30th November 2010

Pacific Governments and NGOs dialogue on CEDAW

A former expert on the Committee on the the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Aomen (CEDAW) has called on Pacific Island states not to be afraid of ratification.

Former CEDAW expert from Sri Lanka, Professor Savitri Goonesekere, stated that some countries have not ratified the convention because they assume that when they have to report, the Committee will “ name and shame” them for not implementing.

“Ratification is a solemn commitment that countries must domesticate the convention into their local laws,” said Professor Goonesekere. She also pointed out that the CEDAW Committee encourages constructive dialogue and this must not be taken as the Committee asking “hard questions for no reasons.”

Palau, Tonga and Nauru are the Pacific Island States that have not ratified CEDAW alongside the three American territories through the virture of the non-ratification of the United States of America.

Professor Goonesekere made these statements at the “Pacific Government-NGO Dialogue: towards Ratification and Implementation  of the CEDAW" held in Nadi, Fiji.

The three day dialogue which got underway yesterday (Monday 29th November 2010) is an opportunity to  share experiences on  implementation of CEDAW in the region, including the existing challenges and constraints to its reporting and implementation.

State and civil society representatives attending the dialogue are from Fiji, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Papua New Guniea, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, Marshalls, the Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, Nauru and Kiribati. This Pacific dialogue is a collaborative effort of the International Women Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific (IWRAW), UNIFEM Pacific, the Pacific Regional Rights Resource Team (RRRT), a programme of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement (FWRM).

ENDS.