Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women's concluding observations: Venezuela, Poland, China, Ghana, Belgium, Brunei Darussalam, Guinea, Solomon Islands

By United Nations - Office of the UN High Commissione

GENEVA, Switzerland, November 5, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The UN Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) will share with the media its concluding observations of its 59th session on Friday 7 November at 13:30 in Press Room 1, Palais des Nations, Geneva.

Among the issues discussed during the session:

Venezuela: Widespread and rising violence against women and girls; high rates of maternal mortality; high number of teenage pregnancies; restrictive abortion laws forcing women to resort to unsafe abortions; shortages of antiretroviral treatment for women living with HIV/Aids; persistence of deep-rooted stereotypes, especially media portrayal of women as sex objects; women's representation in the National Assembly below the regional and world average.

Poland: Gender discrimination in education, health care, private and family life;

limited effect of anti-trafficking measures; persistent gender wage gap; impact of unsafe abortions on women's health; restrictive legal and policy frameworks in place restricting women's access to safe abortion services; frequent refusal by doctors to perform abortions based on the “conscience clause”.

China, China Hong Kong, China Macau: Threats of reprisals against human rights defenders attending the Committee's session; reports of extra-legal places of deprivation of liberty (black jails); measures to combat infanticide, sex-selective abortion, forced abortions and sterilisations; participation in political life of ethnic minority women (Tibetan and Uighur women); women's political participation in politics in Hong Kong; abuse of foreign women domestic workers in Hong Kong.

Ghana: Obstacles to women's access to justice; barriers to women's effective political participation; persistence of violence against women and harmful practices such as widowhood rites, female genital mutilation (FGM); ritual slavery, polygamy and child marriage; high rates of teenage pregnancies and maternal mortality; gender pay gap; harmonisation of marriage laws; women's land and property rights.

Belgium: Lack of effective implementation of law banning FGM; lack of information on impact of ban on wearing of headscarves; risk of deportation faced by undocumented migrant women awaiting residence permits based on family reunification or domestic violence.

Brunei Darussalam: Adoption of Syariah Penal Code (2013), imposing the death penalty, stoning and corporal punishment for a significant number of offences; polygamy and FGM; absence of specific legislation on violence against women; criminalisation of abortion and prostitution; divergent and very low legal minimum ages of marriage for girls; discriminatory laws on nationality, marriage, inheritance and family relations.

Guinea: Discriminatory provisions in the Civil Code and the Criminal Code; follow-up on the conclusions of the Commission of Inquiry into events of 28 September 2009; harmful practices including FGM, succession rites, early marriages; high level of sexual violence; high maternal mortality rate; human trafficking; child labour; female illiteracy and school dropout rates; the impact of Ebola on women's rights.

Solomon Islands: Extremely high level of violence against women; justice and reparations for women victims of human rights violations during the ethnic tensions from 1998 to 2003; women's role in peacebuilding; prevailing harmful practices such as bride prices and early marriages; trafficking in women and girls for purposes of sexual and labour exploitation; lack of maternal health care facilities; near absence of women in public and political life – currently one woman in 50-member parliament.