Yesterday, the World Bank, the Nordic Trust Fund, The Leadership Conference Education Fund, and the United Nations Foundation held an event on the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in anticipation of International Women’s Day on March 8. Dr. Sima Samar, Chairwoman of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission and Former Minister of Women’s Affairs in Afghanistan delivered the keynote address.
Dr. Samar stated, “Serious discrimination against women continues to exist. Such discrimination violates the prinviple of equality and respect for human dignity. Women’s rights are clearly a political issue, related to power and control. Discrimination against women is a global problem…CEDAW acknowledges the existence of women as half of humanity in this world, insists on inclusion of women in all spheres of life, and obliges the state parties to support all of their citizens, both women and men.”
Otavanio Canuto, Vice President of the World Bank Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Network, Kathy Calvin, CEO of the United Nations Foundation, and Melanne Verveer, Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues at the US Department of State also made remarks.
CEDAW was first signed by Jimmy Carter in 1980 and has been approved by the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations twice, but the United States has never ratified the treaty. The treaty has been ratified by 186 of the 193 member nations of the United Nations. The other six nations that have not signed the treaty are Iran, the Republic of the Sudan, and Syria, as well as the three small Pacific Island nations of Palau, Tonga and Nauru.
CEDAW Event Materials 3/6/12; Statement of Dr. Sima Samar 3/6/12