Commission on the Status of Women
UN Commission on the Status of Women – Communications Procedure – August 1, 2017 Deadline for CSW 62 – 2018
UN Commission on the Status of Women – Communications ProcedureAny individual, non-governmental organization, group or network may submit communications (complaints/appeals/petitions) to the Commission on the Status of Women containing information relating to alleged violations of human rights that affect the status of women in any country in the world. The Commission on the Status of Women considers such communications as part of its annual programme of work in order to identify emerging trends and patterns of injustice and discriminatory practices against women for purposes of policy formulation and development of strategies for the promotion of gender equality.
Please note that the Commission on the Status of Women does not take decisions on the merit of communications that are submitted to it and, therefore, the communications procedure does not provide an avenue for the redress of individual grievances.DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION FOR CSW 62 – 2018 – Any person or organization with a communication should write by 1 August 2017.The current communications procedure of the Commission on the Status of Women has its roots in Economic and Social Council resolution 76 (V) of 5 August 1947, as amended by the Council in resolution 304 I (XI) of 14 and 17 July 1950. The mandate of the Commission on the Status of Women to consider communications has been reaffirmed and the modalities of the procedure have been further modified by the Council (see Council resolutions 1983/27 of 26 May 1983, 1992/19 of 30 July 1992, 1993/11 of 27 July 1993, 2009/16 of 28 July 2009 and decision 2002/235 of 24 July 2002).Accurate and detailed information relating to the promotion of women’s rights in political, economic, civil, social and educational fields in any country anywhere in the world.It is advisable that communications should:
- Identify as far as possible the woman victim, or women victims (note: the names of victims will be shared with the Government concerned for its reply);
- Indicate clearly where (the particular country) the alleged violation(s) or pattern of violations have occurred or are occurring. Separate communications should be submitted per country in which alleged violations have taken place;
- Provide, when available, dates and circumstances of the alleged violations;
- Explain the context by providing relevant background information; and
- Provide, when available, copies of documentation.
ExamplesThe following are examples of categories of communications received and trends and patterns identified in recent years:
- Arbitrary arrests of women
- Deaths and torture of women in custody
- Forced disappearances or abductions of women
- Discriminatory application of punishments in law based on sex, including corporal and capital punishment
- Violation of the rights of women human rights defenders to freedom of expression and assembly
- Threats or pressure exerted on women not to complain or to withdraw complaints
- Impunity for violations of the human rights of women
- Stereotypical attitudes towards the role and responsibilities of women
- Domestic violence
- Forced marriage and marital rape
- Virginity testing
- Contemporary forms of slavery, including trafficking in women and girls
- Sexual harassment of women in the workplace
- Unfair employment practices based on sex, including unequal pay
- Lack of due diligence by States to adequately investigate, prosecute and punish perpetrators of violence against women
- Discrimination against women under immigration and nationality laws
- Violations of the rights of women to own and inherit property
- Discrimination against women in accessing international humanitarian aid
- Forcible evictions of women in conflict situationsAll claims must be signed and submitted in writing by e-mail or regular mail, and directed to the CSW Communications Procedure. However, the author’s identity is not made known to the Government(s) concerned unless she/he agrees to the disclosure.Any person or organization with a communication should write by 1 August 2017 to:CSW Communications Procedure
Human Rights Section
220 East 42nd Street, 17th Floor
New York, NY 10017 USAOr send an e-mail message to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The sixty-first session of the Commission on the Status of Women took place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 13 to 24 March 2017 and I had the opportunity to participate the event during the first week as an advisor to the Finnish delegation. CSW is the second largest event at the UN and it shows – the event gathers thousands of participants all over the world. During these two weeks the huge UN headquarter building looks very much like a global village run by women. The general discussion is held in the huge General Assembly Hall that you can recognise from news clips. At the same time, the numerous conference rooms of the UN building are full of side events organised by permanent missions and UN entities. In addition to that, NGOs are organising parallel events outside the UN premises.
The Finnish delegation started each day with a morning briefing and that was an excellent opportunity to learn the highlights of the previous day, allocate the most important events between the participants and get to know the special interests of the other members. That enabled efficient coverage of the most important events with the resources at hand. It was interesting to note that many countries seemed to have sizeable delegations with numerous NGO representatives.
It has to be said that sitting in the General Assembly Hall was impressive as you can see the signs of more than 190 member states and their delegates sitting behind the desks. It is a unique space with an universal atmosphere that is difficult to describe as any word seems inadequate. We heard carefully drafted speeches and also some dramatic ones. It is fascinating that somehow cultural stereotypes become alive and walk along the long corridors of the complex UN building.
As a first-timer I missed a couple of interesting events because the conference rooms were full in just minutes and the Finnish generally accepted queuing model did not apply. It was easy to get sympathy from the Britons in this issue. Fortunately, the offering of different events was endless – if only you were able to find your way to the right place. Luckily the security guards were everywhere and able to answer any question with clear instructions.
Finnish Federation of Graduate Women (FFGW) has been the coordinator of the organising parties behind the International Helvi Sipilä seminar since 2006. The topic of the 12th seminar organised on 16th March 2017 was Empowered Futures – Sustainable Economies. The seminar was opened by the Finnish Minister of Social Affairs and Health, Pirkko Mattila followed by prominent speakers such as Senior Research Scientist Sari Pekkala Kerr from Wellesley College, General Secretary Malayah Harper from World YWCA and Programme Specialist Nancy Khweiss from Fund for Gender Equality, UN Women. The seminar was chaired by Eva Biaudet, a member of Parliament and President of the National Council of Women Finland. We had full house in spite of having the last session of the day and the instant feedback from the crowd and the speakers was very positive.
During the week I was happy to meet some other members of the “Graduate Women family” and we had interesting discussions concluded with promises to keep in touch and to meet again soon. Next chance will be in Graz, Austria in August this year.
When you attend dozens of events during one week, the ones with something unique stand out from the crowd. During this week, my personal list includes the opening speech of General Secretary António Guterras that was impressive and carefully crafted, the discussion forum with Dr. Hanan Ashrawi who was inspiring and articulate and the brilliant presentation by Sari Pekkala Kerr who made the Finnish audience extremely proud.
The week at CSW61 gave a new perspective and context not only to my pro bono work but also to my daily work. The challenges and obstacles women face in different corners of the world are quite different on the surface but still they all boil down to the lack of equality and lack of equal opportunity.
Text and photos:
Coordinator of International Relations,