A delegation of human rights experts from Poland, the United Kingdom and Costa Rica spent 10 days this month touring the United States so they can prepare a report on the nation’s overall treatment of women. The three women, who lead a United Nations working group on discrimination against women, visited Alabama, Texas and Oregon to evaluate a wide range of U.S. policies and attitudes, as well as school, health and prison systems.
The delegates were appalled by the lack of gender equality in America. They found the U.S. to be lagging far behind international human rights standards in a number of areas, including its 23 percent gender pay gap, maternity leave, affordable child care and the treatment of female migrants in detention centers.
The most telling moment of the trip, the women told reporters on Friday, was when they visited an abortion clinic in Alabama and experienced the hostile political climate around women’s reproductive rights. . . . “It’s a kind of terrorism,” added Eleonora Zielinska, the delegate from Poland. “To us, it was shocking.”
It’s very interesting to me to find alternative or outsider points of view on a society. To remember that the ways in which we have been accustomed to doing things aren’t the only ways, or the only possible ways.
For me, I should be horrified if Alabama and Texas were supposed to represent our entire country. Yet I can’t help but wonder what if these United Nations delegates had gone to U.S. territories such as Guam, of course.
Would they make a statement on the abuse of human rights that is ongoing in a military occupation of a foreign, sovereign land, with which the U.S. is not and never has been at war, under a thin pretense of democracy?
The delegation includes a representative from Costa Rica, Alda Facio. How aware is she of the U.S.’s illegal occupation of lands around the globe? How much does that factor into her work here? — for it should; it should factor into everything we do.
Women’s rights are human rights.