Election process for CEDAW Committee members
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 any particular State party.
At least three months before the date of each election, the Secretary-General of the United Nations shall address a letter to the States parties inviting them to submit their nominations within two months. When electing new members, consideration is given to equitable geographical distribution and to ensure representation of different forms of civilisation and legal systems.
Persons nominated by States parties are elected by secret ballot with each State party having one vote. Persons who obtain the largest number of votes and an absolute majority of the votes of the representatives of the States parties present and voting, shall be elected to CEDAW. Subject to the number of vacancies that have come up for each region, members are then elected accordingly.
In case of unexpected vacancies, the States party whose expert has ceased to function as a member shall appoint another expert from among its nationals, subject to the approval of the CEDAW Committee.
Role of CEDAW Committee Members
The primary function of the CEDAW Committee is to monitor State implementation of the CEDAW Convention. It does this through the consideration of reports submitted by State parties. These can take the form of either initial or periodic reports, or a combination of the two. After the review of the country concerned, CEDAW Committee prepares a set of recommendations called the Concluding Observations.
The CEDAW Committee also formulates General Recommendations, which are interpretative comments on specific articles of the CEDAW Convention. These General Recommendations are one means by which the CEDAW Committee addresses contemporary issues which the CEDAW Convention does not expressly mention. There are, to date, 30 General Recommendations.
Role under the Optional Protocol
With the adoption of the Optional Protocol to CEDAW in December 2000, the CEDAW Committee has the power to receive complaints by women or on behalf of groups of women, through the communications procedure. Thus, States parties which ratify the Optional Protocol to CEDAW could be said to have granted juridical powers to the CEDAW Committee. This enables them to function like a Human Rights Court in regards to the effective implementation of the provisions contained in the CEDAW Convention.
The Optional Protocol to CEDAW also gives the Committee the power to launch an inquiry into grave and systematic violations of women’s human rights on its own initiative.
- Rules of Procedure of the CEDAW Committee (Annex I, A/56/38)
- Current Working Methods of the CEDAW Committee
To be kept up to date with CEDAW in the Asia Pacific Region further information can be obtained at IRAW Asia Pacific