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Discrimination against women: UN expert group starts first fact-finding visit to the United States

WASHINGTON / GENEVA (30 November 2015) – A United Nations expert group on discrimination against women in law and in practice starts today in Washington DC the first ever official visit by UN independent experts to assess the progress made towards achieving gender equality and the protection and promotion of women’s human rights in the United States.

The visiting delegation comprised of human rights experts Alda Facio, Frances Raday, and Eleonora Zielinska -who currently heads the expert group- will also travel to Alabama, Oregon and Texas in order to gather first-hand information on issues related to discrimination against women in various contexts, including women victims of multiple forms of discrimination.

“The Working Group is particularly interested in legislative reforms and policies that have been implemented in the United States to promote women's rights and gender equality,” Ms. Zielinska said.

“We will look at achievements and good practices to eliminate discrimination against women in all aspects of women’s health. We will also address aspects of law and practice which affect women’s participation in political and public, economic and social, family and in the cultural life,” she added.

During its nine-day visit (30 Nov-11 Dec), the experts will meet with Government officials at Federal, state and local levels, representatives of civil society organizations, as well as academics, practitioners and individual women.

A press conference to share the delegation’s preliminary findings will be held on Friday 11 December at 1300 in the United Nations Information Center in Washington DC (1775 K ST NW, Suite 400, Washington DC 20006).  Access to the press conference is strictly limited to accredited media.

Following its visit, the Working Group will present a report with its conclusions and recommendations to the UN Human Rights Council in June 2016.

The UN Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice was created by the Human Rights Council in 2011 to identify, promote and exchange views, in consultation with States and other actors, on good practices related to the elimination of laws that discriminate against women. The Group is also tasked with developing a dialogue with States and other actors on laws that have a discriminatory impact where women are concerned.

The Working Group is composed of five independent experts: the Current Chair-Rapporteur Eleonora Zielinska (Poland), Alda Facio (Costa Rica), Frances Raday (Israel/United Kingdom), Kamala Chandrakirana (Indonesia), Emna Aouij (Tunisia) and. Learn more, log on to:  http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Women/WGWomen/Pages/WGWomenIndex.aspx

The Working Groups are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms. Special Procedures mandate-holders are independent human rights experts appointed by the Human Rights Council to address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. They are not UN staff and are independent from any government or organization. They serve in their individual capacity and do not receive a salary for their work.

UN Human Rights, country page –United States: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/LACRegion/Pages/USIndex.aspx

For inquiries and media requests, please contact:
In Washington (during the visit): Deborah Deyoung (deyoung@un.org / +1 202 331 8670)
In Geneva: Bernadette Arditi (+41 22 917 9159 or +41 79 752 0483 / barditi@ohchr.org) or write to wgdiscriminationwomen@ohchr.org

For media inquiries related to other UN mandates:
Xabier Celaya, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)  

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