The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) provides an international standard for protecting and promoting women’s rights. The Convention was adopted in 1979 by the United Nations. 189 countries have ratified CEDAW to date, and only a handful of countries including Iran, Somalia, Sudan, the USA and two small Pacific Islands have yet to ratify the Convention.

Addressing a gap

The Somali government has recognised the need to protect and promote women’s rights, and is committed to the ratification of CEDAW. LAW is providing technical advice to the relevant Ministries in the South Central, Puntland, and Somaliland. Advocacy for ratification will be done in collaboration with the government, Legal Aid Network in Somalia,  Somali civil society and other key stakeholders.

Main provisions

When a State signs and ratifies CEDAW, it is obliged to take all appropriate measures to end discrimination against women.

The Convention provides that States will:

• Condemn discrimination against women in all its forms, and commit to end discrimination through legislation, policy and practice.

• Ensure the full development and advancement of women. As well as, guarantee that women and men are able to equally exercise and enjoy human rights and fundamental freedoms.

• Modify social and cultural patterns of conduct of men and women that lead to discrimination against women.

• Ensure that women enjoy equality with men in all aspects of life. This includes in political and public life (such as voting), nationality and citizenship, education, employment rights, socio-economic rights, access to healthcare, and justice.

• Eliminate discrimination in marriage and family life.

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