UNITED NATIONS, Dec 4 (IPS) - Activists and U.N. officials celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) say the treaty has been an increasingly successful tool for challenging discriminatory laws and battling violence against women's and girls.
"The CEDAW Convention is at the core of our global mission of peace, development and human rights," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said at the opening of CEDAW's 30th anniversary event in New York Thursday. "The Convention is one of the most successful human rights treaties ever."
Still, he cautioned, three decades after the treaty was introduced, "Violence against women and girls is found in all countries."
"The results are devastating for individuals and societies alike: personal suffering, stunted development and political instability," he said.
Adopted in December 1979 by the U.N. General Assembly, CEDAW has been described as an "international bill of rights" for women and girls. Ninety percent of the U.N.'s member states are party to the treaty.
"It goes beyond the traditional scope of formal equality, pioneering the concept of substantive equality - that is, equality in real life," said Navi Pillay, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights.