The 45th Session of CEDAW: All Eyes on Egypt

Members of the Center's international advocacy team will travel to Geneva, Switzerland this month to urge the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW Committee) to take a stand on women's sexual and reproductive rights.

During this 45th session of the CEDAW Committee, the Center is expressing particular concern over the Egyptian government's violation of women's sexual and reproductive rights and urging the Committee to issue strong recommendations on these issues. The session runs from January 18 through February 5.

The Center collaborated with the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) to draft and submit a shadow letter to the CEDAW Committee regarding the status of women's sexual and reproductive health and autonomy in Egypt, as well as the State's obligation to protect and promote women's fundamental rights under the Convention. The shadow letter highlighted areas of concern, including:

  • High rates of maternal mortality and morbidity; the prevalence of unsafe abortion;
  • Lack of access to post-abortion care;
  • Limited access to comprehensive family planning services and information, particularly for adolescents; and
  • The State's inadequate response to high rates of sexual violence and harassment against women.

What is CEDAW?

The United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) is the only international treaty explicitly devoted to guaranteeing women's human rights, working from a lens of equality and non-discrimination. The Convention sets forth a comprehensive human rights framework to guide government laws and policy to combat gender inequality.

The shadow letter was submitted to the CEDAW Committee to inform its review of Egypt's implementation of the Convention.

While in Geneva, the Center is also co-sponsoring a panel with the International Commission of Jurists and EIPR regarding the state of women's sexual and reproductive rights in the Philippines, Egypt and the Netherlands. The Center will highlight its work in the Philippines, particularly its fact finding and advocacy regarding the impact of the blanket ban on modern contraceptives in Manila City on women's sexual and reproductive health and rights.