The current report is the third country report that Switzerland has submitted to the UN Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. It was approved by the Federal Council on 2 April 2008 and contains explanations of the general legal and political developments in Switzerland since the presentation of the initial report in January 2003 (which combined the first and second country reports). The report describes the many measures that the Confederation, cantons and municipalities have taken in the last few years to improve the situation for women in Switzerland. These include the introduction of maternity insurance, improved measures to deal with violence in the home, promoting new complementary child-care facilities, as well as ratification of the Optional Protocol to CEDAW, which establishes the possibility to submit individual communications to the CEDAW Committee concerning specific cases of discrimination against women.
The country reports present the legislative, judicial, administrative and other measures that have been taken to implement the Convention. The presentation of country reports to the Committee is an integral control element of the implementation of the Convention: it is public, and interested private individuals or NGOs can witness it. Following the presentation of the report, this committee of experts drafts its recommendations for the attention of the State concerned.
The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women is the central instrument of the international community to promote equal rights for women. It was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1979 and is the only international convention dealing exclusively with the issue of discrimination against women. It obligates the States Parties, among other things, to adopt measures to achieve, both legally and in effect, equality for women and men, and to allow for the full development and promotion of women in everyday life. The Convention also stipulates that the “Adoption by States Parties of temporary special measures aimed at accelerating de facto equality between men and women shall not be considered discrimination”. Such measures must however be temporary and discontinued when the objectives of equality of opportunity and treatment have been achieved.
Switzerland acceded to the Convention on 27 March 1997. As at 1 July 2009, 186 States were party to the Convention.
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