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Outcome of CEDAW Review of Nigeria: More Action Needed to Implement the WPS Agenda

8 August 2017

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) reviewed the implementation record of Nigeria under the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (Convention), in July 2017. To inform such review, WILPF Nigeria, in coalition with seven women’s rights organisations[1] submitted a report highlighting the gaps in the implementation of the Convention in Nigeria, with specific attention to Women, Peace and Security issues. This comprehensive joint report formulates recommendations on five themes: conflict prevention, discrimination and gender-based violence, women’s space in political and public life, the situation of rural women and the education of women and girls. 

Isi Ikhimiukor and Dorothy Njemanze of WILPF Nigeria participated in the CEDAW Committee session, including in the Committee’s Informal Meeting with NGOs and the Informal Lunch Briefing with Committee members. On these occasions, they presented the coalition’s concerns and recommendations to the Committee members, many of which were reflected in the Committee’s questions to the Nigerian Delegation during the Interactive Dialogue.

The Committee, for instance, enquired about the implementation of the second National Action Plan on UN Security Council Resolution 1325 across all States of Nigeria; how Nigeria intended to monitor and halt the proliferation of small arms and light weapons; and Nigeria’s plans to deal with the violent clashes and deadly attacks arising from the competition for natural resources between farmers and Fulani herders in many areas of the country, which have had a dramatic impact on the lives and security of girls and women.

In its Concluding Observations, which formulate recommendations for action to Nigeria, the Committee has tackled a number of concerns raised by WILPF Nigeria and its coalition partners. For instance, on the issue of conflict prevention, the Committee recommended to Nigeria to ensure the effective regulation of small arms and light weapons, to allocate an adequate budget to the implementation of the NAP on 1325, to ensure the participation of women in conflict prevention, as well as to protect women and girls that are disproportionately affected by the attacks carried out by the Fulani herdsmen. Such protection should “ensure that perpetrators of such attacks, including gender-based violence, are arrested, prosecuted and punished with appropriate sanctions”.[2]

Regarding discrimination and gender-based violence, the Committee called on Nigeria to domesticate the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act, Child Rights Act, and the CEDAW Convention in all States; to expedite the adoption of the Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill; and to address the root causes of trafficking of women and girls, including by addressing their economic situation. The Committee also made specific recommendations on the issue of women’s inheritance rights and on child marriage; and on access to legal support and safe shelters for women survivors of violence. These issues also respond to concerns raised by the Coalition.

In the area of women in political and public life, the Committee recommended Nigeria to use the on-going constitutional review to adopt legislation on temporary special measures in order to increase the participation of women in political and public life, education and employment; to provide adequate resources to the national machinery for the advancement of women; and to intensify awareness-raising in the media and film industry about discriminatory gender stereotypes.

Regarding the rights of rural women, the Committee recommended that Nigeria review land laws in order to ensure rural women’s access to land and to expand rural women’s access to credit and economic opportunities. Finally, on the issue of education, the Committee called on Nigeria to increase the budget allocation for the education sector.

In November 2016, WILPF Nigeria participated in the CEDAW Committee’s Pre-sessional Working Group. During that meeting, WILPF delivered a statement underlining a number of concerns to raise with the Nigerian government. These concerns were reflected in the Committee’s List of Issues. In particular, the Committee asked Nigeria for further information on its implementation of the National Action Plan on UN Security Council Resolution 1325, the application of the Violence against Persons (Prohibition) Act outside the Federal capital territory, steps taken to address the under-representation of women in political life, measures to ensure rural women’s access to land and economic opportunities, and access to justice in gender-based violence cases.

WILPF Nigeria and its coalition partners will monitor the implementation of the CEDAW Committee’s recommendations at national level to ensure progress in the protection of women’s rights on the ground.

For more information about the issues raised by WILPF Nigeria and its coalition partners in this CEDAW Committee’s review, please read joint report on Women, Peace and Security.

 

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[1] Arike Foundation, Dorothy Njemanze Foundation (DNF), Federation of Muslim Women Association of Nigeria (FOMWAN), Initiative for Sustainable Peace, West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP), Women’s Right Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA), Women for Skill Acquisition Development and Leadership Organisation (WOSADLO)

[2] UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women: Nigeria, paragraph 16 (e) 21 July 2017, CEDAW/C/NGA/CO/7-8, available at: http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=CEDAW%2fC%2fNGA%2fCO%2f7-8&Lang=en

 

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Melissa Torres

VICE-PRESIDENT

Prior to being elected Vice-President, Melissa Torres was the WILPF US International Board Member from 2015 to 2018. Melissa joined WILPF in 2011 when she was selected as a Delegate to the Commission on the Status of Women as part of the WILPF US’ Practicum in Advocacy Programme at the United Nations, which she later led. She holds a PhD in Social Work and is a professor and Global Health Scholar at Baylor College of Medicine and research lead at BCM Anti-Human Trafficking Program. Of Mexican descent and a native of the US/Mexico border, Melissa is mostly concerned with the protection of displaced Latinxs in the Americas. Her work includes training, research, and service provision with the American Red Cross, the National Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Centre, and refugee resettlement programs in the U.S. Some of her goals as Vice-President are to highlight intersectionality and increase diversity by fostering inclusive spaces for mentorship and leadership. She also contributes to WILPF’s emerging work on the topic of displacement and migration.

Jamila Afghani

VICE-PRESIDENT

Jamila Afghani is the President of WILPF Afghanistan which she started in 2015. She is also an active member and founder of several organisations including the Noor Educational and Capacity Development Organisation (NECDO). Elected in 2018 as South Asia Regional Representative to WILPF’s International Board, WILPF benefits from Jamila’s work experience in education, migration, gender, including gender-based violence and democratic governance in post-conflict and transitional countries.

Sylvie Jacqueline Ndongmo

PRESIDENT

Sylvie Jacqueline NDONGMO is a human rights and peace leader with over 27 years experience including ten within WILPF. She has a multi-disciplinary background with a track record of multiple socio-economic development projects implemented to improve policies, practices and peace-oriented actions. Sylvie is the founder of WILPF Cameroon and was the Section’s president until 2022. She co-coordinated the African Working Group before her election as Africa Representative to WILPF’s International Board in 2018. A teacher by profession and an African Union Trainer in peace support operations, Sylvie has extensive experience advocating for the political and social rights of women in Africa and worldwide.

WILPF Afghanistan

In response to the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban and its targeted attacks on civil society members, WILPF Afghanistan issued several statements calling on the international community to stand in solidarity with Afghan people and ensure that their rights be upheld, including access to aid. The Section also published 100 Untold Stories of War and Peace, a compilation of true stories that highlight the effects of war and militarisation on the region. 

IPB Congress Barcelona

WILPF Germany (+Young WILPF network), WILPF Spain and MENA Regional Representative

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Demilitarisation

WILPF uses feminist analysis to argue that militarisation is a counter-productive and ill-conceived response to establishing security in the world. The more society becomes militarised, the more violence and injustice are likely to grow locally and worldwide.

Sixteen states are believed to have supplied weapons to Afghanistan from 2001 to 2020 with the US supplying 74 % of weapons, followed by Russia. Much of this equipment was left behind by the US military and is being used to inflate Taliban’s arsenal. WILPF is calling for better oversight on arms movement, for compensating affected Afghan people and for an end to all militarised systems.

Militarised masculinity

Mobilising men and boys around feminist peace has been one way of deconstructing and redefining masculinities. WILPF shares a feminist analysis on the links between militarism, masculinities, peace and security. We explore opportunities for strengthening activists’ action to build equal partnerships among women and men for gender equality.

WILPF has been working on challenging the prevailing notion of masculinity based on men’s physical and social superiority to, and dominance of, women in Afghanistan. It recognizes that these notions are not representative of all Afghan men, contrary to the publicly prevailing notion.

Feminist peace​

In WILPF’s view, any process towards establishing peace that has not been partly designed by women remains deficient. Beyond bringing perspectives that encapsulate the views of half of the society and unlike the men only designed processes, women’s true and meaningful participation allows the situation to improve.

In Afghanistan, WILPF has been demanding that women occupy the front seats at the negotiating tables. The experience of the past 20 has shown that women’s presence produces more sustainable solutions when they are empowered and enabled to play a role.

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