The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) is the UN body established in 1982 and provided with the mandate to monitor the implementation of the CEDAW Convention by the States Parties and to draw their attention to the issues that affect women by making the adequate recommendations.
The Committee consists of 23 members – independent experts in women’s rights issues covered by the Convention – elected in line with the principle of equitable geographical distribution in membership and the representation of “the different forms of civilization as well as the principal legal systems”.
The Committee meets 3 times a year (from 2010 onwards) to review the state parties performance in implementing its obligations under the Convention through an assessment of national reports submitted by the States Parties and NGO shadow report. The Committee also discusses other areas of work including General Recommendations and cases under the Optional Protocol to CEDAW. Up to date the Committee formulated 25 general recommendations with the aim of providing the States Parties with guidelines on how to interpret the Convention and on what they shall include in their reports.
The Committee plays a crucial role in the interpretation of the provisions of the Convention. The Optional Protocol to CEDAW Convention provided the Committee with the mandate to receive the complaints by women or on their behalf (communications procedure) as well as to initiate an inquiry into grave and systematic violations of women’s human rights (inquiry procedure).