UN Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)
The UN Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) was adopted in 1979 by the UN General Assembly. It defines discrimination against women and sets up an agenda for national action to end such discrimination where it exists.
Implementation of the Convention is monitored by the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (the CEDAW Committee), a body of independent experts on women's rights from around the world. Countries who have become party to the treaty are obliged to submit regular reports to the Committee on how the rights of the Convention are implemented. During its sessions the Committee considers each State party report and addresses its concerns and recommendations to the State party in the form of concluding observations. Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) may submit their views to the CEDAW Committee in advance of an examination and, subject to the committee’s rules, may attend the oral examination.
The Optional Protocol to the Convention provides that the Committee is mandated to receive communications from individuals or groups submitting claims of violations of rights protected under the Convention and to initiate inquiries into situations of grave or systematic violations of women's rights, in States to which this applies. The Committee also makes general recommendations concerning the Convention. More information on the work of the Committee and the types of recommendations it makes is available on its website.
Ireland acceded to the Convention in 1985 and to the Optional Protocol in 2000.
Ireland's Reports under CEDAW
The Gender Equality Division of the Department of Justice and Equality oversees the preparation of Ireland’s periodic reports to CEDAW. Ireland submitted its combined 4th and 5th Reports in 2003, on which it was examined in 2004.
The CEDAW Committee has decided to make the simplified reporting procedure for human rights treaty bodies, adopted by resolution of the General Assembly in 2014, available on a pilot basis and under certain conditions to States parties whose periodic reports are overdue. Ireland notified the CEDAW Committee in February 2015 that we wish to avail of this procedure and the Committee has approved this request. A list of issues from the CEDAW Committee was received in March 2016 and Ireland’s replies to this list will constitute the combined 6th and 7th periodic reports under the Convention. Following consultations held with civil society on 19 July 2016, Ireland's report was submitted to the Committee on 15 September 2016. The report was considered at the Committee's 66th session, held from 13 February to 3 March 2017 at Geneva. Submissions to the CEDAW Committee for this session from civil society organisations are available here on the website of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. An informal summary report of the CEDAW Committee's consideration of Ireland's report on 15 February 2017 is available here. The CEDAW Committee's concluding observations were published on 6 March 2017 and can be found here.
Ireland's 8th periodic report is due to be submitted in February 2021.