Iraq’s Reservations on the CEDAW Convention

In December 1979, the United Nations committed to enshrining women’s rights and ending discrimination against them through the CEDAW treaty, also known as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. This convention was enacted in September 1981, addressing all aspects of women’s affairs and lives, emphasizing equality with men.

Articles of the Convention

The convention comprises thirty articles aimed at achieving social and economic justice and equality between men and women before the law.

Articles 1-16: These lay down the fundamental rules of the convention to eliminate discrimination on all fronts and can be considered the core of the convention, setting the conditions and measures that states must follow to achieve equality.
Articles 17-22: These discuss the mechanism for implementing the convention.
Articles 23-30: These relate to various administrative provisions, including signing, accession to the convention, review requests, and expressing reservations by ratifying states.

What is a Reservation

A reservation is a formal declaration made by a state indicating its non-commitment to part or parts of the convention. Article 28 of the convention states that states are entitled, upon accession, to reserve a clause or article, provided it does not contradict the essence of the convention.

Reservations can be withdrawn at any time by notifying the UN Secretary-General, effective from the date of receipt.

Iraq’s Reservations

Iraq has expressed reservations on Articles 2, 16, and 29 (paragraph 1) of the convention, arguing that these provisions conflict with Islamic Sharia and national legislation, especially regarding issues of marriage, family, divorce, and child custody.

Regarding dispute resolution, Iraq reserved the right to apply the convention, indicating it only accepts recourse to the International Court of Justice. This reflects ongoing challenges in addressing violence against women, economic empowerment, and political participation of women within the country.


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