By IDA

 - January 31, 2018

IDA, together with IDDC and the GQUAL Campaign, co-sponsored a meeting convened by the States’ Group of Friends to the CRPD under the title “Promoting gender balance, quality and independence in the nomination and elections processes for the CRPD committee,” and provided key remarks pertaining to the upcoming CRPD Committee elections and the need to restore gender balance to move towards gender parity within its membership and improve nomination and election processes. The event counted with the participation of the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Ms Catalina Devandas, and gathered representatives of the Permanent Missions to the UN of the States of the Group of Friends to the CRPD.

As first speaker, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Ms Catalina Devandas recalled the outcome of the 2016 CRPD Committee elections, which led to its current composition consisting of 17 men and only 1 woman. She highlighted the pressing need that States Parties increase the number of women in the Committee in the 2018 elections next June. This would contribute to reinforce CRPD Committee membership in addressing key substantive issues. Furthermore, she highlighted that a woman with disability, Ms. Ana Peláez, is currently running for election at the CEDAW Committee, being a great opportunity to increase participation of persons with disabilities in other UN Treaty Bodies. 

Secondly, Ms. Claudia Martin, member of the and Human Rights Professor at the American University, Washington College of Law, presented the main objectives of the campaign. Secondly, Ms. Martin thoroughly recalled States’ obligations under international human rights law to ensure gender equality, stressing on Article 8 of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women, which requires States Parties to “take all appropriate measures to ensure to women, on equal terms with men and without any discrimination, the opportunity to represent their Governments at the international level and to participate in the work of international organizations.” She concluded by highlighting the need to develop participatory nomination procedures at the national level that ensure women the opportunity to compete on equal terms with men.

IDA`s Senior Advisor on Human Rights, Ms Silvia Quan strongly called States to closely consult with organisations of persons with disabilities of their country in the nomination process at the national level and in the election process at the international level, in order to comply with CRPD Articles 4.3 and 34.3. Ms Quan also highlighted the need to timely and widely disseminate all information related to nominations and election processes. She made a strong point on the need to develop mechanisms and processes, both at the national and international level, to publicly assess and scrutinise candidates profile, including for instance public hearings open to civil society participation, and to clearly set assessment guidance to ensure that candidates meet the relevant criteria required by the Convention.

Elizabeth Lockwood, representative of International Disability and Development Consortium, stressed its support to the call to States Parties to the CRPD to consider gender balance when nominating and voting for candidates in order to move towards gender parity. Doctor Lockwood call States to fulfil their obligations, including by developing participatory national nomination procedures and improving election procedures at the international level, ensuring qualifications of and diversity among candidates. In this line, gender representation and the active participation of women with disabilities in decision-making at all levels is a critical step in ensuring greater equality.

The presentations were followed by a Q&A session, in which States representatives had the opportunity to express their views and exchange on ongoing practices pertaining to the CRPD upcoming election next June. The constructive conversation will hopefully renew efforts to improve practices.

IDA will continue its endeavours to promote participatory nomination and elections procedures for CRPD elections, hopefully leading to better compliance with Article 34 of the CRPD in terms of gender parity, participation of experts with disabilities, equitable geographical distribution, professional competencies and independence of CRPD Committee membership.

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Category: CRPD Committee