NGOs call for gender parity in the next composition of the UN Committee on the Migrant Workers
GQUAL, CEJIL, Dejusticia, CELS, Red Jesuita con Migrantes (RJM-LAC), Amnesty International, Facultad de Derecho Universidad Alberto Hurtado, Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Universidad Diego Portales, Clínica Jurídica de Migrantes y Refugiados de la UDP and International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) call for gender parity in the next composition of the Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families.
The GQUAL Campaign, CEJIL, Dejusticia, Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS), Red Jesuita con Migrantes (RJM-LAC), Amnesty International, Facultad de Derecho Universidad Alberto Hurtado, Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Universidad Diego Portales, Clínica Jurídica de Migrantes y Refugiados de la UDP and International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) call on the States Parties to the Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (ICRMW), to nominate and elect qualified candidates in the upcoming election of the Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families (CMW) with an aim to improve gender balance in the composition of the Committee.
Established in 2004 pursuant to Article 72 of ICRMW, the CMW is the main body monitoring and ensuring compliance by States around the world on the rights of migrant workers and their families. The CMW has also clarified the scope of the ICRMW on important issues related to gender and women, among other groups in vulnerable situations, including the rights to liberty and protection against arbitrary detention, the rights of children in the context of international migration in countries of origin, transit, destination and return, the rights of migrant workers in an irregular situation and of domestic workers, of which women make up the overwhelming majority. Women’s participation in the composition of the CMW is critical to amplify the perspectives considered and to improve the depth and impact of the decisions adopted on all these important matters.
On June 27, at the 11th meeting of States Parties, States Parties to the ICRMW will elect seven new members to replace those whose terms of office will expire on December 31, 2023. The election affects half of the CMW membership and, therefore, is likely to have a serious impact on the body’s composition, which in turn affects its legitimacy and effectiveness.
The CMW is composed of 14 independent experts, who must be persons “of high moral standing, impartiality and recognized competence in the field covered by the Convention” (Article 72 of the ICRMW). Currently, ten out of fourteen members are male (71%) and four (29%) are female, making it one of the UN Treaty Bodies with the lowest representation of women.
As of February 13th, States Parties have submitted seven nominations for consideration in the upcoming elections. Five are male and two are female. Unfortunately, the current candidate pool is not gender diverse enough to allow for gender parity to be achieved in the CMW and does not necessarily indicate that gender parity has been duly prioritized so far. Accordingly, we strongly encourage States Parties to consider the actual gender composition of the membership of the Committee when nominating experts up until the closing date of 31 March 2023, and to give due consideration to this criterion at the election stage. This is especially relevant if we consider that one of the three women who are currently members of the Committee is ending her mandate. This means that the Committee could be left with an even lower representation of women if gender criteria is not considered at the time of the election.
The historic underrepresentation of women in the CMW was noted by the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee in its report on “Current levels of representation of women in human rights organs and mechanisms: ensuring gender balance” (A/HRC/47/51) of 21 May 2021. In order to tackle this problem, the Advisory Committee recommended States Parties to take, among others, the following measures:
1) Ensure more female candidates are identified and nominated by:
- Working with relevant civil society organizations and other non-State actors to collect profiles of qualified women for United Nations human rights positions.
- Disseminating information regarding vacancies, being proactive to ensure that such information reaches qualified women.
- Developing and adopting formal, open, and transparent national nomination procedures
- Including gender parity as a specific selection criterion and goal in formal nomination procedures
- Considering the actual and historical gender composition of the respective UN body and committing to nominate an [independent and qualified expert] candidate of the underrepresented gender.
2) Ensure that more women are elected or appointed by:
- Undertaking firm commitments to guarantee gender parity in the election of candidates to fill vacancies in United Nations human rights bodies and mechanisms.
- Incorporating gender parity into voting practices.
- Adopting policies that require the nomination of men and women, as well as considering the actual and historic composition of organs to be considered when voting, especially in relation to bodies that have not achieved gender parity.
- Implementing target measures, such as encouraging States to commit to electing [independent and qualified] members only of the gender that is underrepresented in that body.
- Voting for female candidates in consecutive voting rounds if the minimum targets for parity are not achieved in the first round of votes.
- We strongly call on States Parties to ICRMW to consider the recommendations issued by the Advisory Committee, as well as any other measure aimed at ensuring the next composition of the CMW achieves a balanced representation of women and men and an adequate geographical balance.
Centro por la Justicia y el Derecho Internacional (CEJIL)
Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS)
Red Jesuita con Migrantes (RJM-LAC)
Facultad de Derecho Universidad Alberto Hurtado
Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Universidad Diego Portales
Clínica Jurídica de Migrantes y Refugiados de la UDP
International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)
 The members of the Committee ending their mandates come from the following Regional Groups: GRULAC (2), African States (4) and Western European and other States (1).
 Our addition based on criteria for treaty body membership.