By Spy Uganda
Deputy Speaker of Parliament Thomas Tayebwa has lauded and congratulated Brenda Akia, who was last month elected by UN States to join the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) for the term 2023-2026. Akia who is now the first Ugandan to be elected on the committee scooped 139 votes, ranking second among 12 winners out of 23 candidates.
The CEDAW Committee consists of 23 independent experts on women’s rights from around the world who monitor the implementation of the Convention of the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW Convention).
Adopted in 1979 by the UN General Assembly, the CEDAW Convention is the most important treaty for women as it is a tool that helps women around the world to bring about change in their daily lives. In countries that have ratified the treaty, CEDAW has proved invaluable in opposing the effects of discrimination, which include violence, poverty, and lack of legal protections, along with the denial of inheritance, property rights, and access to credit.
Akia’s election is a big win for Uganda because since the CEDAW Convention was adopted over 43 years ago, this is the first time a Ugandan is being elected to the CEDAW Committee. Commenting on Brenda Akia’s win, Uganda’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Adonia Ayebare said, “Congratulations Brenda Akia for being elected to the UNCEDAW. I thank my team especially Marvin Ikondere for a job well done. Uganda is among 12 elected countries out of 24 excellent candidates.”
Brenda Akia is a Ugandan human rights lawyer passionate about using her legal and research skills and competence in international human rights, international law, humanitarian law, transitional justice, and international criminal law to: change abusive and discriminatory laws, policies, and practices, promote girls and women’s rights, and push for accountability for girls and women’s rights abuses, including impacts of climate change and international crimes.
She has documented rights violations against women and girls in countries such as Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi, Kenya, South Sudan and the 12 ICGLR Member States. This legal and research experience is based on her work experience at the international, regional, and national level, including the Women’s Rights Division at Human Rights Watch in New York, USA; Chambers Appeals Division of the International Criminal Court (ICC), The Hague, The Netherlands, where she is listed as Assistant to Counsel; International Organization for Migration (IOM); The Uganda Association of Women Lawyers (FIDA Uganda) Kampala, Uganda; The International Conference on the Great Lakes Region- Regional Training Facility (ICGLR-RTF) on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence; and the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, Arusha, Tanzania as a legal researcher.
She is a Laureate of two human rights awards: the Franco-German Peace and Reconciliation Award from the French and German Embassies in Uganda; the Women for Women Human Rights Award; and the Future Leaders Invitation Programme of the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs.