The Australian Human Rights Commission and the Australian Government Office for Women today released Women’s Human Rights, an educational kit of fact sheets about the Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).
Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Elizabeth Broderick said, “The Women’s Human Rights education kit provides people with a clear and basic understanding of international human rights, particularly as they relate to women.”
CEDAW enshrines women’s right to be free from discrimination in all areas of life including education, health, employment, public and political life, law, economic life, sport and culture. It is the key international human rights document which ensures that the human rights of women are protected and fulfilled. The Australian Government reports to the CEDAW Committee in the UN every four years.
“The Women’s Human Rights kit will increase community understanding about how to use the human rights standards enshrined in CEDAW,” Ms Broderick said. “Understanding our rights is a good step towards ensuring that they are protected and fulfilled, so I hope this kit gives people a good grounding to engage with the human rights of women in their work and every day life.”
The kit also includes new information about the Optional Protocol to CEDAW, which comes into force in Australia in March 2009. The Optional Protocol gives women in Australia the ability to take a complaint about a breach of their rights under CEDAW to the CEDAW Committee.
Commissioner Broderick said that 2008 had seen a number of positive opportunities in relation to women’s rights in Australia, such as the national consultation into human rights protections, the Senate Inquiry into the effectiveness of the Sex Discrimination Act and the government’s consideration of a national paid parental leave scheme.
Mr Broderick said she was hopeful that the new year would bring with it many more opportunities to strengthen the protection and fulfilment of women’s rights.
“I want all of us to work towards a future where all people in Australia have the same access to services, opportunities, choices and freedoms, regardless of their gender,” Commissioner Broderick said. “The Women’s Human Rights education pack will help give people an understanding of the international framework which supports this goal.”
The kit can be downloaded from the Australian Human Rights Commission website at www.humanrights.gov.au/sex_discrimination/publication/CEDAW/