US committed to women’s equality treaty, UN

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UNITED NATIONS (AP) — On the 30th anniversary of a landmark treaty to end discrimination against women, the United States said Friday it is committed to ratifying the convention and called for stepped up efforts to achieve equality of men and women.

“The battle to eliminate discrimination and enshrine women’s equal rights is not yet won,” U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice said in a statement. “The U.S. will not rest until, with others, we make this shared goal a reality.”

Rice said President Barack Obama “strongly supports” the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women “and is committed to United States ratification.”

The U.N. General Assembly, which adopted the convention on Dec. 18, 1979, unanimously approved a resolution on Friday reiterating the need “to intensify efforts to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women throughout the world” and urging all countries that haven’t ratified the treaty to do so.

The United States is one of seven countries that have not ratified the treaty. The others are Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Tonga, Nauru and Palau.

The 186 countries that have ratified the treaty are required to incorporate the principle of equality of men and women in their legal system, abolish all discriminatory laws and adopt laws prohibiting discrimination against women. They are also required to establish tribunals and other public institutions to ensure the effective protection of women against discrimination.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told a commemoration earlier this month that the convention is “one of the most successful human rights treaties ever.”

“From Cameroon to Morocco, from Kyrgyzstan to Thailand, it has been a catalyst for legal reform and new national laws that enshrine women’s human rights and gender equality,” he said.

“But discrimination against women and girls persists,” Ban said. “Violence against women and girls is found in all countries. The results are devastating for individuals and societies alike: personal suffering, stunted development and political instability.”

The secretary-general urged all countries to “move beyond debates to concrete action that will increase the impact of the convention.”

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