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Four Nations Launch Initiative for Global Treaty

On December 7, 2023 Every Woman Treaty hosted an online webinar for the annual 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence, entitled “UNiTE! The Need for an Optional Protocol to CEDAW to End Violence Against Women and Girls.” 

The event brought together four nations — Antigua and Barbuda, Costa Rica, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Sierra Leone —  the Special Rapporteur on violence against women and girls and two former Special Rapporteurs and an Every Woman Treaty Coalition member. 

During the webinar, the four nations released a joint statement calling for the creation, adoption and implementation of a new Optional Protocol on violence against women and girls to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). 

The nations’ call was supported and echoed by the Special Rapporteur on violence against women and girls, its causes and consequences, Ms. Reem Alsalem, and the two former special rapporteurs, Ms. Dubravka Šimonović (2015 – 2021) and Ms. Rashida Manjoo (2009 – 2015). The three special rapporteurs also issued a joint statement urging UN Member States to strongly consider adopting an Optional Protocol to CEDAW. 

The event and joint statements marked a crucial, necessary and significant step forward toward gender equality and the eradication of violence against women and girls.

Mr. Mubarak Idris, from Every Woman Coalition’s Emerging Leaders Council, spoke of the importance of men as allies during the event. 

The minister, ambassadors and Special Rapporteurs called for civil society — women human rights defenders, women-led organizations and survivors — to be an integral and equal part of the process of creating an optional protocol.