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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 May 24 - 30  > Cross-party lawmakers and NGOs rally for early ratification of optional protocol for gender equality
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2017 May 24 - 30 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Cross-party lawmakers and NGOs rally for early ratification of optional protocol for gender equality

May 25, 2017
Cross-party parliamentarians and 42 NGOs in Japan working for gender equality on May 24 held a rally in the Upper House members’ office building and resolved to work hard to push the government to ratify the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (OP-CEDAW) without delay.

Fifteen Dietmembers who took part in the rally included Japanese Communist Party members of the House of Councilors Tamura Tomoko and Kami Tomoko as well as JCP members of the House of Representatives Ikeuchi Saori, Umemura Saeko, Saito Kazuko, Takahashi Chizuko, and Hatano Kimie. JCP Tamura said that the party will make utmost efforts to realize the ratification of the OP-CEDAW through collaboration between opposition parties and concerned citizens.

Ishizaki Setsuko, co-representative of the Japan NGO Network for CEDAW which hosted the rally, pointed out that among industrialized OECD member countries, only the United States and Japan have yet to sign and ratify the optional protocol. She expressed her determination to work together with lawmakers to have the government approve the CEDAW side-agreement.

Representatives of the participating NGOs expressed their determination to pressure the government to ratify.

Japanese Association of International Women’s Rights director Yagisawa Sumiko stressed that the OP-CEDAW has a role in dealing with issues affecting women such as domestic violence and sexual abuse beyond the domestic legal framework and will contribute to improving each nation’s legal system.

Sakamoto Yoko of the mNet-Information Network for Amending the Civil Code referred to the fact that the Japanese government turns its back on the ratification on the grounds that the optional protocol will infringe on Japan’s independence of judicial power. Sakamoto said that although the CEDAW Optional Protocol currently has 109 parties, no infringement on judicial independence has been found in any of these countries.

The Optional Protocol was adopted in 1999 at the UN General Assembly as an international treaty which supplements the implementation of the CEDAW. It has two mechanisms: one enables women who seek redress for violations of their rights to file complaints about the violation; and the other empowers the CEDAW committee to make inquiries to a state party regarding allegations.

Past related article:
> Women’s NGO calls for improvement in women’s status [April 3, 2009]

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