Aurat Publication & Information Service Foundation
Aurat Foundation held consultation to discuss the concerns and recommendations raised by CEDAW Committee on 4th Periodic report., Islamabad


Aurat Foundation held consultation to discuss the concerns and recommendations raised by CEDAW Committee on 4th Periodic report.

On Tuesday, June 11, 2013,  Aurat Foundation organized a consultation to share and discuss the concluding observations of United Nations Committee on the Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). The meeting was attended by civil society representatives, women parliamentarians and human rights activists.  CEDAW is an international human rights treaty adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1979. It is the only treaty which specifically focuses on women’s rights and issues. Countries ratified the Convention are bound to submit national reports within 1 year of ratification and thereafter every 4 years on measures taken to comply with treaty obligations.

Pakistan’s fourth periodic report was reviewed by the 23-member CEDAW committee in February 2013 and issues a set of concluding observations which the state party is bound to implement. Pakistan will submit its fifth periodic report in 2017.  As an exception, the committee has asked the government of Pakistan to submit written information till 2015 on the steps under taken to implement in paragraph 22 and 28 of concluding observations which relate to improving the literacy rateof women and girls, reduce and prevent dropouts among girls and implementation of legislation against women.

Rabeea Hadi from Aurat Foundation shared the concluding observations of CEDAW committee at the consultation where as Chief of Party Aurat Foundation NaeemMirza talked about his experience of representing civil society in the CEDAW Committee meeting. Eminent Human Rights activist Tahira Abdullah highlighted the challenges and constraints in the way of implementation of CEDAW and Naheed Aziz moderated discussion on Action Plan and the role of civil society in the application of CEDAW.

In her presentation, Rabeea Hadi pointed out that the committee has raised concern about the governance challenges embodied in the devolution of powers and different level of authorities and competence with in state party may result differential application of the law.

The committee has appreciated the assistance and work of the government of Pakistan in paragraph 4 regarding the revision and enactment of numerous laws and legal provisions for the elimination and discrimination against women and ratification of international conventions such as International Convention on the rights of Persons with Disabilities, Convention against Torture and International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

In its other recommendation regarding education, the committee has asked the government to prevent the occurrence of attacksand threats against educational institutions which undermine women and girls’ fundamental rights.

The committee-members have urged Pakistani government to prevent, investigate, and punish gender-based violence by non-state actors in conflict affected areas and have suggested the government to conduct an assessment of the impact of the conflict situation on women and girlsand strictly enact legislationregulating the trade, sale and possession of small arms.

It has asked the government to ensure the safety and protection of women human rights defendersand mobilize adequate resources to address the specific risks and security needs of women’s rights defenders.

The committee also asked the Pakistani government to adopt pending bills, such as the Domestic Violence Bill and the Prevention and Control of Women Trafficking Bill and ensure effective enforcement of existing legislation.

It has also demanded the government to institutionalize an inter-provincial coordination mechanismwith adequate human and technical resources and also ensure adequate financial resources to the Women Development Departments.

Regarding rural women, the observation highlight the need to review and amend the relevant legislation and policies to recognize women as farmers and abolish traditional practices and customs which prevent rural women from participating in development projects.