, 51 tweets, 29 min read Read on Twitter
Starting a new thread for the CEDAW committee's questions. UK rapporteur opens by challenging the idea that women's rights will be protected after Brexit. Doesn't see evidence that rights have been properly considered in the process, except in Scotland. #ukcedaw #cedaw72
Also doesn't think mechanism generally are strong enough in the UK to protect women's rights. Progress is good but don't see enough to suggest there'll be not retrogression. Highlights absence of any reference to the Istanbul Convention. #ukcedaw #cedaw72
Wants to see CEDAW convention strengthened in UK legal system and aligned with the SDG's. Also calls for 1325 to be implemented in NI to promote women's participation in transition and to protect women from impact of Brexit. #ukcedaw #cedaw72
In response the UK govt repeats the statement that they are 'world leaders' in women's rights. Notes that the Gender Equality Office is moving to the Cabinet Office. This makes it more central. It is a welcome move. Opposite to what has happened in NI. #ukcedaw #cedaw72
UK govt position on incorporating CEDAW into domestic law is that it isn't necessary because it's binding, ministerial code requires compliance, domestic courts can interpret CEDAW, treaty bodies already provide accountability especially through OP. #ukcedaw #cedaw72
Also think the provisions are already reflected in domestic law, such as Equality Act and public sector equality duty. But we don't have single equality law in NI and we have many other gaps as highlighted by @EqualityCommNI work on law reform. #ukcedaw #cedaw72
Now restating commitment to non-regression of rights post-Brexit. Remain committed to ECHR despite losing protections of the Fundamental Charter. Points to 'longstanding tradition' of the UK protecting rights. I'm not sure 'tradition' is a reliable source. #ukcedaw #cedaw72
Govt state that NI devolved administration are responsible for rights. Will only intervene if there is 'genuine urgency' & 'all other mechanisms have been exhausted'. There clearly is genuine urgency to change abortion law. And all other mechanisms have been exhausted. #ukcedaw
When the Assembly was sitting they refused to support legislative change on abortion and some parties abused the petition of concern to make sure that mechanism couldn't be used. NGOs had to resort to CEDAW OP and even then no action taken by govt. #ukcedaw #cedaw72
The situation regarding abortion in NI clearly meets the criteria in terms of urgency and no other mechanisms existing. UK govt has power under Section 26 of the Northern Ireland Act to legislate for abortion in NI and should do so immediately. #ukcedaw #cedaw72
Representative from @CommunitiesNI now speaking on how they are working on gender equality issues in absence of devolved govt. Preparing policy for decisions by future Ministers, engaging w/ colleagues around the UK to stay well informed, engaging w/ sector. #ukcedaw #cedaw72
UK govt stating that 1325 doesn't apply because of the nature of UK involvement in NI during conflict, security forces were 'only there to maintain law and order'. This is obviously a contentious analysis. They should be supporting 1325 in NI regardless. #ukcedaw #cedaw72
CEDAW UK rapporteur is coming back to insist that the convention should be visibly incorporated, domestic law isn't currently effective. Also highlighting lack of consistency in domestic law and justice system across the 4 nations of UK and in relation to certain women. #ukcedaw
CEDAW want to see a full review of the legal protection of rights particularly as it effects marginalised women such as migrants, those in detention. Also want to say more on NI women but out of time. #ukcedaw #cedaw72
New committee member M. Rana focusing on 1325. UK NAP doesn't go far enough in some areas of international operations, e.g. UK involvement in arms trading. Will they cease arms trading in countries where violations of human rights and security law are ongoing? #ukcedaw #cedaw72
UK govt now commenting on a question asked about Sharia law and stressing that there will be no parallel law system & govt will not provide funding to any groups connected to sharia councils. #ukcedaw #cedaw72
On detention of migrant women UK govt claim that removal should be dignified, and they ensure all detention and removal is humane, safe etc and all staff are trained. Draws audible shock and disgust from the NGO section of the room! #cedaw72 #ukcedaw
Welsh govt rep highlighting national review of gender equality now in phase 2 with various areas of work to address issues identified. They are already analysing the pros & cons of incorporating treaties like CEDAW into domestic law. #ukcedaw #cedaw72
Scottish govt rep talks about the Scottish task force on human rights and the review of equality for women and girls which is ongoing. #ukcedaw #cedaw72
CEDAW member M. Reddock comes back on immigration detention issue - indefinite detention which pregnant women are also subject to, reports of sexual violence etc Immigration detention should be a last resort, indefinite should never be used. #ukcedaw #cedaw72
UK rapporteur calling again for an immediate review of the law across the UK because of the urgency around large gaps like the absence of violence against women protections in NI. #ukcedaw #cedaw72
Next comment from a committee member noting the vibrant and engaged civil society that the UK govt should continue to engage with. (I think that's a nod to how awesome we are.) #ukcedaw #cedaw72
Concern expressed that there is no oversight mechanism for the implementation of CEDAW, this will be even more important with the disruption that Brexit will bring. Also concerned about cuts to funding for NGOs and services affecting the most vulnerable. #ukcedaw #cedaw72
Further concerns about the rate of implementation of protection from intersectional discrimination. Also calling for protection of funding for violence against women services through local government. #ukcedaw #cedaw72
Final comment from this member on NHRIs and lack of funding and uncertainty about the transparency in selecting representatives. #ukcedaw #cedaw72
Next question from the committee is on women's political representation. While progress is noted its not very intersectional - BME, LGBT & disabled women representation is lower. Wants to know more about law in Scotland to require gender equality in public appointments. #ukcedaw
Also noting the problem of austerity measures in relation to violence against women and the impact on the most vulnerable women, particularly as Brexit could lead to further economic disruption. #ukcedaw #cedaw72
In response to austerity concerns UK govt claim they have a 'strong record' in supporting women, quotes measures from last budget such as raising tax allowance, increasing national living wage, spending more on UC. #ukcedaw #cedaw72
Claim that women are 'not disproportionately impacted' by austerity and they are 'keeping a close eye' on that. This is clearly not accurate as 86% of cuts were shouldered by women. @Alston_UNSR evidence on misogynistic welfare system also discredits this claim. #ukcedaw #cedaw72
Comment from @CommunitiesNI on Section 75 public equality duty, says it allows for intersectional approach but in reality NI law doesn't address issues of multiple identities/discrimination. That's why we've been calling for single equality law for years. #ukcedaw #cedaw72
We're also concerned that UK legislation like welfare policy is not subject to Section 75 screening but GB public authority duty does not look at specific impacts in NI given our different context. There are also gaps in enforcement. #ukcedaw #cedaw72
New question from committee about plan to tackle gender stereotypes in media, online abuse & harassment, equal representation in the media, incorporating these issues into RSE. #ukcedaw #cedaw72
Also wants to know how they will do more to tackle FGM, effective prosecution, prevention campaigns etc. Want to see an end to medical procedures forced on intersex people. Now highlighting failings of Domestic Abuse Bill. #ukcedaw #cedaw72
New comment on legal progress for protecting victims of trafficking. However, it falls short of international standards and definitions. Evidence that victims are 'falling through the gaps'. No duty in England & Wales to provide support to trafficked women. #ukcedaw #cedaw72
Concerned about the lack of long term support for victims and access to justice. Many victims are still wrongly criminalised, particularly where they've been forced to undertake criminal acts. Victims should have right to remain in UK as many face destitution. #ukcedaw #cedaw72
All of this means UK law is not compatible with Palermo Protocol. This is an excellent dissection of the trafficking law by a CEDAW committee member who knows the UK system better than I imagine most govt officials do. #ukcedaw #cedaw72
Follow up question from another committee member on support for women victims of sexual exploitation and access to legal aid. Wants to get the UK govt's view on the implementation of the law in NI that criminalises sex buyers. #ukcedaw #cedaw72
Also highlights that austerity and poverty appear to be pushing more women into sex work and wants to know how the govt will respond to this. #ukcedaw #cedaw72
UK govt now responding to all these questions. On Intersex Genital Mutilation, they have just put out a public call for evidence and so don't have anything to say yet but are working on the issue. #ukcedaw #cedaw72
Addressing issues of gender stereotyping in media. Mostly an issue of industry self-regulation but also new legal powers to ban harmful sexist advertising coming into force soon. Will be reviewed after 12 months. #ukcedaw #cedaw72
Welsh rep talking about Donaldson review of school curriculum including RSE. Have developed new curriculum with experts in RSE which is being launched soon. Also highlighting govt initiatives to prevent and respond to trafficking. #ukcedaw #cedaw72
Just an observation from me: the Welsh rep is getting a lot of airtime compared to Scotland and NI which seems odd given that they have the least differences in law and policy as a result of devolution. #ukcedaw #cedaw72
UK rep says they will be monitoring the sex buyers law in NI but have yet to see any definitive evidence that any one model is best at reducing harm and exploitation. Again, NI rep not invited to speak on this despite the direct question about NI law. #ukcedaw #cedaw72
Scottish rep says the number of days support for trafficking victims has been doubled from 45 days to 90 days. This is better but still not enough time for the reflection period. Still nothing from @CommunitiesNI about our law and system of support. #ukcedaw #cedaw72
UK govt rep acknowledged the Domestic Abuse Bill doesn't go far enough. Outlines funding alongside it for training statutory agencies and funding civil society services. Will we see any of this delivered in NI if the law doesn't apply here? #ukcedaw #cedaw72
Follow up question from committee member M. Gabr: says they still haven't answered her question about the assessment of the sex buyers law in NI. NI rep should speak to this. The review/evaluation was supposed to have happened already but hasn't started yet. #ukcedaw #cedaw72
One thing we do know is that the promised funding for support to exit prostitution has never materialised. No new exit services have been set up or funded. All @healthdpt produced was a sign-posting exercise to services that already weren't working effectively #ukcedaw #cedaw72
Rep from @CommunitiesNI talking about paramilitary intimidation. Quotes WICT as a programme to build women's capacity in community leadership. We remain concerned about community gatekeepers having too much influence and women fear reprisals for speaking out. #ukcedaw #cedaw72
Also @CommunitiesNI rep said she will forward information on the assessment of the sex buyers law as she doesn't have it. There has to date been no assessment - a researcher has now been appointed to carry this review out and it should commence soon. #ukcedaw #cedaw72
Update from @CommunitiesNI that the review has been commissioned and QUB will be carrying it out. We know there has only been one conviction and it was not actually a situation where someone was purchasing sex but rather harassing a woman on the street. #ukcedaw #cedaw72
Well that's the morning session over. Lots of issues covered. Time to eat, see if we can engage with committee members on any key concerns. #ukcedaw #cedaw72
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