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Human Rights Comm To Celebrate World Human Rights

Human Rights Commission To Celebrate World Human Rights Day With Launch Of Cedaw Publications

The Human Rights Commission will celebrate World Human Rights Day this Friday, 10 December at 5pm with an event at Orakei marae, Kitemoana St., Auckland.

This year's event will launch a new range of publications in English and Maori promoting the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). One of the publications, a reproduction of the CEDAW text, has been produced jointly with Te Puni Kokiri, the Ministry of Maori Development.

CEDAW is an international treaty on women's rights adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1979 and ratified by New Zealand in 1985. Countries that have ratified CEDAW have committed themselves to deliver equality and human rights for women. CEDAW defines discrimination against women and obliges countries to take concrete steps to eliminate it.

To provide for better enforcement for women's human rights, an Optional Protocol to CEDAW is to be adopted by the UN General Assembly. The Optional Protocol opens for signature on 10 December 1999 and will come into force when it has been ratified by 10 countries.

The Optional Protocol will allow women to make complaints about violations of their rights to the CEDAW Committee, a UN Committee which monitors compliance with CEDAW. It will also allow the CEDAW Committee to conduct inquiries into situations of grave or systematic violations of women's human rights.

New Zealander Dame Silvia Cartwright is currently completing her second term as a member of the CEDAW Committee. She played a key role in drafting the Optional Protocol.

A summary of CEDAW is attached.


What does CEDAW say?

In ratifying CEDAW the Government promised that it would deliver equality and human rights for women in New Zealand.

Article 1 Discrimination against women means distinctions or restrictions which affects women's enjoyment of human rights on an equal basis with men.

Article 2 The Government will prohibit discrimination, ensure that women are in fact treated equally and abolish laws and customary practices that discriminate against women.

Article 3 The Government will ensure the full development and advancement of women.

Article 4 Neither special measures to advance women or measures to protect maternity are discriminatory.

Article 5 The Government will challenge ideas of inferiority or stereotyped roles for women and promote the equal responsibility of men in raising children.

Article 6 The Government will suppress traffic in women and the exploitation of prostitution of women.

Article 7 The Government will eliminate discrimination in the political and public life of the country.

Article 8 The Government will ensure women have equal rights to represent New Zealand internationally.

Article 9 Women's equal right to acquire or change their nationality shall not be affected by marriage.

Article 10 The Government will ensure women have equal rights with men in education.

Article 11 The Government will ensure women have equal rights with men in employment.

Article 12 The Government will ensure the equal right of women to health care services including family planning services.

Article 13 The Government will ensure the equal rights of women in economic and social life including the same rights as men to family benefits, bank loans and mortgages and participation in sport and other activities.

Article 14 The Government will ensure that the rights guaranteed under CEDAW are available to rural women.

Article 15 The Government will ensure the equal right of women to equality before the law.

Article 16 The Government shall ensure equality in marriage and family relations.


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