CEDAW Committee Elections 2020

The terms of 12 CEDAW members will expire in December 2020. Elections of new Committee members will be held on 29 June 2020 in New York, at the 21st meeting of States parties to the CEDAW Convention.

6 March 2020 is the deadline for submission of nominees by our governments to the OHCHR, for consideration by states which have ratified CEDAW in their meeting in June.

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 on 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:

1) upholding the notion that States are accountable to women;

2) continuously expanding and furthering rights contained in the CEDAW Convention along feminist principles;

3) ensuring that women’s NGOs are included in CEDAW-related processes.

Additionally, with the existence of OP CEDAW, which creates a complaints mechanism through which violations of the treaty can be adjudicated by the Committee, we need Committee members who have an understanding of the realities of women’s lives in order that women can use the mechanism and obtain redress for violations of their rights under CEDAW.

What can NGOs do?

1. Identify women and feminist experts 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 experts for the post.

3. Share these names with us so that we can coordinate lobbying our governments for their election onto the Committee at the elections in June 2020.

The timeline for this process is:

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 (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 can 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.

5. New members take office on 1 January 2021.

Further information about the election process can be found at http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/Pages/ElectionsofTreatyBodiesMembers.aspx

Who are the 11 CEDAW members whose terms are expiring?

  1. Ms. Nicole Ameline – France – Western Europe (WEOG)

  1. Mr. Gunnar Bergby – Norway – Western Europe (WEOG)

  1. Ms. Marion Bethel – Bahamas – Latin America and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)

  1. Ms. Esther Eghobamien-Msheila – Nigeria – Africa (A)

  1. Ms. Hilary Gbedemah – Ghana – Africa (A)

  1. Ms. Nahla Haidar – Lebanon – Asia Pacific Group (As)

  1. Ms. Dalia Leinarte – Lithuania – Eastern Europe (EEG)

  1. Ms. Rosario G. Manalo – Philippines – Asia Pacfic Group (As)

  1. Ms. Bandana Rana – Nepal – Asia Pacific Group (As)

  1. Ms. Wenyan Song – China – Asia Pacific Group (As)

  2. Ms. Aicha Vall Verges – Mauritania – Africa (A)

There are three outgoing members from the Africa region, two from the WEOG region, one from GRULAC, four from the Asia group and one from EEG. Of the remaining 12 Committee members, one is from WEOG, two are from GRULAC, three from EEG, four from Africa and two from Asia. This may give you a sense of the current regional balance of Committee members; the elections may also try to balance the regional representation of the membership.

Please keep us updated if you are campaigning for a candidate from your country.

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