29 Years Later

IntLawGrrls reminds us that 29 years ago yesterday, on March 1, 1980, the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) was opened for signature. Since then, 185 countries have signed and ratified the treaty. Of the seven UN Member States not a party to CEDAW, the United States unfortunately remains the most glaring example.

But perhaps not for long. With a new U.S. administration that has already made clear its support for women’s rights and its desire to re-engage with the international community, fundamental UN human rights treaties like CEDAW may be closer than ever to ratification in the United States. Senator Barbara Boxer urged both Secretary of State Clinton and UN Ambassador Rice, during their respective confirmation hearings, to make progress on CEDAW a priority within the administration’s first sixty days. Senator Boxer is also working to get the U.S. signature on the UN treaty upholding the rights of children, and, by my count, those sixty days are about half up.

(In another anniversary of another common-sensical treaty that the United States shamefully still has not signed, March 1 marked ten years since the international convention to ban land mines entered into force.)