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Individual Communications to the CEDAW and Committee Enquiries

The States parties to the Optional Protocol to the Convention of 1999 accepted the competence of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women to consider requests of persons who claim to be victims of violations of their rights as laid down in the Convention.

That procedure provides that the requests can be introduced by persons or groups of persons. Once a request is registered by the Committee, it will consider simultaneously the admissibility and merits. A time limit will then be fixed for submitting observations before the matter can be subject to a decision of the Committee. It can give a recommendation to the State party. The latter is then asked to submit in written form, within six month following the receipt of the decision and possible recommendations of the Committee, detailed information on the measures it has taken as a response to these observations and recommendations.

Article 5 of the Optional Protocol provides that the Committee can submit a demand to a State party to take protective measures necessary to avoid potential irreparable damage.

The request will be judged inadmissible if it has already been subject to another procedure of investigation or international regulation. The Committee is also authorized to reject communications at the beginning of the procedure, which are obviously unfounded or unjustified. Moreover, all domestic possibilities of recourse must have been exhausted.

For requests submitted to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, the correspondence and information requests have to be sent no longer to the Division for the Advancement of Women, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations Secretariat. As of January 2008, responsibility has been transferred to the

Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
United Nations Office at Geneva
1211 Geneva
Email: limchoc(at) 

The Protocol also provides an investigation procedure giving the Committee the possibility to engage, on its own initiative and based on reliable information, an investigation of gross or systematic violations of rights as laid down in the Convention.

African States having accepted the Competence of the Committee

The following African States have accepted the competence of the Committee (as of 26 January 2010):

Last change: 21.02.12 - 10:27