Support for the United Nation Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) 2007 Action of Immediate Witness

WHEREAS the first Unitarian Universalist principle "to affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person," and the sixth principle, "the goal of world community with peace, liberty and justice for all," correspond with the purpose of the United Nations Charter "to promote peace, prosperity, and dignity for all;"

WHEREAS the current 2007 session of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee presents the best opportunity in over 25 years to pass legislation to end discrimination against women worldwide:

WHEREAS CEDAW, adopted by the United Nations in 1979, is one of the most ratified international human rights conventions, having the support of 185 States Parties;

WHEREAS the Treaty for the Rights of Women (CEDAW), addresses legal rights of women worldwide, empowers them in the areas of education, employment and health care, and provides prevention against and protection from violence;

WHEREAS women in the Ukraine, Nepal, Thailand and the Philippines have used CEDAW to pass new laws to stop sexual trafficking of women and girls;

WHEREAS in Nicaragua, Jordan, Egypt and Guinea, women and girls have now acquired literacy increases after CEDAW has improved access to education;

WHEREAS the U.S. failure to ratify CEDAW places it in the company of Iran, Sudan and Somalia, and four other countries, and the U.S. remains the only nation with a Member Group of the International Council of Unitarians and Universalists that has not ratified CEDAW;

WHEREAS the U.S. Senate has scheduled no hearings to reconsider the ratification of CEDAW since 1980, when President Carter signed the treaty, but the Working Group on Ratification of CEDAW has, in 2007, mobilized a call for Senate hearings, and the current Administration has delayed action by ordering an additional review of the treaty by the Justice Department;

WHEREAS ratification of CEDAW is essential to a claim by the U.S. of moral leadership in human rights; and

WHEREAS U.S. ratification will deter discrimination against women and advance their political and economic equality,

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the delegates of the 2007 General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association reaffirm their commitment to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women worldwide;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the delegates urge:

  • Individual Unitarian Universalists and congregations to educate themselves about CEDAW and to lobby their elected representatives to call for hearings to ratify the Convention;
  • U.S. congregations to call for U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings on CEDAW during the current Congressional session and to promote coalition building based upon the 2005 End Violence Against Women Act;
  • The Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office to continue to monitor and advocate for CEDAW as part of follow-up to the 2007 Annual Intergenerational Spring Seminar, "Stop Modern Day Slavery: Breaking the Web of Human Trafficking;" and
  • U.S. congregations to work with the Southwest Unitarian Universalist Women (SWUUW) and the Unitarian Universalist Women and Religion (UUWR) to welcome Unitarian Universalist women wor1dwide to the International Convocation of Unitarian Universalist Women in Houston, Texas in February 2009.