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Elizabeth Nelson – nicem.org.uk

077 307 47 861

028 9023 8645


1 August 2013


Women’s rights body calls for better protection for minority women in Northern Ireland


Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women focuses on disadvantaged groups of women and provision for victim-survivors of domestic violence

The Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities (NICEM) has today welcomed the publication of the Concluding Observations of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) following its examination of the UK’s seventh period report in Geneva on 17 July.

In the Concluding Observations, the Committee makes strong reference to the need for dedicated measures to fight domestic violence (paragraphs 21 and 35), including against black and minority ethnic women. It also dedicated an entire section (paragraphs 56-61) to ‘disadvantaged groups of women,’ including black and minority ethnic women, asylum-seeking women and Traveller women.

“These were some of the key issues pressed upon the Committee by our delegation to the hearing, which included representatives of local minority communities,” said Helena Macormac, Strategic Advocacy Project Manager.

“We’re delighted that the efforts of these women on behalf of their communities, along with the dedicated staff team at NICEM, has resulted in something tangible that can be used to pressure the Northern Ireland and the UK governments into improving the situation of black and minority ethnic women’s rights in Northern Ireland.”



NICEM Delegates (l-r) Yasmin Malik, Barbara Purcell and Maneka Tohani outside the United Nations in Geneva

 NICEM’s delegation included representatives from the Polish community, the Traveller community, the refugee and asylum-seeking community and the Muslim community, and highlighted issues facing many BME women from any community background, including lack of access to education, health care and employment, racist bullying in schools, inadequate services for victim-survivors of domestic violence.


Note to Editors

NICEM’s vision is of a society where equality and diversity are respected, valued and embraced, a society free from all forms of racism, sectarianism, discrimination and social exclusion; where human rights are guaranteed. NICEM works in partnership, to bring about social change through partnership and alliance building, and to achieve equality of outcome and full participation in society. 

 States party to the Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) submit periodic reports to the Committee on progress to protect and advance women’s rights in their country. This was the UK’s seventh periodic report, and was examined in Geneva on 17th July 2013.

The Concluding Observations can be accessed at: http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=INT/CEDAW/COC/GBR/14761&Lang=en

NICEM’s submission to CEDAW can be found at: http://www.nicem.org.uk/elibrary/publications


 For further information and interviews, contact Elizabeth Nelson, 07730747861