Appeal to US on CEDAW from Brazil

The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law
Hearing on Women's Rights are Human Rights: U.S. Ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)

November 18, 2010

Statement for the Record
By Jacqueline Pitanguy
Founder and Executive Director, CEPIA, CidADANIA Estudo Pequisa Informação Ação, Brazil

Thank you for this opportunity to provide a statement in support of U.S. ratification of CEDAW, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

Brazil ratified CEDAW in 1982, with reservations. The ratification of CEDAW happened in a moment of redemocratization of the country, when women's movement had already gained political space in the public scenario. After the new 1988 Constitution, which established an equalitarian legal frame for women and men in all fields, CEDAW was ratified without reservations. CEDAW provided an international human rights standard which reinforced the initiatives taken by the new civil democratic government towards women's equality. Among those, the creation of the National Council of Women's Rights, a federal organ which I presided for 4 years, in accordance with UN recommendations for the establishment of machineries to improve the situation of women. Recently Brazil has also signed the Optional Protocol of CEDAW.

CEDAW is the only international convention that is oriented towards women, more than half of the humanity who still faces, in all countries, independently of culture, religion, race, ethnicity, the burden of a universal cultural heritage of gender inequality reflected, in some countries, in laws, in others still present in cultural patterns in spite of advancements in the legal frame. Violence against women, widespread and brutal, is still present in all countries, and only in 1993 it was recognized as a human rights violation at the UN Human Rights Conference on Human Rights.

The ratification of CEDAW by the United Sates of America is very important for the role that the US plays in ensuring human rights and it will contribute to legitimize CEDAW as a major human rights instrument for the achievement and protection of the human rights of women, in your national context and in the international level.

Thank you.

 

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