|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Meeting of States Parties
Convention on Rights of Child
1st Meeting (AM)
States Parties Elect Nine Members to Children’s Rights Committee
In Single Round of Voting by Secret Ballot
Meeting Also Picks Chair, Three Vice-Chairs after Qatar Withdraws Its Candidate
In a single round of voting today, the Fourteenth Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of the Child elected nine members to the 18-member committee charged with monitoring implementation of the treaty and its two Optional Protocols.
Voting by secret ballot, the Meeting elected the following to the Committee on the Rights of the Child: Wanderlino Nogueira Neto (Brazil); Renate Winter (Austria); Yasmeen Muhamad Shariff (Malaysia); Maria Rita Parsi (Italy); Benyam Dawit Mezmur (Ethiopia); Olga A. Khazova (Russian Federation); Sara de Jesús Oviedo Fierro (Ecuador); Peter Guran (Slovakia); and Amal Aldoseri (Bahrain). Elected to four-year terms, they will replace members whose terms expire on 28 February 2013.
The Convention, adopted by the General Assembly in 1989, was the first instrument to set out a complete range of international human rights for children. Of its two Optional Protocols, adopted on 25 May 2000, the first restricts the involvement of children in armed conflict, while the second prohibits the sale of children, as well as child prostitution and child pornography.
Delivering opening remarks on behalf of the Secretary-General, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Šimonović said the adoption on 19 December 2011 of the Convention’s third Optional Protocol, on a communications procedure, marked a major event in the protection of children’s rights. It charged the Committee with examining individual and inter-State communications, and initiating inquiries into grave or systematic violations of the Convention. Opened for signature on 28 February 2012, it would enter into force upon ratification by 10 States parties, he said, noting that 35 States had signed it to date, and two others — Gabon and Thailand — had ratified it.
He went on to state that since the last meeting two years ago, 11 States had ratified the Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict, bringing the number of States parties to 150. He said 22 States had ratified the Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, bringing that total to 162. The Convention itself had been accepted by 193 States parties, making it one of the “great success stories of the United Nations human rights treaty system”.
Since October 2010, he recalled, the Committee had examined 61 reports submitted by States parties: 39 under article 44 of the Convention; 12 under article 12 of the Second Optional Protocol; and 10 under article 8 of the First Optional Protocol. However, 107 reports were pending consideration, representing a three-to-four-year delay between submission to and consideration by the Committee.
Nonetheless, in January 2011, the Committee had adopted General Comment No. 13 on the right of the child to freedom from all forms of violence, he continued, adding that three general comments would likely be adopted at the next session, in January 2013. With a view to prioritizing the backlog of reports, the Committee had adopted several measures at its last session, including a decision not to entertain any new proposals for general comments.
In other business today, States parties elected, by acclamation, Jim McLay ( New Zealand) as Chair of the Fourteenth Meeting, following his nomination by Saul Weisleder ( Costa Rica). Elected Vice-Chairs were: Stelios Makriyiannis (Cyprus), nominated by the Group of Asian States; Matej Marn (Slovenia), nominated by the Group of Eastern European States; and Janine Elizabeth Coye-Felson (Belize), nominated by the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States.
Mr. McLay then informed the Meeting that Qatar had withdrawn its candidate, Fareeda Abdulla al-Obaidly, on 21 November.
Costa Rica’s delegate, speaking also on behalf of Slovenia after the elections, urged addressing the backlog problem in a sustainable and comprehensive manner during the General Assembly’s inter-governmental process for strengthening treaty body. “We cannot shirk our responsibility to take urgent measures as necessary,” he said, noting that Costa Rica and Slovenia had presented a draft resolution in the Third Committee which sought to authorize the Committee to meet in parallel sessions, in order to prevent the backlog from reaching “unimaginable proportions”. Requesting support for that text in the Assembly plenary, he called for the addition of an agenda item addressing the backlog of reports before the Committee.
Liechtenstein’s representative pointed out that the Committee had substantive tasks before it, including the Third Optional Protocol’s entry into force. It also faced problems of a systemic nature, among them the disproportion between its work capacity and the number of reports submitted to it. A sustainable solution was urgently needed and would hopefully be possible in the framework of the Assembly’s inter-governmental negotiations.
He encouraged the Committee to consider the improvements proposed in the report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on strengthening treaty bodies, noting that the Assembly’s process for enhancing the treaty body system had given rise to a number of proposals, the implementation of which fell under the legal competence of States parties. Discussing such matters in the framework of the Meeting of States Parties would help strengthen the treaty bodies and the Convention itself, he said.
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Wanderlino Nogueira Neto ( Brazil)
Renate Winter ( Austria)
Yasmeen Muhamad Shariff ( Malaysia)
Maria Rita Parsi (Italy)
Benyam Dawit Mezmur ( Ethiopia)
Olga A. Khazova ( Russian Federation)
Sara de Jesús Oviedo Fierro (Ecuador)
Peter Guran ( Slovakia)
Amal Aldoseri ( Bahrain)
Awich Pollar ( Uganda)
Kamla Devi Varmah (Mauritius)
Suzanna Aho Assouma ( Togo)
Edward Bandawe Twea ( Malawi)
Hariguietta Congo Zongo ( Burkina Faso)
Hadeel al-Asmar ( Syria)
Having obtained the required majority and the largest number of votes, the following were elected to four-year terms on the Committee on the Rights of the Child: Wanderlino Nogueira Neto (Brazil); Renate Winter (Austria); Yasmeen Muhamad Shariff (Malaysia); Maria Rita Parsi (Italy); Benyam Dawit Mezmur (Ethiopia); Olga A. Khazova (Russian Federation); Sara de Jesús Oviedo Fierro (Ecuador); Peter Guran (Slovakia); and Amal Aldoseri (Bahrain).
* *** *For information media • not an official record