Pre-session reminder: 73rd CEDAW Session

Austria, Bahrain, Cabo Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guyana, Mozambique and Qatar have been scheduled to report to the CEDAW Committee at the 73rd CEDAW session in July 2019.

NGOs from the above countries may wish to use the CEDAW review to highlight their priority women’s human rights issues. We believe that local NGOs have a lot to gain from this process.

IWRAW Asia Pacific runs the From Global to Local programme, which was developed to ensure that NGOs can voice their issues at the international level. This programme provides training and mentoring support to all NGOs who wish to participate in the NGO spaces of the review process. We also work with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the CEDAW Committee to coordinate the sharing of NGO spaces. This information can be obtained on the website of the OHCHR.

Participation at the review in July 2019

If your organisation is from these countries and is seeking to submit an NGO shadow report and attend the review in July, please get in touch with us.

Funding and resources to participate at the review

If you are planning to engage with the Committee in Geneva we request that you begin sourcing funding as part of your advocacy strategy. IWRAW Asia Pacific commits to provide letters of support to the donor for your participation in the From Global to Local programme and at the CEDAW review. We may be able to provide some partial ground cost for participation of NGOs at the From Global to Local Programme in Geneva – these bursaries are available if you or your organisation fulfill the criteria. We will be able to inform you of these closer to the review.

Pre-Session

Prior to the actual review, NGOs have the opportunity to intervene at the Pre-Session which will be taking place in November 2018 in Geneva from 12-16 November 2018.

What is the Pre-Session and why should NGOs engage with it?

• The CEDAW pre-session happens several months before the session at which the formal review of the government is scheduled (usually 2 sessions before). This is where the CEDAW review process begins.

• A Pre-Session Working Group of the CEDAW Committee meets to review States Parties reports and any additional information that has been submitted during the pre-session. The Pre-Session Working Group comprises five or more members of the CEDAW Committee. During this review, the working group identifies gaps in information and sends the government a list of questions and issues that the government must answer in writing before the formal review.

• The pre-session is very important, as it determines the direction, tone and issues for dialogue between the CEDAW Committee and your government during the CEDAW Session. It is your last chance to get the government to submit written information on certain issues that the government may have overlooked or may be trying to avoid in its report. It is very important for NGOs to send information on issues related to women in their country for the CEDAW pre-session, as this can assist the CEDAW Committee’s pre-session working group in framing the questions it will ask your government during the CEDAW review.

What is a List of Critical Issues and Questions?

Your analysis and information should include:

• the most important issues facing women in your country;
• what is missing in the government’s report; and
• what you want the Pre-Session Working Group to ask your government and prioritise for the review.

Your information need not be long or complicated, as long as it allows the working group to better understand what is happening in your country and to help them prioritise a list of questions that can be asked of your state. It should be structured article by article, from Articles 1-16 (which are the substantive articles of the CEDAW Convention). Please refer to the shadow report guidelines for guidance on structuring of information.

If you already have a draft shadow/alternative report, you can submit the draft with a list of issues and questions. Feedback from some Committee members is that they find lists of issues or executive summaries, highlighting key issues, to be more helpful than exhaustive reports at this point. Therefore, if you intend to submit a draft or final version of your shadow/alternative report, we encourage you to highlight the key concerns, issues, and questions they would like the Committee to focus on in a list of issues and questions or in an executive summary.

When is the pre-session, and how to submit information?

The Pre-Session Working Group for this session is likely to meet 12-16 November 2018 during the 71st session. We hope you are planning on submitting your NGO submissions (list of issues) for the pre-session, as the deadline is 1st October 2018. Please email to: cedaw@ohchr.org and cc IWRAW Asia Pacific (iwraw-ap@iwraw-ap.org) so that we can follow up with the secretariat to ensure that the information is received.

You may also wish to send hard copies to the OHCHR, in which case please send 10 copies to:

CEDAW Secretariat
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
Palais Wilson
52, rue des Pâquis
CH-1201 Geneva
Switzerland

Attending the CEDAW pre-session

The Pre-Session Working Group sets aside some time for NGOs to address it during the Pre-Session on Monday 12 November 2018. NGO representatives can choose to attend the Pre-Session (should they have funds to do so) and present information at the meeting of the Pre-Session Working Group. Please inform IWRAW Asia Pacific at iwraw-ap@iwraw-ap.org if you are thinking of participating in the pre-session, so that we can coordinate this with other NGOs also attending. To attend the pre-session, you will need to obtain UN passes by contacting the OHCHR directly. If you have any questions or require clarification, do contact us.

We look forward to hearing from you and working with you on your CEDAW activism!

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