Thursday, October 7, 2010

CEDAW comment

Lest it get lost in the mix, we reprint a comment received from reader Rebecca Landy (this Rebecca, we believe), respecting Hope Lewis' weekend post on women's rights.
Rebecca wrote:

"Interesting statement considering the US still has not ratified CEDAW...

Office of the Press Secretary

October 1, 2010

The United States welcomes the adoption today by the United Nations Human Rights Council of a resolution addressing the elimination of discrimination against women. Most significantly, this resolution establishes a working group of five independent experts from different regions of the world who will work with governments and civil society to identify and promote steps to eliminate laws and practices that discriminate against women, and to advise governments on how to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women. The United States was proud to co-sponsor this resolution with a group of over 70 other countries, which was led by Colombia and Mexico. We look forward to working closely with the new working group and the international community in seeking an end to discrimination against all women everywhere."

* * * *

The resolution to which the United States' National Security Council spokesman referred was adopted last Friday. As described here, via that resolution the U.N. Human Rights Council established a 5-member Working Group on Discrimination against Women in Law and Practise set to operate for 3 years. Many countries spoke in favor of the plan -- many of them that, unlike the United States, are states parties to CEDAW, the 1979 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

Heartfelt thanks for the head's up, Rebecca!


Stephanie Farrior said...

This statement is not curious at all. It's quite consistent with Obama Administration's positions since attaining the White House in 2009. See, e.g., this IntLawGrrls post and the sites to which it links:

Senators need to hear from their constituents that ratification is a priority if CEDAW is to move forward.

Let's look at a vote in the current Senate on a controversial matter, but one less controversial than ratification of CEDAW:

Harold Koh was confirmed by this Senate to the position of State Department Legal Advisor by a vote of 62-35. Senate consent to ratification of a treaty requires several more votes than that.

The treaty has twice been reported favorably out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (1994 and 2002) but never made it to a floor vote. Let's create the political will for Senate consent to ratification of CEDAW.

QUESTION FOR ALL READERS INTERESTED IN THE US RATIFYING CEDAW: How many of you have contacted your Senators in 2009 or 2010 urging ratification of CEDAW? Have urged your families, friends and colleagues to do the same? Have you submitted Op-Eds to your local and state newspapers urging ratification? Have you taken part in local grassroots efforts to push for ratification? There's a lot to do. Let's get out there and do it.

Hope Lewis said...

Exactly. And while we're at it, let's urge family and friends to "bring human rights home" by urging ratification of the Disability Convention (signed by the US last year), the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and others. The statement reflects the reality that the U.S. must "clean its own house" on human rights if it is to more effectively support human rights protections for women and girls abroad.

Hope Lewis said...
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