Ratify international and regional human rights instruments

Part of the national plan and strategy to eliminate harmful practices should be a government plan to ratify international and regional human rights treaties that are relevant to harmful practices and call for an end to such customs. 

Ratification of such treaties should be done with limited reservations. Reservations undermine the signing state’s obligation to promote women’s rights or eliminate harmful practices. For example, reservations to the Women’s Convention or the Convention on the Rights of the Child which state that customary law or principles of Islam have precedence over treaty articles that prohibit discrimination against women or other conflicting directives of the Convention, undermine the very intent of the treaty itself.  

Clear government commitment to human rights, as evidenced by ratification without reservations of human rights treaties, provides impetus for social movements necessary for social change. 

After ratification, existing and future legislation must be amended or written to be consistent with the ratified human rights instruments. Ratification of such treaties will require the drafting, implementation, and monitoring of new laws and policies to protect women and girls from harmful practices. 

States Parties to international human rights treaties and regional agreements should be pressured to adopt laws and policies prohibiting harmful traditional practices in particular and violence against children in general as well as promoting gender equality. 

(See:  No More Excuses, p. 31)