Pre-sessional takes place in CEDAW’s review of women’s rights in the UK

Date: 25th July 2018
Category: UN Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)

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The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) has held its pre-sessional working group as part of its review of women's rights in the UK and several human rights organisations have submitted reports to highlight the main issues for women and girls in the UK.

Engender has been the organisation in Scotland responsible for coordinating the shadow report and has also been working with women's rights organisations across the UK to develop a four nations report for the Committee. Together has been working with Engender to highlight girls' rights issues and to ensure these are flagged to the Committee. This has included the higher proportion of girls and young women that register as homelessness compared to boys and young men and the need for comprehensive Relationship, Sex, and Parenthood Education in Scotland.

National Human Rights Institutions also submit reports to CEDAW ahead of the pre-sessional. In Scotland, this report was submitted by the Scottish Human Rights Commission (SHRC). Their submission highlights children and girls' rights issues such as parental corporal punishment and child trafficking. The report also emphasises that steps must be taken to prevent future regression of women and girls' rights after Brexit.

The NHRI report for the UK was submitted by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission and this consists of a comprehensive review of many of the major issues affecting women and girls in the UK along with over 100 recommendations for government.

This report highlights the progress that has been made in girls' rights, particularly in Wales through the Rights of Children and Young Persons Measure 2011. However, the report also raises concerns about the rights of girls in areas such as harmful practices including FGM and child marriage, bias in subject choices at school, sex and relationship education, and sexual harassment. It also highlights children's rights issues such as children affected by domestic abuse and the impact of welfare cuts on women and families.