Document A/RES/54/4, 15 October 1999
Fifty-fourth session, Agenda item 109
54/4. Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All
Forms of Discrimination against Women
The General Assembly,
Reaffirming the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action 1 and the
Beijing Declaration 2 and Platform for Action,
Recalling that the Beijing Platform for Action, pursuant to the Vienna
Declaration and Programme of Action, supported the process initiated by
the Commission on the Status of Women with a view to elaborating a draft
optional protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination against Women that could enter into force as soon as
possible on a right-to-petition procedure,
Noting that the Beijing Platform for Action also called on all States
that have not yet ratified or acceded to the Convention to do so as soon
as possible so that universal ratification of the Convention can be
achieved by the year 2000,
1. Adopts and opens for signature, ratification and accession the
Optional Protocol to the Convention, the text of which is annexed to the
2. Calls upon all States that have signed, ratified or acceded to the
Convention to sign and ratify or to accede to the Protocol as soon as
3. Stresses that States parties to the Protocol should undertake to
respect the rights and procedures provided by the Protocol and cooperate
with the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women at
all stages of its proceedings under the Protocol;
4. Stresses also that in the fulfilment of its mandate as well as its
functions under the Protocol, the Committee should continue to be guided
by the principles of non-selectivity, impartiality and objectivity;
5. Requests the Committee to hold meetings to exercise its functions
under the Protocol after its entry into force, in addition to its meetings
held under article 20 of the Convention; the duration of such meetings
shall be determined and, if necessary, reviewed by a meeting of the States
parties to the Protocol, subject to the approval of the General Assembly;
6. Requests the Secretary-General to provide the staff and facilities
necessary for the effective performance of the functions of the Committee
under the Protocol after its entry into force;
7. Also requests the Secretary-General to include information on the
status of the Protocol in her or his regular reports submitted to the
General Assembly on the status of the Convention.
Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination against Women
The States Parties to the present Protocol,
Noting that the Charter of the United Nations reaffirms faith in
fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and
in the equal rights of men and women
Also noting that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 5 proclaims
that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights and
that everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth
therein, without distinction of any kind, including distinction based on
Recalling that the International Covenants on Human Rights 6 and other
international human rights instruments prohibit discrimination on the
basis of sex,
Also recalling the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination against Women ("the Convention"), in which the
States Parties thereto condemn discrimination against women in all its
forms and agree to pursue by all appropriate means and without delay a
policy of eliminating discrimination against women,
Reaffirming their determination to ensure the full and equal enjoyment
by women of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and to take
effective action to prevent violations of these rights and freedoms,
Have agreed as follows:
A State Party to the present Protocol ("State Party")
recognizes the competence of the Committee on the Elimination of
Discrimination against Women ("the Committee") to receive and
consider communications submitted in accordance with article 2.
Communications may be submitted by or on behalf of individuals or
groups of individuals, under the jurisdiction of a State Party, claiming
to be victims of a violation of any of the rights set forth in the
Convention by that State Party. Where a communication is submitted on
behalf of individuals or groups of individuals, this shall be with their
consent unless the author can justify acting on their behalf without such
Communications shall be in writing and shall not be anonymous. No
communication shall be received by the Committee if it concerns a State
Party to the Convention that is not a party to the present Protocol.
1. The Committee shall not consider a communication unless it has
ascertained that all available domestic remedies have been exhausted
unless the application of such remedies is unreasonably prolonged or
unlikely to bring effective relief.
2. The Committee shall declare a communication inadmissible where:
(a) The same matter has already been examined by the Committee or has
been or is being examined under another procedure of international
investigation or settlement;
(b) It is incompatible with the provisions of the Convention;
(c) It is manifestly ill-founded or not sufficiently substantiated;
(d) It is an abuse of the right to submit a communication;
(e) The facts that are the subject of the communication occurred prior
to the entry into force of the present Protocol for the State Party
concerned unless those facts continued after that date.
1. At any time after the receipt of a communication and before a
determination on the merits has been reached, the Committee may transmit
to the State Party concerned for its urgent consideration a request that
the State Party take such interim measures as may be necessary to avoid
possible irreparable damage to the victim or victims of the alleged
2. Where the Committee exercises its discretion under paragraph 1 of
the present article, this does not imply a determination on admissibility
or on the merits of the communication.
1. Unless the Committee considers a communication inadmissible without
reference to the State Party concerned, and provided that the individual
or individuals consent to the disclosure of their identity to that State
Party, the Committee shall bring any communication submitted to it under
the present Protocol confidentially to the attention of the State Party
2. Within six months, the receiving State Party shall submit to the
Committee written explanations or statements clarifying the matter and the
remedy, if any, that may have been provided by that State Party.
1. The Committee shall consider communications received under the
present Protocol in the light of all information made available to it by
or on behalf of individuals or groups of individuals and by the State
Party concerned, provided that this information is transmitted to the
2. The Committee shall hold closed meetings when examining
communications under the present Protocol.
3. After examining a communication, the Committee shall transmit its
views on the communication, together with its recommendations, if any, to
the parties concerned
4. The State Party shall give due consideration to the views of the
Committee, together with its recommendations, if any, and shall submit to
the Committee, within six months, a written response, including
information on any action taken in the light of the views and
recommendations of the Committee.
5. The Committee may invite the State Party to submit further
information about any measures the State Party has taken in response to
its views or recommendations, if any, including as deemed appropriate by
the Committee, in the State Party’s subsequent reports under article 18
of the Convention.
1. If the Committee receives reliable information indicating grave or
systematic violations by a State Party of rights set forth in the
Convention, the Committee shall invite that State Party to cooperate in
the examination of the information and to this end to submit observations
with regard to the information concerned.
2. Taking into account any observations that may have been submitted by
the State Party concerned as well as any other reliable information
available to it, the Committee may designate one or more of its members to
conduct an inquiry and to report urgently to the Committee. Where
warranted and with the consent of the State Party, the inquiry may include
a visit to its territory.
3. After examining the findings of such an inquiry, the Committee shall
transmit these findings to the State Party concerned together with any
comments and recommendations.
4. The State Party concerned shall, within six months of receiving the
findings, comments and recommendations transmitted by the Committee,
submit its observations to the Committee.
5. Such an inquiry shall be conducted confidentially and the
cooperation of the State Party shall be sought at all stages of the
1. The Committee may invite the State Party concerned to include in its
report under article 18 of the Convention details of any measures taken in
response to an inquiry conducted under article 8 of the present Protocol.
2. The Committee may, if necessary, after the end of the period of six
months referred to in article 8.4, invite the State Party concerned to
inform it of the measures taken in response to such an inquiry.
1. Each State Party may, at the time of signature or ratification of
the present Protocol or accession thereto, declare that it does not
recognize the competence of the Committee provided for in articles 8 and
2. Any State Party having made a declaration in accordance with
paragraph 1 of the present article may, at any time, withdraw this
declaration by notification to the Secretary-General.
A State Party shall take all appropriate steps to ensure that
individuals under its jurisdiction are not
subjected to ill treatment or intimidation as a consequence of
communicating with the Committee pursuant to the present Protocol.
The Committee shall include in its annual report under article 21 of
the Convention a summary of its activities under the present Protocol.
Each State Party undertakes to make widely known and to give publicity
to the Convention and the present Protocol and to facilitate access to
information about the views and recommendations of the Committee, in
particular, on matters involving that State Party.
The Committee shall develop its own rules of procedure to be followed
when exercising the functions conferred on it by the present Protocol.
1. The present Protocol shall be open for signature by any State that
has signed, ratified or acceded to the Convention.
2. The present Protocol shall be subject to ratification by any State
that has ratified or acceded to the Convention. Instruments of
ratification shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the United
3. The present Protocol shall be open to accession by any State that
has ratified or acceded to the Convention.
4. Accession shall be effected by the deposit of an instrument of
accession with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
1. The present Protocol shall enter into force three months after the
date of the deposit with the Secretary-General of the United Nations of
the tenth instrument of ratification or accession.
2. For each State ratifying the present Protocol or acceding to it
after its entry into force, the present Protocol shall enter into force
three months after the date of the deposit of its own instrument of
ratification or accession.
No reservations to the present Protocol shall be permitted.
1. Any State Party may propose an amendment to the present Protocol and
file it with the Secretary-General of the United Nations. The
Secretary-General shall thereupon communicate any proposed amendments to
the States Parties with a request that they notify her or him whether they
favour a conference of States Parties for the purpose of considering and
voting on the proposal. In the event that at least one third of the States
Parties favour such a conference, the Secretary-General shall convene the
conference under the auspices of the United Nations. Any amendment adopted
by a majority of the States Parties present and voting at the conference
shall be submitted to the General Assembly of the United Nations for
2. Amendments shall come into force when they have been approved by the
General Assembly of the United Nations and accepted by a two-thirds
majority of the States Parties to the present Protocol in accordance with
their respective constitutional processes.
3. When amendments come into force, they shall be binding on those
States Parties that have accepted them, other States Parties still being
bound by the provisions of the present Protocol and any earlier amendments
that they have accepted.
1. Any State Party may denounce the present Protocol at any time by
written notification addressed to the Secretary-General of the United
Nations. Denunciation shall take effect six months after the date of
receipt of the notification by the Secretary-General.
2. Denunciation shall be without prejudice to the continued application
of the provisions of the present Protocol to any communication submitted
under article 2 or any inquiry initiated under article 8 before the
effective date of denunciation.
The Secretary-General of the United Nations shall inform all States of:
(a) Signatures, ratifications and accessions under the present
(b) The date of entry into force of the present Protocol and of any
amendment under article 18;
(c) Any denunciation under article.
1. The present Protocol, of which the Arabic, Chinese, English, French,
Russian and Spanish texts are equally authentic, shall be deposited in the
archives of the United Nations.
2. The Secretary-General of the United Nations shall transmit certified
copies of the present Protocol to all States referred to in article 25 of