Senate Hearing on Women and Arab Spring Includes Discussion of CEDAW
The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a joint subcommittee hearing on Wednesday on Women and the Arab Spring. The issue of the U.S. failure to ratify CEDAW, the Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women was raised several times. Senator Barbara Boxer (CA), who co-chaired the hearing, and Melanne Verveer, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues, both referred to the importance of US ratification of CEDAW while promoting women's rights around the world.
In discussing the importance of women to successful transitions in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya, Ambassador Verveer said in her testimony "I believe that many women woke up with the Arab Spring, and they will not go back to sleep." Manalu Omar, Director of Iraq, Iran, and North Africa Programs for the US Institute of Peace, told the Senators that women were a critical motivating factor in Libya, but expressed concern about what the liberation will mean for women who have had the right to vote in Libya since 1964.
Looking to the future and what role the US can play in protecting and advancing women at this crucial time of transition, Senator Boxer emphasized that the US needs to use whatever leverage it has, including foreign aid, to ensure women's rights.
Feminist Majority President Eleanor Smeal attended the hearing along with other women's rights and human rights leaders and stated following the hearing, "It is unconscionable that the US is in the company of Iran, Somalia and Sudan, who are among the handful of nations that have not ratified CEDAW and yet we are telling others the critical importance of advancing women's rights."
6/18/2013 Supreme Court Strikes Down Proof of Citizenship Voter Requirements - On Monday, the United States Supreme Court struck down an Arizona law requiring voters to provide proof of citizenship before being allowed register to vote.
In an opinion written [PDF] by Justice Antonin Scalia, the Court ruled that the Arizona statute violated the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA, also known as the "Motor Voter Law") of 1993, which created a federal form that individuals can mail in to register to vote in federal elections. . . .
6/18/2013 Pakistani Women's University Bus, Hospital Bombed - A bus for a women's university in Pakistan and the hospital that treated victims from the blast were bombed on Saturday, killing 14 students and 24 others at the hospital.
The bus was transporting female students and teachers from Sardar Bahadur Khan Women's University in Quetta, located in the southwestern part of Pakistan. . . .
6/18/2013 Taliban Attack In Afghan Capital As NATO Transfers Power - Yesterday, NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) transferred responsibility for the country's security forces to the Afghan government after a bomb blast targeting a political official left three civilians dead in Kabul. . . .