PM&C wants Australians to apply for UN women’s rights role

By Shannon Jenkins

Tuesday January 21, 2020

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The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet is seeking committee members for the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

The department’s Office for Women has encouraged individuals with qualifications or expertise in women’s rights, gender equality, or human rights to apply for CEDAW 2021-2024.

Expertise in international or Australian domestic law and knowledge of the UN human rights treaty system would also be desired, according to PM&C.

The committee was established in 1979 to monitor the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women. The committee consists of 23 independent experts who are elected by countries who have become party to the treaty, known as states parties, for a term of four years.

Committee members give recommendations to states parties on issues related to the elimination of discrimination against women, facilitate inquiries into violations of women’s rights, and review communications from individuals and groups submitting claims of violations of rights protected under the convention.

Members also monitor the implementation of the convention through the review of national reports of states parties, and represent CEDAW at national, regional and international events.

The elections for 11 CEDAW members will be held in New York on June 29. The PM&C Office for Women and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will help the successful candidate prepare a campaign to increase their chance of success at the heavily contested election.

The last Australian to have been elected to the committee was Elizabeth Evatt in 1985. She has also served as chair of the Australian Law Reform Commission, commissioner of the Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission, and was the first Australian to be elected to the United Nations Human Rights Committee.

Applications close on January 31. For more information and to submit an expression of interest visit PM&C’s CEDAW website.

Nominees must be Australian citizens who can regularly attend committee sessions.

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