5 – 6 November 2007 the UNIFEM CIS Regional Office arranged a visit of Ms. Pramila Patten, Member of the UN Committee on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women to Kyrgyzstan. This visit was arranged upon request of the women’s movement which expressed the need for an enhanced advocacy from the side of UN towards the commitments of the government for implementation of the CEDAW.
This visit of CEDAW expert was of high political importance and timeliness considering that the Kyrgyz government having submitted the III Periodic on implementation of CEDAW in 2006 will present the Report to the UN Committee in October 2008.
Despite of a number of positive efforts and achievement over the last 10 years since ratification of CEDAW Kyrgyzstan has seen a significant backsliding in key dimensions of the gender policy and the status of women. An escalating islamization and rebirth of patriarchal values have an adverse impact on the status of women. The conservative political forces make attempts to curtail the policy on achieving gender equality, to reinforce patriarchal values and roles, to disguise women’s contributions into the development of the society and the country with new strategies geared at levelling out a prevailing gender-related disproportion in governance and decision-making, and implementing the policy of equal rights and equal opportunities.
The visit implied the meetings with the high rank government officials, including Mr. Nur Uluu Dosbol, Vice Prime Minister, Mr. Osmonov, the Chairperson of the Supreme Court, Mr. Azamat Dikambaev, Head of the Economic and Social Department under the President of the KR. During the meetings Ms. Patten underlined the importance of fulfillment of the obligations of the Kyrgyzstan under the Convention and the Optional Protocol and stressed the need for a more political will, involvement of the high –level officials in monitoring of the implementation of the Convention, development of the Report and its presentation during the Committee’s sessions.
Within a two days visit the CEDAW expert took part in the round table on CEDAW Reporting and Implementation, which an important part of the visit. It was organized to increase awareness and competence of the mid-level government officials and the representatives of the civil society of the mechanisms of reporting, the essence of the state obligations, the role of NGOs in reporting as well as the importance of the concluding comments and recommendations for the government. The even was attended by more than 35 representatives of ministries, agencies, NGOS, political parties and academia.
During her stay in Kyrgyzstan Ms. Patten also met with the representatives of the NGOs Council elaborating the Alternative Report on CEDAW. During the meeting she provided a guidance in writing the Report and explained the procedure of its presentation to the Committee at the pre-session in February 2008.
Another important feature of the visit was a special meeting of the Member of the Committee with the Heads and the Gender Focal Points of the UN Agencies to discuss the role of the UN in the advocacy and capacity building activities with regard to the implementation of the CEDAW among the decision – makers, and provide better support to the monitoring and etc. The expertise of the CEDAW Committee’s Members was an important contribution to a number of efforts made by the non-government and international organizations as well as the activists of the women’s movement of the Kyrgyz Republic.