Civil society organizations Brief Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women on the situation of women
The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women this afternoon heard from representatives of non-governmental organizations and a national human rights institution on the situation of women’s rights in the Maldives and in Sweden, whose reports on the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women will be considered this week.
Non-governmental organizations have raised concerns about religious fundamentalism in the Maldives, as well as the lack of support for the work of human rights defenders. In addition, organizations raised concerns about labor and contraceptive services and the need to strengthen them, as well as cases of workplace sexual harassment and abuse in the Maldives.
In Sweden, civil society organizations raised concerns about the distribution of COVID-19 vaccination, the lack of a gender perspective in regulating arms exports and the lack of statistics on discrimination in the country. with regard to women with disabilities. Concerns have been expressed regarding the plight of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex women, issues regarding economic injustice, health care and sexual harassment.
The following non-governmental organizations spoke about the Maldives: Uthema, Hope for Women and Landsea.
The following non-governmental organizations spoke about Sweden: Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era, Amnesty International, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, World of No Sexual Abuse, FQ – Forum Women and Disability and the Swedish Federation for Human Rights. persons with disabilities, RFSL – the Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Gay and Intersex Rights, and the Swedish Women’s Lobby.
Moomina Waheed, Commissioner at the Maldives Human Rights Commission, spoke on the need to criminalize domestic violence, as well as provide better support to victims of this crime. She further expressed her concerns about the rights of women as a whole in the country in almost all sectors, and the need for more up-to-date research in this area, as well as better financial support for the activities needed to promote the rights of women. women’s rights in the Maldives.
The eightieth session of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women is being held from October 18 to November 12. All documents relating to the work of the Committee, including reports submitted by States Parties, can be found on the session website Web page. The summary statements of the meetings can be found here. The webcast of the Committee’s public meetings can be viewed at https://webtv.un.org/.
The Committee will then meet on Wednesday 20 October at 10 a.m. to begin consideration of the sixth periodic report of the Maldives (CEDAW / C / MDV / 6).
Discussion with non-governmental organizations on the Maldives and Sweden
Civil society organizations in the Maldives have recognized and welcomed the positive development in the appointment of women judges to the Supreme Court and Criminal Court of the Maldives, setting historic precedents. The Maldives must remove all existing reservations to article 16 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, concerning religion. The patriarchal global threat of religious fundamentalism had arrived in the Maldives, with significant negative impacts on the rights, freedoms, life opportunities and experiences of women and girls. The organizations expressed concern about the impunity with which organized and targeted attacks were directed against women human rights defenders and called on the state to adequately support the capacity building of civil society organizations. The Maldives Human Rights Commission has failed to meet its legal mandate to defend human rights defenders. The Committee was urged to recommend that the Maldives adopt mechanisms to understand the prevalence of female genital mutilation and to increase the level of awareness of this problem from a religious and health perspective. Concerns have been expressed about labor and contraceptive services and the need to strengthen them, as well as cases of workplace sexual harassment and abuse in the Maldives. Non-governmental organizations called for attention to the way the Government distributes natural resources as well as to climate actions taken by the State party.
In Sweden, civil society organizations have expressed concerns about how COVID-19 vaccines are being distributed, including concerns about the government’s duties to meet its international obligations. The organizations raised the issue of sex crimes in Sweden, as well as how these cases have been investigated and measures taken to support victims, including migrant and refugee women. The Committee was encouraged to ask questions and make recommendations on the persistent lack of a gender perspective in the regulation of arms exports, as well as the need to strengthen expertise on gender equality. and conflict prevention at the Swedish Arms Export Control Agency. Health care for victims of sexual violence was not provided for in Swedish law, so they did not have access to adequate health care. There was legal uncertainty and inconsistency regarding the situation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex women, especially asylum seekers in Sweden. The organizations reported concerns about economic injustice regarding the gender pay gap; health care, especially with regard to mental health care; discrimination and how it has been defined in Swedish law; and the need for training of officials who work with women victims of sexual violence.
Committee experts asked Swedish non-governmental organizations for clarification on how rape cases were investigated. Referring to the specific obligations regarding arms exports, the Committee asked whether Sweden was taking them into account. With regard to health care, the Committee asked whether there was a specific mental health or health care problem in Sweden as a whole. In addition, the Committee asked for clarification on the upcoming plan and whether feminist foreign policy should be implemented there. The Committee asked about the health care provided to migrant women and their families, as well as to specific groups suffering from income disparities.
Swedish non-governmental organizations explained that after a legal change, the number of rape cases increased, but not the number of convictions. Anti-trafficking measures are envisaged in Swedish law, but more resources are needed to improve them. Regarding income gaps, retired women, single mothers, as well as migrant groups were reported as the most vulnerable. A new tax reform, as well as a new pension system were necessary.
Discussion with the National Human Rights Institution
MOOMINA WAHEED, Commissioner at the Maldives Human Rights Commission, expressed concern at the current state of legislation on domestic violence in the Maldives. She noted that more research was needed, as well as the criminalization of this offense and greater support for victims, including financial support for shelters. A few surveys have been carried out in the Maldives, which have revealed a decline in support for gender equality, as well as the emergence of extremist religious discourse. Another survey showed that the practice of excision had declined over the past 50 years and that the prevalence of excision increased sharply with age, but there was still a need to better protect victims of female genital mutilation. Many other issues concerning women’s rights were listed by Ms. Waheed, including under-representation at political and decision-making levels, negative image in the media, lack of affordable health services for the inhabitants of the outer islands, etc. . The Commissioner urged the Maldives to take the necessary measures to combat gender stereotypes and the role of women in economies, as well as measures to facilitate the entry of women into the labor market by creating employment opportunities and by increasing access to the means to achieve financial independence.
Committee experts asked about the options available to women who approach the Maldives Human Rights Commission without exposing them, as well as possible ways to strengthen the institution. Has the Commission worked with the communities?
MOOMINA WAHEED, Commissioner of the Maldives Human Rights Commission, noted that the support of the Maldives Human Rights Commission is guaranteed and that it is working to establish a network to promote human rights. the man. She explained that good policies were needed, including on the rights of women and children. Capacity building was crucial. The Commission believed in collaborative efforts and worked with all civil society organizations, as well as the government, to promote, protect and strengthen women’s rights. The Commission was working on integrated training to build the capacity of organizations and businesses on the development of women’s rights. It was a new project, which had just started. If this project had sufficient protection, it would be an ideal situation where all members of the community could be reached. The Maldives Human Rights Commission called for more proactive work to promote women’s rights at the communal level.