By Emily Bare / GICJ

The delegate of Ukraine, Oksana Zholnovych, emphasised that the recommendations of the Committee are extremely important during the current war in Ukraine due to the growing dangers faced by women. She also acknowledged and welcomed the improvements that Ukraine has made despite the current situation in the country.

On the 18th of October 2022, during its 83rd Session, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) discussed the ninth periodic report of Ukraine (CEDAW/C/UKR/9) submitted on the 29th of December 2021. This report covers the implementation of the CEDAW in the country between 2017-2020. 

Prior to the submission of the ninth periodic report by Ukraine, the CEDAW provided a list of issues and questions to the country concerned. These questions covered issues regarding conflict-related sexual violence, internally displaced women, stereotypes and harmful practices, gender-based violence, trafficking, education, employment, and health, just to name a few. 

The report highlighted a multitude of different items, including the fact that the Ukrainian Government has approved the Gender Equality Communication Concept which aims to improve the understanding of gender equality as the equal conditions by which women and men may realise their rights. Moreover, efforts to overcome firmly rooted stereotypes of gender roles, build a zero-tolerance approach towards gender-based discrimination, and provide information on the threats of using gender issues as a tool for hybrid aggression were also discussed. 

Among others, concerns were raised during the session regarding the increase in danger faced by women since the start of the war, especially regarding acts of sexual violence against women by militias. The Special Rapporteur of Ukraine, D. Leinarte, also commented on this matter by stating that the war in Ukraine has created new challenges for the realisation of gender equality in the country.

Geneva International Centre for Justice (GICJ) welcomes the improvements made within Ukraine despite the current situation in the country. We remain deeply concerned about the prevalence of violence and discrimination against women and girls in the state, which has been exacerbated by the ongoing hostilities. We urge the Ukrainian government and the international community to effectively address any human rights violations occurring against women and girls in the country during this critical time.

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