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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Students seek to sway gov’t

    Taylor House / Arizona Daily Wildcat 

Amnesty International
    Taylor House / Arizona Daily Wildcat Amnesty International

    Students had a chance to put not just their names, but their faces behind the cause of global women’s rights yesterday as part of Amnesty International’s National Student Action Week.

    The occasion had the UA chapter of the “”world’s oldest global human rights organization”” on the UA Mall at lunchtime yesterday, collecting student signatures on petitions and form letters in support of the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women.

    Students were also photographed holding signs reading “”ratify for my sake”” and “”help end discrimination against women.””

    Despite bipartisan support for an American ratification of the treaty from both the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the White House, neither has shown any interest in ratifying the treaty since a senate recommendation to do so in 2002, said UA chapter president of Amnesty International Kristian Dougherty, a business economics senior.

    “”The big thing we’re asking is for the Senate to schedule a vote,”” Dougherty said. “”There really is no opposition to the treaty, it just hasn’t been voted on.””

    The letters, petitions and photos will be bundled into a “”care package”” and sent to Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl next week, Dougherty said.

    By the end of the afternoon, the club had gathered more than 50 signatures and half as many snapshots. Dougherty said they had expected fewer people to volunteer to have their pictures taken and sent to the senator.

    “”People tend to be a little reticent when it comes to having their pictures taken,”” Dougherty said. He said that the photos are just an extra touch for the package and that the club is “”mainly out here to get signatures.””

    Dougherty and the other club members also encouraged students to get in touch with their senators by phone or e-mail, especially those who sit on the Foreign Relations Committee, which is needed to approve the treaty.

    Student chapters of Amnesty International across the country are doing likewise, including students at ASU and NAU who are also planning on mailing petitions to Kyl, Dougherty said. Materials for these packages were provided by Amnesty International’s home office in New York City.

    “”A lot of the stuff comes as bullet points for actions and we take from there and customize them,”” said Mariah Foose, a veterinary sciences sophomore and UA Amnesty International member.

    Dougherty said while many students were thrilled to see the club on the Mall advocating women’s rights, few were aware of the CEDAW or America’s failure to ratify it.

    “”I was not aware that the U.S. was one of the only countries that hadn’t signed on,”” said Autumn Johnson, a women’s studies senior. “”We’re behind in a lot of things. It’s sad but it’s not all that surprising.””

    Dougherty and other club members also attended the student government senate meeting on Wednesday as part of Student Action week, asking the student government to pass a campus resolution in support of the treaty, which Dougherty said would be put to a vote by student senators next week.

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