GI-ESCR welcomes CEDAW General Recommendation No. 34 on the Rights of Rural Women
The Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights welcomes General Recommendation No. 34 on the Rights of Rural Women, adopted by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW Committee). The General Recommendation clarifies State obligations to ensure the rights of rural women, with a focus on article 14 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the only provision in international human rights law which explicitly addresses the situation of rural women. “Rural women face systemic violations of their rights,” says Mayra Gomez, Co-Executive Director of GI-ESCR. “They are routinely denied equal rights with men when it comes to land and natural resources, which leaves many unable to sustain a livelihood and feed their families. We are happy to see that in the new standard the CEDAW Committee provides guidance to States on how to address the critical issues that rural women and girls face.”
The General Recommendation recognizes that rural women continue to face systematic and persistent barriers to the full enjoyment of their human rights and that, in many cases, conditions have deteriorated. On every gender and development indicator for which data are available, rural women fare worse than rural men and urban women and men, and rural women disproportionately experience poverty and exclusion.
The new General Recommendation contains many progressive provisions related to the rights of rural women, and places a strong emphasis on rural women’s rights to land and natural resources. In it, the Committee highlights that it “considers rural women’s rights to land, natural resources, including water, seeds, forestry, as well as fisheries, as fundamental human rights.”
The new General Recommendation also contains explicit recommendations related to rural women’s rights to health, education, employment, housing, water, sanitation, energy and participation. It also recognizes that States have responsibilities to uphold their Extraterritorial Obligations (ETOs) when it comes to the rights of rural women abroad.
The full text of General Recommendation No. 34 on the Rights of Rural Women is available here.