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UN women's rights body adopts landmark rule

The UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) [official website] on Wednesday recommended [press release] a rule [General Council Recommendation No. 30, PDF] surrounding the obligations states owe to women during and after conflict. The recommendation was put forward in an attempt to provide guidance to the signatories of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women [text]. The CEDAW emphasized the need for states to protect women's rights during all stages of the conflict and the importance of holding violators accountable. Specifically, the committee recommended:

Apply the Convention and other international human rights instruments and humanitarian law comprehensively in the exercise of territorial or extraterritorial jurisdiction whether acting individually or as members of international or intergovernmental organizations and coalitions; Regulate the activities of all domestic non-State actors, within their effective control, who operate extraterritorially and ensure full respect of the Convention by them; Respect, protect and fulfil the rights guaranteed by the Convention, which applies extraterritorially, as occupying power, in situations of foreign occupation.
The committee put forward the recommendation the same day as women's rights Security Council Resolution 2122 [text, PDF], which highlights women's roles in conflict prevention situations.

The UN and others have been working around the world to promote gender equality and reproductive health [JURIST backgrounder] as well as other areas. Last month the World Bank and International Finance Corporation (IFC) [advocacy websites] released a report [JURIST report] that most countries still have legal disparities that prevent women from engaging in economic activity.The week before that, UN rights expert urged [JURIST report] Italy to increase efforts to fight human trafficking. Also in September, Human Rights Watch (HRW) [official website] urged [JURIST report] Yemen to protect women's rights in new constitution. In May the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) [official website] called for the participation [JURIST report] of Libyan women in the Constitution Drafting Assembly. Also in May the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and UN Women [official websites] demanded [JURIST report] Afghanistan's government to fully respect and defend the fundamental rights of women and girls by ensuring the implementation of and respect for women's rights legislation.

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