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Honors Paper

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The United Nations (UN) has a multitude of global conventions and treaties in which its members states can choose to sign and ratify. Two of those treaties are CERD, the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, adopted in 1966; and CEDAW, the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women, adopted in 1979. Throughout the world, almost all UN member states have ratified CERD; however, all but a few minority states have ratified CEDAW. Amongst those few minorities is the United States. Although the U.S. has decided not to ratify CEDAW, there are various localities, such as San Francisco, that have taken the task to implement CEDAW at the municipal level. The task has not been an easy one, but San Francisco has successfully been able to pass a CEDAW Ordinance. The Human Rights Project at the Urban Justice Center, along with other organizations who are part of the New York City Human Rights Initiative (NYCHRI) coalition, has worked diligently to pass a legislation with principles and language from both CEDAW and CERD in New York City. The legislation has yet to pass, but this thesis analyzes the ways in which an organization can simultaneously be positioned in a country that does not consider economic, social and cultural rights as rights, and try to pass a legislation that deals with these very rights. Through field observation, interviews, and research, my thesis concludes that US-based human rights or women’s rights organizations can simultaneously exist in the United States—a country whose actions do not follow their human rights rhetoric—and follow through with a radical and sometimes even revolutionary agenda. The information gathered during research will hopefully be applied to other cities across the United States, and serve as evidence that human rights are needed in the United States.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.



The views expressed in this paper are solely those of the author.