CCPR General Comment No. 28: Article 3 (The Equality of Rights Between Men
and Women) 1
Adopted at the Sixty-eighth session of the Human Rights Committee,
on 29 March 2000
CCPR/C/21/Rev.1/Add.10, General Comment No. 28. (General Comments)

The Committee has decided to update its general comment on article 3 of the
Covenant and to replace general comment No. 4 (thirteenth session, 1981), in the light
of the experience it has gathered in its activities over the last 20 years. The present
revision seeks to take account of the important impact of this article on the enjoyment
by women of the human rights protected under the Covenant.
Article 3 implies that all human beings should enjoy the rights provided for in
the Covenant, on an equal basis and in their totality. The full effect of this provision
is impaired whenever any person is denied the full and equal enjoyment of any right.
Consequently, States should ensure to men and women equally the enjoyment of all
rights provided for in the Covenant.
The obligation to ensure to all individuals the rights recognized in the
Covenant, established in articles 2 and 3 of the Covenant, requires that States parties
take all necessary steps to enable every person to enjoy those rights. These steps
include the removal of obstacles to the equal enjoyment of such rights, the education
of the population and of State officials in human rights, and the adjustment of
domestic legislation so as to give effect to the undertakings set forth in the Covenant.
The State party must not only adopt measures of protection, but also positive
measures in all areas so as to achieve the effective and equal empowerment of
women. States parties must provide information regarding the actual role of women
in society so that the Committee may ascertain what measures, in addition to
legislative provisions, have been or should be taken to give effect to these obligations,
what progress has been made, what difficulties are encountered and what steps are
being taken to overcome them.
States parties are responsible for ensuring the equal enjoyment of rights
without any discrimination. Articles 2 and 3 mandate States parties to take all steps
necessary, including the prohibition of discrimination on the ground of sex, to put an
end to discriminatory actions, both in the public and the private sector, which impair
the equal enjoyment of rights.
Inequality in the enjoyment of rights by women throughout the world is deeply
embedded in tradition, history and culture, including religious attitudes. The
subordinate role of women in some countries is illustrated by the high incidence of
prenatal sex selection and abortion of female foetuses. States parties should ensure


Adopted by the Committee at its 1834th meeting (sixty-eighth session), on 29 March 2000.

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