Notice on Potential Disruption Due to COVID-19 Pandemic
The Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR) has shared information that the 76th CEDAW Session, scheduled to begin on 22 June 2020, will not be an in-person meeting. It is not yet known whether the 77th CEDAW Session, scheduled to start on 19 October 2020, will be affected.
We recognise that developments such as the closure of national borders, enforcement of strict travel restrictions and general uncertainty are likely to continue in the near future and will undoubtedly impede the access of women’s human rights defenders to the CEDAW Committee. We are hopeful that the UN human rights system, including the CEDAW Committee, will work together to find more creative ways that harness the potential of technology to proceed with their respective sessions within the upcoming months. We remain committed to sharing timely updates through our website, listserv and social media channels as we receive more information regarding this.
Information on the 77th CEDAW Session
IWRAW Asia Pacific is an NGO which supports the CEDAW Committee and OHCHR in facilitating participation of women’s groups/NGOs in the CEDAW review process.
Azerbaijan, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Senegal, South Africa, Sweden, Uruguay and Yemen are scheduled for review by the CEDAW Committee in the 76th CEDAW Session from 19 October – 6 November 2020. Please see the 77th CEDAW Session page on the OHCHR website.
A note on NGO participation in the 77th session will be made available in due course. Meanwhile you can view a sample one from the 75th session, available in English, French and Spanish.
NGOs have several opportunities to impact the review session and therefore gender equality policies at country level.
Submit a shadow report/alternative information to the CEDAW Committee
- The deadline to submit a shadow report is expected to be 28 September 2020, to be submitted as a Word document to OHCHR at email@example.com, with a copy to IWRAW Asia Pacific. (Bearing in mind the UN’s green policy, hard copies of reports should be avoided if possible.) Our website provides guidelines for writing shadow reports, including reports focusing on specific thematic areas.
- If you have submitted a pre-session report, you have an opportunity to present updated shadow report information, and provide your alternative information to respond to the CEDAW Committee’s list of issues and questions which your state will have to answer. You should send this information to the CEDAW Secretariat also by 28 September 2020. It is important that your updated report to CEDAW addresses the issues raised in the List of Issues and Questions, which is how the Committee prioritises issues for the review and seeks to address gaps in the state report. Please see the CEDAW 77th Session page for your country’s list of issues and questions on this page.
Please inform us if your group is preparing a shadow report to CEDAW to be submitted for the review in October 2020. Even if you do not attend the review, there are ways we can support highlighting your issues and getting other groups who are there to prioritise and integrate your recommendations to CEDAW.
Engaging directly with the CEDAW Committee at the review
NGOs have opportunities to engage directly with the CEDAW Committee during the review in October 2020 in Geneva:
- NGOs can provide oral submissions during the Informal Meeting of NGOs, which is part of the official schedule of the Committee. This happens in the afternoons of Monday 19 and 26 October. A total of 10 minutes per country is allotted to NGOs for their oral statements, so cooperation and time is of the essence – overlaps should be reduced and focus should be on priorities. IWRAW Asia Pacific and OHCHR suggest that those planning to provide an oral submission endeavour to attend the NGO Coordination Meeting on the Sunday prior, which is designed for all NGOs to plan sharing the limited time and space.
- Groups of NGOs can also hold a one-hour lunch briefing to discuss their issues with the Committee, one day before their country’s review. This space is only for NGOs and is closed to state delegates or those who have participated in the writing of the state report.
The dates for each country’s review will be published by OHCHR in due course and will be added to this page. You will need to note the dates for: your country’s NGO coordination meeting; your country’s participation in the Informal Meeting of NGOs; your country’s private NGO lunch briefing; and your country’s review.
Please let us know if you are thinking of participating at the CEDAW session in October 2020 in Geneva and if you wish to participate in the Informal Meeting with NGOs and/or the NGO lunch briefing.
If you are planning to come for the review, a friendly reminder to obtain your Schengen visas early. If you encounter difficulties with this process, please inform us.
Attend From Global to Local – IWRAW Asia Pacific’s training and mentoring programme in Geneva
This programme aims to help women’s groups and NGOs who wish to participate in the CEDAW reporting process. The objectives of this training programme are to provide process information for how groups can engage with the Committee, share information on the body of work of the Committee and support NGOs in preparing for their oral statements and lunch briefing. This is also a space for women’s groups to share solidarity and knowledge for our common goals and priorities of women’s human rights. The training and mentoring gives you updated information and hints and tips about engaging with the CEDAW review process.
- Only NGOs are eligible to participate in From Global to Local. IWRAW Asia Pacific has taken the position that members of the government delegation to the CEDAW session, or individuals who have helped write the government report to the CEDAW Committee, should not be involved in writing the shadow/alternative report, and are not eligible to attend the From Global to Local training at the CEDAW Session.
- Participants in From Global to Local are requested to abide by IWRAW Asia Pacific’s policy on addressing rights of marginalised groups of women and be respectful of their fellow participants.
If you have funds to attend the review, you are welcome to join the programme. We may have some partial funding for some NGOs who qualify, and we can also work with you to raise funds for your participation in the review. Please write to us for information. If you have plans to write to donors, we can supply support letters.
Spread the word!
Please circulate this information to women’s groups you know. If you are with an NGO or a coalition working on an NGO report to CEDAW, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, with a copy to email@example.com.