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Office of Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson Launches UN CEDAW Alternative Report

For the first time in the history of the institution, the Office of the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson provided the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) with an independent report on the situation of women's rights in Lithuania.

The UN CEDAW Committee, which performs the function of hearing State Parties’ Reports on the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, met in Geneva in March for a Pre-Sessional Working Group. The Office's representative Tomas Vytautas Raskevičius presented to the Committee an Additional Information on State Party’s Submission on the situation of women's rights in Lithuania, which was submitted to the Committee in January 2019, outlining the issues which were not sufficiently covered in the State Party’s Report.

The Office sought to draw the Committee's attention to two issues, namely the need to improve the national machinery for gender equality and to enhance the efforts in eliminating different forms of gender-based violence. The Office has also formulated five questions to the State Representatives, which the Committee could submit to the State Party.

While presenting the Office's position, the Head of Equal Opportunities Mainstreaming Division Mr. Raskevičius received questions from the Committee’s members about the delay in ratifying the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence and the extent to which the Office's financial resources and operational independence are ensured. Members of the Committee were also concerned about how national gender equality policy makers are planning to take into account the Office's independent review (LT version only) on measures for equality between women and men.

After the meeting, the Committee adopted a list of 20 issues and questions addressed to the drafters of the State Party’s Report, asking for clarification on measures taken by the State Party to address existing gender inequalities. The main session, during which the Lithuanian Government’s Report and alternative reports will be discussed, will take place from 21 October to 8 November 2019. The Office is planning  to participate during the session as an independent equality body.

The UN CEDAW Committee consists of 23 independent experts from all over the world, including Lithuanian expert prof. Dalia Leinartė. The Committee's main function is to oversee the implementation of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

Agneta Skardžiuvienė

Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson of the Republic of Lithuania

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