The United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) is the single most comprehensive human rights tool outlining women's civil, political, social, economic, and cultural rights.
President Carter signed CEDAW in 1980, a year before the treaty entered into force. Thirty-one years later, the United States remains the only democratic and developed nation in the world that has yet to ratify CEDAW. In fact, the United States is one of seven countries - alongside Iran, Nauru, Palau, Somalia, Sudan, and Tonga - that have failed to ratify the Convention.
By choosing to ratify CEDAW, the United States has the great opportunity to reaffirm its commitment to recognizing and protecting women's and girls’ rights in law and practice in America and the world. Tell Senate to make 2011 the year the United States ratifies CEDAW.
In 2010, President Obama indicated his clear support for the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), stating in a KBC-TV interview, “If it was simply up to me it [CEDAW] would’ve already been ratified. I am a strong supporter of it. It is currently pending in the Senate, we want the Senate to pass it. The Senate has had a busy agenda…”. Secretary of State Clinton in her 2009 nomination hearing similarly confirmed the Administration’s support of women’s rights, “The United States must be an unequivocal and unwavering voice in support of women's rights in every country on every continent”. Despite the vocal and ardent support of the US Administration for CEDAW, Senate has yet to act.
I am writing to ask you to make a place for CEDAW in the busy Senate agenda of 2011 and ratify it.
Most pressing is the need for Senator John Kerry, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC), to schedule a SFRC hearing on CEDAW and ensure its swift passage through the SFRC. As you are well aware, CEDAW cannot be voted on in Senate until it passes through the SFRC. Your vote, as a member of the SFRC, in support of CEDAW is critical.
All Senators, regardless of party line, must unite to support and prioritize the rights of women and girls in America and the world. I hope you will do so and make the ratification of CEDAW in 2011 a priority in Senate.
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