News on the Ratification of CEDAW

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No more backsliding

U.N. Pact Leads a Dutch Woman to Political Victory

Reuters reports that the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution on December 20 urging countries to ban female genital mutilation.  In 1990, the UN Committee on CEDAW denounced the practice of FGM in its General Recommendation No. 14.  Read the full article here.

Anthony C. Gooch, an international expert and former board chairman of the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction, argues that only by ratifying CEDAW can the U.S. enhance its ability to advance the agenda of international human rights. Read his post here.

Sarwar Bari, of the Pattan Development organization, cites CEDAW as a pro-woman law that would promote women’s access to civic life in Pakistan.  Read his op-edhere.

Susana G. Baumann reports in VOXXI on a new study presented to the CEDAW committee. The study, conducted by seven NGOs, finds that violence against women is worsening in Mexico. Read her article here.

Eileen Ward, Managing Editor of the Journal of Civil Rights and Economic Development, urges the U.S. to ratify CEDAW immediately and takes on opponents’ misleading myths about the impact of U.S. ratification.  Read her op-ed for here.

Hajiya Zainab Maina, Nigeria’s Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development,comments on the 2012 Gender in Nigeria Report, contending that the costs of gender inequality pose a major constraint to growth in the country. Maina supports investments in girls and women as an investment in Nigeria's future development. Read the AllAfrica article on the report here.

Laura Track, Legal Director of the West Coast Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund, discusses why British Columbia received a number of failing grades in a new report card measuring British Columbia’s compliance with CEDAW.   Read the full op-ed here.

Dr. Lesley Ann Foster, Masimanyane Women’s Support Centre executive director, asserts during the African regional review meeting of the CEDAW convention, CEDAW shadow reporting has made a positive impact on women’s rights in Africa. Read her comments here.

Saudatu Mahdi, Secretary General and RHV Programme Director of Women’s Rights Advancement and Protections Alternative (WRAPA), cited CEDAW as a basis for the General Assembly to pass the Gender and Equal Opportunities (GEO) Bill and the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Bill. She is quoted in an article in AllAfrica, that passage of the GEO Bill “will honour Nigeria's time long commitment of domesticating the AU protocol, CEDAW and implement its own National Gender Policy.” Read the AllAfrica article here.

Pham Minh Huan, Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs stated that Viet Nam had made “great progress in promoting gender equality and women's rights,” in his statement before the CEDAW Committee. But also acknowledged the concerns of the CEDAW Committee that challenges remain due to gender inequality, the low status of women in society and violence within the family. Read the entire article here.

Elzira Sagynbaeva, regional programmer for UN Women, calls on all nations to ensure that national policies meet the criteria of CEDAW, the human rights treaty for women. Speaking on a panel in Fiji, Ms. Sagynbaeva stressed the need to create initiatives that would break down barriers to women’s empowerment. Read the article from Fiji Times Online here.

Bonnie Allen reports that the Liberian government has halted genital cutting in “Female Circumcision Temporarily Stopped in Liberia,” in PRI’s The World. Citing a four-year moratorium by the powerful Sande Society, Allen reports that this provides the government with the opportunity to phase out FGC entirely. Read her complete article here.

Sandy Pappas, State Senator from Minnesota questions what the U.S. will leave behind in Afghanistan for women’s and girls human rights in “Women’s History Month a Time for Cautious Celebration” in the Santa Monica Daily Press. Read her op-ed here.

Anne Lawal, Senior Programme Officer of Baobab for Women’s Human Rights, spoke about the need to end child marriage in Nigeria as part of celebrating International Women’s Day. Reflecting on the theme “Connecting Girls, Inspiring Futures” Ms. Lawal that “more families are now aware of the dangers and ills of child marriage.” Read the entire article here.

Celebrating International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month

Sameena Nazir, founding member of Pakistani’s new Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and Executive Director of Potohar Organization for Development Advocacy, spoke at an event commemorating International Women’s Day in Cleveland, Ohio. Nazir stressed that women’s rights activists have used CEDAW to win many battles in the recent years and changed laws relating to forced marriages, acid burning, and more. Read more about her appearance here.

Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, head of the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry, pledged to continue advocating programs will “help those involved to understand and improve their knowledge on matters related to discrimination against women,” according to the Borneo Post. Read the entire articlehere.

Nanore Barsoumian, assistant editor of the Armenian Weekly, discusses the need to incorporate gender equality into classroom studies in an article titled “She Is His Equal: Pushing Gender Studies in Armenian Classrooms.” The article specifically references the need for better understanding of the important roles that women and girls play in society as a way of reducing violence against women. Read the full article here.

Theresa El-Amin, a human rights activist, stated that women have “not stood in solidarity enough” and need to come together to achieve true equality during a public forum on women reported in the Ledger-Enquirer in Columbus, North Carolina. El-Amin stated that getting CEDAW ratified and making progress toward equality required “movement building” similar to the civil rights and anti-war movements of the 1960s. Read the complete article here.

Dr Teo You Yenn, a sociologist and board member at the Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE) and Dr Vivienne Wee, an anthropologist and research and advocacy director at AWARE, discuss the rights of domestic workers as being in accord with CEDAW in an op-ed in the Malaysan Insider. The article stresses the need to understand and adopt the principles contained in CEDAW when debating the rights of women who are domestics. Read the entire article here.

Taylor Stewart, a policy and advocacy intern at Management Sciences for Health (MSH), asks the question “Why Hasn’t the U.S. Signed CEDAW, A Treaty to End Discrimination Against Women Worldwide?” She quotes Ambassador Melanne Verveer as stressing “the magnitude of women’s rights violations, including the “global epidemic” of violence against women and girls,” as a reason for U.S. ratification. Her article about the World Bank event on CEDAW appears in the March 8 newsletterGlobal Health Impact.

Sandy Thomas and Josh Ferrier discuss the World Bank event on CEDAW in Unfinished Business, the human rights online site sponsored by The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. The article stressed that women around the world have used CEDAW to gain legal and policy changes to end discrimination against women. Read the entire article here.

Anita Fussell, former president of the United Nations Association, Nebraska Chapter, urges the U.S. to celebrate International Women’s Day by ratifying CEDAW in her op-ed “US Should ratify treaty on women,” in the March 8 Lincoln Journal Star. The piece emphasized the fact that “Senators on both sides of the aisle have supported Senate Resolution 109, which declares: "The empowerment of women is inextricably linked to the potential of nations to generate economic growth and sustainable democracy." Read the full article.

President Ma Ying-jeou celebrated International Women’s Day by highlighting the advancement of women in Taiwan, according to Taiwan Today. Read the full article here.

Act NOW, an organization fighting violence against women posted an editorial titled “Zimbabwe promises respect for human rights” to stress the need for civil society and the broader democracy movement to play a role in mobilizing and organizing Zimbabweans to push accountability. Read the full article here.

“Zimbabwe: Men, Women Should Work in Unison for a Better World,” an editorial in AllAfrica, calls on all Zimbabweans to envision the theme of International Women’s Day "Connecting girls, Inspiring futures" as a mandate for the future. The editorial quotes United Nations Secretary-General Mr Ban Ki-Moon "There is a long way, so women and girls can say from birth that they enjoy their fundamental rights of freedom and dignity." Read the full editorial here.

Ariana Rabindranath, writes about the World Bank CEDAW event in “CEDAW is essential to protecting women’s rights, but implementation must follow” a blog post in Global. Gender. Current. The article quotes Simar Samar, Chairperson of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, as stating that the way to move forward should include “strong political leadership, government promotion of women’s rights, government sanction against harmful traditional practices, more decision-making positions for women, CEDAW ratification. . .” Read her article here.

Fay Volatabu, general secretary for the National Council of Women Fiji, raises questions about equality of resources for women in her November 28th op-ed "A Fair Share Please" in The Fiji Times. Read the entire column here.

First Lady of Nigeria, Mrs. Patience Jonathan, calls on all female legislators to introduce bills on women's rights. The "Agenda for Female Legislators" is endorsed by the Daily Champion. Read its editorial here

Melanne Verveer, Ambassador-at-large for Global Women's Issues at the U.S. State Department raised concerns about the potential risks to women's equality in emerging governments during a Senate hearing on "women and the Arab Spring" as reported by CNN. Read the entire article here

Dailia Haj Ali, a Sudanese human rights activist, asks "Sudan: Women Where Are You?" in and laments the difficulties in maintaining a women's rights movement in Sudan. Read the intriguing post here.

Fay Volatabu, the general secretary for the National Council of Women Fiji, writes about the important role CEDAW has played in her country's support of rural women in an October 17 article "Village Girl at Heart" in the The Fiji Times Online. Read the full article here

Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani of Pakistan cites CEDAW in support of provincial and district governments reaching out to rural communities, particularly women farmers and workers. Read the full article in the Associated Press of Pakistan.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, president of Liberia, Leymah Gbowee, a Liberian peace activist, and Tawakkul Karman a pro-democracy activist in Yemen and founder of Journalists without Chains awarded 2011 Nobel Peace Prize for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work. Read full article.

President Barack Obama congratulates 2011 Nobel Peace Prize recipients, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee of Liberia, and Tawakkul Karman of Yemen for their remarkable work on behalf of women's rights and states that the award "sends a powerful message that the struggle for universal rights and human dignity can only be fulfilled with the full participation of women around the globe.” Read President Obama’s full statement here.

Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, applauds 2011 Noble Peace Prize awards to women’s rights activists Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, president of Liberia, Leymah Gbowee, a Liberian peace activist, and Tawakkul Karman a pro-democracy activist in Yemen and founder of Journalists without Chains. Read full statement here.

Rashida Manjoo, a UN expert on violence against women, testified before the United Nations General Assembly that violence against women across the world continues to be pervasive and widespread. Read the full article: “UN Expert urges States to Fulfill Obligations to Prevent Violence Against Women” in the UN News Centre.

UNICEF publishes a new booklet, CEDAW for Adolescents: Policy and Practice 2011, to educate adolescent girls and boys about the importance of CEDAW. Download and Read the entire document.

Nepal's Indigenous Women Federation presents a Shadow Report at 49th CEDAW Committee Session. Read entire articlehere.

Christina Finch, Amnesty International, asks the question, “What do Tunisia, Palau and the US Have in Common?” Read the latest news about CEDAW in these and other countries in Finch’s October 4, 2011 blog.

Members of the international committee on CEDAW have hailed the progress made in Oman in the field of women’s empowerment and support, cited in the Oman Tribune on October 5, 2011. Read the entire article here.

Prominent Saudi feminist Wajeha al-Hawaidar, asks “Why not tomorrow?” after an announcement by Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah that Saudi women will be able to vote for the first time in the 2015 national elections. Saudi Arabia ratified CEDAW in September, 2000.  Read the full article here.

Secretary Hilary Clinton advocates for women's rights treaty. Read about it in The Daily Beast.


Brian Whitaker writes that "Tunisia Leading the Way in the Region" and the steps toward full gender equality in its new political climate in Gulfnews. Read more

Julissa Delgado, research fellow for COHA (the Council on Hemispheric Affairs), discusses using CEDAW and the pending International Violence against Women Act (IVAWA) to reduce violence against women in Chihuahua, Mexico in “Protecting Mexico’s Lost Women” in the May 10, 2011 issue of Eurasia Review. Read more.

Edison Baird, the Minister of Social Development in Anguilla stated at a May 6, 2011 public hearing that a new Domestic Violence Bill was an important step toward protecting women and children as reported by The Anguillian newspaper. Baird stated "by ratifying the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), and complying with the provisions of the Beijing Platform, Anguilla committed itself to the eradication of violence against women.” Read more.

Dr. Rakhshinda Perve, author of A Tax Break for Economic Freedom, discusses Pakistan’s new tax-break legislation in a column in the May 4, 2011 issue of Pakistan’s Daily Times as “pro-woman” legislation that follows one of the principles of equality cited in CEDAW, the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. Read more.

Kristina Brittenham discusses CEDAW and human trafficking in America in her blog post “The Traffic’s Bad in L.A.” in a May 2, 2011 article in The Huffington PostRead the entire Blog.

Selene Kaye, who was only three months old when the United Nations ratified the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, speaks out about the importance of ratifying CEDAW in "Ratify CEDAW: For Our Daughters." Read her blog here.

Chez Marta presents a global perspective on the importance of CEDAW as a tool of empowerment for rural women in "Rural Feminist Grassroots Organizations and CEDAW" during a symposium Applying Feminism Globally sponsored by the University of Baltimore School of Law's Center on Applied Feminism. Read her blog post here.

According to the Philippine Information Agency, more than 4,000 women attended the Women's Day celebration "Magna Carta of Women: The Philippine CEDAW in Support of the Millennium Goals" on March 26, 2011 in Tangub City, Philippines.

Joan Winship, International Association of Women Judges, interviewed on "Putting the Force of Law Behind Women's Rights," for Inter-Press Service.  "What we try to do is not only the training but then follow up by collecting case decisions where magistrates and judges are actually using the international human rights legal tools, [and] issuing decisions that will protect a woman in an inheritance case, for a property rights case, for divorce, and custody case for her children."  Read the complete interview.

Margaret Owen OBE, Director of Widows for Peace, discusses the need to raise awareness about the issues surrounding widowhood in developing countries in "Widowhood: Africa's Neglected Human Rights Issue" in ThinkAfricaPress. "CEDAW (the UN Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, ratified by the majority of African Member States) should be used vigorously by lawyers to promote the status of widows and protect them from discrimination." Read the full article.

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