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Women Need a Strong CEDAW, Not One with Disabling RDUs

Soon the U.S. Senate will be reviewing an international treaty that could dramatically advance women's rights, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). The U.S. is one of the very few countries that have not ratified this treaty since it was introduced some three decades ago. Known as the "women's treaty," CEDAW addresses many areas where women are denied equal treatment and opportunity.

Unfortunately, a set of conditions have been attached to CEDAW -- known as Reservations, Declarations and Understandings (RDUs) -- which place severe restrictions on various parts of the treaty as it would be applied in the U.S. Currently, the treaty and its attached conditions are being reviewed by various executive agencies.

Send a message to President Obama urging that all unnecessary, undesirable and objectionable RDUs be eliminated before the treaty is sent to the Senate for their advice and consent.

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One of the most important human rights treaties, the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), is increasingly being used in countries -- rich and poor -- around the world to improve conditions for women. The United States, along with Sudan, Somalia, Qatar, Iran, Nauru, Palau and Tonga, has failed to ratify CEDAW over the 30 years since the United Nations first adopted the document.

Some women's organizations have avoided talking about the damaging Reservations, Declarations and Understandings and have dismissed their potential effect on women's rights. The National Organization for Women disagrees. Ratifying CEDAW with nearly a dozen disabling restrictions is a pointless exercise; worse, it sends a message to the international community that the U.S. does not want to abide by international norms and will not take action to assure equal treatment and opportunity for women. NOW and others believe that we must address the RDUs head-on and demand that they be removed at the outset.

Read more about CEDAW and these disabling RDUs.

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National Organization for Women

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