GIS - September 11, 2012: A one-day workshop on the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) opened this morning at the Gold Crest Hotel, Quatre Bornes. The workshop is part of activities organised by the Ministry of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare to build capacity of members of the National Steering Committee on Gender Mainstreaming on CEDAW and the role of government officials in promoting CEDAW in the formulation of gender responsive laws, policies and strategies to advance gender equality at national and regional levels.
The National Steering Committee on Gender Mainstreaming, comprising government officials of the administrative cadre, is a forum that ensures gender permeates all policies and programmes of Government and provides guidance and new strategic orientations to promote a gender responsive culture.
It is to be noted that Mauritius acceded to CEDAW in 1984. Under the Convention, the country has undergone three periodic review processes in 1995, 2006 and 2011, which assessed national actions to end discrimination against women and ensure women’s equal access to, and equal opportunities in the legal, social, economic and political spheres.
In her opening address for the occasion, the Minister of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare, Mrs Mireille Martin, stated that the CEDAW, as an influential tool to attain universal women’s rights standards, provides room for redressing all forms of discrimination against women. “As such, the Government and my ministry are relentlessly working to implement the recommendations mentioned in the concluding observations of the CEDAW’s country report”, she said.
According to the minister, the measures initiated include the introduction of new legislations as well as amendments to existing ones namely the Equal Opportunities Act 2008, the Local Government Act 2012 and the Criminal Code (Amendment) Act 2012 to ensure a greater protection and inclusion of women’s rights; the development of a computerized system for data collection on domestic violence known as Domestic Violence Information System (DOVIS); regular campaigns on gender concept to change traditional perceptions on gender roles in the family and society; and the introduction by the Ministry of Civil service Affairs and Administrative Reforms of a module on gender in its training programme for public officers, among others.
Mrs Martin pointed out that for CEDAW to be used and its transformative potential unpacked, it depends on how well the Convention is understood, grasped, internalized and owned by all stakeholders. She called on participants to fully engage in the implementation of the Convention. “It is critical that you are made aware of women’s human rights instruments; you should deepen your understanding of CEDAW; you should contribute effectively in the implementation of the various articles; you should help the timely reporting exercise; and you should strengthen the capacity of other colleagues by popularizing CEDAW provisions”, she added.
The Minister also announced that other workshops to enable members of the Committee to internalise the various provisions and implications of a number of other human rights treaties related to women’s rights, non-discrimination and gender equality such as the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development and the Commonwealth Plan of Action on Gender and Development would be scheduled soon.