Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women is an international convention adopted in 1979 by the United Nations General Assembly. Consisting of a preamble and 30 articles, it defines what constitutes discrimination against women and sets up an agenda for national action to end such discrimination.
Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, which is made up of 23 experts on women's issues from different UN member states, was established in 1982. The Committee meets twice a year to review reports on compliance with the Convention's provisions that the signatory nations are required to submit every four years.
By ratifying the Optional Protocol adopted in 1999, a State recognises the competence of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women to receive and consider complaints from individuals or groups within its jurisdiction. This Protocol entered into force on 22 December 2000 and contains two procedures:
Communications procedure allows individual women, or groups of women, to submit claims of violations of rights protected under the Convention to the Committee. The Protocol establishes that in order for individual communications to be admitted for consideration by the Committee, a number of criteria must be met, including those domestic remedies must have been exhausted.
The Protocol also creates an inquiry procedure enabling the Committee to initiate inquiries into situations of grave or systematic violations of women’s rights.
In either case, States must be party to the Convention and the Protocol. The Protocol includes an "opt-out clause", allowing States upon ratification or accession to declare that they do not accept the inquiry procedure. Article 17 of the Protocol explicitly provides that no reservations may be entered to its terms.
The Czech Republic signed the Convention on 17 July 1980 and ratified it on 16 February 1982. After dissolution of Czechoslovakia which took effect on 1 January 1993, the Czech Republic as a succession state became a member of the UN and adopted all the commitments to human rights protection. The Czech Republic signed the Optional Protocol on 10 December 1999 and ratified it on 26 February 2001.
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