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Zimbabwe candidate for top UN body ready for elections

by Staff reporter
22 May 2022 at 08:28hrs | Views
Former chairperson of the Anti-Domestic Violence Council, Mrs Eunice Njovana, is ramping up her preparations for next month's elections for a seat on the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

Mrs Njovana, the only candidate from Southern Africa, will race against 24 other contestants for the 12 seats to be left vacant by committee members whose term of office will expire on December 31.

The elections are scheduled for the UN headquarters in New York, United States, on June 23.

Her candidature was endorsed at the 39th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council of the African Union in Ethiopia last year.

In an interview, Mrs Njovana said her campaign has shifted into high gear.

"We need support to follow through with the campaign and take it to New York," she said.

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade is mobilising member states in New York missions.

"They have written to local embassies to ask for their support through their New York missions.

"Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Minister Dr Sithembiso Nyoni has also asked gender ministers in SADC and AU to support our candidature.

"I will also have a once-off virtual meeting with voting officers of member states and also do door-to-door campaigns in New York.

"Also, we will have a video production to push the envelope of our campaign."

CEDAW was established in 1982 and comprises 23 experts on women's issues.

It is responsible for monitoring the implementation of national measures and progress made for women in countries that are state parties to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women .

CEDAW is a treaty that defines what constitutes discrimination against women and sets the agenda for national action to end such discrimination.

A country becomes a state party by ratifying or acceding to the convention.

The CEDAW members are elected by the state parties with elections obligated to meet the convention's demands for equitable geographical distribution in membership and the requirement that CEDAW members represent "different forms of civilisation as well as principal legal systems".

The elections are conducted through secret ballot and committee members' term last four years, with only half of the members replaced each time elections take place.

If elected, Mrs Njovana, who is a social development consultant with broad expertise in gender equality, women's empowerment and civic justice will be part of the committee from 2023 to 2026.

Mrs Njovana said Zimbabwe, as a state party, has the right to a seat on the body of experts.

"It's a policy requirement that there be regional balance in the committee membership," she said.

"Also we bring a unique perspective on women's rights that adds value to the all-important quest for women's development and advancement as human beings."

Mrs Njovana has served on various boards of directors including at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals, Southern African Feminist Centre, Legal Resources Foundation, Culture Fund and the Gwanda State University.

Source - The Sunday Mail
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