26 June 2006

States Parties to Women's Anti-Discrimination Convention Elects 12 Experts to Serve on Monitoring Committee

NEW YORK, 23 June (UN Headquarters) -- In a secret ballot this morning, 181 of 183 States parties to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women elected 12 of the 23 experts that serve on the Committee that monitors States' compliance with the  Convention, with experts from Bangladesh, Japan and Mauritius receiving the most votes.

The 12 experts, to serve in their individual capacities, would begin four-year terms on 1 January 2007, and would replace the 12 experts whose terms would expire on 31 December 2006.

The new members were elected from a list of 23 candidates nominated on the basis of equitable geographical distribution and representation of the different forms of civilization, as well as of the principal legal systems.  Before the States parties was a list of the candidates' names and curricula vitae (documents CEDAW/SP/2006/3 and Add.1).

The experts would serve on the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, which monitors implementation of the Convention in States that had ratified or acceded to it.  Under an Optional Protocol to the Convention, they would also be charged with considering complaints from individuals or groups of individuals of alleged violations of rights protected by the Convention.

The new Committee members included:  Ferdous Ara Begum (Bangladesh), Meriem Belmihoub-Zerdani (Algeria), Saisuree Chutikul (Thailand), Dorcas Ama Frema Coker-Appiah (Ghana), Cornelis Flinterman (Netherlands), Naela Gabr Mohamed Gabre Ali (Egypt), Ruth Halperin-Kaddari (Israel), Violeta Neubauer (Slovenia), Pramila Patten (Mauritius), Fumiko Saiga (Japan), Hazel Gumede Shelton (South Africa) and Dubravka Šimonović (Croatia).

The Committee members who will continue to serve until their terms expire on 31 December 2008 included:  Magalys Arocha Dominguez (Cuba), Mary Shanthi Dairiam (Malaysia), Françoise Gaspard (France), Tiziana Maiolo (Italy), Silvia Pimentel (Brazil), Hanna Beate Schöpp-Schilling (Germany), Heisoo Shin (Republic of Korea), Glenda P. Simms (Jamaica), Anamah Tan (Singapore), Maria Regina Tavares da Silva (Portugal) and Xiaoqiao Zou (China).

To preside over the fourteenth Meeting of States Parties, the Committee elected Andreas Mavroyiannis (Cyprus) as Chairperson, as well as the following three Vice-Chairpersons:  Meshak Kitchen (Zimbabwe), from the group of African States; Birute Abraitiene (Lithuania), from the group of Eastern European States; and Sean McDonald (Ireland), from the group of Western European and other States.

Addressing the meeting, Carolyn Hannan, Director, Division for the Advancement of Women, said that since the thirteenth Meeting of States Parties, six States had ratified or acceded to the Convention, bringing the total number of States parties to 183.  In addition, 16 States had become party to the Optional Protocol, bringing the total to 79 States parties.  Four more acceptances to the amendment to article 20, paragraph 1, of the Convention on the Committee's meeting time, had been made, bringing the total to 48.

Ms. Hannan noted that, as of 5 June 2006, reports by 104 States parties were overdue, bringing the total number of overdue reports to 184.  She said the Committee would hold three annual sessions in 2006 and 2007, and would also meet for the first time in parallel chambers during some of those sessions to consider periodic reports of States parties.  The extended meeting time would enable the Committee to consider significantly more reports of States parties on an annual basis.

Ms. Hannan noted that the Committee had adopted several statements on various themes, including the gender aspects of the December 2004 tsunami disaster, the 10-year review and appraisal of the Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action, the situation of women in Iraq and the need to harmonize and integrate human rights treaty body systems.  The Committee's Working Group on Communications under the Optional Protocol had thus far registered 11 complaints.  Of those, it had completed proceedings on three:  two were deemed inadmissible and on the third the Committee found violations of several provisions of the Convention.  In addition, the Committee was working on two general recommendations:  on women migrants and on article 2 of the Convention.

Mr. Mavroyiannis stressed the importance of the Committee's work in ensuring compliance with the Convention.  He thanked the outgoing Committee members for their efforts and congratulated the newly appointed ones.

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