Comoros ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (“CEDAW”) on October 31, 1994.
Upon ratification, Comoros made no reservations to CEDAW.
Summary of Official CEDAW Reports:
Since its ratification of CEDAW in 1994, Comoros has yet to submit an official periodic report to the CEDAW Committee (“Committee”). In 2007, the Committee criticized Comoros for not having submitted its initial report in over 20 years since its ascension. The Committee requested that Comoros submit its report in June 2009.
Summary of Shadow Reports:
To date, no shadow report has been submitted regarding the implementation of CEDAW in Comoros.
Women in Comoros face difficulties in a number of facets of life, most prominently in terms of participation in the public sphere. In the government, there is currently only one woman out of 33 total parliament members and one female cabinet minister. While women in urban areas are able to find jobs easily, women in rural areas suffer discrimination related to education opportunities and wage discrepancies.
In 2002, the U.N. Country Reports on Human Rights Practices commended Comoros, noting that domestic violence against women was a rare occurrence and that, in general, inheritance and property rights are not discriminatory towards women. Although women can seek protection in cases of domestic violence from the courts, these issues are generally dealt with at the local or family level.
The occurrence of early marriages is a concern in Comoros, particularly when young women are forced to marry older men. Comoran law states that 18 is the age of marriage for girls, and 22 for boys. Though cases of forced marriage are not well-documented, it is known that many young Comoran girls are forced to give up their education in lieu of marriage and a life of subservience to their male relatives.
Nevertheless, there are individuals working on the ground to promote women’s rights. Comoros has a ministry specific to women’s issues and their advancement as well as the WEMA Association, a women’s organization, which was founded in 1997.
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