Subject: [fem-women2000 534] Women's GlobalNet #158: Optional Protocol Goes Into Force!
From: iwtc <>
Date: Mon, 02 Oct 2000 11:06:23 -0700
Seq: 534

IWTC Women's GlobalNet #158
Activities and Initiatives of Women Worldwide
By Anne S. Walker 

October 2, 2000


With the ratification of Italy on 22 September, the Optional Protocol to 
the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against 
Women (CEDAW) has now been ratified by the required 10 countries. It 
will enter into force on 22 December, 2000.

States which ratify the Optional Protocol recognize the competence of 
the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women to 
consider petitions from individual women or groups of women who have 
exhausted all national remedies. The Optional Protocol also entitles the 
Committee to conduct inquiries into grave or systematic violations of 
the Convention. The Committee is the body established under the 
Convention to monitor its implementation.

On 6 October 1999, in a landmark decision for women, the United Nations 
General Assembly, acting without a vote, adopted the 21-article Optional 
Protocol to the Convention, and called on all States parties to the 
Convention to become party to the new instrument as soon as possible. 
The Protocol, which was opened for signature, ratification and accession 
on 10 December 1999, includes an "opt-out clause", allowing States upon 
ratification or accession to declare that they do not accept the inquiry 
procedure. Article 17 of the Protocol explicitly provides that no 
reservations may be entered to its terms. Only States parties to the 
Convention may accept the Optional Protocol. With the ratification of 
Saudi Arabia on 7 September, the Convention has 166 States parties.

During the Millennium Summit of the United Nations (New York,6-8 
September), ratifications to the Optional Protocol were received from 
Austria, Bangladesh, Ireland and New Zealand. Other States parties to 
the Protocol are Denmark, France, Namibia, Senegal and Thailand. There 
are a total of 62 signatories to the Optional Protocol.

The ratification of the Optional Protocol, and its entering into force 
on 22 December, represent further milestones on the road towards the 
achievement for all women of their fundamental human rights and 
freedoms. It is also a recognition of the universality of human rights.

For further information, please contact Elisabeth Ruzicka-Dempsey, 
Development and Human Rights Section, UN Department of Public 
Information. Tel.: (1-212) 963-1742. Fax: (212) 963-1186.
E-mail: <ruzicka-dempsey@un.or>, 
or Abigail Loregnard-Kasmally, Coordination and Outreach Unit, Division 
for the Advancement of Women. Tel.: (212) 963-3137. 
Fax: (212) 963-3463.  E-mail:  <>. 
Website: <>

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