Suriname (CEDAW 14-03-2018)
The Committee considered the combined fourth to sixth periodic reports of Suriname (CEDAW/C/SUR/4-6) at its 1584th and 1585th meetings (see
CEDAW/C/SR.1584 and 1585) held on 28 February 2018. The Committee’s list of issues and questions is contained in CEDAW/C/SUR/Q/4-6 and the responses of Suriname are contained in CEDAW/C/SUR/Q/4-6/Add.1.
D. Principal areas of concern and recommendations
Legislative framework and definition of discrimination
- The Committee recognizes the diversity of cultures and ethnicities in the State party and its distinct indigenous and tribal populations. While noting the position of the State party that article 8 of its Constitution sufficiently guarantees the substantive equality of women and men, the Committee is concerned that neither the Constitution nor national legislation includes a definition of discrimination against women, in accordance with article 1 of the Convention, covering direct and indirect discrimination in both the public and private spheres and recognizing intersecting forms of discrimination. It also remains concerned that disadvantaged groups of women, including rural women, Maroon women and indigenous women, women with disabilities, lesbian, bisexual and transgender women and intersex persons, continue to experience intersecting forms of discrimination and violations of their human rights. It further regrets the lack of political will on the part of policymakers to adopt, as a matter of priority, legal provisions to protect women’s rights, and notes that provisions such as the draft law on equal treatment of men and women and the draft labour law and provisions on the establishment of a complaints mechanism on gender-based discrimination have been pending since 2002.
- The Committee recommends that the State party:
(a) Adopt the draft law on the establishment of an independent constitutional court with the power to review the conformity of legislative acts with international human rights treaties and staff it with qualified personnel;
(b) Amend article 8 (2) of the Constitution to recognize intersecting forms of discrimination against rural women, Maroon women and indigenous women, women with disabilities, lesbian, bisexual and transgender women and intersex persons;
(c) Adopt the draft law on the equal treatment of women and men and ensure that it includes a definition of discrimination against women, including intersecting forms of discrimination, and prohibits direct and indirect discrimination in the public and private spheres, in line with article 1 of the Convention and the Committee’s previous concluding observations (CEDAW/C/SUR/CO/3, para. 12);
(d) Conduct, within the next 24 months, mandatory capacity-building for parliamentarians, policymakers and government officials on the importance of comprehensive, consistent and coherent legal reform to achieve substantive equality of women and men, with a view to building consensus for the immediate adoption of the various draft laws and policies for the advancement of women’s rights.
Lesbian, bisexual and transgender women and intersex persons
- The Committee notes that the Penal Code has been revised, inter alia, to include the protection of lesbian, bisexual and transgender women and intersex persons and to prohibit discrimination and hate speech against them. However, it is concerned that lesbian, bisexual and transgender women and intersex persons continue to face discrimination and harassment, in particular with regard to their rights to education, employment and health.
- The Committee recommends that the State party ensure equal rights and opportunities for lesbian, bisexual and transgender women and intersex persons, and raise awareness in order to eliminate discrimination and social stigma against them. It further recommends that the State party apply a policy of zero tolerance of discrimination and violence against lesbian, bisexual and transgender women and intersex persons, including by prosecuting and adequately punishing perpetrators.