GQUAL and IDA call for gender balance in the 2018 CRPD Committee membership

The GQUAL Campaign and the International Disability Alliance call States Parties to the CRPD to undertake a participatory, democratic and quality nomination and election process in 2018 to achieve gender balance of CRPD Committee membership   

In June 2018, the Conference of States Parties to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) will hold elections for 9 out 18 experts for the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, body entrusted with the international monitoring of compliance of that Convention by States Parties.

The Convention itself foresees a set of relevant criteria related to the Committee’s composition that States Parties must consider. According to Article 34(4) of the CRPD,  States must consider “equitable geographical distribution, representation of the different forms of civilization and of the principal legal systems, balanced gender representation and participation of experts with disabilities.”

In addition, according to Article 34(3), when nominating their candidates, States Parties should take into consideration Article 4(3) of the Convention, that requires that “[i]n the development and implementation of legislation and policies to implement the present Convention, and in other decision-making processes concerning issues relating to persons with disabilities, States Parties shall closely consult with and actively involve persons with disabilities, including children with disabilities, through their representative organizations.”

Since the beginning of 2017, the Committee is composed by 17 men and only 1 women, the lower representation of women the Committee has ever had. The only woman, current Chairperson of the Committee, Ms. Theresia Degener, will conclude her mandate in 2018, not being eligible for re-election. In this context, the upcoming elections are of the utmost importance to recover the gender balance in the Committee membership, which is required by Article 34(4) of the CRPD and is highly important for the representativeness, legitimacy and functioning of the Committee.

The GQUAL Campaign and IDA call States Parties to the CRPD to nominate and vote for candidates taking the need to achieve gender parity in the Committee into account. For this purpose, States should undertake participatory processes at the national level that include gender balance as a criteria. States need to take measures to nominate candidates in compliance with  their obligations under Articles 4(3) and 34 of the CRPD, in order to achieve gender and geographical balance, and select candidates that fulfil the criteria of professional competencies, experience on human rights of persons with disabilities and independence, and to give particular consideration and preference to candidates with disabilities.

In the same vein, the GQUAL Campaign and IDA call States Parties to take into account these criteria when deciding which of the candidates to vote for in the elections during the XI Conference of States Parties to the CRPD. The States have both the opportunity and the responsibility to ensure the Committee’s composition complies with the CRPD and strengthens its function, impact, and legitimacy.