On 27th February 2019, Angola participated in the review of their 7th periodic report on the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). The Convention, commonly referred to as CEDAW, is the main international human rights treaty focusing on the rights of women. CEDAW defines discrimination against women and provides an agenda for national action to end gender-based discrimination. Discrimination within the convention is defined as “any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field”.

Angola ratified CEDAW in 1986 and is therefore bound to implement the rights it contains. As part of this, Angola must submit national reports every four years to the CEDAW Committee illustrating the measures they have taken to comply with CEDAW’s obligations and the progress they have made. At the end of the reporting process, the Committee reviews the report with Angola and then issues concluding observations highlighting progress as well as areas of concern and recommendations for the next four years. The concluding observations of Angola’s 7th periodic report were issued on 6th March 2019.

The concluding observations highlight the progress Angola has made on improving women’s rights and the implementation of the Convention since the last report in 2013, noting legislative reforms as well as efforts made by the government to improve its institutional and policy framework to accelerate the elimination of discrimination against women and promoting gender equality. Notable achievements include:

  • The establishment of a legal and social protection scheme for domestic workers
  • A national policy for gender equality and equity
  • A national action plan for the implementation of UN Security Council resolution 1325 on women, peace and security, and
  • An executive plan to combat domestic violence.

The Committee’s main concerns included women’s widespread lack of awareness of their rights; the lack of a comprehensive definition of discrimination; disproportionate lack of access to justice for women in all aspects of life; persistent and harmful stereotypes and practices against women; lack of protection from gender-based violence; lack of women participating in political and public life; and the fact that women still face disproportionate discrimination in access to education, employment, and health services. The committee also highlighted that these concerns/lack of access to rights disproportionately affect women from rural areas, women from minority groups, and migrant and asylum seeker women. Recommendations relating to each area of concern were made, focussing on the protection and promotion of rights using a gender-sensitive approach, both in law and in practice, and inclusive and targeted awareness-raising activities of the Convention and the rights contained within it.

To read the full report from the Committee, please follow the link[1]: https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=CEDAW%2fC%2fAGO%2fCO%2f7&Lang=en

[1] Currently only available in English. The link will be updated when a version in Portuguese or Spanish is made available.