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UN Women's rights experts issue findings on 8 nations

GENEVA (11 November 2019) – The UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women has published its findings on the countries it examined during its session from 21 October to 8 November 2019: Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Lithuania and Seychelles.

The findings, officially known as concluding observations, cover how the respective States parties are doing with regard to women’s rights, detailing positive developments, main areas of concern, and recommendations for action. The findings are now available online on the session webpage. Some of the key findings are:

Andorra: The Committee welcomed progress achieved by legislative reforms, but remained concerned by the interpretation of the constitutional right to life as a limitation on women’s sexual and reproductive health rights; that women and girls are compelled to travel outside the State to obtain an abortion where it is legally available on wider grounds; and by the lack of commitment by the State to combat gender stereotypes that affect educational and career choices of women and girls.

Bosnia and Herzegovina: The Committee commended the adoption of a policy framework on gender equality, including in areas of trafficking and gender-based violence. It remained, however, concerned about disparities in legislation and policies regarding protection from domestic violence, maternity benefits, health and rural development, and the persistence of discriminatory gender stereotypes which impede the enjoyment by women of their rights in all areas under the Convention.

Cambodia: The Committee commended the adoption of various action plans and policies to promote gender equality and combat violence against women. It remained, however, concerned that the primary means of resolving domestic violence cases is informal reconciliation by community members; that discriminatory stereotypes normalizing male superiority remain deeply rooted in Cambodian culture; and that over 60 women who have acted as surrogates have been arrested and subjected to criminal proceedings since the criminalization of surrogacy in 2016.

Iraq: The Committee commended Iraq on the adoption of the National Strategy on Violence against Women and Girls (2018-2030) and efforts to adopt the Draft Survivors of ISIL Crimes Law, which recognizes and responds to the suffering of Yazidi women held previously in captivity by ISIL. The Committee was concerned, however, that the Law on Protection against Domestic Violence has not yet been adopted due to objections raised by the Religious Endowment Parliamentary Committee; that internal and cross-border trafficking in women and children have increased due to the dissolution of the Iraqi army and other institutions; and by allegations that forced and temporary marriages have been used to traffic women within Iraq and to countries such as Syria, Jordan and Kuwait for sexual exploitation.

Kazakhstan: The Committee commended Kazakhstan for the introduction of the Gender Responsive Budgeting Integration Plan (2020-2025), reduction of maternal mortality, and efforts to increase women’s and girls’ access to education. It remained, however, concerned by the lack of comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation; persistence of gender-based stereotypes that undermine women’s rights; lack of effective measures to address gender-based violence against women; and prevalence of polygamy, child and forced marriage and bride kidnapping.

Lithuania: The Committee welcomed the “A” status accreditation of Lithuania’s Seimas Ombudsmen’s Office*, but was concerned by its insufficient funding and limited mandate to consider complaints brought by women. The Committee called on Lithuania to ratify the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention); to strengthen measures to address trafficking of women and girls; to enforce the principle of equal pay for work of equal value; and to adopt temporary special measures to promote substantive equality of women and men in all areas where women are underrepresented or disadvantaged.

Seychelles: The Committee was pleased to learn of the adoption of the National Gender Plan of Action 2019-2023, which addresses gender equality in all areas, as well as of important research conducted on gender-based violence. It remained, however, concerned by the high incidence of gender-based violence and absence of temporary special measures for accelerating the achievement of substantive equality of women and men.

The Committee will present its findings during a press conference today in Press Room 1 of Palais des Nations at 13:30.

The Committee will next meet from 10 to 28 February 2020 to review women’s rights in Afghanistan, Bulgaria, Eritrea, Kirbati, Latvia, Pakistan, Republic of Moldova, and Zimbabwe. More information is available on the webpage for the 75th session.

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