Full text of the Optional
Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination against Women (A/RES/54/4)
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The preamble is the
introductory part of the Protocol which sets out the object
and purpose of the Protocol. It refers to the principles of
equality and non-discrimination as embodied in the UN Charter,
the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and other
international human rights instruments, including the
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination
against Women. It reaffirms the determination of States
parties which adopt the protocol to ensure the full and equal
enjoyment by women of all human rights and fundamental
freedoms and to take effective action to prevent violations of
these rights and freedoms.
Establishes that States who
become parties to the optional protocol recognise the
competence of the Committee to receive and consider
communications under the protocol.
Provides a Communications
Procedure which allows either individuals or groups of
individuals to submit individual complaints to the Committee.
Communications may also be submitted on behalf of individuals
or groups of individuals, with their consent, unless it can be
shown why that consent was not received.
Establishes that a
communication will only be considered by the Committee if it
concerns a acountry that has become party to the protocol. In
addition, a communication must be submitted in writing and may
not be anonymous.
criteria of communications. Before a complaint is considered,
the Committee must determine that all available domestic
remedies have been exhausted and the complaint is not, nor has
been examined by the Committee or has been or is being
examined under another procedure of international
investigation or settlement. In addition, a complaint will
only be admissible provided the complaint is compatible with
the provisions of the Convention; is not an abuse of the right
to submit a communication; the claimants' allegations can be
substantiated, and the facts presented occurred after the
State party ratified the Protocol.
After receipt of a
communication and prior to its final decision, the Committee
has the option of contacting the State Party with an urgent
request that the State Party take steps to protect the alleged
victim or victims from irreparable harm.
communications procedure. Where a communication has been found
admissible, the Committee will confidentially bring a
communication to the attention of the State Party, provided
the complaint has consented to disclosure of their identity to
the State Party. The State Party is given six months to
provide a written explanation or statement to the
Outlines the process of
complaint consideration. The Committee will examine and
consider all information provided by a complaint in closed
meetings. The Committee's views and recommendations will be
transmitted to the parties concerned. The State Party has six
months to consider the views of the Committee and provide a
written response, including remedial steps taken. The
Committee may request further information from the State
Party, including in subsequent reports.
Establishes an inquiry
procedure that allows the Committee to initiate a confidential
investigation by one or more of its members where it has
received reliable information of grave or systematic
violations by a State Party of rights established in the
Convention. Where warranted and with the consent of the State
Party, the Committee may visit the territory of the State
Party. Any findings, comments or recommendations will be
transmitted to the State Party concerned, to which it may
respond within six months.
Establishes a follow-up
procedure for the Committee. After the six-month period
referred to in article 8, the State Party may be invited to
provide the Committee with details of any remedial efforts
taken following an inquiry. Details may also be provided in
the State Party report to the Committee under article 18 of
Provides an opt-out clause.
At ratification of the Optional Protocol, a State Party has
the option of refusing to recognize the competence of the
Committee to initiate and conduct an inquiry as established
under articles 8 and 9. However, this declaration may be
withdrawn at a later time.
Requires a State Party to
ensure the protection of those submitting communications.
A summary of the
Committee's activities relating to the Protocol will be
included under article 21 of the Convention.
Establishes a requirement
that States Parties widely publicize the Convention and its
Protocol and provide access to the views and recommendations
of the Committee.
Requires the Committee to
develop its own rules of procedure when dealing with
communications and inquiries considered in accordance with the
Governs eligibility for
States to sign, ratify or accede to the Protocol. Any State
Party that is party to the Convention may become party to the
Establishes that a minimum
of ten countries must have ratified or acceded to the Protocol
before the Protocol enters into force. The Protocol will enter
into force three months after the 10th ratification or
Provides that there shall
be no reservations to the Protocol.
Establishes procedures for
amending the Protocol. Any State Party may suggest amendments
to be sent to the Secretary-General of the United Nations to
be communicated to all States Parties to the Protocol. If
requested by a minimum of one-third of States Parties, a
conference may be convened to discuss and vote on any
amendments. With the support of a two-thirds majority and the
General Assembly, an amendment comes into force and is binding
on States that have accepted the amendments.
Provides for a State Party
to withdraw from the Protocol by written notification to the
Secretary-General. Withdrawal will not impact any
communications submitted prior to the effective date of
States that the
Secretary-General of the United Nations shall inforrn States
of signatures, ratifications and accessions, the date the
Protocol comes into force and any amendments and
Provides that the Protocol
will be deposited in the United Nations archives, made
available in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and
Spanish and sent to all States Parties by the Secretary