European & International News

UN launches new mechanism for eliminating discrimination against women in law and practice

[Brussels, 24 June 2011] More than 15 years after governments’ commitments to the Beijing Platform for Action, the UN Human Rights Council has established a new working group for a period of three years on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice. Kamala Chandrakirana, former Secretary General of the National Commission on Violence against Women in Indonesia, just appointed chair of the working group, will work together with four other members to identify and find ways to put an end to any law that discriminates against women. Despite progress in legislation in most parts of the world discriminatory legislation still exists.

In Europe, laws regulating the transmission of family names, discrimination with regard to unequal access to artificial reproductive technologies and even discrimination in taxation or social security systems are just a few examples that illustrate gender-biased legislation.

Identifying and eliminating the laws that discriminate on the basis of sex, negatively affecting women, is a precondition for achieving equality between women and men.

In addition to chair Kamala Chandrakirana, the following members of the working group, Emma Aouij (Tunisia), Mercedes Barquet (Mexico), Frances Raday (Israel/United Kingdom) and Eleonora Zielinska (Poland), have been tasked by the UN to map out what kind of information is available and what is relevant to fighting discrimination against women.

The EWL has been supporting the creation of the new mechanism within the UN system together with other organisations such as Equality Now. We hope that the new working group will contribute, together with UN Women, to the United Nations playing a stronger role in working towards the realisation of women’s rights and equality between women and men in practice.

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