CEDAW Update for International Women’s Day 2009

Nancy Pelosi has urged passage of the Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women in the U.S. Senate as soon as possible. CEDAW was drafted almost thirty years ago but the U.S. has never signed on. It joins an exclusive club of about 8 nations, including notorious human rights violators, such as Sudan, Somalia, and Iran, in avoiding the treaty. Even though the Senate is Democrat controlled and Obama favors the treaty, it looks like it will be a hard fight toward ratification. Conservatives argue that ratification means the U.S. will give up national sovereignty and be forced to recognize a right to abortion and legalized prostitution. They are unlikely to vote for ratification without provisos that exempt the U.S. from certain portions of the treaty. These exemptions anger liberals who may not want to vote for a watered down CEDAW. Here is a list of the Senators on the Foreign Relations Committee. You can contact them with the following talking points and urge passage of CEDAW:

I urge you to support the Treaty for the Rights of Women and work toward full Senate ratification. The Treaty for the Rights of Women addresses basic human rights of women. It can be an effective tool in reducing violence and discrimination against women and girls, ensuring girls and women receive the same access as boys and men to education and health care, and securing basic legal recourse to women and girls against violations and abuses of their human rights.

As the leading superpower, U.S. ratification would lend weight to the Treaty and provide valuable support to women seeking reforms in countries around the world. Without the United States as a party to the Treaty, repressive governments can easily discount the Treaty’s provisions.

The United States played an important role in drafting this Treaty, which 185 nations have ratified. But our country is now 1 of 8 that have yet to ratify the Treaty, alongside Sudan, Somalia, Qatar, Iran, Nauru, Palau and Tonga.


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