UN Commission on the Status of Women
last updated 7 June 2013
The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) was established as a functional commission of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) to develop policy which promotes gender equality and the advancement of women worldwide. The Commission also makes recommendations to ECOSOC for immediate action on urgent issues of women’s human rights and is responsible for reviewing the progress made in the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action. The Commission currently consists of 45 member States, elected by the Economic and Social Council
To facilitate its monitoring and assessment functions, the Commission accepts communications (complaints/petitions) from individuals, groups, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) relating to violations of women’s human rights, including political, economic, civil, social, or educational rights, in any country of the world.  The communication procedure of the Commission on the Status of Women is different from that under the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and leads to a different outcome for the victim or victims. The Commission will not make a decision on the merits of a complaint, and thus the communication procedure does not provide an avenue for the redress of individual grievances. Instead, the communications procedure is used to assist the Commission in identifying emerging trends and patterns of abuse and in developing effective strategies for promoting gender equality and the advancement of women.
The complaint procedure under the Commission on the Status of Women is also distinct from the complaint procedure of the UN Human Rights Council. While both seek to identify larger occurrences or trends in abuse, the Human Rights Council’s consideration is limited to communications alleging “consistent patterns of gross and reliably attested” human rights violations.