facilitate this. Element 28 103. While some delegations proposed that ratifying States parties should be required to accept both procedures covered in an optional protocol, others suggested that, similar to article 28 of the Convention against Torture, States parties should have the opportunity to "opt out" of one of the two procedures. It was suggested that any "opt out" provisions applied only to the inquiry, and not to the communications procedure. It was recommended that, even if the possibility existed, ratification of the optional protocol ought to be without reservations as it dealt with procedural matters; others stated that reservations might be needed to achieve a large number of ratifications, but that reservations incompatible with the object and purpose of the optional protocol should not be allowed, in accordance with established principles of international law. It was noted that the first Optional Protocol did not contain a no-reservations clause. Delegations also referred to the discussion on reservations held under element 5. C. Discussion on justiciability 104. In addition to its consideration during the general exchange of views and of the elements contained in suggestion 7, the Working Group held a further discussion on the question of justiciability. Statements were heard by two members of the Human Rights Committee on this matter, followed by an exchange of views with the Working Group. 105. Some delegations argued that all the provisions of the Convention should be covered by an optional protocol, and that the question of justiciability should not be an obstacle to its preparation. While noting different degrees of specificity, in the Convention, of rights and of States parties' obligations to grant rights, undertake activities and take appropriate measures, they pointed to the legal character of the treaty, which needed to be executed in good faith by States parties. They argued that it should be left to the treaty body to determine in each case, and in a reasonable way, whether a provision was justiciable or not, and whether a State party had fulfilled its treaty obligations. Those delegations considered that the objective of the Convention, namely equality of women and men in the enjoyment of rights and the elimination of discrimination, and the purpose of an optional protocol, namely to make the Convention more effective, would make it possible for the supervisory body, on the basis of concrete cases, to determine State party compliance. While noting a State party's margin of discretion in implementing its obligations and determining measures to be taken, it was also pointed out that a State party's actions in implementing its treaty obligations were subject to meaningful scrutiny by a treaty body. The important role of the optional protocol as a means of recourse for women, and to strengthen enforcement of women's rights, was stressed. 106. Some delegations noted that the classical distinction into civil and political rights as justiciable, and economic, social and cultural rights as non-justiciable could, in the light of practice, case law and academic writings, no longer be maintained. Elements from both could be found in either category. Empowering the Committee to determine justiciability on a case-by-case basis would also enable the further development of case law on the question of justiciability of human rights provisions. It might also stimulate States parties to create effective national remedies and recourse mechanisms for women. 107. While recognizing the potential for difficulties in determining justiciability of some provisions under an individual communications procedure, a number of delegations cautioned against a categorization of treaty provisions into justiciable and non-justiciable. They noted that that would seriously impair the integrity and unity of the Convention and establish a hierarchy of more and less important rights. The right to equality and non-discrimination had in itself been accepted as justiciable by existing human rights mechanisms, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Optional Protocol and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. Regional mechanisms, such as the European Convention, the Inter-American Convention and the African Charter, contained different types of rights, offered individual communications and/or inquiry procedures, but did not distinguish between justiciable and non-justiciable rights. 108. Other delegations expressed their doubts about the inclusion of all the provisions of the Convention under an individual communications procedure. While they agreed that certain rights were quite specific and would thus lend themselves to such complaints, others were of a general nature where the basis for individual recourse would be difficult to determine given the State party's margin of appreciation with regard to measures to be taken. Articles 3, 5 and aspects of 10 were mentioned as examples where difficulties in implementing an individual right to petition would potentially arise. The comparison with the national level, where civil and political rights were justiciable, was made. 109. In that regard, some delegations were of the view that any decision on justiciability should not be left to the Committee on a case-by-case basis, but should be settled among member States. Differences between various legal systems in determining exhaustion of domestic remedies and of standing would also need to be addressed. The question of determining the exhaustion of domestic remedies with regard to programmatic provisions of the Convention was raised, including the assessment of exhaustion of non-judicial remedies. The impact on third parties, that is, on private individuals, of provisions of the Convention would also need to be addressed. 110. Rather than categorizing the provisions as justiciable and non-justiciable, it was suggested that the purpose of the optional protocol needed to be further reviewed and its applicability determined. An admissibility criterion could be the reliable evidence of a consistent pattern of gross violations of the rights guaranteed in the Convention, along the lines of the 1503 procedure. It was also suggested that a solution could be sought through the determination of the Committee's mandate, power, and the type of recommendations it could pronounce at the end of a communication procedure. In that regard, it was proposed that those would be of a recommendatory, non-binding nature, allowing the State party ultimately to reach a conclusion different from the Committee's. While under the more specific provisions, the Committee's views could be very specific, in others, the process would be more in the form of a dialogue between the Committee and the State party. 111. Some delegations, noting the quasi-judicial nature of an optional protocol, pointed out the need for Committee members to have legal expertise. Other delegations, taking into account the composition of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, stressed the usefulness of having Committee members who were not lawyers, so that the combination of legal and non-legal expertise could result in just and fair decisions. General points 112. The addition of an element to cover the Committee's rules of procedure under the optional protocol was proposed. 113. It was noted that a number of elements proposed for inclusion in the optional protocol reflected the current practice of human rights bodies. Doubts were expressed about whether they needed to be included in an optional protocol, or should be left to the Committee to elaborate upon in its rules of procedure. The development of a rigid instrument should be avoided. Appendix SUMMARY OF PRESENTATIONS BY, AND EXCHANGE OF VIEWS WITH, EXPERTS OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE ACTING IN THEIR INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY 1. Mr. Rajsoomer Lallah noted that, while the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights did not cover all the provisions contained in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, articles 2 and 3 of the Covenant dealt with equality and non-discrimination in the enjoyment of the rights recognized in the Covenant, and article 26 dealt with equality before the law and equal protection of the law. There were currently 87 States parties to the first Optional Protocol. 2. Mr. Lallah reviewed the two stages of the consideration of a communication, namely the determination of admissibility and the procedure on the merits of a case. In referring to specific provisions contained in the first Optional Protocol, he pointed to their progressive development through the Committee's practice, including matters such as the exhaustion of domestic remedies, the question of standing, interim measures and the follow-up to decisions taken on the merits of a case. He discussed the written nature of the procedure and admissible sources of information, the lack of any investigative power of the Committee, and the treaty obligation of States parties to remedy violations, notwithstanding the absence of mandatory power in the Committee's views. He reviewed selected cases that the Human Rights Committee had dealt with under article 26, noting that the Committee had found that article 26 established a basic right to equality before the law, which was not restricted to the rights under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. While conflicts in adjudication between different procedures could be avoided through the establishment of admissibility criteria, some overlapping might, however, not be wholly undesirable. 3. Ms. Cecilia Medina Quiroga and Mr. Fausto Pocar, speaking on the question of justiciability, noted that the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women could, under an optional protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, build on the jurisprudence already developed by the Human Rights Committee. They agreed that, as the Convention itself was based on the principles of non- discrimination and equality, all its other provisions could be linked back to these principles. As the non-discrimination provision was recognized as justiciable and subject to meaningful scrutiny by treaty bodies, they considered all the provisions of the Convention to be justiciable. They agreed that some of the Convention's provisions, including the requirement that States parties take appropriate measures, might lead to certain difficulties in assessing compliance. They stressed that a decision on the justiciability of a provision should be left to the Committee, taking into consideration a State party's obligations to implement its treaty obligations in good faith, and in a reasonable way. Both experts strongly cautioned against any a priori classification of rights into justiciable and non- justiciable. 4. Furthermore, it was pointed out that no clear line could be drawn between justiciable and non-justiciable provisions. As shown by the examples of a number of articles in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, justiciability of a treaty provision was also a question of degree. A number of the Covenant's provisions required a State party not only to respect a right, but to take measures to ensure its enjoyment. The sufficiency of such measures was assessed by the treaty body against the standards set out in the treaty. 5. The availability of domestic remedies, including non-judicial remedies, was seen as essential and their sufficiency would be subject to review by a treaty body. This was especially so with regard to the right to non- discrimination. It was stressed that the Convention granted rights to women, even if its provisions were formulated as States parties' obligations. The views expressed by the Human Rights Committee had the force of recommendations. Noting the question of overlapping between procedures, the experts pointed to the unique emphasis that the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women was placing on women within the human rights system. With regard to reservations, an expert noted that in principle, these were permissible under the first Optional Protocol. The introduction of reservations to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights through the Protocol was, however, not permissible. Furthermore, while the Human Rights Committee was prevented from considering reserved articles under the Protocol, that Committee had the competence to determine whether a reservation was compatible with the Covenant and, consequently, the admissibility of a communication.
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