This page provides an overview of the relevance of the Convention for the South Asia region. The sub-pages highlight each South Asian country’s reporting status and ratification status in relation to CEDAW and the Optional Protocol.
CEDAW is one of the most widely ratified human rights treaty. A total of 186 countries have ratified the Convention, including the eight South Asian countries of Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, and India. By ratifying the Convention, all eight South Asian states are duty bound to undertake a series of measures at the national level to address discrimination against women.
CEDAW’s relevance in South Asia
CEDAW has been ratified by all the South Asian countries and most countries have submitted their fourth report. Bhutan has submitted its seventh report. The Optional Protocol to CEDAW has been ratified by Nepal, Bangladesh, Maldives, and Sri Lanka. The CEDAW framework and its concepts have gained prominence as a tool for realizing women’s human rights in the region.
The constitutions of all countries in South Asia guarantee the fundamental rights of equality before the law and non-discrimination on the ground of sex. The constitutional frameworks of these countries also provide a basis for integrating CEDAW’s substantive equality provision and obligations under international law.
In South Asia, CEDAW has been used not only as a standard that has informed the framing of a country’s constitution, as in the case of Afghanistan, but has also been deployed to interpret constitutional rights, to make laws CEDAW complaint, and to enact new laws.