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Eagle Forum Capitol Alert
July 23, 2002

CEDAW Updates may be found in our Quick Topics Section under CEDAW.


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Senator Joe Biden again postponed the Foreign Relations Committee vote on CEDAW. The vote has now been moved to Tuesday, July 30. Keep calling your Senators!

Due to pressure, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joe Biden (D-DE) postponed last week's consideration of the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

What would CEDAW's experts target to change in the U.S.?

CEDAW = Abortion 
On January 2002, Uruguay was blasted by the "experts" for its laws against abortion, which were described as an "affront to the dignity of women" and a "violation of women's most basic rights." The Uruguay official was also questioned about decriminalizing abortion.

In 1999, the Committee recognized that Ireland's Constitution protects the life of the unborn children. One expert questioned, "Had any [parliamentarians] tried to lobby for changing the abortion law?"

CEDAW = Anti-Mother 
In the Belarus report reviewed by the experts in January 2000, it noted that achieving equality was problematic because of "the fulfillment of [women's] maternal and childrearing functions" and "the traditional perception of women primarily as mothers and housewives." The committee of experts expressed concern about the "prevalence of sex-role stereotypes and by the reintroduction of such symbols as a Mothers' Day and a Mothers' Award."

CEDAW = Prostitution 
In 1999, the experts cited that in China "prostitution was illegal . . . it was essential to decriminalize that practice for women." They also recommended for the "Government to take care of the prostitutes' sexual health."

CEDAW = Quotas 
In 2002, Belgium was questioned for failing to achieve the quotas in the election system. Belgium officials responded that progress was being made despite resistance from political parties and that a new law will reserve 50 percent of the candidate slots for women.

CEDAW = Government Daycare 
In 1999, one expert responded to Ireland's report that "she was a bit disturbed by a line in the report which stated that childcare was primarily the responsibility of parents. It was clear that Government also had to contribute and play its part."

CEDAW = Loss of Sovereignty 
Despite some praise for Denmark in 2002, the experts said that the "Denmark Constitution contained no specific provision on discrimination against women . . . It was important to fully integrate the country's domestic legislation with the Convention. . . . gaps still remain, and such integration could help to address them."

*Read the CEDAW reports at: http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/cedaw/ and http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf - click on CEDAW arrow and Concluding Observations/Comments


Urge your Senators to Reject CEDAW. Capitol Switchboard: (202) 224-3121 
Tell Chairman Biden to permanently remove CEDAW from the committee agenda.
          Foreign Relations Committee phone number: 202-224-4651,
          Biden's personal office phone number: 202-224-5042  

Capitol Switchboard: (202) 224-3121

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