The International Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights is pleased to share the outcome of one of its projects carried out by the Geneva office. The project focused on improving transparency in the election process of the members of the Committee that oversees the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD), and was coordinated by the Institute, along with the International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR) and Minority Rights Group International (MRG).
For the last few years, it has been noted that regular elections for Treaty Body members are often overlooked, often not transparent and not very public. It was usually difficult for NGOs and UN voting members to find the list of candidates and their profiles, in order to choose expert, independent and competent candidates.
In order to ensure the strengthening of the Treaty Body membership by promoting a merit-based and transparent election process, in 2016, several NGOs launched a joint initiative to enable all States and other stakeholders to better understand the skills and experiences of the candidates running for seats on the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the Human Rights Committee (HRC), the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
This year, the International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR), Minority Rights Group International (MRG) and the International Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights, took the project on board, updated the webpage and developed a questionnaire addressed to the candidates for election to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD). The responses to the questionnaire as well as the profile of all candidates are available on the website: http://untbelections.org/
The responses will also be shared directly with all UN Member States who will vote for their preferred candidate on June 22, during the UN General Assembly in New York. There are two candidates from Latin American countries: Mr. Silvio José Albuquerque E Silva from Brazil and Mr. Ricardo Ulcuango Farinango from Ecuador. Elected CERD members will start serving in 2018.
The CERD is formed by 18 expert members; currently there are five members from the Americas: Mr. José Francisco Cali Tzay (Guatemala), Ms. Gay McDougall (United States), Ms. Verene Shepherd (Jamaica), Mr. José Lindgren Alves (Brazil) and Mr. Pastor Murillo (Colombia). Their term will end in 2020, except for Mr. Lindgren Alves who will finish his term in 2018.