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European Women’s Forum Beijing +15 PDF Print E-mail

The Spanish Presidency of the Council of the European Union (January-June 2010) hosted the European Women’s Forum–Beijing+15 in the Palace of Congress of Cadiz on 4th- 5th February 2010.


The Event was attended by official delegations of the 27 Member States and a number of Ministers. Unfortunately the UK Minister Vera Baird, who was due to speak on the second day of the conference was detained in London on political business, and Barbara-Ann Collins, Director of the Women’s National Commission was recommended by the UK Government to speak for the UK. Barbara had been invited to join the Delegation as a representative of UK civil society, together with invited NGO representatives from across the EU.

30th Anniversary of CEDAW PDF Print E-mail

The WNC are delighted to welcome the 30th Anniversay of The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) on 18 December 2009. 

CEDAW was adopted by the UN General Assembly in December 1979, and has so far been ratified by 186 countries.  It consists of a preamble and 30 articles, defining what constitutes discrimination against women and setting up an agenda for national action to end such discrimination.

The Convention is known as the international bill of rights for women, thereby providing a foundation for realising equal rights between men and women.  Please visit our CEDAW page for further information: http://www.thewnc.org.uk/work-of-the-wnc/international-articles/cedaw.html

CSW Shadow reports PDF Print E-mail

The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), the annual functional commission of the UN Economic and Social Council dedicated to the advancement of women, does not provide a Shadow reporting mechanism and will not accept any documents submitted by NGOs.

However, the 2010 session of CSW will be undertaking a 15-year review of the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, to mark this anniversary year.  Therefore, whilst the UN as usual will not provide for the submission and publishing of NGO Shadow reports, the NGO Committee on the Status of Women, New York does intend to post NGO Shadow reports on its Beijing +15 website.  The NGO Committee on the Status of Women is not part of the UN structure and this is therefore not a formal Shadow reporting mechanism.

Some partners are familiar with the CEDAW process, which unlike CSW does have the facility by which NGOs can submit Shadow reports to be considered by the CEDAW Committee alongside States parties' reports during the examination period (see the dedicated CEDAW page in our International section for further details).

Any organisations who wish to produce a Shadow report and have it posted on the NGO/CSW NY website should send them to: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Human Rights Day - 10 December PDF Print E-mail


Human Rights Day is observed by the international community every year on 10 December. It commemorates the day in 1948 the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  


The formal inception of Human Rights Day dates from 1950, after the Assembly passed resolution 423 (V) inviting all States and interested organizations to adopt 10 December of each year as Human Rights Day.


When the General Assembly adopted the Declaration, with 48 states in favour and eight abstentions, it was proclaimed as a "common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations", towards which individuals and societies should "strive by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance". Although the Declaration with its broad range of political, civil, social, cultural and economic rights is not a binding document, it inspired more than 60 human rights instruments which together constitute an international standard of human rights. Today the general consent of all United Nations Member States on the basic Human Rights laid down in the Declaration makes it even stronger and emphasizes the relevance of Human Rights in our daily lives.


The High Commissioner for Human Rights, as the main United Nations rights official, and her Office play a major role in coordinating efforts for the yearly observation of Human Rights Day.

For more information on the UN and its human rights website, please click here.


UK Response to the UN Economic Commission for Europe Beijing +15 Questionnaire PDF Print E-mail

At the sixty-second session of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) in 2007, the ECE member States agreed to convene a regional meeting in preparation for the 15-year review of implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action. The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (BPfA) is an international declaration of women’s rights set up at the UN’s landmark Fourth World Conference on Women, held in Beijing in 1995. The BPfA covers 12 key critical matters of concern and areas for action including women and poverty, violence against women and access to power and decision-making. It was supported by 189 countries, including the UK, at the 1995 World Conference.

Amongst the objectives set out at the UNECE meeting were taking stock of the progress made in the region on gender equality and women's empowerment, and promoting partnerships to increase gender equality in the region.

UNECE circulated a questionnaire to all UNECE members as an outcome of the meeting to assess progress on Beijing +15, and the UK Government has responded with a full report. Click here to access the report.

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