The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women today closed its eightieth session after adopting concluding observations on the reports of Ecuador, Egypt, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Russian Federation, South Africa, South Sudan, Sweden and Yemen, which were considered during the session.
In her concluding remarks, Gladys Acosta Vargas, Committee Chairperson, said all were deeply concerned about the dramatic situation of women and girls in Afghanistan. It was therefore crucial that the Committee decided to request an exceptional report on their situation, at an opportune time, and that they established an informal Committee task force to consider the impact of the evolving political, economic and social situation in Afghanistan on the rights of women and girls in the country.
Ms. Acosta Vargas underscored how pleased she was that the Committee had been able to meet in Geneva again for the first in-person session after one and a half years. The Committee had considered the reports of 10 States parties and adopted concluding observations on them. The Committee had been pleased with the high level of engagement of non-governmental organizations and national human rights institutions, and was grateful to United Nations entities and other intergovernmental bodies which had provided information.
The Committee had also made progress on rationalising and harmonising its working methods, including through considering innovative ways to address its “ever-growing” backlog of State party reports pending consideration. The Working Group on gender-based violence against women had made progress in relation to a draft guidance note for States parties on the implementation of their obligations thereunder, and the Working Group on indigenous women and girls had approved a revised initial draft general recommendation on their rights.
Also during its session, the Committee had been able to adopt seven follow-up assessments, the Chairperson said, adding that the Working Group on communications had prepared three final decisions on individual communications that the Committee had adopted, with support from the United Nations Human Rights Office Petitions Section. The Committee, under its Optional Protocol, had further assessed one inquiry submission and decided to invite the State party concerned to submit observations.
The Committee had also had interesting exchanges, such as its meetings with the new Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, Reem Alsalem, the Regional Director of the United Nations Women Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Mohammad Naciri and, the former Vice-President of the National Assembly of Afghanistan, Fawzia Koofi, whose testimony of the plight of women and girls in Afghanistan deeply moved the Committee Experts. Thanking them all, as well as the secretariat and supporting United Nations staff for their hard work over the session, the Chairperson wished Committee Members a safe journey home, urging them to stay healthy, and looking forward to seeing them at the Committee’s eighty-first session, which it was to be hoped would be held in Geneva.
The Committee adopted ad referendum the report of its eightieth session, as well as the provisional agenda for its eighty-first session.
The eighty-first session of the Committee is scheduled to be held from 7 February to 4 March 2022.