What Do Tunisia, Palau and the US Have in Common?

October 4, 2011

Well, it isn’t ratification of the CEDAW treaty but all three countries have made the news lately when it comes to women’s human rights.

CEDAW, formally known as the Convention On The Elimination Of All Forms Of Discrimination Against Women is the most comprehensive international framework to secure women’s equality. And, as the fight for women’s human rights continues after the recent uprisings in the Middle East, CEDAW is now more vital than ever in the struggle for gender equality and women’s empowerment. Countries in the Middle East and North Africa are reforming their governments and women must be a part of this political revolution to ensure the success of these emerging democracies.

Here are some of the latest developments on CEDAW:

  • Tunisia which had previously ratified CEDAW but with certain conditions, has lifted several of them.  In the aftermath of uprisings in the Middle East, Tunisia’s actions help set the stage for women to use CEDAW to claim their rights, such as the ability to pass their nationality on to their children; to make decisions regarding children and guardianship; and to obtain equal rights and responsibilities in matters relating to marriage and divorce.
  • Last month at the UN, the Pacific island nation of the Republic of Palau signed the CEDAW treaty and is expected to ratify it in the near future.
  • At a recent event at the UN General Assembly, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and female leaders from all over the world supported and signed a Joint Statement on Advancing Women’s Political Participation, which calls upon all states to ratify and fulfill their obligations under the CEDAWThank Secretary Clinton and the Obama Administration for their continued support in the fight to ratify CEDAW.
  • And last but not least, the Pacific Island of Nauru has heeded the call for accession and ratified CEDAW, leaving the United States as one of only six countries yet to ratify the treaty.

CEDAW can be an essential tool to reduce violence and discrimination against women and girls, ensure girls and women receive the same access as boys and men to education and health care, and secure basic legal recourse to women and girls against violations and abuses of their human rights.

Amnesty International has been working in coalition with other organizations to ratify CEDAW and it’s clearer than ever that the fight to ratify CEDAW must continue so that women all over the world can enjoy the equal rights and freedoms they deserve.