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The United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women - as other international instruments - was negotiated in an international and multicultural context by diplomats and politicians from a number of countries.
It dealt with a highly sensitive issue, the position and role of women in society and in the political decision-making process. The vast number of extensive reservations to the Convention bear witness to the fact that this is possibly one of the most contentious topics at the international level. Few other core universal human rights conventions have attracted a comparable number of reservations.
This guide is an attempt to create a picture of the legal-political background to the Convention. Its basic layout follows the style of a classical commentary with annotations to the individual provisions. These annotations draw on documentary sources from the years of preparatory discussions and negotiations (the travaux preparatoires). It primarily covers the genesis of the Convention, ie the drafting and negotiating process up to its adoption in 1979.
To enhance the guide's usefulness, a number of more recent documents have been incorporated, for example, the General Recommendations issued by the Committee on Elimination of Discrimination against Women have been reproduced and references to relevant recommendations have been inserted in the annotations to each provision in question.
In addition to this, a number of other documents relative to the interpretation of the Convention have been reproduced in Part III, including lists of ratifications of and reservations to the Convention. Furthermore, lists of relevant global and regional instruments and case law have been compiled.