The Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) will take effect through an act passed by the legislature yesterday in an effort to implement the international accord adopted by the UN in 1979, although Taiwan is not a member of the international organization.
As set out in the CEDAW enforcement act, which will become effective on Jan. 1, the government will be required to review its laws, regulations and practices and to amend or reform those that do not comply with the convention within three years.
The enforcement act also requires the government to present a national report that assesses gender equality in the country every four years.
Huang Pi-hsia (黃碧霞), head of the Ministry of the Interior’s Department of Social Affairs, said the government would invite experts from home and abroad to review the national reports and offer suggestions for improvement.
Often described as an international bill of rights for women, CEDAW, which came into force in 1981 after being adopted by the UN in 1979, has 98 signatories and 186 participating parties.
Regulations under CEDAW on the protection of gender-based human rights and the promotion of gender equality are effective as domestic laws, the enforcement act said.
Governments at all levels shall act in accordance with the regulations, as well as work together with foreign governments, local and international non-government organizations and human rights organizations to do away with discrimination against women and realize gender equality, it said.
Article 1 of CEDAW defines “discrimination against women” as any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of gender that has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, regardless of their marital status and on a basis of equality between men and women, of their human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field.
It was the third enforcement act to bring national standards in line with international norms following enforcement acts for the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, enacted after the nation’s ratification of the two covenants was rejected.
In 2007, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon returned Taiwan’s instrument of accession to CEDAW, citing UN Resolution No. 2758 and making a controversial claim that Taiwan was part of the People’s Republic of China.
Minister of the Interior Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) yesterday thanked the Legislative Yuan for having passed CEDAW, as well as efforts made by women’s rights advocacy groups that lobbied for the law’s passage.
“The passage of the law is not only a milestone in the nation’s promotion of gender equality, but also helps to put the protection of women’s rights in this country on par with international standards,” he said.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY LOA IOK-SIN