Bridging the Enforcement Gap? Evaluating the Inquiry Procedure of the CEDAW Optional Protocol


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Abstract: Considerable optimism accompanied the adoption of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) Optional Protocol. However, one of the Optional Protocol’s two enforcement measures, the inquiry procedure, appeared to languish for fourteen years and has, to date, resulted in only four inquiry reports. The article evaluates the inquiry procedure, finding largely unmet expectations in addressing CEDAW’s structural weaknesses, countering the privileging of civil and political rights, and redressing state noncompliance with CEDAW, but significant potential nonetheless. The findings of this Article vindicate the enduring salience of foundational feminist critiques of human rights. The Conclusion proposes measures to enhance the inquiry procedure’s efficacy.

Keywords: Gender, Women, Inclusion

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