New Report Says Radical Women’s U.N. CEDAW Committee Simply Ignored by Many Countries

The committee responsible for monitoring state compliance with the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) says it increased its activism in the last two years by working more closely with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to develop its agenda, and with select parliamentarians and jurists to enforce it across the globe. On the other hand, according to the report, many nations are simply ignoring the committee and refusing to send in their reports. In its “Report to the Secretary General” the committee said that it is working assiduously to enforce its interpretations of the treaty by creating new “rapporteurs” to “follow-up” on country reports, using UN agencies to implement their agenda, and working with individual parliamentarians and judges to influence national laws and policies. It has also increased the amount of “pre-session” time that allows activists to sway the committee, mostly from US-based NGOs among which it has “attract[ed] wide followership.” But the report says that 30% of states parties to the convention are choosing not to participate in the controversial country reviews at all. “As of 15 August 2009, 56 States parties had a total of 102 overdue reports, including 20 initial reports … [some of which have] been overdue for more than five years.” Many periodic reports have been overdue for more than a decade, the report says. CEDAW has 186 state parties. Similarly, the report touts the fact that the committee is “developing its jurisprudence” through its work under the ten year old CEDAW Optional Protocol. A separate document from the treaty, the optional protocol, allows individual citizens from...