I am a candidate for a seat on the CEDAW Committee, nominated for election by Switzerland.
The CEDAW convention has been part of my professional life and my personal engagement for many years, and it continues to be a very inspiring instrument. The Convention obliges States Parties to eliminate discrimination and empower women, and the CEDAW Committee is responsible for making the convention a dynamic and effective instrument.
I would like to contribute to the Committee’s work so that it can play its role the best possible way.
Here you can find more information on why I think I am competent for this role and what I could bring to the work of the Committee.
Who I am
I am a lawyer, an experienced consultant on women’s rights and co-director of Ximpulse Ltd, a consultancy firm specialised in the areas of human rights and governance. I have a versatile profile and extensive experience in analysing, advising, supporting and building the capacity of state and non-state actors in the areas of women’s rights, access to justice, and state organisation in various countries all over the world, including in conflict and post-conflict situations.
What makes me competent for this task?
My strengths are my specific expertise in international women’s rights and the international human rights system, my broad professional experience in a variety of country contexts, and strong skills in communication.
I am a lawyer who possesses extensive legal expertise on the CEDAW Convention and the international human rights mechanisms. I co-edited the first German-language commentary on the matter in 2015. I also contributed several times to the preparation of the Swiss report for the CEDAW Committee and took part in the development of an online tool to facilitate the use of the CEDAW Convention by lawyers in Switzerland. I have a wealth of knowledge that will enable me to help consolidate the work of the CEDAW Committee.
Commitment against all forms of discrimination
I dedicated a great part of my career to the promotion of human rights, and in particular to the promotion of women’s rights and gender equality. My wish to join the CEDAW Committee stems from this commitment to combat all forms of discrimination, strengthen equality and empowerment of women and girls.
Versatile and independent profile
I have developed my experience both in support of civil society and on behalf of state actors. My academic, political and legal expertise complement each other, ensuring a broad understanding of the challenges of implementation of the rights covered by CEDAW in various areas, including sustainable development and governance. Through my working experience with governments and many types of institutions (at the local, national and international levels), I have an understanding of the perspectives of states as duty-bearers and of men and women as rights-holders. I am familiar with the diverse realities that state actors, civil society and the economy are facing.
A quest for dialogue
My numerous mandates have taken me to many different parts of the world and a great variety of contexts. This broad experience has instilled in me an understanding of complex realities and a wish to seek dialogue and compromise, taking into account the perspectives of all stakeholders. These skills are enhanced by my fluency in English, French, Spanish and German.
1999 – present
Various consultancy mandates as an expert, including:
- Various independent evaluations and multiple contributions to and support for development programmes involving the gender dimension in various countries, mandated by Switzerland in the field of development cooperation.
- Design and development of an online tool for lawyers to use the CEDAW Convention in practice for the Swiss Federal Commission for Women’s Issues.
- Participation as an expert in the preparation and drafting of several periodic reports of Switzerland for the CEDAW Committee as well as Switzerland’s first report on the implementation of the Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence for the GREVIO Committee.
- Key advice, design and implementation of the strategy for the establishment of a national human rights institution in Switzerland.
- Support for monitoring of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs’ Strategy on Gender Equality and Women’s Rights.
- Co-design and contribution to several training courses and workshops on CEDAW, human rights and development in the field of development cooperation.
Doctorate in law, doctoral thesis on human rights in development cooperation.
1989 – 1994
Legal adviser at the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, responsible for various issues related to Swiss human rights policy, including vis-à-vis the UN, the Council of Europe and the OSCE.
Admission to the bar in Bern
Erika Schläppi, Common goals – different universes: Gender equality in human rights, the CEDAW Convention and the transformative agenda for sustainable development (in german), in: Université de Linz / Institut für Legal Gender Studies, Linz 2022, pp. 4-33.
Erika Schläppi, From voting rights to effective political participation: formal and substantive equality – and the need for positive measures (in german), in : Juristinnen Schweiz (eds.), Recht und Geschlecht, Herausforderungen der Gleichstellung, Zurich/Saint-Gall, 2021, pp. 47-70.
Judith Wyttenbach, Erika Schläppi, Women’s rights and children’s rights: Which international complaint procedure ? (in german), in : FamPra.ch 2018/2, pp. 429-465.
Erika Schläppi, Silvia Ulrich, Judith Wyttenbach, Commentary on the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women CEDAW (in german), Berne/Vienna, (Stämpfli/Manz) 2015 (1380 p.)
Erika Schläppi, Jeanne DuBois, Overcoming discrimination against women in family law: approaches and possibilities (in german), in : FamPra.ch 2012/3, pp. 601-626.
…and what I would like to contribute to the CEDAW Committee, if elected?
If elected to the CEDAW Committee, I will commit to1
Strengthening the legal work of the Committee. As a lawyer, my priority will be to help ensure that the Committee’s proceedings have the greatest possible impact.2
Contributing to increase the visibility and impact of the CEDAW Convention as a reference instrument for fighting discrimination, putting women’s rights into practice and the achievement of equality. As a specialist on women’s rights, I would like to contribute to the discussions on how to combat various forms of discrimination and address the specific challenges experienced by vulnerable groups.3
Emphasizing cooperation and synergies with other international bodies and actors that play an important role in combating discrimination against women.
Thank you for your support!