Monday, November 15, 2010

Pennsylvania NOW's Letter to US Senate Judiciary Committee on CEDAW

The following is the letter I just sent to the US Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law in strong support of the international Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).  It will be delivered to the subcommittee by the National Women's Law Center as part of a package of testimonial letters and petitions to the members of the subcommittee during a public hearing to be held on CEDAW this Thursday, November 18, 2010 at 2:00 p.m. in Room 224 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510.  The members of this committee are Chair Dick Durbin (D-IL), Ranking Member Tom Coburn (R-OK), and Committee Members Russ Feingold (D-WI), Arlen Specter (D-PA), Al Franken (D-MN), Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), Ted Kaufman (D-DE), Lindsey O. Graham (R-SC), and John Cornyn (R-TX).

For information on how you can send your own statement to the US Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law, see my previous blog on November 13, 2010.  It is titled CEDAW Hearing Scheduled. Your Action is Needed.
• • •

Re: Ratification of CEDAW without disabling Restrictions, Understandings, and Declarations (RUDs) or any further delay.

Senate Judiciary Committee
Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law
224 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Chairman Durbin, Ranking Member Coburn, and Members of the Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law:

On behalf of the over 13,000 contributing and dues-paying members of the National Organization for Women here in Pennsylvania, we are writing to you today to express our strong support for ratifying the international Convention for the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

We thank the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law for convening this hearing and turning its attention to CEDAW. CEDAW was first proposed 35 years ago and was written with the assistance of the US Government. Yet we have yet to ratify this critical treaty that affirms the fundamental principles of human rights and equality for women around the world, including here in the United States. CEDAW has been ratified by 186 countries, including all other industrialized nations, with the exception of the United States. In fact, the United States is one of only seven United Nation-member countries that has not ratified this critical human rights treaty. The other six member countries are Iran, Somalia, Sudan and three small Pacific Island nations. It is long past time for the US to ratify this treaty.

Promoting and protecting human rights is fundamental to America's core values. Under the leadership of Presidents Reagan, Bush and Clinton, the U.S. ratified similar treaties on genocide, torture, race, and civil and political rights.

While progress has been made in advancing women’s rights in recent decades, women continue to suffer disproportionately from poverty, sexual and domestic violence and lack of access to basic health care and equal education. In countries where CEDAW has been ratified, it has made significant improvement to the status of women. U.S. ratification of CEDAW would lend weight to the treaty and solidify our status as a leader in the global human rights committee.

In this age of globalization, the fate of our nation is more closely intertwined with that of the rest of the world than ever before. The United States can enhance our longstanding role as a global leader for women’s rights and human rights if we engage with the community of nations that has ratified CEDAW in determining how best to achieve progress for women and girls.

Attached to this letter are the signatures of 515 people who signed our petition supporting the US ratification of CEDAW without disabling Restrictions, Understandings and Declarations (RUDs) or any further delay. A total of 334 of these signatures were collected online through Facebook at our Pennsylvania NOW Education Fund cause site. These signatures represent people from four countries (India, Pakistan, the United Kingdom and the United States). Within the United States, we collected these online signatures from people living in 33 different states. The remaining 181 signatures were gathered at a Ni-Ta-Nee NOW (the local chapter of NOW in Centre County, PA) tabling event at the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts held in State College, Pennsylvania in July.

Thank you again for holding these hearings. Show your support for women in Pennsylvania, the United States, and around the world by showing your support for CEDAW.

Please send this treaty to the floor of the Senate with a message of strong support for ratification of CEDAW without disabling Restrictions, Understandings and Declarations (RUDs). Please ratify CEDAW without any further delay.

Thank you.

Joanne L. Tosti-Vasey, Ph.D.
Pennsylvania NOW, Inc.

No comments:

Post a Comment