|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Press Conference by Chair of the Committee on the Elimination of
Discrimination against Women
At a time of progress for women’s right alongside the emergence of devastating new forms of violence against women, consolidating inter-agency efforts to make more of an impact on the ground was the next forward step, the Head of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) said at a press conference at Headquarters today.
“The time has come to get results,” said Nicole Ameline, summarizing an interactive dialogue with Member States during the morning session of the General Assembly’s Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural). (See Press Release GA/SHC/4069.)
Women faced immense difficulties resisting economic and political crises and remained the first victims of conflict, she said. To address those and other concerns, CEDAW must be more vigilant in implementing the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, as well as cementing the relationship between rights and development. The Convention, with 187 States parties, was nearly universal, but its implementation remained uneven globally.
The main challenge was consolidating the links between rights and development and reinforcing partnerships with the Commission on the Status of Women and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women). “CEDAW is not only a protector of women’s rights, it is a tool for development,” she said. “We are the bridge between rights and development.”
Among the innovative solutions presented to Member States during the Third Committee dialogue earlier in the day was a proposal for a web-based instrument to facilitate the Convention’s implementation on the ground, she said.
Answering questions about details of other solutions, Ms. Ameline said her first meeting with the new Executive Director of UN-Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, resulted in agreement over boosting efficiency in their respective offices by working more collaboratively. Part of those efforts would include working with States parties towards concrete results, for instance, ensuring that women’s rights were included in broader development policies, and that when new schools were built, consideration was given to issues of violence against girls.
She said CEDAW had condemned all forms of violence against women and had issued statements detailing its position on situations worldwide. When asked about specific cases, including the right to drive a car, Ms. Ameline said each country must be supported for modernizing its society.
When asked about whether there would be resolutions on the contentious area of reproductive health and rights, she said global efforts must be reinforced on those issues.
Asked whether CEDAW would release a similar study to the World Economic Forum’s report demonstrating that countries oppressing women’s education and economic rights could not advance development goals, she said education was a key to development not only for women. “We have to push Governments to improve access,” she said, adding that conflict zones often threatened an entire generation of girls who were kept from school.
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