The fifteenth Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women elected 11 women’s rights experts to serve on the United Nations body that monitors compliance with the treaty today.
Mrs. Zohra Rasekh, Afghanistan’s Candidate to CEDAW, was elected as member of the Committee by 110 votes. The other members of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women were Magalys Arocha Domínguez (Cuba); Indira Jaising (India); Nicole Ameline (France); Niklas Bruun (Finland); Xioaqiao Zou (China); Silvia Pimentel (Brazil); Victoria Popescu (Romania); Barbara Evelyn Bailey (Jamaica); Violet Awori (Kenya) and Soledad Murillo de la Vega (Spain).
Afghanistan’s candidate and the other newly elected members will serve four-year terms beginning on 1 January 2009, and would join other expert members already serving on the 23-strong Committee, established in 1982.
This is the first time that the Government of Afghanistan has presented a candidate for CEDAW. Afghanistan has been under-represented in most of international organizations including CEDAW.
Remarking upon the occasion, H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin, Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan said, “The election of Afghanistan’s candidate is an important achievement for Afghanistan, and I believe Mrs. Rasekh will play an important role in ensuring the implementation of the Convention and leading the work of the Committee. This is the first time that Afghanistan has been elected to a significant international body dealing with an issue that is crucially important in post-Taliban Afghanistan: improving the situation of women who were subjected to all forms of discrimination for a long time.”
The Permanent Representative added, “The Election of Afghanistan’s candidate indicates the continuing support of the international community for Afghanistan and the attempts of the Government of Afghanistan, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the UN at strengthening the role of Afghanistan in the international arena.”
The eleven elected members were selected from a list of 18 candidates nominated on the basis of equitable geographical distribution, equitable representation of “different forms of civilization” and principal legal systems. They would be replacing experts whose terms were due to expire on 31 December 2008.
As part of the Committee, the 11 experts elected are expected to consider national reports and hold dialogues with Government representatives on ways to improve national anti-discrimination policies. They might also consider complaints from individuals or groups, acting under an Optional Protocol to the Convention, of alleged violations of rights protected by the Convention, should such claims arise.
Mrs. Zohra Rasekh will serve a four year term as a member of the committee of CEDAW
Date: July 30, 2008
Report by: Shah Mohammad Niazi and Bilal Askaryar