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Submission to the UN Human Rights Committee over the USA’s Failure to Uphold the Rights of Women and Girls in all their Diversity

The United States of America is violating its international legal obligations by failing to uphold the human rights of women and girls within its borders.

Beginning in 2019, Equality Now, in partnership with US-based civil society organizations (CSOs) shared a list of issues with the United Nations Human Rights Committee (the Committee), which was set to address the ongoing human rights violations occurring in the United States as prohibited under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, an international treaty that the US has signed and ratified. 

In 2023, with the aim of continuing to reinforce mechanisms that expose these human rights violations at the international level, Equality Now, with the ERA Coalition, Unchained at Last, the US End FGM/C Network, and the Alliance for Universal Digital Rights (AUDRi) presented a submission ahead of the 139th session of the Human Rights Committee taking place between October 9 and November 3, 2023. 

During this time, the Committee will consider the United States’ Fifth Periodic Report, which outlines the progress the US has made to address these violations and then provide recommendations.

To facilitate additional knowledge sharing, our submission is now available in this report, which we hope will inspire other CSOs to participate in these processes. 

This submission report covers four specific violations: 

1) the longstanding failure of the United States to enshrine an explicit right to equality on the basis of sex in the US Constitution

2) the continuing legality of child marriage in the majority of US states

 3) the lack of comprehensive protections against female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C)

4) the prevalence of discrimination, harassment and gender-based violence in the digital space, and the lack of protection or effective remedy for online sexual exploitation and abuse (OSEA) at national level. 

Finally, this report highlights the need for the United States of America to sign on and ratify other core international human rights treaties, especially the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), to ensure that women and girls in all their diversity enjoy the full protection of international law. 

Read more in our press release.