The thirteenth meeting of States parties to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women was held
on 5 August 2004 at United Nations Headquarters in New York. The main purpose of the meeting was to elect individuals to fill the eleven
positions on the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women which will become vacant on 31 December 2004. States parties
have been invited to submit their nominations to the Secretary-General by 15 April 2004.
Two thirds of the States parties constitute a quorum, and the persons elected to the Committee are those nominees who obtain the largest
number of votes and an absolute majority of the votes of the representatives of States parties present and voting. The eleven members to
be elected on 5 August will serve for a term of four years, from 1 January 2005 to 31 December 2008.
The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women is established under article 17 of the Convention. It is composed of
23 experts who are elected by secret ballot by States parties. The Committee is tasked with the review of the reports of States parties
submitted in accordance with article 18 of the Convention. The Optional Protocol to the Convention, which entered into force in December
2000, empowers the Committee to consider communications submitted by individuals or groups of individuals alleging violations of the
Convention in States parties to the Convention and the Optional Protocol. The Optional Protocol also entitles the Committee of its own
motion to inquire into grave or systematic violations of the Convention in those States parties which have accepted this procedure.
The Committee meets twice a year, usually in January and in July, for three weeks each. In addition, the Committee's Working Group on
Communications under the Optional Protocol meets prior to each session, for three to five days. The Committee's pre-session working
group meets for one week immediately after each session to prepare lists of issues and questions concerning reports to be considered
at the following session.
Committee members serve in their personal capacities, and not as representatives of the States parties which present their candidature.
The following documents will be issued for the thirteenth meeting of States parties: