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The Covention on the Elimination of all forms of Discriminations Against Women adopted in 1969 by the United Nations General Assembly is described as an international bill of rights for women. The Covention establishes an agenda of action for putting an end to sex-based discrimination.
States ratifying it are required to enshrine gender equality into their domestic legislation, repeal all discriminatory provisions in their laws, and enact new provisions to guard against discrimination against women.
Positive action must be also complemented by the establishment of tribunals and public institutions to guarantee women effective protection against discrimination, and take steps to eliminate all forms of discrimination practiced against women by individuals, organizations and enterprises.
The Convention, that came into force in 1981, defines discrimination against women in the following terms:
Any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human righst and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field.
The United States is the only developed nation that has not ratified the CEDAW. Several countries have ratified the Convention subject to certain reservations and objections.
- International: Statement of Feminist and Women's Organisations on the very Limited and Concerning Results of the 56th Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women
- International: Open letter to President of the Human Rights Council regarding sexual orientation and gender identity
- WLUML Statement on Afghan women's exclusion from participation at Bonn
- UN: Open letter from NGOs to the General Assembly regarding terrorism debate
- UN: Security Council resolution 1373 to combat terrorism
- Egypt: Combined sixth and seventh periodic reports to CEDAW
- IWRAW: Equity or Equality for Women? Understanding CEDAW's Equality Principles
- UN Report: Good Practices in Legislation on 'Harmful Practices' against Women
- Reporting Gender Based Violence
- Knowing Our Rights: Women, family, laws and customs in the Muslim world - 3rd edition