20 August 2002


Press Release

Committee on Elimination of                                        WOM/1363

 Discrimination against Women                                     23 August 2002

588th Meeting (PM)



Recommendations Made on Situations in Armenia, Czech Republic,

Guatemala, Argentina, Barbados, Yemen, Mexico, Norway, Peru, Greece, Hungary

At the conclusion of its three-week exceptional session, having considered reports of 11 States parties to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Convention’s monitoring body made recommendations for the advancement of women in Armenia, Czech Republic, Guatemala, Argentina, Barbados, Yemen, Mexico, Norway, Peru, Greece and Hungary  (report to be issued at a later date).

Opinions and considerations of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) -- the only international treaty body that deals exclusively with women's rights -- are to be included in its final report for the exceptional session (from 5 to 23 August), which was adopted today.  [For background information on the exceptional session and the Committee, see press release WOM/1350 of 1 August.]

In her concluding remarks, Caroline Hannan, Director of the Division for the Advancement of Women, congratulated the Committee on its outstanding achievements during the current session.  There was no longer a backlog of reports of States parties awaiting review.  She was convinced that the General Assembly would commend the Committee and see the progress it had made as ample justification of its decision to authorize an exceptional session. 

The session had provided the Committee with an opportunity to make significant improvements in its conduct of constructive dialogue with States parties, she said.  States parties generally welcomed the Committee’s innovations concerning working methods, such as the decisions made at an informal seminar held in Lund at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute in April 2002.  The Committee would undoubtedly build on innovations with a view to ensuring that report consideration provided the best possible framework for accelerating the Convention’s domestic implementation.

Among the important events during the session was a seminar on article 4.1 of the Convention on special temporary measures to accelerate the achievement of equality between women and men, she added.  That seminar had revealed the complexity of article 4.1, the subject of one of the future general

Women’s Anti-Discrimination Committee      - 2 -            Press Release WOM/1363

588th Meeting (PM)                                                23 August 2002

recommendations of the Committee.  The period until the twenty-eighth session of the Committee would be a busy time for the Division for the Advancement of Women.  In addition to several meetings and work related to the Assembly’s consideration of issues such as trafficking and violence against women, the Division was also convening two CEDAW-related activities at the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) in Bangkok. 

The exceptional session had been exceptional in many ways, she said.  The Committee’s Chairperson, Charlotte Abaka of Ghana, and former Chairperson Ivanka Corti of Italy were leaving the Committee after many years.  Both had been powerful forces in raising the Committee’s influence in the United Nations and around the world.  She also thanked experts Emna Aouij of Tunisia and Mavivi Myakayaka-Manzini of South Africa who were also leaving.  She expressed her appreciation to the Chief of the Women’s Rights Section, Jane Connors, who would be taking up the position of Senior Human Rights Officer in the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva.  All efforts would be made to ensure that the transition period was smooth.  She also conveyed the congratulations of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and the Advancement of Women, Angela E.V. King, who had been following the meeting electronically.

At the end of her two-year term, Committee Chairperson Charlotte Abaka summarized the Committee’s work during that time.  She noted that the Committee was emphasizing human rights education and was also targeting other professionals such as health care providers, “educationists”, those in the judiciary and legal practitioners.  The adoption of recommendations at the Inter-Committee meeting and at the meeting in Lund would enhance the Committee’s work, help implement the Convention and facilitate recommendations for the concluding comments.

Elaboration of general recommendations was an important aspect of the Committee’s work, she continued.  The Committee could consider collaborating with relevant United Nations agencies to publish the articles on women’s health that were a part of the general recommendations on violence against women.  It could take the form of a booklet similar to the “Equality Passport” published by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).  It could be part of the Committee’s preparations for the Assembly’s commemoration of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the adoption of the Convention to be held in 2004.

Many of the experts then took the floor to express their personal appreciation for their contributions of the outgoing Committee and Secretariat members.

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For information media. Not an official record.