CEDAW/CRC Member Participants
Ferdous Ara Begum was the first woman to lead Bangladesh television as Director General, and also the first female commissioner of Taxes in Bangladesh. She is a member of the CEDAW Committee As a distinguished member of the board of directors of the Grameen Bank, she played a directly influential role in creating opportunities for the rural poor women in Bangladesh. She was also Joint Secretary for the Ministry of Women and Children’s’ Affairs of Bangladesh and Director General of the Department of Women’s Affairs. As Director General of Bangladesh Television, she promoted programs that emphasized gender equality, women’s empowerment, awareness of HIV/AIDS, trafficking and migration issues, and also increased broadcasting hours for educational programs.
Saisuree Chutikul was Vice-Chair of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and currently a CEDAW Committee member. She is one of the world’s leading voices in the fight against human trafficking. She has worked at the highest levels as a legislator and government official to create innovative models to bring government and NGO’s together to stop the modern day slavery that afflicts her country. As a Cabinet minister in Thailand (1991-1992), she revised Thai laws on Nationality to allow children of Thai mothers and foreign fathers to have Thai citizenships automatically, to increase maternity leave to 90 days with full pay, to allow children without birth or house registration to enroll in schools and to create stricter penalties against proprietors, pimps, and parents who send children into prostitution. As a Senator (1996-2000) she worked with the Thai police to set up units for protection of women and children and revised Labor Law prohibiting sexual harassment and increasing penalty for employment of child labor. As a longtime member of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (1989-2000), she was an untiring advocate for girls at risk for prostitution and forced labor. She was instrumental in developing the Thai National Committee on Combating Trafficking in Women and Children established in 1994 and has been a leader in launching a national plan to combat human trafficking, including the recovery and reintegration of women into society; the safe repatriation of migrant workers lured into traffickers’ web; and the prosecution of criminal networks. She has crossed the border to work with the Cambodian government to develop a memorandum of understanding between the two countries to combat trafficking. She is currently the Chair of the Committee revising Thai laws in compliance with the Constitution and the CRC. She serves on the Board of Directors of a number of organizations supporting women and children including World Vision. Among her many awards, she was awarded the Vital Voices Humanitarian Award.
Shanthi Dairiam is a CEDAW Committee member and feminist expert. She founded and headed the International Women's Rights Action Watch-Asia Pacific (IWRAW Asia Pacific) for 12 years and remains on its board of directors. She initiated and directed the "Global to Local" Program, which has facilitated dialogue between CEDAW and NGOs from over a hundred countries. Shanthi Dairiam has pioneered the integration of the CEDAW and other international human rights norms into domestic application in the Asian region and her innovative programs have helped advance gender- based lawmaking and advocacy in Asia and other regions. Under her leadership, IWRAW Asia Pacific sparked the birth of several successful domestic and local programs in the Asian region.
Yanghee Lee is chairperson of the CRC Committee, and Professor of Child Psychology and Education at Sungkyunkwan University, Seoul, Republic of Korea. She is also a central figure in several important national committees working towards child rights and gender equality in her country, including the Governing Board of the Korean Committee for UNICEF, the National Coordination Committee on Children's Policies, the Korean Association for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, and the Korean Council for Children's Rights, and a member of the Steering Committee of National Plan of Action of the Korean Human Rights Commission. She has chaired the Committee on the Promotion of Children’s Rights of Save the Children in Korea. She has also authored several groundbreaking research publications analyzing international standards and policies for children’s rights, the nature and effect of child abuse in reported cases, early intervention strategies for children with developmental disabilities, and developed several early screening and diagnostic instruments.
Heisoo Shin is an expert of the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women of the United Nations. Trained as a sociologist, she has been a leader in bringing the issues of sexual slavery and other women’s human rights abuses to the forefront of the international justice agenda. She is one of the world’s leading experts on the sexual slavery of Korean and other Asian women by the Japanese military during World War II. Shin served for eight years as president of Korea Women’s Hotline, created to provide counseling and other assistance for women suffering from domestic and other forms of violence. During the military dictatorship in the 1970s and early 1980s, she worked for the recovery of democracy, joining the demonstrations and helping families of political prisoners. During this period, she also organized young women and aided in their developing a feminist consciousness through her work at two women’s organizations. Throughout the 1990s, she led the nationwide campaigns for the enactment of sexual violence law and the two laws on domestic violence. She is also part of the Foundation Committee working to launch the War and Women’s Human Rights Museum, and is central in the effort to monitor the world’s conditions for women. She is currently a commissioner of the Korean National Human Rights Commission. At the United Nations, she was first elected as an expert of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women for the four year term of 2001-2004(a vice-chair for 2003-2004), and is now serving her second term for 2005-2008.
A national of Croatia Dubravka Šimonović has been an expert on the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women since 2003 and served as its Rapporteur in 2005 and 2006. In 2007 she was elected as a Chairperson of the CEDAW Committee for two years. A career foreign service officer, she currently heads the Human Rights Department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She represented her country at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China, in 1995. She was elected Chairperson of the Commission on the Status of Women for 2001 and 2002 and a Vice-Chair of the Bureau for the Special session of the General Assembly "Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century." She served as a member of the UNIFEM Consultative Committee from 2001 to 2003. She has been appointed by the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe to its Task Force to combat violence against women, including domestic violence (2006-2008), and was its Chairperson in 2006/07. She has also published and lectured widely on women’s rights.