Jul 072010

From its inception, the Feminist Peace Network has been a strong supporter of CEDAW, the Convention on All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, which defines violence against women as a violation of women’s human rights and is often described as an international bill of rights for women. It is a travesty that belies the U.S.’s rhetoric on human rights that this convention has yet to be ratified by the U.S., one of only a small handful of nations that have not. Hopefully this new campaign to raise awareness about CEDAW will move that process along. Cross-posted with kind permission from the National Council for Research on Women:

The United States remains one of only seven countries that have not ratified CEDAW (the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women).  CEDAW is an international agreement on basic human rights for women and the most broadly endorsed human rights treaty within the United Nations, having been ratified by over 90% of UN member states. CEDAW outlines human rights such as the right to live free from violence, the ability to go to school, and access to the political system. It is clear that CEDAW is working in countries such as Australia, South Africa and Uganda who have incorporated CEDAW provisions into their constitution and domestic legal codes, and Egypt, Jordan and Pakistan, who have seen increased literacy rates amongst women in their countries after ratifying CEDAW. And yet, CEDAW has failed to make progress in the United States. Despite the fact that CEDAW was adopted in 1979 by the United Nations General Assembly and has been voted on favorably twice since then on a bipartisan basis by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, CEDAW has never been brought to the Senate floor for a vote. It is time to act, as our window of opportunity is rapidly closing.

In the spirit of action, the CEDAW Task Force of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, co-sponsored by Citizens for Global Solutions, the National Women’s Law Center, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the YWCA , has declared this week a Week of Action on CEDAW to push for ratification. In its call for action, the Task Force released the following statement:

Time and time again President Obama has declared his support for women worldwide and announced that the ratification of the CEDAW Treaty was an important priority. Now we need him to show leadership in advancing women and girls’ rights around the world. As women and men who believe in the basic rights of women and girls worldwide – the right to live free from violence, the ability to go to school, and access to the political system – we need President Obama to send a strong and urgent signal to the Senate that ratification of CEDAW is vital.

Read more here.

Clarification:  An alert reader pointed out that U.S. ratification of CEDAW is actually complicated by the fact that over the years, assorted reservations have been added to the U.S. version of the treaty which would have the effect of potentially being more damaging than not ratifying at all.  As I’ve said before, FPN’s and my personal support is  for ratification without the addition of any reservations.  For a better understanding of this issue, read Janet Benshoof’s analysis here.

 July 7, 2010  Posted by on July 7, 2010

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