Monday, November 17, 2014

North Korea ratifies a new human rights treaty

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) has ratified a new international human rights treaty.  This activity seems in part motivated by the scrutiny they are currently under at the Human Rights Council, the Commission of Inquiry's report, their presence in the Universal Periodic Review process at the Council, and the upcoming resolution vote before the General Assembly.  In any case, regardless of the reason, they recently joined the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child which addresses the sale, trafficking and pornography of children.

North Korea signed the treaty on September 9, 2014 and formally ratified it as of November 10, 2014. It now becomes effective one month later, December 10, 2014.  With this ratification, North Korea becomes the 169th party to the Optional Protocol.  By the terms of the Optional Protocol the government must file its first report on compliance within two years, by December 10, 2016.

Optional Protocol's requirements

The Optional Protocol requires that states prohibit the sale, prostitution and pornography of children in their territory and by its citizens and residents.  It sets out specific elements of criminal or penal law that must be addressed to cover the different variants of child abuse in these fields, including sexual exploitation, organ transfer, forced labour, pornography, prostitution, trafficking, and abusive adoption practices.  Article 4 of the Protocol also requires that each state take such measures "as may be necessary to establish its jurisdiction over the offences referred to ... when committed in its territory or on board a ship or aircraft registered in that state."

North Korea's Treaty record

North Korea is one of the most isolated and disengaged countries in the world, including in its human rights commitments. It has ratified only six of the 17 major international instruments and is chronically behind in filing its reports. Here is a summary of its current treaty reporting record:

  • International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (CCPR) -- ratified in 1981; latest report is 10 years overdue, since 2004
  • Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) -- ratified in 2001; latest report is overdue 8 years, since 2006
  • International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) -- ratified in 1981; latest report is overdue 6 years, since 2008
  • Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) -- ratified in 1990, latest report is overdue 2 years, since 2012
  • Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) -- ratified in 2013, no report is yet due (first report is due in 2015)
  • Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC-OPSC) -- ratified November 2014, first report is due December 2016


It is good to see a country like North Korea ratifying international human rights instruments like the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child.  However, it would be even better of course if their reporting compliance and actual compliance to these instruments was improving.  Available NGO and UN reports indicate no improvement is occurring. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Human Rights Committee concludes its review of the report on Israel

The UN Human Rights Committee observes the practice of asking its chairperson to conclude the review of each state party report, with his or her observations about how the discussion went and what seem to be the major areas requiring improvement in a government's human rights practice.   Today marked the conclusion of the Committee's review of the record on Israel. 

Sir Nigel Rodley, chairperson of the Committee, delivered his concluding remarks during the final 10 minutes of the Committee's session. You can view the full afternoon session at the treaty body webcast site

Here are my informal notes of  remarks. He hits especially hard on Israel's self styled interpretations of what legal standards apply to them and how to interpret them.  Areas of concern include torture, interrogations, illegal settlements and home destructions.

Concluding remarks of the chairperson

My thanks to the delegation for coming to this session with a high level group, who have well represented expertise among its members on the subject matters we are reviewing.  It is regrettable that you have run out of time and not been able to give more complete responses.  Part of the problem of running out of time in this two day session was that the prior written responses of Israel did not respond to many of our concerns.  The failure of the delegation to give written responses before this session then made it necessary for the delegation to make oral responses.  Depriving us of the opportunity to ask follow up.

Treaty interpretation principle

The covenant is not a matter of auto interpretation by each state party. This Committee is established to interpret and apply the Covenant. That is reflected in various decisions of the International Court of Justice as well. I noticed two arguments on interpretation made by the delegation that are of particular concern – extraterritoriality and inapplicability of human rights standards to the laws of armed conflict. Both are contrary to our Committee’s interpretation of these matters. The latter issue in particular, on the laws of armed conflict, seems to be a totally unique and unilateral decision of the state party. 


There is also the issue of the settlements.  We are not here of course to judge whether the settlements are illegal or not; that is for other bodies to decide which bodies, it appears, have almost uniformly decided the settlements are not legal. When read together with article 1 and other articles of the Covenant, one can’t ignore that dimension in the human rights violations in the country.  The settlements are in many ways at the heart of the problems being experienced.


Another issue is torture. Still speaking to auto-interpretation, the very fact that the state party maintains the defense of necessity justifies these tactics in some cases, if nothing else contravenes the overwhelming majority view of others on this issue.  I’m also not aware of any aspect of international humanitarian law that allows destruction of homes, as practiced by the government.  The use of force, lethal force, during armed insurrections is also questionable.  I’m encouraged by some of what I’ve heard from your delegation, perhaps that new codes and protocols will be implemented, but listening to Mr. Neumann in this last segment today perhaps you take the position that everything is already functioning well and no improvement is needed.  However, I see some heads nodding that notwithstanding Mr. Neumann’s statements improvements will be implemented. However while a new system may be correct in theory, the key issue is how does it perform in practice.  A system is only as good as it actually behaves.


On interrogations, same thing applies. It is encouraging to hear that there is a genuine independent inspection that will begin to be implemented into procedures, but it still will be important to see what happens in practice under the new system. Bearing in mind that this system is already stacked against the detainees. 15 days of incommunicado detention, even if no extensions of that time period are possible any longer as you have indicated, still 15 days are exorbitant. It creates the potential for serious abuses to occur during that time period. Certainly the information from NGOs, including very respectable NGOs, indicate that even the more moderate interrogation techniques are still being abused; there are so many reports coming forward. It’s hard to believe they are all wrong, or that nothing wrong is happening.  Have there been any prosecutions ever for those responsible for the use of unlawful force in interrogations? 

Suppression of dissent

We understand you are not responsible for violations committed by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.  But you are responsible for the violations that are within your control.  Also a lot of my colleagues’ questions have expressed concern about various incidents that seem to indicate that the traditional robust freedom of expression historically enjoyed in Israel, is becoming more and more limited, more repressed.  Critics of government practices are being silenced or harassed in ways not experienced before. 

Finally, please follow up on any questions you did not have time to answer during our session and follow up on any reports or information you promised various committee members during the session.

[end of remarks]


The full report from the Committee will be issued at the end of the session, October 31st.  Consistent with Committee practice, the report will identify a few items to be followed up urgently by the government, within 12 months, and the remaining recommendations to be implemented and reported on in the next periodic report which is usually due in 4 to 5 years. 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Two decisions on women's discrimination issued by CEDAW

Two decisions were issued by the UN Committee on Women’s Discrimination (CEDAW) at its July session in Geneva.  In the first case, involving Spain, the Committee concluded that gender-based stereotypes had caused the authorities to fail to protect a woman and her daughter from the violence of the husband.  In the second case, from the Philippines, a similar argument that gender-based stereotypes led to a miscarriage of justice in a workplace harassment claim, the Committee concluded the evidence was not sufficient to substantiate a claim and therefore dismissed it on admissibility grounds.  However, in a dissenting opinion, one Committee member concludes there was credible evidence of discrimination and argues that the case should have been decided differently. 

Here is a brief summary of each decision:


Gonzalez Carreno v. Spain, CEDAW/C/58/D/47/2012 (July 18, 2014), decided 17 February 2014.  Represented by counsel (Women’s Link Worldwide). Gender stereotypes; appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination in all matters relating to marriage and family relations. VIOLATION. Articles 2(a)-(f); 5(a), and 16(1)(d), read in conjunction with article 1.

Mrs. Gonzalez Carreno was married in 1996 and had a daughter born the same year. During their time together, before and after the marriage, she was subjected to physical and psychological violence by her husband. She left the marital residence several times during 1999 as a consequence.  In September 1999 after her husband had a knife and threatened to kill her, she sought protection from the police and filed a court complaint asking for separation.  A trial separation was granted by the court in November.  She was continually subject to harassment and intimidation from her husband after this, including death threats in the street and by telephone.  Her daughter became fearful of her father in visitations due to threats and insults of the mother. In one incident he tried to physically remove the child from the mother’s car; the police were called and had to intervene. He threatened to kidnap the girl, and physically grabbed Mrs. Gonzalez Carreno’s hair and threw her to the ground while she had her daughter in her arms.  Several similar incidents are also noted in the complaint. 

Mrs. Gonzalez Carreno filed more than 30 complaints with the civil guard and the courts, repeatedly seeking protective orders against her husband.  She also sought a regime of monitored child visits and payment of child support.  Her husband systematically failed to comply with these court orders.  Because she had very little money or means of support, she sought possession of the marital residence even though she had voluntarily left it earlier.  Spanish civil law provides that the use and enjoyment of the family dwelling is granted to the spouse in a divorce proceeding who has the guardianship and custody of a minor.

Her husband was convicted on one occasion, in October 2000, of stalking and harassing her, but the other complaints did not lead to any punishment.  In other cases protective orders were routinely violated by the husband or not enforced by the courts and police, all without legal consequences to the husband.  In November 2001 the court ordered the final divorce, which disregarded the numerous complaints of abuse and did not refer to habitual ill-treatment as being the cause of separation. Child visits were ordered initially to be monitored and supervised, but only for one month, after which the visits would be gradually expanded.

Despite numerous incidents of violence by her husband during the year and a half of supervised visits, the court authorized unsupervised visits in a May 2002 order.  Mrs. Gonzalez Carreno appealed this decision but lost.  In April 2003 her husband picked up the child for visitation and failed to return her. When the police were notified they found both the daughter and father dead in the father’s dwelling, apparently a murder-suicide.

In April 2004 Mrs. Gonzalez Carreno filed a claim with the Ministry of Justice for compensation for miscarriage of justice, alleging negligence by the administrative and judicial authorities.  She maintained that both the judicial organs and social services had failed in their obligation to protect the life of her daughter, despite the many occasions when she had informed the courts and police about the danger the girl faced with her father.  The Ministry of Justice denied the claim. She made several appeals but was not successful.

The Committee concludes that violations have occurred.  The record is replete with many examples of violent incidents and the failure to include the child in protective orders and other protections sought.  A psychological report in September 2001 had concluded the husband had “an obsessive-compulsive disorder with aspects of pathological jealousy and a tendency to distort reality which could degenerate into a disorder similar to paranoia.”  All of these elements reflect a pattern of action which responds to a stereotyped conception of visiting rights which in the present case gave clear advantages to the father despite his abusive conduct and minimized the situation of mother and daughter as victims of violence, placing them in a vulnerable position.  The Committee notes in this regard that in matters of child custody and visiting rights, the best interests of the child must be a central concern and that when national authorities adopt decisions in that regard they must take into account the existence of a context of domestic violence.

The Committee reiterates that gender-based violence which impairs or mollifies the enjoyment by women of human rights under general international law or under human rights conventions, is discrimination within the meaning of article 1 of the Convention.  This discrimination is not limited to acts committed by or on behalf of Governments.  States may also be responsible for acts of private persons if they do not act with due diligence to prevent violations of rights or to investigate and punish acts of violence and to compensate victims. 

In this case the Committee decides that the authorities, in deciding on the establishment of an unsupervised scheme of visits, applied stereotyped and therefore discriminatory notions in a context of domestic violence and failed to provide due supervision, infringing their obligations under articles 2(a), (d), (e) and (f); 5(a); and 16, paragraph 1(d) of the Convention.  In addition, the failure to pay reparations to Ms. Gonzalez Carreno was a violation of article 2(b) and (c) of the Convention.  The Committee orders the government to pay appropriate reparations to her and to conduct an exhaustive and impartial investigation to determine where there are failures in the government’s structures and practices that have caused Mrs. Gonzalez Carreno and her daughter to be deprived of protection.  In addition, they are ordered to take appropriate and effective measures generally to address prior acts of domestic violence in cases of custody or visiting rights so that the safety of the children are not endangered, and to strengthen the legal framework addressing situations of domestic violence, and finally to provide mandatory training for judges and administrative personnel on combating domestic violence.  VIOLATIONS FOUND. The government is ordered to respond within six months.


M.S. v. The Philippines, CEDAW/C/58/D/30/2011 (August 15, 2014), decided 16 July 2014.  Represented by counsel (H. Harry L. Roque Jr.).  Employment/right to protection of health and to safety in working conditions.  INADMISSIBLE.  Dissenting opinion of Ms. Schulz (4 pages). [2 members abstained]

Ms. M.S. worked for a telecommunications corporation in the Philippines from August 1998 to June 2000.  She had been praised for her job performance on numerous occasions by her superiors.  In May 1999 she began receiving unwanted sexual advances from one of her superiors at company social events and in the office.  She complained to her immediate supervisor and said she was going to file a complaint. Her supervisor discouraged her from doing so.  The unwanted advances continued, causing her stress and anxiety, eventually leading to a leave of absence by her in April 2000.  She believed her job performance continued to be at an optimal level, but was shocked to suddenly begin receiving unfavorable evaluations from her superiors.  Efforts to get an explanation were stonewalled. She resigned from her job in June 2000.

She initiated criminal proceedings against the two superiors, but the case was ultimately dismissed for lack of probable cause.  She asked for reconsideration and was granted a new opportunity to file charges. The respondents, her two former superiors, then filed for reconsideration but lost. The charges against one of the defendants was dismissed eventually because he died.  She also filed a labor case but lost, the arbiter concluding she had voluntarily resigned. She appealed but lost again.  She then appealed to the next level and won, the Court of Appeals having concluded that the various circumstances of the sexual harassment against her had been “conveniently ignored” by the labor arbiter.  The defendants appealed to the Supreme Court and won, dismissing her claim again.

The Committee concludes that the case is not admissible. The facts were assessed by the national authorities in a thorough fashion.  The Committee does not normally replace the national authorities in matters of this nature, unless it can be established that the evaluation was biased or based on gender harmful stereotypes that constitute discrimination against women, or was clearly arbitrary or amounted to a denial of justice.  Nothing in the record before the Committee establishes any of these grounds to overturn the national courts’ final findings.

In a dissenting opinion, Committee member Patricia Schulz argues that the claims of gender stereotyping by the complainant are credible and that the government fails to respond to them in a convincing manner. She highlights in italics specific factual allegations that go unchallenged by the government and that she feels establish a finding of harmful gender stereotypes used in a discriminatory manner.  However, she also views the five year delay before the complainant brought this complaint to the Committee as too long, and as an alternative grounds for dismissing the claim, and finding it inadmissible.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Committee on Women’s Discrimination (CEDAW) meets (58th session, July 2014)

The U.N. Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) concluded its 58th regular session  on July 18th.  The Committee will soon meet for its 59th session so I wanted to get this summary of its 58th session out before the next session was upon us. This is a summary of key developments of the 58th session (June 30 – July 18, 2014).  


CEDAW monitors compliance under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. Historically it has met two times a year, but recently that has increased to three times per year in order to catch up on the Committee’s backlog. The Committee has 23 members, half of whom are elected/re-elected every even numbered year.  The three session per year format will probably continue and may become permanent.  The last election was held this year on June 26th, at which 12 were elected or re-elected.  

The Convention has been in effect since 1981 (33 years). It has now been ratified by 188 countries, which makes it the 2nd most ratified in the human rights treaty system.  The individual complaint mechanism that is available under the Optional Protocol to the Convention has been ratified by 104 countries. The most recent ratification was the State of Palestine which ratified effective April 2, 2014. The Governments of Iraq (on February 18) and Tunisia (April 17) have also notified the UN treaty authorities that they are withdrawing certain of their prior reservations to the Convention.   


The Committee met shortly after the General Assembly had concluded its treaty body strengthening activity, culminating in a resolution in April, aiming to increase resources and streamline processes in the treaty body system. The announced objectives of the new initiatives were also to reduce backlogs, and improve state reporting and responsiveness to treaty obligations and treaty body requests.  These developments were discussed in private session by the Committee at this session and will no doubt have an impact on its proceedings in the future. 

Other political events happening during or shortly before this session included the kidnapping of over 200 girls by Boko Horam in Nigeria; violence and civil conflict in the Ukraine, Syria, Gaza, the Central African Republic and India, a series of horrific rapes in India, the apostasy case of a Christian woman in Sudan threatened with the death penalty, and the Girl Summit 2014, inspired in part by the experience of Malala Yousafzai and her fight for the right to education of all girls. The Girl Summit was held in London in July, at the same time that this 58th session of CEDAW was meeting in Geneva.

It is notable that three of the countries that were reviewed at this session of CEDAW are among these countries currently in the news, the Central African Republic, India and Syria.  In addition, a 4th conflict zone, Gaza, was the subject of a special statement of concern and criticism that was adopted by the Committee and released during the session.

Another notable event leading up to this session was the publication in March 2014 of a new book by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, “A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence and Power”, in which he calls discrimination and violence against women and girls the most serious, pervasive, and ignored violation of basic human rights in the world today.

Key developments

The Committee reviewed eight country reports during this session, decided two individual cases, issued a special statement concerning the conflict in Gaza and its impact on women and children civilians, held a special half-day discussion on the right to education, and continued work on several draft comments and statements.

The Committee also adopted on a trial basis, a simplified reporting procedure similar to the procedure which is now being offered by several of the other human rights treaty committees. Under this procedure States have the option to select this new procedure instead of the traditional reporting procedure, and if they do, the Committee will issue a list of issues before the report is prepared that will then form the basis of the state party’s report.  Instead of doing an item by item analysis to the treaty’s articles, this procedure will permit the state party to instead structure their report as a response to the questions and issues posed by the Committee instead.

State reports

Many of the reports submitted by governments to the treaty body system are either late, over the page limit, or fail to respond to the prior concluding observations (COs) of the Committee. The current page limits are 40 pages for periodic reports, 60 pages for initial reports, and 80 pages for common core reports. Here is my analysis of the eight country reports reviewed at this session: 

On time?
Within page limits?
Response to last COs?
Central African Republic
No, 20 years late
No, 22 pages over
Not applicable. This is an initial report.
No, 7 mos. late
No, 16 pages over
No, 2 years late
No, 4 months late
No, 52 pages over
Yes, apparently, although it is difficult to track them to see if they are complete
No, 2 years late
No, 7 pages over
No, 1 year late
No, 7 years late
No, 24 pages over
Not applicable. This is an initial report.
No, 3 months late
No, 52 pages over

Each report was reviewed by the Committee and discussed with the government delegation.  

The Committee issued Concluding Observations on each report, from 10 to 15 pages in length, containing positive aspects and areas of concern. Counting sub-items, there were between 49 and 82 recommendations for each report.  In each case several items were identified for follow-up by the government in either one or two years, depending on the country. The next full report for each country is due in 4 years, July 2018. 

Here is a brief analysis of each concluding report: 

Central African Republic

  • 13 pages, 78 recommendations
  • next full report is due July 2018
  • follow up within one year on
    • developing a national strategy to end impunity from sexual violence (paragraph 16(b))
    •  ensuring that women participate in all stages of the coming peace process in the country, including at decision-making levels (paragraph 20(a)
  •  link to full report of the Committee


  • ·      11 pages, 49 recommendations
  •      next report is due July 2018
  • ·        follow up in 24 months on:
    •       taking measures to better prevent murders of women by their husbands and partners, encourage more effective investigations, assistance to victims, prohibit and sanction the practice of virginity testing (paragraph 21)
    •        ensuring full and equal participation of women in political and public life, especially at senior and decision-making levels (paragraph 25)
  • ·      link to full report of the Committee

  • ·      10 pages, 77 recommendations
  • ·      next full report is due July 2018
  • ·      follow up in 24 months on:
    •        implementation of the recommendations of the Justice Verma Commission to help reduce the incidents of violence against women, including on dowry-related deaths and honour crimes (paragraphs 11a,e,f,g,h)
    •     review of the legal protocols on the treatment of women in border areas and conflict zones, especially the manner in which “special powers” are enforced in such areas, including Kashmir, the North East, Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Andhrah Pradesh) (paragraphs 13a,d,f,g,h)
  • ·      link to full report of the Committee

  • ·      12 pages, 64 recommendations
  • ·      next full report is due July 2018
  • ·      follow up in 24 months on:
    •  strengthening the mandate and funding of the Commission for Equal Opportunities, ensuring that every ministry allocates special budgetary funds to implementing gender equality, and ensuring effective monitoring of time bound targets and indicators (paragraphs 15a,b,c,e)
    •  adopting a comprehensive strategy to prevent domestic violence and assist victims, collect, analyze and publish data on reported cases of violence against women and girls, and provide crisis centers (paragraphs 23b,c,d)
  • ·      link to full report of the Committee

  • ·      13 pages, 68 recommendations
  • ·      next full report is due July 2018
  • ·      follow up in 24 months on:
    •    expediting adoption of measures to curb the widespread practice of female genital mutilation in the country, including adopting criminal legislation, sensitizing health practitioners to te special needs of FGM victims, amending current legislation where needed to permit prosecutions and raising awareness (paragraph 25)
    •    addressing the problem of slave-like conditions that some women of Haratin and Afro-Mauritanian ethnicity are currently living under, including better monitoring, data collection, income programs, adoption of a National Action Plan, and monitoring the situation of refugee women (paragraph 45)
  • ·      link to full report of the Committee

  • ·      12 pages, 58 recommendations
  • ·      next full report is due July 2018
  • ·      follow up in 24 months on:
    • adopting temporary special measures to address the low participation rate of women in public life (paragraph 18)
    • addressing the problem of unsafe abortions which is currently a leading cause of maternal morbidity and mortality in the country, including removing several of the legislative and programmatic barriers to obtaining therapeutic abortions in the current situation (paragraphs 36a, b, c, & g)
  • ·      link to full report of the Committee

  • ·      11 pages, 56 recommendations
  • ·      next full report is due July 2018
  • ·      follow up in 24 months on:
    • adopting legislation that expressly states that discrimination based on sex or marital status is unlawful, and to urgently adopt other pending legislation which has been languishing in the legislative process, including the Marriage bill, the Administration of Estates bill, the Transnational Crimes bill, the Employment bill, the Legal Aid bill, and the Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence bill (paragraph 9)
    • reinstating the Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence bill which had successfully passed by Parliament but then lapsed because it did not receive Royal assent; in addition several measures are urgently encouraged, to address the high prevalence of violence against women and girls in the country (paragraph 21)
  • ·      link to full report of the Committee

  • ·      15 pages, 82 recommendations
  • ·      next full report is due July 2018
  • ·      follow up in 12 months on:
    •  taking measures to include prominent Syrian women in the peace building and reconstruction processes, and to include women generally in peace negotiations and related activities (paragraph 14a)
    • reviewing its current reservations to the Convention and consider withdrawing those reservations (paragraph 16)
    •  taking more concerted actions to investigate, prosecute and punish all cases of violence against women in the country, including issuing command orders immediately to all government forces prohibiting sexual violene and holding perpetrators accountable (paragraphs 27 c and d)
    • protecting women activists from arbitrary detention, physical abuse and sexual violence by government forces and affiliated militias (paragraph 30 c)
  • ·      link to full report of the Committee

Individual complaints

Two individual decisions were decided by the Committee during this 58th session. One case involving Spain found that the government had committed human rights violations. The other case, involving the Philippines, concluded that the complaint did not sufficiently substantiate a claim and was therefore inadmissible.

Here is a brief summary of each case. I will post a more detailed analysis of each decision in at a later time. 


Gonzalez Carreno v. Spain, CEDAW/C/58/D/47/2012 (July 18, 2014), decided 17 February 2014.  Represented by counsel (Women’s Link Worldwide). Gender stereotypes; appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination in all matters relating to marriage and family relations. VIOLATION. Articles 2(a)-(f); 5(a), and 16(1)(d), read in conjunction with article 1.


M.S. v. The Philippines, CEDAW/C/58/D/30/2011 (July 16, 2014), decided 16 July 2014.  Represented by counsel (H. Harry L. Roque Jr.).  Employment/right to protection of health and to safety in working conditions.  INADMISSIBLE.  Dissenting opinion of Ms. Schulz (4 pages). [2 members abstained]


The latest election was held June 26, 2014, NY, when 12 of the Committee members were up for re-election or replacement. Seven members were re-elected and five new members were elected, as follows:

New members:
  • Ms. Gladys ACOSTA VARGAS (Peru)
  • Ms. Magalys AROCHA DOMINGUEZ (Cuba)
  • Ms. Lilian HOFMEISTER (Austria)
  • Ms. Kheira MAHDJOUB-OUIGUINI (Algeria)
  • Ms. Lia NADARAIA (Georgia)

Re-elected members:

  • Ms. Feride ACAR (Turkey)
  • Ms. Naela GABR (Egypt)
  • Ms. Ruth HALPERIN-KADDARI (Israel)
  • Ms. Yoko HAYASHI (Japan)
  • Ms. Ismat JAHAN (Bangladesh)
  • Ms. Pramila PATTEN (Mauritius)
  • Ms. Patricia SCHULZ (Switzerland)

Gender/geographic balance

The topic of geographic balance is addressed annually in a GA report on treaty body composition.  In its 2013 report the GA report indicated that the CEDAW was underrepresented geographically by the African Group and overrepresented by WEOG. 

From table 3 of A/68/323 -- CEDAW – these statistics are through the prior election held in 2012:

5 (21.7%)
51 (27.3%)
6 (26.1%)
51 (27.3%)

Eastern Europe
3 (13.0%)
23 (12.3%)

3 (13.0%)
33 (17.6%)

6 (26.1%)
28 (15.0%)

On gender balance CEDAW has been consistently overbalanced with more women than men. Currently only 1 member is male. This is not considered a healthy balance between male and female members. All of the other committees have a better balance between men and women.

No. of women members
5 of 18 (28%)
4 of 18 (22%)
4 of 18 (22%)
22 of 23 (96%)
3 of 10 (30%)
10 of 25 (40%)
11 of 18 (61%)
7 of 18 (39%)
3 of 14 (21%)
1 of 10 (10%)
66 of 172 (38%)*
            *only 30% if you remove CEDAW 

Next session

The Committee's 59th session will be October 20 to November 7, 2014.  Eight countries/10 reports (3 from China) are scheduled for that session:
  • Belgium
  • Brunei Darussalam
  • China
  • China Hong Kong
  • China Macau
  • Ghana
  • Guinea
  • Poland
  • Solomon Islands*
  • Venezuela

* It is noted that the consideration of Solomon Islands in the absence of a report had originally been scheduled for the 54th session. However, Solomon Islands submitted its combined initial to third periodic reports on 30 January 2013, and the consideration was subsequently postponed to the 59th session to allow for the translation of the report as well as the establishment of an updated list of issues at the pre-sessional working group.