In December 1979 the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) was signed. The CEDAW focuses on three aspects of the situation of women: the civil rights and the legal status of women; dimension of human reproduction; and the impact of cultural factors on gender relation. The CEDAW is a legally binding instrument and to date, 17 countries of the region have ratified its Optional Protocol. The Optional Protocol to the Convention requires signatory states to recognize the authority of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women to receive and consider complaints expressed by individuals or organized groups of civil society, which is a rigorous accountability mechanism for acts of discrimination against women, compared with the existing reporting mechanism.
At the end of the Fourth World Conference on Women held in September 1995 in Beijing, governments of 189 countries adopted the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, in which they made commitments to promote women's rights in 12 areas of particular concern. More than 20 years after its adoption, it remains the most ambitious global mandate in favor of gender equality and the rights of women and girls.
In June 1994, the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) adopted the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women (Convention of Belém do Pará), recognizing violence against women in public and private sphere as a violation of human rights. The Convention proposes for the first time the development of mechanisms for protection and defense of the rights of women as fundamental to combat the phenomenon of violence against physical, sexual and psychological integrity , and their claims within society . The effective implementation of the Convention requires a continuous evaluation process and independent support for which the Monitoring Mechanism of the Convention of Belém do Pará (MESECVI) was established in 2004.
Adopted at the First Session of the Regional Conference on Population and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (August 2013, Montevideo), the Consensus of Montevideo includes more than 120 measures in eight areas identified as priorities to follow up the Programme of Action of Cairo. The fourth is gender equality and several other areas apply the gender and human rights perspective. In October 2015, on the occasion of the Second Session of the Regional Conference on Population and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean that took place in Mexico DF, the Operational Guide for implementation and follow-up of the Montevideo Consensus on population and development was approved.
The Programme of Action of Cairo was adopted by 179 countries during the Fourth International Conference on Population and Development held in Cairo in September 1994. Initially to be completed within a period of 20 years, it was extended beyond 2014 by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 2010. The Programme takes into account various issues related to population and development relevant for individuals, families and countries such as reducing poverty and gender inequalities, promoting health and reproductive rights and gender equality and the empowerment of women, among others.