The 139th International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) session marked a pivotal moment in the global pursuit of human rights and equality. Representatives from around the world convened to address pressing issues to advance civil and political rights. Bettina Hager, Chief of Policy and Programs for the ERA Coalition, along with Alliance for Universal Digital Rights (AUDRi), Equality Now, Unchained At Last, and The US End FGM/C Network, made several urgent appeals, addressing the importance of constitutional sex equality as well as other critical issues that demand the world's attention:

We urged the United Nations (UN) to recommend that the U.S. government prohibits child marriage and sets the minimum age of marriage at 18, with no exceptions. This is crucial to protect the rights and well-being of young individuals, particularly girls, and to combat the perpetuation of child marriage and related issues like sexual violence.

Child marriage is legal in 40 US states, including five states without any minimum age of marriage. At least 300,000 minors were legally married between 2000 and 2018, some as young as 10. 86% of the children who married between 2000 and 2018 were girls, and most were wed to adult men.

- The 19th

We also called for the UN's recommendation to ensure that Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) laws in the U.S. are effectively implemented, state-level legislation is strengthened, and comprehensive data on FGM is collected. Approximately 513,000 women and girls in the US have undergone or are at risk of female genital mutilation either in the US or abroad. This comprehensive approach aims to eradicate FGM in the United States and safeguard those at risk.

And finally we urged the UN to recommend that the U.S. government complies with its ICCPR obligations and takes the necessary steps to implement the ERA as the 28th Amendment. This amendment would explicitly prohibit sex-based discrimination and empower Congress to enact laws addressing gender inequality in various areas.

(L-R) Bettina Hager, Meredith Eckler, Madisyn Lambrakis, and Crista Noel at the United Nations

In the global landscape of human rights and gender equality, international awareness of these pressing issues is of paramount importance. By raising awareness on an international scale, we hope to harness the collective power of public opinion to put pressure on the United States so that they finally act to ensure that sex equality is recognized at the federal level to help us continue the fight for our human dignity and equality.

Read a little more about all the issues the U.S. women's rights groups brought to Geneva, Switzerland in the full press release from Equality Now.

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