September 21, 2020         
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Fmr Justice Speaks Out On Women's Rights

 WASHINGTON - The U.S. Senate should consider ratification of the international treaty on the rights of women, known as CEDAW, Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor said in a letter released today.

O'Connor's support came in a letter to Senator Richard J. Durbin, whose Judiciary Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law will hold a hearing today entitled "Women's Rights are Human Rights: U.S. Ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)." The hearing is set for 2 p.m. in Room 226 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building.

"In my view, this is an important treaty, and it is appropriate that it be considered by the Senate," O'Connor wrote to Durbin. "[R]atification of CEDAW would enhance the authority of the United States to advocate on behalf of women's rights in countries, including both CEDAW parties and non-parties, that do not respect women's rights to the same extent that the United Statesdoes."

Earlier, President Obama called himself a "strong supporter" of CEDAW, in a television interview that "if it were up to me, it would already have been ratified." He noted that the treaty is pending on the Senate's busy agenda. "My hope is that we get it done," he said.

The United States signed CEDAW in 1980 and remains the only country to have signed the pact but not ratified it, O'Connor noted. The 186 ratifying countries include all America's major allies, while the seven remaining non-ratifyers also include Iranand Sudan, "not company we normally keep," her letter said.



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