Advocacy within UN Bodies - CEDAW and CESCR

During the Women and ESCR discussions at the International Strategy Meeting on ESCR, the participants collectively decided that ESCR-Net's work on women's human rights should focus on reclaiming economic, social and cultural rights as women's human rights. With this goal in mind, the Women and ESCR group has developed two projects that focus on requesting that UN bodies more comprehensively address women's human rights issues and highlighting the importance of ensuring women's ESCR as a primary strategy for achieving gender equality. We have identified a two-prong advocacy approach: (1) creating resource material to create greater awareness and new knowledge on women's ESCR, and (2) engage directly with both the CEDAW and ESCR Committees, using the resource material described below, and advocate for a more direct integration of women's ESCR into their reporting sessions with States and eventually during communications brought under both treaties' Optional Protocols. 

§                   Resource Material

We are in the process of creating shadow report guidelines in conjunction with IWRAW Asia- Pacific on women's ESCR for both Committees, as well as a more general guide which delves into the value-added in engaging with both Committees on women's ESCR issues, both through shadow reporting and through the communications procedure of the Optional Protocols. The guide will begin to look closer at articulating women's rights issues and ESCR issues in an interdependent, interconnected and indivisible way and offer possibilities for advocacy using this framework. 

§                   Committee Engagement

In conjunction with COHRE's Women and Housing Program and IWRAW-Asia Pacific, we are planning a thematic briefing with the CEDAW Committee on women's ESCR at the 45th session on January 25, 2010 in Geneva. The session will generally be to provide a deeper understanding of the ways in which lack of implementation of ESCR have a unique and disproportionate impact on women. The session will include an overview of how the CEDAW Committee has so far dealt with ESCR issues as they affect women as well as have speakers from Panamá, Egypt and the Netherlands who will be in Geneva participating in the shadow reporting process and will speak about women's ESCR issues in their country. We are also supporting the development of shadow reports for this session which highlight women's ESCR issues. To help increase the understanding of ESCR issues within the CEDAW Committee and enable them to engage with the briefing more deeply we are developing a factsheet on women's ESCR for advocacy and educational purposes.  Importantly, we hope this briefing in January will be the first step in a longer term engagement strategy to influence UN treaty bodies to develop a deeper understanding of women's ESCR to provide positive decisions which support women's advocacy and implementation of women's ESCR at the national level.

Get Involved!

If your organization is interested in being involved in this project or has information to share with the CEDAW or ESCR Committee's, please contact us at: rbrown@escr-net.org.  To share information or strategies with other Women's ESCR advocates subscribe to the Women and ESCR Discussion Group. ESCR-FEM-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Caselaw Database

In Nairobi, the database was also highlighted as important to many groups working on women's ESCR issues.  We have been working on researching important and emerging cases on women's ESCR to add to our database, such as KH v. Slovakia (July 2009) out of the European Court of Human Rights and A.S. v. Hungary (August 2006) brought under the communications procedure of OP-CEDAW.  We are committed to continuing to add cases on women's ESCR.

Get Involved!

If your organization has the capacity to more actively support the development of the case law database with relation to women's ESCR, please email Rebecca Brown at rbrown@escr-net.org. To share information or strategies with other Women's ESCR advocates subscribe to the Women and ESCR Discussion Group. 

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