16th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council,
28 February-25 March 2011,
Item 3 General Debate
The International Coalition Against Enforced Disappearances (ICAED) welcomes the entry into force of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance on 23 December 2010.. Implementation of the treaty will be monitored by a Committee, elections to which will take place on 31 May 2011.
Our experience tells us that there is considerable scope for improving the usual process of nominating candidates and electing members to the UN treaty bodies, and for drawing on the good practice that exists in other international and regional bodies regarding the selection of candidates. The establishment of this new treaty body affords States parties a rare and important opportunity to take a principled approach aimed at electing the very highest calibre of independent experts to this body.
The Convention establishes that the Committee shall comprise ten experts of high moral character, who have recognized competence in the field of human rights and who shall serve in their personal capacity. Due account shall be taken of equitable geographical distribution, relevant legal experience and balanced gender representation.
In addition to these criteria, the ICAED calls on States parties to take the following actions :
First, establish a fair, open and transparent national process of selection of candidates. Some States parties have established a process at the national level for the nomination of members to treaty bodies, involving consultation with NGOs and/or independent national human rights institutions, or putting in place an open recruitment process to select a candidate. These very different models could be considered and applied by all States parties in the nomination of candidates for these upcoming elections.
Second, commit themselves to nominating a candidate for these elections and to ensuring that there will be no “clean slates”.
Third, work for transparency at the international level around the election process. States parties should make public at the earliest opportunity information about their nominee(s) and the candidates for whom they have voted.
Fourth, States parties should elect a committee that is multi-disciplinary and reflects the broad range of expertise that is required for it to fulfil its mandate effectively. Given the scope of the Convention and the breadth of tasks entrusted to the Committee, it will be important for there to be a range of expertise across the membership.
Lastly, we call on all States parties to vote only for candidates who meet the highest standards of independence, impartiality and who have relevant skills and expertise, as well as a demonstrated commitment to human rights, in particular to preventing and resolving cases of enforced or involuntary disappearances.
The ICAED takes this opportunity to call on all States to ratify without limiting reservations the Convention on Enforced Disappearances, and to make provision for individual, as well as inter-state, complaints.
Thank you, Mr President.