Top international experts join the People’s Tribunal campaign to end discrimination against women and girls

Aim is to write the UN Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women [CEDAW] into UK domestic law.

Meghan Campbell: Pic credit Birmingham University

Nearly 40 years ago Margaret Thatcher signed the UK up to the UN convention to end all discrmination against women but successive Tory, Labour and coalition governments have never passed the convention in British law.

Now in an age when the Boris Johnson led Tory government is trying to renege on international law agreements during European Union negotiations and opt out of parts of the European Convention on Human Rights it will face the wrath of women and girls who feel they have been treated as second class citizens for too long in the UK.

The movement has grown out of the far too long campaign by BackTo60 to get women born in the 1950s compensation for the loss of their pensions from the age of 60 which will be decided at a Court of Appeal hearing on Tuesday on grounds of discrimination.

The issue of inequality under CEDAW was an issue in the court case – but because it is not part of British domestic law – it is difficult issue to argue.

Now it looks like with real support from international figures and human rights lawyers that the Conservative government is going to face a campaign that will make the BackTo60 fight look like a sideshow.

It will begin with the setting up of a People’s Tribunal under John Cooper QC and renowned human rights lawyer who was Chair of the International Steering Committee and Prosecutor at the Iran Tribunal in The Hague and is named by The Times as one of the top 100 lawyers in the country.

Andrew Byrnes Pic Credit: Oxford University Law Faculty

Now he is joined by three international experts. One is Andrew Byrnes, Professor of Law of Law at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, where he served as Chair of the Australian Human Rights Centre from 2005 to 2017.

He is an expert on both People’s Tribunals and CEDAW . With Gabrielle Simm (a senior law lecturer at the University of Technology, Sydney) he recently published the edited collection Peoples’ tribunals and international law (Cambridge University Press, 2018) and forthcoming publications includes chapters on the work of the UN Committee on the Discrimination against Women and the UN Committee against Torture, as well as the protection of economic and social rights through the parliamentary process.

He also was involved in the drafting of the CEDAW Optional Protocol, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and is working with the Asia Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions in current UN discussions about a possible new convention on the human rights of older persons. 

The second international expert who will join the advocacy team is Meghan Campbell, an Associate Professor at the University of Birmingham and Deputy Director of the Oxford Human Rights Hub. Her monograph, Women, Poverty, Equality: The Role of CEDAW (Hart 2018) was shortlisted for the Socio-Legal Scholars Association-Early Career Research Prize. The bookoffers an interpretation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) to demonstrate how equality and non-discrimination can address the harms of gender-based poverty.

Professor Christine Chinkin Pic credit Twitter

The third international expert is Professor 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. Professor Chinkin was Director of the Centre for Women, Peace and Security from 2015-2018.

 She co-edited the book ‘The UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women: A Commentary’ and authored the chapter on violence against women and girls. She was scientific advisor to the Council of Europe Committee that drafted the Convention on Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (the ‘Istanbul Convention’), the most far-reaching international treaty aimed at tackling violence against women and domestic violence.

Hannah Wilson Pic credit: Women’s Link

She will be joined by Hannah Wilson who works for Women’s Link Worldwide, an international human rights organisation which seeks to use the power of the law to promote social change which advances the rights of women and girls, particularly those facing multiple inequalities. She is based in Madrid and has recently raised issues about the poor conditions of workers harvesting strawberries in Huelva Spain who are mainly women and women’ rights in Rwanda.

Bright energetic women

In addition the People’s Tribunal have recruited a number of new bright energetic women legal associates as volunteers who are starting out in their careers after graduating. They include Isabelle Ehiorobo, a Law graduate from the University of Sussex; Shauna Lyttle who read history at King’s College London and is now completing a graduate LLB and Natalie Payne a recent LLB graduate from the University of Warwick, ( my former university) beginning a postgraduate study in Human Rights Law in 2020.

When the tribunal gets going it will be on a much broader canvas than the BackTo60 campaign. It will raise issues about poor working conditions, poverty, job discrimination, domestic abuse as well as pension discrimination among many others. It should prove a catalyst making discrimination against women a mainstream issue. It will also be a big fight with the government to get legislation on the agenda.

In the meantime the group has a spanking new website which can be reached here. The campaign is just beginning.

14 thoughts on “Top international experts join the People’s Tribunal campaign to end discrimination against women and girls

  1. This campaign is NEVER gonna get off the ground if it is continuously associated with B260!! Joanne Welsh puts it across as her baby, so to speak, and thousands of us women are unable to donate again to what looks like another B260 CF! CEDAW has to totally distance itself from B260 in order to get CF off the ground! Ok so we tried to use CEDAW in our JR and Appeal, but no one is going to donate once more as we all see it as B260 asking for more money?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Charlotte I totally agree with you on this. Too many of us 50s’ women have supported the BT60 crowdfunders only to be blocked later on. I’ve personally donated 6 times – more fool me. No more though and I certainly won’t be donating to the Cedaw Crowdfunder until the association with Joanne Welch and her BT60 crew is removed. Her latest announcement from yesterday was patronising and downright insulting. All the groups I belong to are very annoyed with it.

      I support the aims of CEDAW PT itself but until they rid themselves of the BT60 connection I will support elsewhere.


    • This campaign is flying already with a fantastic legal team, worldwide support and expertise.
      Fighting for equality for ALL women and girls.
      It’s an independent tribunal not a group.
      This could change the world for many women.
      What’s not to like about it?


  2. A great ‘crusade’ one shouldn’t have to battle but unfortunately we do.
    Great to support in any way I can and relay this information to groups, friends who are likely to want to support to.
    Thanks as ever from #BATTLEBUS1950’s // The Clippy

    Liked by 2 people

  3. It has got to be worth letting your MP know about this and request their support. My local MP is a woman and I am sure that most women today would expect a woman representing them in Parliament to be standing up for their, ‘women’s’,  rights. This issue is bigger than party politics and not one that any woman MP should be forced into following a male dominated party line on.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow! This team sounds pretty amazing. I don’t agree re: previous negative comments regarding B260. Firstly this will be just one subject of the overall campaign and secondly perhaps the B260 campaign has been a catalyst to make this happen. The pension change has clearly affected

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I would like to know why I and thousands of other Women born in 1952 not only had to wait for 3 years to receive their SP but have also been discriminated against Men born in exactly the same year ..The Women are on the old State Pension and the Men are on the New Higher State Pension which is £40 pounds a week more ! This is humiliating and a gross act of inequality !


  6. The back to 60 movement, and other groups like Waspi, are our heros. With an amazing legal team they waged an amazing battle for the 50s women. But now we must not forget women and girls all over the world need their help. The injist that happened to us cant be allowed to go on. All i realy wanted to say was thankyou to Back to 60 and their wonderful leal team val corfield


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