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Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women Closes Eighty-Eighth Session in Geneva

Meeting Summaries

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women today closed its eighty-eighth session after adopting concluding observations on the reports of Brazil, Estonia, Kuwait, Malaysia, Montenegro, Republic of Korea, Rwanda and Singapore.

The concluding observations adopted by the Committee on the countries under review will soon be available on the session’s webpage.

In concluding remarks, Committee Chairperson Ana Peláez Narváez said that during the eighty-eighth session, the Committee had considered the reports of eight States parties and adopted concluding observations on each.  It also explored the possibility of considering the fourth periodic report of Afghanistan once it had been submitted by the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan in Geneva, following the precedent of the fourth cycle Universal Periodic Review of Afghanistan that took place on 29 April 2024.

The Committee held informal meetings with non-governmental organizations from all the States parties reviewed during the session and two national human rights institutions.  The Committee was also grateful to United Nations entities, including country teams and other inter-governmental bodies that provided it with detailed information.

Among the highlights of the session, Ms. Peláez Narváez said, was the first reading of the Committee’s draft general recommendation 40 on the equal and inclusive representation of women in decision-making systems.  She welcomed that a high number of States parties attended the technical briefing on the draft general recommendation on 28 May.

The Committee had also already planned the next steps for its future general recommendation on gender stereotyping, led by Committee Experts Marion Bethel and Bandana Rana, by deciding to hold a half-day of general discussion at its ninetieth session in February 2025.

Ms. Peláez Narváez said that during the current session, the Committee adopted two important statements, one calling for peace between the Russian Federation and Ukraine and the other warning that the Gambia’s Women’s (Amendment) Bill 2024 posed a serious threat to the rights and dignity of women and girls in the Gambia by seeking to repeal the criminalisation of female genital mutilation.

The Committee also made important progress on rationalising and harmonising its working methods with those of other treaty bodies, Ms. Peláez Narváez reported.  She thanked the Working Group on working methods for its work in further enhancing constructive dialogues with States parties and harmonising the word limits for submissions by national human rights institutes and civil society organizations in relation to follow-up to concluding observations.

Progress had also been made by the Working Group on gender-based violence against women in elaborating research papers on conflict-related sexual violence and on online and technology-facilitated gender-based violence against women, drafted by Committee Experts Marion Bethel and Maya Morsy, respectively.

The Committee looked forward to a presentation at its next session by the task force on gender and sex self-identification, which was preparing a report that provided an overview of relevant issues, positions and possible mediating solutions in this quickly evolving area.

The task force on Afghanistan continued to make good progress, convening a virtual meeting with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan, Richard Bennett, to discuss the current and increasingly alarming situation of women and girls in Afghanistan.  Likewise, the task force on the situation of women and girls in the context of the war in Ukraine drafted a statement that the Committee adopted, calling for an end of the war.

Despite the limitations posed on the Committee by the United Nations’ liquidity crisis, which prevented it from conducting its pre-sessional working group, the Committee was able to deliver on its core mandates under the Convention and the Optional Protocol during the session.  Thanks to the coordination and preparation of the Rapporteur on follow-up, Natasha Stott Despoja, and the alternate Rapporteur on follow-up, Brenda Akia, and with help from other colleagues, the Committee was able to adopt two follow-up assessments during the session, Ms. Peláez Narváez said.

She thanked the Working Group on communications for preparing two final decisions on individual communications that were adopted during the session, with support from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights’ Petitions Section.  The Working Group on inquiries also conducted important work, carrying forward several public follow-up assessments and requests for confidential country visits.

During the session, the Committee also had fruitful exchanges and social events, such as the briefings by the Special Rapporteur on violence against women and girls, Ree Alsalem, and by the Pacific Community concerning a regional session of the Committee in Fiji in 2025.

For its eighty-ninth session in October, Ms. Peláez Narváez reported, the Government of France invited the Committee to an event in Paris to acknowledge the Committee’s essential work on women’s rights and pre-launch general recommendation 40.

In closing, Ms. Peláez Narváez thanked all Committee Experts for their hard work during the session and acknowledged the support provided to the Experts by United Nations Women and other agencies.  She also thanked the members of the Secretariat who had supported the Committee.

At the beginning of the meeting, Committee Rapporteur Marion Bethel presented the draft report of the session, which contained the draft report of the Working Group of the whole and the provisional agenda for the Committee’s eighty-ninth session.  The Committee then adopted the report ad referendum.

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women will hold its eighty-ninth session from 7 to 25 October 2024.  The States to be reviewed will be announced at a later date.





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