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November 1, 2013

CONTACT: Kent Love, director of communications, 517-432-6959; kent.love@law.msu.edu

MSU Law Hosts Symposium on Whether the U.S. Should Become a Party to the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

The Michigan State University College of Law Lori E. Talsky Center for Human Rights of Women and Children and the Michigan State Law Review will host a “Symposium on Whether the U.S. Should Become a Party to the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women” on November 7—8, 2013.

Talsky Symposium Almost all countries—187 out of 194—have ratified CEDAW. The seven that have failed to become parties to the treaty are the United States, Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, Iran, and two small Pacific Island nations (Palau and Tonga).

“Not only has the U.S. refusal to ratify CEDAW become a major international embarrassment, but the failure also has deprived American women of the benefits that women elsewhere enjoy under the treaty,” said Susan H. Bitensky, the Alan S. Zekelman Professor of International Human Rights Law at MSU Law and the Director of the Talsky Center.

“This topic is especially timely now. Consider, for example, the uptick in sexual assaults in the U.S. military, the unanalyzed rape kits sitting in local evidence rooms across the country, and state legislative attempts to roll back women’s reproductive rights,” said Bitensky. “The presenters will discuss ways in which becoming party to CEDAW may provide women in the United States with protection against these and related detrimental developments.” 

Marsha A. Freeman, director of the International Women’s Rights Action Watch (IWRAW) and a senior fellow at the University of Minnesota Human Rights Center, will offer the keynote address on Thursday, November 7, 2013, at the East Lansing Marriott at University Place in East Lansing, Michigan.

Three panel discussions on Friday, November 8, 2013, in the Castle Board Room at the Law College Building, will feature some of the top scholars and practitioners regarding the Convention offering insights on protecting women from violence, protecting women’s reproductive rights, and issues involved in ratification or implementation of CEDAW.

Confirmed panelists include:

  • Susan Bazilli, International Women’s Rights Project
  • Dhrubajyoti Bhattacharya, Loyola University Medical Center
  • Johanna Bond, Washington & Lee University School of Law
  • Jamil Dakwar, American Civil Liberties Union’s Human Rights Program
  • Neil Andrew Englehart, Bowling Green State University
  • Cristina M. Finch, Amnesty International USA
  • Linda M. Keller, Thomas Jefferson School of Law
  • Lucie Lamarche, University of Québec in Montreal Faculty of Political Science and Law
  • Sandra S. Park, American Civil Liberties Union’s Women’s Rights Project
  • Meghan Rhoad, Women’s Rights Division of Human Rights Watch
  • Aram Schvey, Center for Reproductive Rights

More information at www.law.msu.edu/talsky/symposium.

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