We didn’t want to let this one slip below the radar—the 44th annual session of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) launched on Monday at the UN and will continue until August 7.
CEDAW was adopted by the UN in 1979 as an international bill of women’s human rights: the right to education, equal employment, child care, social security, and reproductive health, to name a few. It always shocks me to remember that the US has still not ratified CEDAW since President Jimmy Carter signed it in 1980. US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice has indicated that ratifying CEDAW will be an “important priority” for the Obama Administration, but as of yet, we’ve seen little movement.
The US is one of only seven nations in the world not to ratify the treaty—some thirty years after it was first adopted. The other six are Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Nauru, Palau, and Tonga. (Qatar recently decided to leave this infamous group.) Ratifying CEDAW represents that country’s commitment to implement laws that prevent discrimination against women and to address abuses of women’s human rights.
At each session, the CEDAW committee of experts on international women’s human rights meets to review the record of member nations. This year the following countries are up for review: Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bhutan, Denmark, Guinea-Bissau, Japan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Liberia, Spain, Switzerland, Timor Leste, and Tuvalu.
MADRE will continue to follow this year’s session. Take a look here to read reports submitted by states under review, the CEDAW Committee and by civil society organizations on the status of women's human rights in those countries.
Have you come across any other information to share about the current CEDAW session?