The 23-member United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women kicks off its 27th biannual session today at UN Headquarters in New York to review implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). Specifically, the Committee will evaluate treaty compliance for Suriname, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Republic of the Congo, Belgium, Tunisia, Zambia, Ukraine, and Denmark.
Adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1979 and ratified by 169 countries Ð making it one of the most ratified international human rights treaties Ð the Convention requires States “to end discrimination against women in all formsÉ so that women can enjoy all their human rights and fundamental freedoms.” The UN General Assembly adopted the Optional Protocol to the Convention in 1999, allowing the Committee to consider complaints and petitions submitted by individual women or women groups. Additionally, the Protocol enabled the Committee to investigate systematic women’s rights violations. Forty nations have ratified the Protocol.
Despite its public commitment at the 1995 Beijing UN Fourth World Conference on Women to ratify the CEDAW by 2000, the United States remains the only developed country that has not ratified CEDAW. A Senate hearing on CEDAW is expected later this month.