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Concluding Observations, A/49/38, paras. 245-317, 12 April 1994: Netherlands

General observations

253. Members of the Committee commended the extensive, very detailed report, which adhered to the general guidelines and also contained ample statistics and graphs, and its presentation to the Committee. They welcomed the fact that the Convention had led to revisions of and additions to existing legislation and that it had been ratified without reservations. They noted that human rights education was included in school curricula and that the Convention had been translated into the native language of Aruba. Members were favourably impressed by the fact that, one year before presenting each subsequent report to the Committee, the Government would have to report to Parliament, and they commended the concern that was shown about the issue of sexual preference. Members noted that the Government gave support to women’s groups. In reaction to the members’ concern as to why non-governmental organizations had not been consulted in the course of the report’s preparation, the representative explained that much value was attached to the distribution of power and the spread of responsibilities in the country. Since non-governmental organizations were independent, they were responsible only towards their respective constituencies; they could criticize, question or judge governmental policies, but were never responsible for them. The critical input of non-governmental organizations was sometimes a challenge to government policy, but was never an integral part of it; in that way those organizations did not lose their independence.

300. Referring to the question whether there was legislation regarding artificial insemination and whether it was based on ethical or on scientific principles, the representative replied that artificial insemination was not regulated by law. However, hospitals had their codes of conduct and an individual physician with a different view on the matter could refer a woman to a colleague to undertake the procedure. It was important that women applying for that procedure not be refused on the basis of their marital status, sexual preference or lifestyle. Pregnancy at an advanced age was currently not covered by law.

311. It also commended the financial support given to women’s initiatives and women’s organizations by the Government as well as its willingness to listen to their concerns and demands. The Committee also applauded the fact that the State party implemented the Convention by developing policies and other measures to eliminate discrimination based on sexual preference.

Suggestions and recommendations

316. The Committee suggested that in the second report more information should be given on the national machinery of the Netherlands Antilles and the Netherlands Aruba. It recommended the inclusion of more information on the legal and other policy measures to eliminate discrimination on the grounds of women’s sexual preference as well as on the results, including data, of the efforts of provincial and municipal governments regarding policies and other measures for women.

Link to full text of the report: Report-CEDAW-13th,14thsessions-1994-eng