More than two years after initial submission, women’s rights advocates across Asia celebrated the favourable decision in July 2010 by the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women in the Communication brought by Karen Vertido against the Philippines under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) Optional Protocol.
This is the first case brought from the Asia-Pacific region under the Optional Protocol and the first ever on rape decided under the Optional Protocol.
The Committee found that the Philippines violated Ms Vertido’s rights under the Convention and asked the Philippines to make its legislation conform to the prevailing international jurisprudence on rape.
UNIFEM (now UN Women) East and Southeast Asia Sub-Regional Office (ESEARO) supported the Women’s Legal and Human Rights Bureau (WLB) in the Philippines to work on Ms Vertido’s case and to train other women’s groups on use of the Optional Protocol. Some 50 women’s rights groups from different provinces around the Philippines have since attended WLB training workshops. Through the training, other potential cases for submission to the CEDAW Committee have been identified. The training has even been extended to other Asian non-government organisations, and an organization in Thailand is currently preparing a case for submission with the technical support of WLB. Most recently, UN Women ESEARO recommended Ms. Vertido’s WLB attorney as a resource person for a CEDAW Optional Protocol roundtable and workshop organized by the UN in Albania.
The Karen Vertido decision is referred to as CEDAW/C/46/D/18/2008 and can be accessed at the website of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights athttp://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/jurisprudence.htm
For further information contact Shoko Ishikawa, Regional Programme Manager, CEDAW Southeast Asia Programme, UN Women ESEARO – firstname.lastname@example.org