UNWGDAW Consultation: Toronto


The Women’s Human Rights Institute and the Centre for Women’s Studies in Education at OISE/UT invite you to join us for a special opportunity:
Civil Society Consultation on
“Good practices in the elimination of discrimination against women in law and practice”
with Costa Rican feminist jurist and activist Alda Facio,
Chair of the UN Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and practice,
for the forthcoming 2017 report on “good practices” to the UN Human Rights Council


Date:    Wednesday, August 24th

Time:   2:00 – 4:30 pm

Location:  Nexus Lounge, 12th floor of OISE building at 252 Bloor St. W, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (St George subway station, accessible building)

Advance RSVP is REQUIRED to:     info@learnwhr.org  and   cwse@utoronto.ca

Purpose of event:
This event is an opportunity for women’s organizations and civil society organizations that work on women’s human rights issues to share interesting examples and case studies of what might be considered “promising” or “good” practices in the efforts to eliminate discrimination against women in law and practice. UNWGDAW Chair Alda Facio cordially invites feminist and women-centred organizations to make short presentations and/or submit additional materials to be considered for the 2017 Human Rights Council report on this theme.  You must RSVP to be included amongst the speakers.   The mechanisms of the WGDAW and how it can be used by women’s organizations to support activism and advocacy will also be shared.
Background – UNWGDAW & “Good Practices” report:
The UN Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and practice (WGDAW) is one of the Special Procedures of the UN Human Rights Council.  It consists of five independent expert members from different regions of the world whose mandate is to investigate women’s human rights issues and to promote the fulfillment of international women’s human rights obligations.
WGDAW Chair Alda Facio has embarked upon a series of consultations, partnerships and a research project in order to receive extensive input from women’s movement and civil society organizations in the identification of “good practices” that support the de facto implementation of international women’s human rights obligations, the theme of the 2017 report to the Human Rights Council.
Given the emphasis in the WGDAW’s mandate on law as a mechanism to address discrimination against women, this consultation seeks to receive input from women’s organizations and civil society to identify legislation, court decisions, decisions/recommendations of local, national or international human rights mechanisms, that have had a substantial and meaningful impact on women’s enjoyment of their rights.  The study does not look at laws in isolation, but seeks to situate good laws within the wider context of their development and implementation, looking to understand what processes go into the creation of a good law or decision, and what processes allow for meaningful implementation.  Law and practice will be understood as a circular continuum that requires the participation of multiple stakeholders to ensure effective progress in the development of law and in implementation of the law.  The role of civil society, women’s organizations and movements in ensuring the impact and responsivity of the law will be highlighted.
The report will explore the process by which good law, grounded in human rights principles, is developed, adopted and promulgated, and the processes by which this law is operationalized to have a de facto impact on women’s lives.  The input of women’s organizations and civil society is crucial to understand this process holistically, and to meaningfully ascertain the true impact of laws and their associated policies.
Guiding Questions for Consultation
  • What law (legislation or case law) can you identify that has had a meaningful impact on gender equality and women’s enjoyment of their rights in your national or local context? How did it come about?  What made its implementation successful?
  • Thinking on a longer historical trajectory, what have been crucial and meaningful positive changes for women or a group of women in your country, what was the role of the law, and what was the process by which these changes came about?
  • How has your organization utilized the law to make change?
  • Has your organization collaborated in the drafting or implementation of gender equality laws? Please share your experience.
  • What are the positive outcomes and gaps in successful implementation of laws that promote gender equality in your context? What do you think your government should do in order to promote “good practices” in the realization of women’s human rights?
  • Why do you feel that civil society participation is essential to the formulation and implementation of the law? In what ways?
More information on the UNWGDAW:
The main activities of the WGDAW involve (1) receiving and issuing communications on human rights violations or situations of concern; (2) country visits to investigate progress in implementation of women’s human rights commitments; and (3) the production of annual thematic reports on issues related to the mandate, which are presented to the Human Rights Council.
Visit the website here:  http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Women/WGWomen/Pages/WGWomenIndex.aspx

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