Institute for Social Work and Social Education
The United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, or CEDAW, is the most important human rights tool under international law for women. The convention came into effect in 1981 and obliges States Parties to formal, actual equality for women in all areas of life, including the private arena. The central requirement is the implementation of CEDAW in State Parties’ legal systems. This requires awareness and application of CEDAW in justice systems. One way to meet this requirement is training for judges, prosecutors and lawyers, as well as others involved in the law. This working paper aims to set out recommendations for action for further implementation of CEDAW in the legal systems in Germany and France. For this reason, information on measures which aim to increase the awareness and application of CEDAW throughout the whole judicial system has been brought together from the previous reporting cycles in Germany and France. As a comparison of the countries studied shows, Germany and France each only pre-sent example political measures relating to (increasing) awareness of CEDAW in the judicial system. Often there is only selective reference to the existing status quo in legal education and training in both States Parties. In general, CEDAW was only referred to in courts both in Germany and France in individual cases, and there was no active, regular engagement with the individual CEDAW norms and standards. Due to the portrayal of merely general information and example measures by the States Parties, it is not possible to obtain a comprehensive, systematic insight into the activities in Germany and France with regard to the subject of this research. This also led the CEDAW Committee to repeatedly request both States Parties to provide more compre-hensive information and to implement proactive measures. These measures should lead to legal obligations or to more systematic, national support and anchoring of CEDAW both in Germany and France. The States Parties are obliged to do this, in accordance with CEDAW. Repeated inquiry and regular questioning indicate a particular importance of the re-search subject matter for the CEDAW Committee: When the legislation which falls un-der CEDAW is communicated to the relevant legal protagonists in special training ses-sions, it can then also be applied in legal processes and CEDAW leads to the best possible results.
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