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Home » Community Blog » TECHNICAL BRIEF: A Guide for women who use drugs on engaging with the (CEDAW)

TECHNICAL BRIEF: A Guide for women who use drugs on engaging with the (CEDAW)

CEDAW is a major international human rights treaty that provides the legal framework to ensure the rights of those who are most vulnerable, including women who use drugs. This technical brief has easy-to-understand information on CEDAW with practical guides that empower women who use drugs to assert their rights.


Despite international recognition of the fundamental human rights of all, millions of women who
use drugs around the world face routine and systematic rights violations. They are criminalised,
stigmatised, and marginalised by political, legal, and health systems, and by society as a whole.

CEDAW is focused on all forms of discrimination against women and girls, and recognises that
inequality happens in both public and private life. It acknowledges that in striving for equality,
States must take steps to ensure that marginalised or disadvantaged groups have equal access and opportunity measured by equal outcomes or results. In other words, it measures equality in real terms by looking at women’s lives, beyond the existence of and wording in laws and policies. This is called substantive equality, and it recognises historical, economic, and other
disadvantages that must be taken into account in order to ensure genuine equality.

The CEDAW is also available in French, Spanish and Russian.

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