On December 10th, the world celebrated the UN World Human Rights Day. The Day marks the anniversary of the adoption by all member states of the UN of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. It has been 60 years since then and many other human rights instruments and mechanisms has been developed to promote the primacy of the human rights and to confront human rights violations
IWRAW Asia Pacific works on one of these – the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women – the key human rights instrument that addresses the discriminations and inequalities faced by women which prove a barrier to women’s full access, enjoyment and realization of their human rights. Implementation of the CEDAW Convention is central to the elimination of discrimination against women and for the realisation of equality between men and women. CEDAW’s underlying principles of non-discrimination, substantive equality and State obligation, applying to private and public spheres, have demonstrated to the international community the inherent holistic nature of human rights
We take the opportunity to mark that 185 countries have ratified the CEDAW Convention and 90 countries have now ratified the Optional Protocol to CEDAW, which institutes a complaints mechanism by which women are able to claim their rights under the Convention.
The year 2007 also marks the 25th Anniversary of the work of the CEDAW Committee in reviewing the actions of States Parties toward fulfillment of the Convention and holding states accountable to the legally binding obligations of the Convention. As a treaty monitoring body of the CEDAW Convention, the CEDAW Committee is ensuring the implementation of the Convention and eliminating discrimination against women from the world and developing the norms and jurisprudence on women’s human rights through their Concluding Comments to the States Parties their General Recommendations as well as their decisions on individual cases of women’s rights violations under the Optional Protocol.
On this day we remind State Parties to the United Nations who have not ratified the Convention or the OP to CEDAW to give evidence of the will behind their stated intentions to fulfil their obligations to women by first making themselves bound to the CEDAW Convention, (which now reflects the global norms and standards applicable to women’s human rights) and ratifying the Optional Protocol; and for women activists to continue to engage in this process of evolving core set of universal norms and standards for women’s rights through the CEDAW Convention.
International Womens Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific IWRAW Asia Pacific
80-B Jalan Bangsar
59200 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: (603) 2282 2255; Fax: (603) 2283 2552
 IWRAW Asia Pacific works to contribute to the progressive interpretation, universalisation, implementation and realisation of women’s human rights through the lens of CEDAW and other international human rights treaties. Through our key strategies we facilitate a process through which the CEDAW Convention is used as a tool for applying international human rights standards at the national level and in a wide range of contexts. (See iwraw-ap.org/ for more details of our programmes)