UN Committee reviews situation of women in Ukraine

GENEVA (14 February 2017) - The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women considered the eighth periodic report of Ukraine on its implementation of the provisions of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

C4nCA-BWYAAoahwA meeting of human rights defenders and the Representative of the Ombudsperson with the experts of the UN Committee took place on the eve of the presentation of the national report by the official Ukrainian delegation. Thanks to the dialogue with CSOs and the Ombudsperson's representative the UN Committee could get an objective picture of Ukraine's implementation of its CEDAW commitments and prepare a list of questions to the official delegation of Ukraine.

Introducing the state report, Nataliia Fedorovyich, Deputy Minister of Social Policy of Ukraine, said that Ukraine was currently harmonizing anti-discrimination legislation with the European Union and that important strides had been made in the legislative sphere for the more effective fight against domestic violence.

Neal Walker, UN Resident Coordinator, Humanitarian Coordinator in Ukraine presented UN Country Team Report on CEDAW implementation and noted "We are deeply apprehensive about the unprecedented challenges in Ukraine that impact women's access to equal opportunities and rights, and we are particularly worried about women facing multiple forms of discrimination. The roots can be found in patriarchal attitudes and stereotypes, but also in deep-rooted systemic problems which have not been addressed. These include weak rule of law, antiquated social-protection systems, weak capacity of national machinery for the advancement of women and a lack of political will. The conflict seriously exacerbated systemic problems and created new challenges and a whole new type of violations of women's human rights".

During the session's meeting Aksana Filipishyna, Representative of the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights for observance of non-discrimination and gender equality, stressed that the ignorance of the law was one of the reasons that women who had experienced gender discrimination, did not apply to the state authorities to protect their rights. She also noted that the number of complaints to the Ombudsperson of Ukraine on violations of equality of rights of women and men remained low, during 2016 only 7 complaints were submitted. However, the Ombudsperson received a lot of domestic violence-related complaints, including applications against inadequate police actions in cases of violence. She expressed hope that the ratification of the Istanbul Convention would be important step to combat violence against women.

In the dialogue with the State delegation, Committee Experts expressed concern about the devastating impact of the armed conflict on the population, particularly on minority groups, and about the shortcomings in the legislation which made it difficult to ensure accountability for conflict-related sexual violence. Experts asked Ukraine to swiftly ratify the Istanbul Convention in its entirety, to adopt a comprehensive and detailed definition of discrimination in the law, and to increase a momentum towards the elimination of discriminatory legal provisions. Other issues experts raised included the participation of women in the peace process; discrimination against Roma and LGBV; situation of women in detention particularly in the occupied regions; and the barriers to women's effective access to justice such as corruption and lack of access to free legal aid.

The concluding observations on the report of Ukraine will be made public soon and will be available at the session's webpage.

UNDP in Ukraine supports civil society and the Ombudsperson's Office to promote gender equality as a driver of sustainable country development, to facilitate Ukraine's implementation of international treaty obligations and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.