Sunday, March 08, 2009

Democrat feminists plan to push for CEDAW acceptance

David Crary - Associated Press Writer - 3/8/2009 6:40:00 AM

NEW YORK - A global women's rights treaty completed 30 years ago has a better-than-ever chance for U.S. Senate ratification this year, yet the hunt for the needed 67 favorable votes is likely to incur the wrath of activists on both the left and right.

Known as CEDAW (SEE-daw), the treaty's formal name is the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

Since its adoption by the U.N. General Assembly in 1979, all but eight of the 192 U.N. members have become a party to it _ the United States is one of the holdouts, along with Sudan, Somalia, Qatar, Iran, Nauru, Palau and Tonga.

This year, with CEDAW-supporting Democrats holding power in Washington, Sen. Barbara Boxer plans a concerted effort to seek ratification as part of her agenda for a new Foreign Relations subcommittee chairmanship overseeing global women's issues.

"We've waited long enough," said Boxer, D-Calif. "All these years later, there's no excuse for not ratifying this critical convention to shine a light on women's rights around the world.

U.S. opponents of CEDAW contend that ratification could lead to legalized prostitution, increased government interference in family matters, and abolition of remaining restrictions on abortion. They also question the value of joining a treaty that has been ratified by countries such as Saudi Arabia, where women cannot vote or drive.

"The treaty is worse than useless," said Wendy Wright of Concerned Women for America. "It gives legitimacy to regimes that are committing some of the worst abuses against women."

Wright promised a vigorous fight against CEDAW, which she depicted as "the Equal Rights Amendment on steroids."

If Boxer's subcommittee votes for ratifying the treaty, it would then advance to the full Foreign Relations Committee chaired by Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.

Kerry is "extremely supportive of stronger international frameworks for promoting global equality and women's empowerment," said committee spokesman Frederick Jones. "He is looking at a number of draft bills and international instruments and will support the most effective avenues to accomplish his ideals."

Article courtesy of OneNewsNow.com

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