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CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women)

01/07/2003

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)
 

 

 

INTRODUCTION

The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) is sometimes called the Women's Convention, or an International Bill of Rights for Women. It is the most comprehensive and detailed international agreement that seeks the advancement of women and establishes rights for women in areas not previously subject to international standards.

The CEDAW affects every woman in Hong Kong within political, cultural, economic, social, and family life. This website aims to provide information to individuals and organizations interested in learning more about the CEDAW and its implementation in Hong Kong. We hope you will find this site useful and we welcome your comments and suggestions for improvement.

 

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

The CEDAW

The CEDAW was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 18 December 1979 and entered into force in September 1981. As of June 2002, 170 countries have ratified the CEDAW.

The CEDAW is an international treaty on women's rights. It provides a universal definition of discrimination against women and contains provisions to protect women's rights in almost every field of human endeavour: politics, law, employment, education, health care, commercial transactions and domestic relations. The CEDAW also establishes a Committee to review periodically the progress being made by States Parties.

The United Nations Committee on CEDAW

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women was established in December 1979 under the terms of the CEDAW. It is a treaty-monitoring body and reviews periodically the progress being made by States Parties. Under Article 18 of the CEDAW, States Parties are obliged to submit periodic reports on the implementation of the CEDAW within one year after the Convention's entry into force for the State concerned and thereafter at four-year intervals. The Committee is empowered to formulate suggestions and general recommendations based on the examination of States Parties reports.

Apart from States Parties reports, the Committee also receives information from non-governmental organizations.

Extension of CEDAW to Hong Kong

The CEDAW was extended to Hong Kong in October 1996. As China is a State Party to CEDAW, the report on the HKSAR is incorporated into China's report and submitted to the United Nations.

The Optional Protocol to the CEDAW

Optional protocols either provide for procedures with regard to a human rights treaty or convention, or address a substantive area related to that treaty. Optional protocols to human rights treaties are in itself a treaty and are open to signature, accession or ratification by countries which are already parties to the main treaty.

The Optional Protocol to the CEDAW, adopted in October 1999, includes the Communications Procedure, which gives individuals and groups of women the right to complain to the Committee on CEDAW; and the Inquiry Procedure, which enables the Committee to conduct inquiries into abuse of women's human rights in countries that have become party to the Optional Protocol. This Optional Protocol has not yet been extended to Hong Kong.

NEWS & ACTIVITIES

UN Committee on CEDAW

The Committee will be holding meetings at UN Headquarters to consider reports submitted by following countries:

Session Date of meeting (schedule) Country reports (schedule)
28th 13 - 31 January 2003 - Canada
- Republic of Congo
- Costa Rica- El Salvador
- Kenya- Luxembourg
- Norway
- Switzerland
29th 30 June – 25 July 2003 - Albania
- Ecuador
- France
- Japan
- Morocco
- Solvenia

LegCo Panel on Home Affairs Meeting

The Panel met with deputations on 8.11.2002 on the Second Report to be prepared by the HKSAR. Submissions from different organizations could be found at:
http://www.legco.gov.hk/yr02-03/english/panels/ha/papers/ha_w.htm

Report from the HKSAR

The Government submitted an initial report under the CEDAW in 1998. It is now preparing its second report to be submitted to the Central People's Government for incorporation into the China report by March 2003.

The Health, Welfare and Food Bureau (HWFB) is responsible for co-ordinating the compilation of the report. A public consultation on the draft report outline was conducted on 23.9 - 26.10.2002.

Survey Findings Released by EOC

The EOC commissioned a telephone survey to access the extent of women's knowledge of CEDAW. Major findings were released on 7.3.2003.

USEFUL LINKS

United Nations
· WomenWatch
· Committee on CEDAW
· Commission on the Status of Women (CSW)
· Division for the Advancement of Women (CAW)
· INSTRAW-GAINS

HKSAR
· Health, Welfare and Food Bureau
· LegCo Panel on Home Affairs
· Women's Commission

Others
· Centre for Comparative and Public Law, University of Hong Kong
(The website provides information, documents and links on the CEDAW and about its implementation in Hong Kong.)

DOWNLOAD AREAS

Convention Documents

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (18.12.1979)

Optional Protocol to the CEDAW (15.10.1999)

Other UN Documents

Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women on the Initial Report (February 1999)

HKSAR Reports

Hong Kong's Initial Report to the Committee on the Elimination on Discrimination Against Women (August 1998) (Zip file)

A draft outline of the topics to be covered in the HKSAR Government's second report (September 2002)

Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC)

Telephone Survey on Women's Knowledge of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (July 2003)
(Questionnaire)

Alternative Report on CEDAW submitted by EOC to the UN Committee on CEDAW (November 1998)

Response of EOC to the Draft Outline of HKSAR's Second Report (24.10.2002)

Submission of EOC to the LegCo Panel on Home Affairs on Draft Outline of HKSAR's Second Report. (8.11.2002)

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