For a very clear and useful explanation of what the hell is going on please see this post from Glinner by JL
The Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) is an international human rights treaty adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1979. Although the UK signed up to CEDAW in 1986, it has not yet been implemented into UK domestic law.
The CEDAW People’s Tribunal (CPT) was set up last July to examine the failure to integrate CEDAW into UK legislation and make recommendations as to how CEDAW can be given full effect in the UK. “Advancing women in all aspects of society and recognising historic inequalities.”
It is clearly positioning itself to have political influence and to make changes to the law. It has the apparent support of a number of high profile lawyers, including a team of six from Garden Court Chambers, who you may remember are the Chambers facing legal action after their alleged discrimination against a female barrister at the apparent behest of Stonewall.
It clearly does not accept the definition of woman – ‘a female of any age’ – provided in the Equality Act 2010 but instead defines ‘women’ as including ‘transgender women’. Thus subverting the original intent of the Convention which was clearly to recognise and protect women as a sex class.
What causes additional concern is that CEDAW People’s Tribunal has apparently been ignoring over many months requests via email and social media to confirm what definition of ‘woman’ underpins their activities. I was ignorant about the activities of this group until only last week so it seems fair to assume that it may have slipped under the radar of many others. The purpose of this post is therefore to raise awareness and encourage direct action with a positive aim.
The aim of the ‘Tribunal’ would therefore appear to be clear – to gather presumed ‘legitimacy’ as a statement of legal intent by involving a number of high profile barristers. The ‘ruling’ of the tribunal will then be presented to law and policy makers as having some kind of binding or persuasive force that in reality it does not have and to cement the meaning of ‘woman’ as being simply anyone who identifies as a woman on any given day.
This is the strategy that has under pinned the ‘stealth’ adoption of the ‘Yogykarta Principles’ as some kind of legally binding document, rather than simply the conclusions of a political lobby group.
I am concerned about this. I therefore propose the following strategy
REQUEST confirmation within 14 days of the definition of ‘woman’ that they will be using for this tribunal. If it is not the Equality Act definition – “woman” means a female of any age – ask to explain how any recommendations they make to Government will be compatible with existing statute and what they propose to do to protect women’s single sex spaces.
FOLLOW UP: if ignored, make it clear that you will refer this matter on to the Equality and Human Rights Commission and your own MP, to highlight your unease that attempts appear to be made to legitimise a ‘gender’ based definition of ‘woman’ which is not part of our domestic law.
Let me know how you get on, in the comments or via email. firstname.lastname@example.org.
I will consider a draft follow up letter to the EHRC/MPS in the next two weeks and post here.
EDIT – FURTHER ACTION IF YOU DONATED TO THEIR CROWDFUNDER.
Thanks to GRARG Member for this point
Suggested action for people who have donated to the CedawPT crowdfunder. The project owner has not met the Crowdfunder terms and conditions in 2.6.1 (d) “promptly and accurately respond in full and to our satisfaction to all queries, clarifications or requests made by us and/or any Backer;” They have now closed for donations because, I suspect, of pressure applied on social media and they are attempting to avoid scrutiny. I think Crowdfunder need to investigate this because CPT were clearly in breach of their terms (2.6.1) during the course of the fundraiser, so donations made and received were on the basis of inadequate and misleading information and it is appropriate to point this out to people and offer them the choice of having their donation returned. I have made this point to Crowdfunder but I think it will help if it also comes from someone who has actually donated