17 January 2000


17 January 2000

Press ReleaseWOM/1154



Hears Statement by Special Adviser on Gender Issues

Twenty-four States had indicated by signature that they were considering ratifying or acceding to the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women, Angela King, Assistant Secretary- General and Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women, said this morning.

Addressing the opening meeting of the twenty-second session of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, she said that since the last session, Niger and Tuvalu had become party to the Convention, bringing the number of States Parties to 165. The Secretary-General had written to all States, which had not yet ratified it, requesting them to consider doing so before the end of 2000.

She added the activities of her office were geared toward encouraging States to become party to the Convention. The Division for the Advancement of Women had held a judicial colloquium in Vienna on the application of international human rights law to domestic law. Almost 100 judges and magistrates from all regions and various legal cultures and traditions had attended.

Turning to the General Assembly special session on Beijing+5, to be held in June this year, she noted that preparatory meetings had been convened by the United Nations regional commissions. Those meetings had emphasized the importance of fully realizing the human rights of women and girls, the centrality of the Convention and the importance of universal ratification and withdrawal of reservations. During this week, the Economic Commission for Europe would meet to assess implementation of the Platform for Action. The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) would meet for the same purpose early in February.

She noted that the Director of the Division responsible for preparations of the special session was expected to brief Committee members on the event during the current session, as well as on the upcoming Commission on the Status of Women.

Women’s Anti-Discrimination Committee - 2 - Press Release WOM/1154 445th Meeting (AM) 17 January 2000

Also this morning, the Committee adopted the agenda for the current session and heard its Chairperson’s report on her activities between June 1999 and January 2000.

Aida Gonzalez Martinez of Mexico, Committee Chairperson, said that the declaration approved in the latest June meeting, as well as the text of the general recommendation on women and health, had been submitted to the June 1999 special session of the General Assembly that reviewed the Programme of Action adopted by the International Conference on Population and Development (Cairo, 1994).

She described her attendance at a workshop held in September, which was a first attempt to examine the possible indicators of civil and political rights, and her participation in the debate (of the third Committee (Social, Humanitarian, Cultural) on the status of women during the General Assembly’s fifty-fourth session.

She said she had underscored progress in the Committee’s work, including the Assembly’s adoption on 6 October 1999 of the Convention’s Optional Protocol; the special session to celebrate the Convention’s twentieth anniversary and other commemorative special meetings; and the modification of the Committee’s working procedures and improvement of the contents and orientation of the dialogue between the Committee and the States parties. The Committee had also been represented at a workshop on the convergence and divergence between the Convention and sharia -– the Islamic code of religious law.

Jane Connors, Chief of the Women’s Rights Unit in the Division for the Advancement of Women, introduced two agenda items, the first relating to articles 21, 22 and 24 of the Convention. The other concerned the means to expedite the Committee’s work.

The Committee will meet again at 3 p.m. Tuesday, 18 January.

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For information media. Not an official record.