July 2006 Newsletter

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

In a secret ballot 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 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 are:  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.


2007 European Year on Equal Opportunities for All


The European Commission has designated 2007 as ‘European Year of Equal Opportunities for All’.


Activities during the Year are based on Article 13 of the Treaty and will concern equality and non-discrimination for all, including women. An article on gender mainstreaming was included in the draft decision, which should oblige all actors to take gender equality into account.


The European Women’s Lobby (EWL) is a member of the NGOs Advisory Group concerning the Year and the European Commission agreed that gender equality would be fully mainstreamed into activities. The EWL stressed the importance of this issue.


The majority of activities will be carried out at a national level by national co-ordinating bodies and in most cases will not be bodies created but will be located in ministries. 


A number of countries have already nominated their national coordinating body: Austria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, The Netherlands, Slovakia and Sweden. Contact details of those as well as nominations of the ones missing are available on the following website as soon as they are made public: http://ec.europa.eu/employment_social/equality2007/nb_en.htm


The national bodies have a very short time to prepare their national action plans and the list of activities they want to fund approximately 3 or 4 months at the most to define estimate starting from the end of June.   The EWL is encouraging its members to get in touch with the national bodies and enquire about funding and how and when possible projects will be selected at national level.  The Platform will be making enquiries as soon as possible.


Consultation on UN Reform


The UN High -Level Coherence Panel consultations with civil society on UN Reform was held in Geneva on July 2, 2006. About 60 civil society representatives from around the world are expected to participate in the discussion on the cross-cutting themes of gender equality, human rights and the environment.  The Geneva consultations with civil society represent an important opportunity for women’s rights groups to lay out the organisational and systemic problems associated with the gender equality architecture throughout the UN, both at the national and global levels.


Prior to the Panel consultations women’s groups have met to strategise on overall messages for the hearings.  It will be a chance for women’s groups to get together to explore strategies and make more concrete recommendations about the structural changes that ought to happen in order to turn gender equality, women’s rights and women’s empowerment goals into reality. 


These discussions will also constitute the basis of women’s longer-term advocacy efforts leading to the 61st session of the UN General Assembly that will begin on September 12, 2006 in New York. Member states will negotiate the panel’s recommended reforms to the current architecture, or at least recommended processes on UN reform during the General Assembly in September.


The UN High -Level Coherence Panel will complete its work in August 2006 and its recommendations will be presented to the General Assembly in September 2006.


Women and Health in the EU

  • The European Commission has outlined plans to plans to produce a report on women’s health in the EU for publication during 2007

UN Publications

Campaign for General Secretary to UN

  • In the 60 years since the UN was founded it has not once elected a woman as its leader.  Send a free message asking the UN Security Council members to elect a woman leader in 2006 to: www.freechoicesaveslives.org/campaign/UN

New Human Rights Organisation

  • A new human rights organisation dedicated to putting the power of the internet to work for the human rights community.  FACE Human Rights will be a truly multilingual internet portal for global grassroots human rights organisers and organisations. The site will appear in dozens of languages, and provide a searchable online database of grassroots human rights organisations.  Contact: www.facehumanrights.org

UN Vacancy Announcements

For requirements, eligibility and application deadlines, please visit
the United Nations website at UN Human Resources ‘Galaxy’ e-Staffing Systemat http://jobs.un.org.  The system provides instructions on application procedures. Kindly be aware that online applications are strongly encouraged to enable the UN to place your CV into a permanent database. Newsletters