Commission on the Status of Women
E/1997/27 CSW - Report of the forty-first session
COMMUNICATIONS CONCERNING THE STATUS OF WOMEN
1. The Commission considered item 4 of its agenda at its 1st meeting, on
10 March, and at its 13th meeting (closed meeting), on 20 March 1997.
2. At the 1st meeting, on 10 March, pursuant to Economic and Social
Council resolution 1983/27, the Commission established a working group to
consider communications concerning the status of women. The following five
members, nominated by their regional groups, were appointed: Lily Boeykens
(Belgium); Ana Pen~a (Peru); Seyed Hossein Rezvani (Islamic Republic of
Iran); Nonhlanhla Pamela Tsabedze (Swaziland); and Zuzana Vranova'
(Slovakia). The Working Group on Communications on the Status of Women
held four meetings.
ACTION TAKEN BY THE COMMISSION
Report of the Working Group on Communications on the Status of Women
3. At the 13th meeting (closed meeting), on 20 March, the Commission
considered the report of the Working Group on Communications on the Status
of Women (E/CN.6/1997/CRP.3).
4. At the same meeting, the Commission adopted the report of the Working
Group, as amended during the discussion, and agreed to include it in the
report of the Commission. The report of the Working Group is as follows:
"1. The Working Group on Communications on the Statusconcern at
recurring situations of armed conflict, which sometimes amounted to
genocide, leading to physical and psychological abuses of women and
the continuing use of rape as a weapon of war.
"6. The Working Group noted that specific forms of violence against
women continued to exist. They included abduction, forced
prostitution, forced marriage, trafficking in and sale of women, and
forced intervention in the reproductive life of women, as well as
female infanticide and the abandonment of female infants. It
expressed its concern at violence against pregnant women and at sexual
enslavement. It pointed out that the rights of migrant women workers
and of internally displaced and vulnerable groups, including
indigenous women, continued to be violated. The Working Group was
also concerned about the number of arbitrary killings and torture of
"7. The Working Group also noted the continuation of harmful
traditional practices directed at women which persist owing to,
inter alia, insufficient efforts of some States to confront those
"8. The Working Group expressed its concern at the continuation of
the brutal treatment of women by persons misusing their authority,
among others, and through the denial of fair trial, incommunicado and
arbitrary detention, prolonged detention without trial, rape and
sexual abuse by security forces and prison officials, cruel and
degrading treatment, unlawful arrest and denial of legal protection
through police negligence, as well as the continued practice of police
discrediting of female complainants.
"9. The Working Group also noted the continuing discrimination
against women in the context of employment, including sexual
harassment, forced labour, unequal enjoyment of training opportunities
and inequality of pay for work of equal value.
"10. The Working Group considered the non-confidential communications
and noted the continued absence of women in decision-making processes,
particularly in the context of war and conflict resolution. It
further noted that the exploitation of young girls and women and
harmful traditional practices against them did exist.
"11. The Working Group expressed appreciation to Governments for
having sent replies conducive to the clarification of the cases
concerned. It noted, however, that some Governments had not replied
and suggested that the Commission encourage all Governments concerned
to cooperate in order to make the communications mechanism more
"12. The Working Group reiterated that the content of the
communication must refer only to women and to women's issues, namely,
injustice, or discriminatory acts or practices against women, with
reference to the criterion used in selecting the communications to be
submitted to the Commission on the Status of Women.
"13. The Working Group on Communications on the Status of Women
recommends that, in order to provide continuity in the review of
communications, the Commission on the Status of Women should, to the
extent possible, nominate the same members to serve on the Working
Group for two years."
This document has been posted online by the United Nations
Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). Reproduction and dissemination of the
document - in electronic and/or printed format - is encouraged, provided acknowledgement
is made of the role of the United Nations in making it available.
Date last updated: 06 December 1999 by DESA/DAW
Copyright © 1999 United Nations