This week, high-ranking officials from the State Department and the Justice Department are in Geneva for the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), a process which every nation in the U.N. undergoes every four years. The UPR is a review of a country’s human rights record and provides an opportunity for the U.S. to explain the steps it has taken to protect and forward human rights here at home. The U.S. makes its report to the U.N. Human Rights Council tomorrow.
One question that will arise during tomorrow’s review is why we still haven’t ratified the Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), a landmark international women’s rights agreement that almost every country in the world has ratified–except for us, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, and three small Pacific Islands. CEDAW affirms that women’s rights are human rights, and ratification would strengthen the U.S. as a global leader standing up for the rights of women and girls. The Obama Administration has repeatedly announced its support for CEDAW. Tomorrow, U.S. officials will likely be asked whether they will commit to a timetable for moving CEDAW forward.
If you want to know what State Department officials will have to say about that, and about U.S. ratification of CEDAW and women’s rights in the United States generally, ask them yourself. Tomorrow, immediately after they present their UPR report to the U.N. Human Rights Council, they will be holding a Town Hall, broadcast on the web, and taking questions from around the world about human rights in the U.S. You can watch online on Friday, November 5 at 10:30 a.m. EDT. At the “Enter as a visitor” prompt, simply type in your name and select “Enter Room.” You can submit questions in advance at the chat room. It’s a great opportunity to ask Administration officials how they will make sure that women’s rights are human rights here in the U.S. going forward.
Update: A few people have reported problems with the webcast link. Use this link. You’ll be given the option of entering as a guest. Type your name and hit “enter as visitor.” A new screen will pop up, where you’ll be able to see the webcast (once it begins) as well as the webchat dialogue box on the right. You can submit a question in that webchat dialogue box—or by emailing your question to: email@example.com.