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CEDAW: A Critical Analysis From Indian Perspective

The Convention on Elimination of all kinds of Discrimination Against Woman (CEDAW) is a world treaty adopted in 1979 by the United Nations General Assembly. It's described as a world bill of rights for ladies, it had been incorporated on 3 September 1981 and has been ratified by 189 states, quite fifty countries that have ratified the Convention have done it so, subject to varied declarations, reservations, limitations and objections, including 38 countries who rejected the enforcement.

The us and Palau have signed, but haven't ratified the treaty. The Holy See , Iran, Somalia, Sudan, and Tonga aren't signatories to the CEDAW. The present Chairperson of CEDAW is Hilary Gbedemah.

The Convention on the Elimination of All sorts of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) is usually mentioned because the women's bill of rights. It's one among the core international human rights treaties of the United Nations treaty system, which needs Member States to undertake legal obligations to respect, protect and fulfill human rights.

The articles of CEDAW fall under three main groups: the primary set of articles explains the character and scope of the State's obligations; the second set of articles targets specific forms of discrimination and descriptions measures that the State must undertake to eliminate discrimination in each of those areas; and therefore the last set of articles governs procedural and administrative matters, in the same manner as the reporting process of CEDAW.

Discrimination as per CEDAW

The convention aims to eliminate all kinds of discrimination against woman on the thought of sex. The convention itself does not explicitly reference violence against women, but the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women has clarified under its General Recommendations that any type of violence against women is discrimination[1].

The convention focuses on discrimination against women, rather than discrimination against both male and females, to signalize to the very fact that females have suffered and continue to suffer from various kinds of discrimination by virtue of their sex[2].

It states discrimination against women as:

Any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the idea of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the popularity, enjoyment or exercise by women, regardless of their legal status, on basis of equality of men and women of human rights and fundamental freedoms within the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field[3].

The Convention guarantees women equal recognition, enjoyment and exercise of all human rights and fundamental freedoms within the political, economic, social, cultural, civil, domestic or the other field, regardless of their legal status , and on a basis of equality with men[4]. The Convention is meant to hide even those rights which will not be explicitly mentioned within the Convention but that nonetheless impact women achieving equality with men. This is important to the difficulty of violence against women.

CEDAW And It's Implementation

The Committee, which is formed from 23 experts, monitors the implementation of CEDAW[1]. These individuals that are highly qualified and competent within the field covered by the Convention were selected on the discretion of government.

Every four years, States parties are expected to submit a report covering measures that they need adopted to bring effectiveness to CEDAW[2]. The Committee reviews their reports and gives recommendations for areas of further action.

Also, as said above, the Committee gives general recommendations for the interpretating the CEDAW. These recommendations aren't binding on the States parties to the Convention .Till now, the Committee has given 30 General Recommendations, many of which consists of specific recommendations regarding violence against women.

As stated above, it's under these General Recommendations that the CEDAW committee has also stated that gender-based violence is discrimination under the Convention. Under the CEDAW Committee General Recommendation No. 19, the Committee suggested to States parties to possess the subsequent comments in mind with reference to their reporting and in reviewing their laws and policies.

CEDAW and India

In 1994, India ratified the Convention of the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) treaty. It is my belief that the ratification of CEDAW by India did not reduce violence against women because the international agreement was not legally implemented and enforced throughout Indian society. This paper will support the lack of progress made in safety for women.

The first declaration in regards to 5(a) keeps India from enforcing equal rights between men and women by stating they will not interfere in personal affairs of a community. The second declaration states with regards to 16(2) of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discriminations Against Women, the Government of the Republic of India declares that though in principal if fully supports the principle of compulsory registrations of marriages, it is not practical during a vast country like India with its sort of customs, religions and level of literacy (United Nations, 2013).

This second declaration states they cannot adhere to setting a legal age for marriage and will not require marriages to be registered under the pretense of their customs, religions, and levels of literacy. In addition, India stated in their reservation, that with regards to article 29 of the Convention, the Indian government did not consider itself bound by it.
I understand that enforcing the articles in CEDAW may be difficult due to elements like culture, religion, and literacy, but I contend that if they believed it was important to prevent young girls from getting married they would accept the provision.

Also, India has not ratified the Optional Protocol to CEDAW. Therefore, India doesn't comply with regular reporting and several reports due to be submitted to the supervisory committees remain outstanding as of June 6, 2002.Finally, a reservation India makes states they will not submit to arbitration if there is a dispute of CEDAW. If the country is aren't going to enforce equal rights for women, an adult age of marriage for girls, individual complaints, or undergo arbitration, then it seems to me that India ratified CEDAW a touch half heartedly.

Due to the length limitations of this paper, I will only state three acts of violence against women that are most prominent in India:(1) bride burnings and/or dowry abuse; (2) female foeticide and/or infanticide; and (3) human trafficking and/or sex slaves.

India's ratification of CEDAW did not make the country change its religious and cultural beliefs about the value of the female population. In fact, the ratification of CEDAW does not appear to have changed anything.

In 2007, India elected their first ever female president: Pratibha Devisingh Patil. Therefore, it would appear that the rights of women are progressing and that laws would be enforced to prevent violent crimes against them. Unfortunately, that is not the case: although there are many laws and organizations in place, these practices have not reduced violent crimes due to the ratification of CEDAW.

It does appear India recognizes there is a problem for the women of their country, for acts have been passed, and laws and organizations have been put into place that identify specific problems that women face. From a statistical perspective, these laws do not appear to be having a positive effect, but only show on paper that India is trying to protect women.

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