December 3-5, 2010:Workshop- Claiming Women's Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Penang Malaysia

ESCR-Net and IWRAW Asia Pacific are organizing a pilot-testing and capacity-building workshop in Penang, Malaysia, December 3-6, 2010.  This workshop is meant to:create a space to bring together leading practioners on women's ESCR and those interested in the potential of using ICESCR/OP-ICESCR and CEDAW/OP-CEDAW to discuss opportunities and obstacles in using these mechanisms; build a basic level of knowledge of these mechanisms and the most important issues potential users should be aware of; and get feedback on the draft manual currently in creation.

A manual on claiming women's economic, social and cultural rights under CEDAW/OP-CEDAW and ICESCR/OP-ICESCR is being developed by IWRAW Asia Pacific and ESCR-Net in response to clear need for additional resources on how to frame and claim women's economic and social rights at the international level.  Although a good deal of advocacy, and to a lesser extent litigation, is currently taking place around issues of women's political participation, violence and discrimination, much less is happening in relation to women's economic, social, and cultural rights. Within the ESCR field, although there is notably strong advocacy and litigation happening around women's sexual and reproductive health, to date there has been little attention paid to addressing the substantive equality implications of the right to food, water, housing/land, social security, work, and education.  

In addition, the Optional Protocol to CEDAW has so far been under-utilized as mechanism for seeking a remedy for women's economic and social right violations. Therefore, ESCR-Net and IWRAW Asia Pacific want to support groups in considering how they might effectively bring claims under this instrument and eventually under OP-ICESCR once it comes into force.  We also hope the manual will be useful to groups working in States which are not a party to either instrument. As the legal framework is universal, if we design and develop the manual correctly, support on framing and claiming women's ESCR should malleable to various legal contexts.  Therefore, it is our hope that this workshop helps us strengthen this manual as tool for advocacy and litigation based on input and comments from participants and also helps strengthen participant's capacity to bring claims under these instruments or potentially at the domestic level if the State is not a party and creates a space in which informal relationships might develop.

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