The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), is an international human rights convention for the promotion of women. The Convention was drafted by the Commission on the Status of Women, a United Nations body, and women’s rights activists and NGOs, and was formally adopted in 1979.  The Convention draws together in a binding treaty many aspects of women’s rights legislation, offering practical commitments and unequivocal targets.


CEDAW News, 2018

CEDAW elections will be taking place early June 2018.  Further information can be found online at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

On 7 June 2018 in New York, the States’ Parties will meet to elect 12 members of the Committee to replace those whose term of office expires on December 31 2018.

At least three months before the date of the election the Secretary-General of the United Nations shall address a letter to the States parties inviting them to submit their nominations within two months.

Each State party may nominate only one candidate from among its nationals.

No UK Government has ever submitted a nomination since CEDAW was created despite strong and persistent lobbying from many elements of the Women’s Movement.

CEDAW News, 2017

CEDAW Round-Table with Women’s Organisations in England ahead of the UK’s 8th Periodic Report, 26 June 2017

On 26 June, NAWO participated in the round-table hosted by the Government Equalities Office (GEO) on the UK submission to CEDAW. This event was one in a series of light-touch listening exercises the GEO are conducting in the Four Nations ahead of the submission of the UK’s 8th Periodic Report to the UN CEDAW Committee.

NAWO raised several issues on behalf of members with the GEO. In a joint effort with the Women’s Resource Center (WRC), NAWO collected and submitted to GEO additional member comments as a follow-up to the event. Please find the write-up summarizing the collective contribution of the NGOs present including NAWO members’ comments here.

CEDAW News, 2014

EHRC Concluding Observations Publication, developed with NAWO.

NAWO and EHRC PublicationIn order to monitor the progress of the implementation of CEDAW in signatory states the United Nations has established a UN CEDAW Committee of 23 independent women’s rights experts from around the world.  The CEDAW Committee oversees special examinations of member states, and makes recommendations or highlights important themes to the state Government based on examination observations, called the Concluding Observations.  The UK Government was examined by the CEDAW Committee in July 2013, the recommendations that emerged from this are the subject of a Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) published document, developed with NAWO.

The Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women document is intended to help Parliamentarians and civil society understand what the CEDAW Committee expects the UK Government and devolved administrations to do over the next few years to advance women’s rights in Great Britain

EHRC, the Equality and Human Rights Commission, is a UK Parliament mandated independent body established by the Equality Act 2006 to challenge discrimination and promote human rights in Great Britain.  EHRC is sponsored by the Gender Equalities Office and in line with this and to reflect its principles of improving equality and human rights for persons across GB commissioned NAWO to produce this publication to enable the public to access information and intelligence to this end. The EHRC has produced this document as part of its role in supporting the UN treaty monitoring process and promoting understanding of human rights in Britain. Find out more about the EHRC here.

CEDAW News, 2013

CEDAW Committee adopts General Recommendation on Women and Conflict, 18 October 2013

The CEDAW Committee has said in a landmark document that States who have ratified CEDAW are obliged to uphold women’s rights before, during and after conflict when they are directly involved in fighting, are providing peacekeeping troops or donor assistance for conflict prevention, humanitarian aid or post-conflict reconstruction.

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) also said that ratifying States should exercise due diligence in ensuring that non-State actors, such as armed groups and private security contractors, be held accountable for crimes against women.

CEDAW’s position is set out in General Recommendation No. 30, a document that gives authoritative guidance to countries that have ratified the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women on measures they need to take to ensure women’s rights are protected in conflict prevention, conflict and post conflict situations.

CEDAW Examination of the UK’s 7th Periodic Report, 17 July 2013

NAWO attended the UK Government’s Examination by the CEDAW Committee in Geneva as part of a large delegation of women’s organisations from across the UK. The transcript of the Government’s Examination can be found here.

Click here to read the Concluding Observations.

CEDAW Journal from activist and NAWO member, Elizabeth Gordon.

July 201355th Session of the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women , UN Geneva 15 – 17 July 2013

‘Non-State torture had not been mentioned as a form of VAWG in the UK’s Government’s Action Plan on VAWG (2010), and yet women and girls in the UK who have suffered torture harms are reaching out for support, for example to NGO support services for women and girls such as Women Against Rape and through specialist services aimed more specifically at present in supporting survivors of State torture for example: The Helen Bamber Foundation and Freedom From Torture.’

Read the full journal entry.

CEDAW pre-session working group

The 55th session of CEDAW and UK examination/constructive dialogue was held in July 2013 in Geneva. This pre-session enabled the committee to consider the NGO list of issues and ask questions following our oral presentation of 3 minutes. Engender Scotland, Action Aid, Women’s Resource Centre and NAWO were the NGOs who spoke regarding the UK. The EHRC spoke last and had their 10 minutes.