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U.S. Senate urged to pass women's rights treaty
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Some female lawmakers on Capitol Hill will be marking International Women's Day this week by protesting the failure by the United States to pass a United Nations treaty that safeguards women's rights.
The U.N. treaty has been in limbo for decades, as the United States -- along with a small group of nations that includes Afghanistan and Iran -- has failed to sign the accord.
So far, 165 nations have ratified the treaty, called the "Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women."
Last October, several female House members interrupted the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, demanding a new hearing on the convention.
Expect more of the same this week.
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-California) is asking the committee to take up debate on the treaty prior to International Women's Day on Wednesday.
"I find it insulting that such a simple, straightforward bill of rights for women would languish in the greatest democracy in the world," Boxer said.
So far, 165 nations have ratified the treaty,
Senate has not ratified treaty
The United Nations adopted the treaty in 1979, and then-President Jimmy Carter signed it. But the treaty requires the approval of two-thirds of the Senate to be ratified. That is where the process is stuck.
One Republican opponent says the treaty imposes unfair obligations on the United States.
"That doesn't mean that we are not concerned about the condition of people, of children, of women, but the idea of it being managed and overriding U.S. policy -- I'm not there," said Sen. Paul Coverdell of Georgia.
Also opposed to the treaty is Sen. Jesse Helms (R-North Carolina), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. His office declined to comment.
But Democrats on the committee acknowledge Helms has effectively blocked the issue from debate.
Supporters of the treaty say that is not likely to change unless the Republicans lose control of the Senate in November.
A new version of the ERA
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