Recognising that states do not always paint a complete picture of the human rights context in their countries, the CEDAW Committee invites submissions from civil society These submissions, known as ‘shadow reports’ or ‘parallel reports’ are considered alongside the state’s report.
Parallel reports give practitioners and advocates the opportunity to include their perspective on the human rights situation in their country, regardless of whether this information complements or opposes the official state report submitted. While state reports tend to provide information on legislative framework, they may not always thoroughly reflect the reality on the ground: for example, they may focus on domestic law, even though the implementation of that law for women may not be effective in practice. Civil society actors have the opportunity to conduct their own research, present alternative evidence and raise issues that are not covered by the state reports.
NGOs, CSOs, and other women’s and human rights organisations play an important part in creating parallel reports, highlighting gaps in official reports and contributing to the fight for women’s equality. The participation of civil society is also important for publicising the content of human rights treaties and the outcomes of the discussions in the periodic reporting process: this is a state obligation, but often CSOs are often well-placed to communicate effectively at the grass-roots level.
Want more? International Women’s Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific has produced guidelines on how to write parallel reports/shadow reports to the CEDAW Committee
Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women
Human Rights Treaties Division (HRTD)
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
Palais Wilson – 52, rue des Pâquis
CH-1201 Geneva (Switzerland)
CH-1211 Geneva 10 (Switzerland)
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