World Without Genocide: Advocacy Items

Note: Please send all letters/postcards to World Without Genocide (WWG) for them to collect and deliver.

William Mitchell College of Law
ATTN: World Without Genocide
875 Summit Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55105

Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)

CEDAW (SEE-daw) was passed by the United Nations in 1979 and has since been ratified by 189 nations. Only six countries in the world have not ratified it: Somalia, Iran, Sudan, Palau, Tonga – and the United States.

In order for a UN convention, treaty, or resolution to be ratified by the US, it first must be passed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. This committee passed CEDAW twice by a bi-partisan vote. The second step is that it must go to a full vote in the Senate and 67 ‘yes’ votes are required for passage. CEDAW has never been brought to the Senate for a vote.

What you can do: 

1. We are building advocacy for CEDAW in Minnesota by collecting letters for our senators. This is part of a national movement for bottom-up support, and we will approach our senators in the future to ask them to advocate for a vote for CEDAW in the Senate. Please write a letter to our senators, and send to WWG.

2. Cities throughout the US are asked to pass resolutions of support. Please write a card or letter urging mayors and city councils to get on board with CEDAW. The goal is to have a hundred cities pass resolutions by the end of 2016. Minneapolis became the first Minnesota city to do so in December 2015. Send cards/letters to WWG.

3. More than 200 organizations throughout the US have endorsed CEDAW, including faith communities, human rights groups, and professional associations. If you know of an organization that would sign on, please write down the name of the organization, your name, and your contact information. Send to WWG.

American Indians and Indigenous Peoples’ Day

There are no major holidays that commemorate American Indians and indigenous peoples. Many cities and states have chosen to designate the second Monday in every October as American Indian and indigenous peoples day to commemorate the significant contributions that these people have made to our communities and to advocate for positive steps to end disparities in education, health, and economics. Several cities in Minnesota have passed this designation, including Minneapolis.

What you can do:

1. We are building advocacy for this important designation in Minnesota by collecting letters for our state senators and representatives asking them to say ‘yes’ when this bill comes to a vote. Please write a letter that we’ll take to our elected officials, and send to WWG.

2. Cities throughout Minnesota are asked to pass resolutions of support. Please write a card/letter that urges mayors and city councils to get on board with this designation and to join other Minnesota cities in this important step. Send to WWG.


Conflict-Free Minerals

Valuable minerals used n making in small electronics (cell phones, video games, laptops, etc.) are found in vast quantities in the northeast regions of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Congo). These minerals have become a flashpoint for violence, as militia groups from Congo and neighboring countries fight over control of these valuable resources. Since 1996, more than 6 million people have been killed and women and girls have been targeted by horrific sexual violence, giving that region the label of the ‘rape capital of the world.’

The Wall Street Reform Act of 2010 requires that companies report the sources of their mineral purchases. This requirement for public transparency means that many electronics manufacturers will buy minerals only from mining companies whose practices don’t violate human rights. However, not all manufacturers are making purchases with this in mind. The Enough Project, an NGO in Washington, D.C., rates manufacturers as green, red, or yellow based on their adherence to ‘best practices.’

What you can do: 

1. We encourage people to purchase only from those companies listed as ‘green.’ Please take a copy of the scoring system with you to make ethical purchase decisions.

2. We hope to pass a bill in the Minnesota legislature to support the Dodd-Frank reporting requirement for Minnesota-based firms. Please write two letters, one for a senator and the other for your representative, asking them to vote yes on this initiative. Send to WWG.