29 Neth. Q. Hum. Rts. 8 (2011)

handle is hein.journals/nethqur44 and id is 1 raw text is: COLUMN
On 31 December 2010 my second term as a member of the United Nations Committee
on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) came to an end.
So far CEDAW has had a predominantly female membership with only two Swedes,
one Finn and myself as exceptions. There is clearly a need to involve more men as
members of the Committee; it was, therefore, very disappointing that even during
the last elections for CEDAW in 2010 only one male candidate (from Oman!) was
nominated and that most regrettably this nomination was withdrawn. This reflects
the stereotypical view from most, if not all 186 States parties to the UN Convention
on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (the Convention)
that the realisation of the principle of equality of women and men is primarily an issue
that concerns women.
Membership of CEDAW certainly requires the investment of a considerable amount
of time, energy and commitment. Over the past eight years I attended 20 sessions of
the Committee itself and 16 sessions of its Working Group on Communications under
the Optional Protocol of which I have been a member since its inception in 2004.
Altogether those sessions comprised 72 meetingweeks in New York and since 2008 also
Geneva. During all those weeks CEDAW examined almost 200 State reports, adopted
four General Recommendations, adopted views on 20 individual cases submitted
under the Optional Protocol, conducted one inquiry under the same Protocol and
adopted a large number of statements on various issues and urgent matters, such as
statements on Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti, the role of national parliaments, the role of
non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the strengthening of the United Nations
treaty bodies system. Since 2003, the Committee met moreover in three informal
sessions (Utrecht, 2004; Berlin, 2006; and Paris, 2010); those sessions were financed
by the governments of the countries concerned and were used by the Committee to
have in-depth discussions on matters for which there is usually too little time during
regular sessions of the Committee, such as issues relating to the working methods of
the Committee and general discussions on pending general recommendations.
Editor in Chief of the Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights. From 2003 until 2010 he was a
member of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women
(CEDAW). In 2010, he was elected in the United Nations Human Rights Committee for the period
Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights, Vol. 29/1, 8-12, 2011.
8                     Netherlands Institute of Human Rights (SIM), Printed in the Netherlands.

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