23 November 2000

Rules for New Optional Protocol to Women’s Conference
To Be Reviewed by United Nations Committee Experts

Berlin Workshop on Procedure that Allows Individual Women
To Bring Petitions for Violations of Anti-discrimination Treaty

NEW YORK, 22 November (UN Headquarters) -- The Government of Germany is to host a meeting of experts next week to work on the rules of procedure for the Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women. The meeting will take place in Berlin from 27 to 30 November.

The German Federal Foreign Office and the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth have invited all experts of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, including those elected at the eleventh meeting of States parties to the Convention, to take part in the meeting. Also invited are the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Gender Issues and the Advancement of Women, Angela E.V. King; the Director of the Division for the Advancement of Women, Yakin Ertürk, and staff of the Division for the Advancement of Women. Members of the United Nations Human Rights Committee and the United Nations Committee against Torture will also participate.

When it comes into force on 22 December next, the Optional Protocol will allow individual women, or groups of individuals, to bring their petitions alleging violations of the Convention directly to the Committee. A number of preconditions must be fulfilled, among them the requirement that all domestic remedies should be exhausted. The Optional Protocol also allows the Committee, of its own motion, to inquire into grave or systematic violations of the Convention.

The 23 experts of the Committee, who serve in their personal capacities, monitor the implementation of the Convention, which was adopted by the General Assembly in 1979 and came into force in 1981.

The Berlin workshop will be attended by the current experts on the Committee, with the exception of Ms. Charlotte Abaka (Ghana), and Ms. Savitri Goonesekere (Sri Lanka). New experts taking up their term of office on 1 January 2001 will also participate.

The experts who will be attending are: Ayse Feride Acar (Turkey); Sjamsiah Achmad* (Indonesia); Emna Aouij, (Tunisia); Carlota Bustelo Garcia del Real (Spain); Silvia Rose Cartwright (New Zealand); Ivanka Corti (Italy); Feng Cui (China); Naela Gabr (Egypt); Françoise Gaspard* (France); María Yolanda Ferrer Gómez (Cuba); Aída González Martínez (Mexico); Rosalyn Hazelle (St. Kitts and Nevis); Salma Khan (Bangladesh); Yung-Chung Kim (Republic of Korea); Fatima Kwaku* (Nigeria); Rosario Manalo (Philippines); Göran Melander* (Sweden); Asha Rose Mtengeti-Migiro* (United Republic of Tanzania); Mavivi Myakayaka-Manzini (South Africa); Ahoua Ouedraogo (Burkina Faso); Zelmira Regazzoli (Argentina); Anne Lise Ryel, Norway; Hanna Beate Schöpp-Schilling (Germany); Carmel Shalev (Israel); Heisoo Shin* (Republic of Korea); Kongit Sinegiorgis (Ethiopia); Maria Regina Tavares da Silva* (Portugal); Chikako Taya (Japan).

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(* Indicates those who become members of the Committee on 1 January 2001.)