AgroBiz.org Explains CEDAW dispelling false concepts on treaty.

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CEDAW

United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women

TRUE or FALSE


TRUE OR FALSE The UN Treaty on the Rights of Women is often called an international "Bill of Rights" for women. A preamble and 30 articles define what constitutes discrimination against women and set out an agenda for national action to end it. Ratifying countries are required to submit regular progress reports, but the Treaty does not impose any new laws or require any changes to existing laws.


TRUE OR FALSE Those opposed to U.S. ratification have distorted facts and raised unfounded fears about its possible effects on U.S. policy. These apprehensions are unfounded, as evidenced by the experiences of other countries over the last 20 years. The 189 countries that have ratified the treaty have not experienced any of the concerns listed below.


CEDAW

TRUE OR FALSE?

1

If ratified, treaty provisions would supersede U.S. laws and sovereignty, giving the international community too much power.


The Truth is... The United States adopts "non-selfexecuting" treaties, including this one, which means legislative action to implement any treaty provision would go through the House and Senate. It would not be necessary for the United States to change its domestic laws in order to comply with the Treaty.


CEDAW

TRUE OR FALSE?

2

The CEDAW Committee of the United Nations will demand or force changes in the law of the United States.


The Truth is... A formal "Conclusion" of the Committee is simply a set of recommendations for how countries can achieve gender equality in the future. It would not be necessary for the United States to change its domestic law in order to comply with the Treaty.


CEDAW

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3

Because the Treaty defines "discrimination" too broadly, it would lead to unwise laws and frivolous lawsuits here in the United States.


The Truth is... U.S. claims of unintentional sex discrimination would be subject to the same "strict scrutiny" as claim of racial discrimination under the Treaty. The Treaty's terms are similar to those of the United Nations Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD), which the United States ratified in 1994 without a flurry of frivolous lawsuits. The same is true for this treaty.


CEDAW

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4

Redefining "family" and women's and men's roles under the Treaty will destroy traditional families.


The Truth is... The Treaty does not seek to regulate family life. It only urges governments "to adopt education and public information programs [to] eliminate prejudices and current practices that hinder the full operation of the principle of the social equality of women."


CEDAW

TRUE OR FALSE?

5

In accordance with the Treaty, the United States and other countries will be required to send women into armed ground combat.


The Truth is... Women are not required to serve in combat under the Treaty. There is no mention of women in the military or in combat in the Treaty. In 1997 CEDAW Committee report urged, "full participation of women in the military" is not a requirement but a statement that women's absence in military decision-making councils hampers diplomacy, negotiations, peacekeeping & peacemaking efforts, and fails to take into account how military decisions affect women and their families during times of conflict.


CEDAW

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6

As a result of the Treaty, parents will be hindered from raising their children as they should.


The Truth is... As per U.S. law, the Treaty recognizes only the "common responsibility of men and women in raising and developing their children."


CEDAW

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7

Single-sex schools will be threatened and genderneutral textbooks will be required under the Treaty.


The Truth is... There is no prohibition against single-sex schools. There must be equal educational facilities, texts, and other materials for girls and boys, regardless of whether they attend single-sex or mixed schools.


CEDAW

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8

By promoting access to "family planning," the Treaty promotes abortion.


The Truth is... Abortion is intentionally left out of the Treaty. Ireland, Burkina Faso, and Rwanda have all ratified it, despite abortion being illegal in their countries. According to the U.S. State Department, the Treaty is "abortion neutral." The Senate Foreign Relations Committee noted that the Treaty does not include an abortion right in 1994.