Workshop on achieving gender equality and Women’s rights organized by UNIFEM CEDAW SEAP

HA NOI, July 21 , 2005 - The UNIFEM CEDAW South East Asia Program (SEAP) is organizing a multi-stakeholder workshop in Vietnam with the objective of raising awareness about the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and women's human rights. The workshop takes place on 21 - 22 July at Thang Loi hotel, Hanoi.

The workshop will bring together stakeholders from government agencies, civil society and key donors. Among the participants are the National Committee for the Advancement of Women, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Planning and investment, Ministry of Education and Training, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Office of the National Assembly, Government Office, General Statistic Office, the Civil Society Organizations, Women's Union, Youth Union, Farmer Association, Committee for Population, Family and Children, Ho Chi Minh Political Academy, Academic institutions, Donor and United Nations agencies as well as the press community

This workshop serves as a kick-start to strengthen commitment and action towards the implementation of CEDAW and to create a network for policy dialogue and partnerships among the stakeholders ~or CEDAW implementation. The workshop format includes presentations followed by breakout groups that will allow discussion o­n the key features, principles and uses of CEDAW to strengthen strategies, programs and initiatives and to identify ways to enhance CEDAW implementation, monitoring and reporting as well as partnerships among various stakeholders in promoting gender equality and addressing areas of common concern related to women's human rights.

The UN Convention o­n the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) is often referred to as the 'women's bill of rights'. Ratified or acceded to by 179 countries, CEDAW provides a powerful framework for countries to move toward achieving gender equality, o­ne of the key elements of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGS). Yet, despite widespread ratification of the Convention, full implementation of its provisions has lagged behind. Given almost universal agreement o­n the MDGS as a goal to guide all development activities, intensified support for countries to build capacity to fully implement the Convention is both: strategic and timely.

The UNIFEM CEDAW South East Asia Programmer (SEAP) is a 4 year CIDA funded programmer that aims to realize women's human rights through more effective implementation of the Convention o­n the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in South East Asia. Vietnam is o­ne of the seven countries participating in the program. The CEDAW SEA Programme prioritizes strengthening capacities of rights-holders to claim their rights and duty-bearers to fulfil their obligations in accordance with commitments to CEDAW implementation in seven South-east Asian countries: Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Philippines, Thailand, Timor Leste and Vietnam. Vietnam has ratified CEDAW in 1982 but still need to make significant advancements to realize women's human rights in line with the terms of the Convention.

With strong and firm commitment from both UNIFEM and the Government of Vietnam, the CEDAW SEA Programme shall be maximized its support to the three arms of the government - the Executive, Judicial and Legislative branches - as well as women's NGOS and human rights organizations to better use of CEDAW in promoting women's human rights, fighting discrimination against women, and better report o­n CEDAW implementation.

By Vu Thu Hong - UNIFEM