WOMEN AND ESCR - July 2009

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Make The Link! ESC Rights are Women's Human Rights

2009 marks the 30th anniversary of the adoption of CEDAW by the UN General Assembly.  This anniversary therefore offers the opportunity for women's groups around the world to focus domestic and international attention on the progress (or lack thereof) made during the past 30 years in implementing and ensuring women's human rights, especially economic, social and cultural rights. The opportunity to highlight the connection between implementation of ESC rights and women's rights is also key during this evaluation period, as women's rights are often construed by States to mean civil and political rights, and limited to issues of violence or political participation. While meaningful implementation of the civil and political rights of women remains critical to women's equality; economic, social and cultural rights must be raised to a level of equity and indivisibility in the discourse surrounding women's human rights so that full equality can be realized. 

During the Women and ESCR discussions at the International Strategy Meeting on ESCR in Nairobi in December 2008, the participants collectively decided that ESCR-Net's work on women's human rights should focus on reclaiming economic, social and cultural rights as women's human rights. Discussions showed that too often, governments interpret their human right obligations related to women as limited to civil and political rights. In doing so, the group decided that strategically highlighting the 30th Anniversary of CEDAW as a frame to raise awareness of the woeful lack of implementation of women's ESC rights would be the initial focus of the group. Moreover, participants agreed that a unifying theme and logo to undertake this work was needed. Therefore, the ESCR-Net Women and ESCR group is pleased to unveil the logo and theme for the group for 2009-2010 above.

Get Involved!
To share information or strategies with other ESCR advocates, subscribe to the Women and ESCR Discussion Group. To find out more on how to get involved in the work of this group, email Rebecca Brown at rbrown@escr-net.org



Participation in the 53rd Commission on the Status of Women

ESCR-Net participated in the "30 Years of CEDAW" event on March 9th, 2009, as well as other side events at the 53rd Commission on the Status of Women at the UN Headquarters in New York to publicize the anniversary and highlight the importance of implementation of women's ESC rights to fight discrimination and violence against women.  This event was organized by ESCR-Net member IWRAW-Asia Pacific, and the Center for Women's Global Leadership.  To view the report from the event, please visit the Women and ESCR Discussion Group webpage or click here



General Recommendations on (1) Older Women and (2) the Economic Consequences of Divorce by the CEDAW Committee

The CEDAW Committee is considering adopting two General Recommendations on (1) older women and (2) the economic consequences of divorce, at the upcoming 44th session of CEDAW in New York, July 20 - August 7, 2009.  The CEDAW Committee will be holding NGO consultations on these two issues during the session. ESCR-Net will be attending these two NGO consultations and is willing to submit input on these two specific topics, on behalf of ESCR-Net members who are unable to attend.  Most useful would be input which specifically highlights the economic, social and cultural rights issues which disproportionately impact older women and divorced women, with examples from your country or region. ESCR-Net has been informed that information especially needed includes (1) concrete examples of practices which show discrimination against older women and (2) strong documentation of discriminatory policies or practices. 

The CEDAW Committee formulates General Recommendations, which are authoritative interpretations on specific articles or rights provided for in the CEDAW Convention. General Recommendations are one means by which the Committee addresses contemporary issues, which the CEDAW Convention does not explicitly mention. NGOs can provide input to the General Recommendations based on information they have at the national level. 

Get involved!
To find out more information or to submit recommendations on these two issues, please email Rebecca Brown at rbrown@escr-net.org.  For general information regarding the CEDAW Committee visit their webpage or contact www.iwraw-ao.org.

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