Nine experts elected to the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

13 June 2018

Today, the States parties elected nine experts to the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. They will l replace those whose terms expire on 31 December 2018.

The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is the body in charge of monitoring the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. It is composed of 18 independent experts elected by the States that ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The nine experts – six women and three men – who will start working in the Committee in January 2019 are:

  • Mr. Danlami Umaru BASHARU (Nigeria) – reelected
  • Mr. Jonas RUSKUS (Lithuania) – reelected
  • Ms. Mara Cristina GABRILLI (Brazil)
  • Ms. Amalia Eva GAMIO RÍOS (Mexico)
  • Ms. Rosemary KAYESS (Australia)
  • Ms. Miyeon KIM (Republic of Korea)
  • Ms. Gertrude OFORIWA FEFOAME (Ghana)
  • Mr. Markus SCHEFER (Switzerland)
  • Ms. Risnawati UTAMI (Indonesia)

In response to calls from the disability movement to address the gender imbalance in the Committee, many States parties nominated and voted for qualified female candidates with disabilities. This is very important because the current committee includes only one woman with disabilities, Mrs. Theresia Degener; she is the Chair of the committee, and is leaving the Committee at the end of the year.

Gender and geographical parity in the Committee is very important. This means that the Committee should be composed of as many women than men, and that Committee members should come from all regions of the world. In these elections, we regret that there were very few candidates with disabilities nominated by the EU and European countries, in particular women with disabilities. As of January 2019, there will be only three Committee members from Europe – none of them women with disabilities.

For the next elections, in 2020, we encourage European governments to present qualified candidates with disabilities, especially women with disabilities.

We also call the European Union, who is a State Party of the Convention, to nominate an EU candidate. This is the first human rights Convention that can be ratified by regional integration organisations. The EU, is the first, but ideally not he last regional organisation to ratify. It is important that the Committee includes experts with disabilities with knowledge on regional approaches to disability laws and policies. An EU candidate would bring added value to the Committee.

We congratulate the new Committee members and look forward to working with them in the coming years.

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