Where Would We Be Today Without CEDAW

Hosted by the Centre for Women, Peace and Security

Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building, LSE


Aruna Devi Narain

Aruna Devi Narain

Puisne Judge of the Supreme Court of Mauritius


Christine Chinkin

Christine Chinkin

Professorial Research Fellow

A Celebration of the 40th anniversary of CEDAW.  

On 18 December 1979 the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women - CEDAW. Women throughout the world have reason to celebrate the existence of CEDAW. It provides a universal normative framework for the condemnation of discrimination against women and for the achievement of ‘the full development and advancement of women for the purpose of guaranteeing them the exercise and enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms on a basis of equality with men’. 

Through the work of its monitoring Committee, the Convention has transformed the understanding of sex and gender-based discrimination. This has been instrumental in bringing violence against women and girls onto the international agenda, which made governments accountable for the ways in that women are treated through national legal systems and practices and for their failure to exercise due diligence with respect to the acts of non-state actors. In March of this year, the Committee issued its concluding observations to the United Kingdom’s 8th report, with some commendations but also highlighting areas of concern. We might well ask: where would women be without CEDAW?

The event is hosted by the AHRC-funded project, A Feminist International Law of Peace and Security

About the speakers

Aruna Devi Narain is Puisne Judge of the Supreme Court of Mauritius in July 2015 and a member of the UN CEDAW Committee. She is a member of the Working Group on Communications and the Vice-Chair of the Working Group on Working Methods of the Committee and collaborates with various international bodies and organisations, including UN Women, IWRAW Asia-Pacific and Sisters for Change, on legal issues related to CEDAW.

Aruna read law at LSE (LL.B, LL.M) and was called to the Bar at the Middle Temple, London and in Mauritius in 1992. She was a law officer at the Attorney-General’s Office of Mauritius from 1993 to 2015.  Aruna was appointed as the first lady Parliamentary Counsel of Mauritius in 2011 and first lady Deputy Electoral Commissioner for general elections in 2014.  She was a member of the Law Reform Commission from 2011 to 2015, still lectures in Constitutional Law and Human Rights at the Institute for Judicial and Legal Studies and is a member of the Editorial Board of the Mauritius Criminal Law Review. She has been a member of the Mauritius LSE Society Trust Fund for over 15 years.

Christine Chinkin CMG FBA is Professorial Research Fellow in the Centre for Women, Peace and Security, where she leads three major projects: ‘A Feminist International Law of Peace and Security’ funded by the AHRC, ‘Gendered Peace’ funded by the ERC and the UKRI GCRF Gender, Justice and Security Hub. Christine was Director of the Centre for Women, Peace and Security from 2015-2018. She has been a consultant or advisor to UN bodies on a range of issues including human trafficking gender-based persecution in armed conflict, peace agreements and gender and violence against women.

Christine was a member of the UN fact-finding missions to Gaza in 2007 (Beit Hanoun) and 2009 (the Goldstone Report). She was scientific advisor to the Council of Europe Committee that drafted the Convention on Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (the 'Istanbul Convention'). Christine is a Fellow of the British Academy, a barrister and an academic member of Matrix Chambers. She was appointed Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) in the 2017 Birthday Honours for services to advancing women's human rights worldwide.