UN Committee on the rights of women will elect new members

20 February 2020

In December 2020, the mandate of 12 member of the UN Committee on Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW Committee) will expire, and it's time to think about nomination and re-election.

The women's organisation IWRAW Asia-Pacific shared the following information about the elections of CEDAW Committee members.

The elections will be held on 29 June 2020 in New York, at the 21st meeting of States parties to the CEDAW Convention. The deadline for submission of nominees by governments to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights is 6 March 2020.

About the elections

Members of the CEDAW Committee are elected pursuant to article 17 of the CEDAW Convention by States parties from among nationals of that country. However, it is important to note that these members serve in their personal capacity and not as representatives of that States party. Members are elected for a term of four years.

Why should you take action?

There is still a need for women's groups and women's rights advocates to continue advocating for the inclusion of independent feminist experts in the CEDAW Committee. The CEDAW Convention is the only UN human rights treaty that focuses on gender issues. In this regard, it is important that the 23 experts of the CEDAW Committee have an understanding of the realities of women's lives, are of high moral standing and have competence in the field of women's human rights, as required by the Convention.

Thus, each CEDAW Committee member has the potential of advocating for women's rights at many levels, including:

  • Upholding the notion that States are accountable to women;
  • Continuously expanding and furthering rights contained in the CEDAW Convention along feminist principles;
  • Ensuring that women's NGOs are included in CEDAW-related processes.

What can Organisations of Persons with Disabilities do?

  1. Identify women and feminist experts with disabilities with a strong understanding and experience in promoting and protecting women's rights and who are willing and able to be Committee members.
  2. Start lobbying your government to nominate these identified experts for the post.
  3. Share these names with EDF, IDA and IWRAW Asia-Pacific so that we can coordinate lobbying governments for their election onto the Committee at the elections in June 2020.

Currently, there is only one woman with disabilities sitting in the Committee, Ms. Ana Peláez Narváez from Spain, Vice-President of EDF.

Timeline

  1. Now until 6 March 2020: Time for women's groups to lobby their governments and suggest names of good candidates from their own country to be elected to the Committee. You may also wish to facilitate this process by reminding the relevant office in your government of the deadline, and forwarding the form and contact details for nomination, which can be downloaded here (see Annexe 3). You may also campaign for an open transparent process for selection to ensure candidates’ track record on women's human rights.
  2. 6 March 2020: Nomination list closes. A list of candidates will appear on the webpage. The states of the Bahamas, France, Ghana, Jordan, Lebanon, Lithuania, Mauritania, Mexico, Nepal, the Netherlands, Philippines and Uganda have already submitted a candidate. You can check this list on the link above.
  3. Between 6 March - 29 June 2020: Women's groups lobby governments and missions to vote for their candidate and candidates that best fulfill the criteria. CVs and bio details will be made available on the OHCHR website so you find out more about the other nominees.
  4. 29 June 2020: CEDAW States Parties Meeting. Where states parties will vote through secret ballot to either re-elect committee members whose terms expire in 2020 and who have been nominated by their states or elect new members.

New members take office on 1 January 2021.

Further information about the election process can be found here.

Who are the 11 CEDAW members whose terms are expiring?

  1. Ms. Nicole Ameline - France
  2. Mr. Gunnar Bergby - Norway
  3. Ms. Marion Bethel - Bahamas
  4. Ms. Esther Eghobamien-Msheila - Nigeria
  5. Ms. Hilary Gbedemah - Ghana
  6. Ms. Nahla Haidar - Lebanon
  7. Ms. Dalia Leinarte - Lithuania
  8. Ms. Rosario G. Manalo - Philippines
  9. Ms. Bandana Rana - Nepal
  10. Ms. Wenyan Song - China
  11. Ms. Aicha Vall Verges - Mauritania

Please do not hesitate to reach out to us if you are campaigning for a candidate from your country.

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