Six Reasons Why the US Should Ratify the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)

PHR’s “10,000 in 10” Campaign officially launches on December 1st—help us ensure the US ratifies CEDAW in 2010.Why CEDAW? Why now?

  1. Suggestions that the US is a leader in human rights is questionable when the country is not a party to the main human rights treaties, including CEDAW;
  2. US calls for other countries to fulfill women’s human rights lack credibility when the US has not ratified the main women’s human rights treaty;
  3. Successive administrations would be under a legal human rights obligation to submit periodic reports on its implementation of the rights contained in CEDAW;
  4. US civil society could monitor and report on what the US government is doing to implement the human rights of women in this country. Called a ‘Shadow Report’, this report is submitted to the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (the Committee). The Committee welcomes this information to ensure that it is as well informed as possible;
  5. Individuals and groups can make complaints against the government to the Committee;
  6. The Committee on its own initiative can investigate grave or systemic in-country violations of women’s human rights.

The latter two procedures are only available when a country has accepted them. Hence, this would require the US ratifying the Optional Protocol to CEDAW.If the US ratifies CEDAW, fulfillment of women’s human rights in the US would no longer be at the whim of different administrations. As the U.S. would be a party to CEDAW, people within the US could demand that any US administration fulfill the rights contained in the treaty.

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