Wilmington, Del. – City Council President Dr. Hanifa Shabazz, today, announced efforts to protect human rights and address gender-based discrimination in Wilmington by proposing an amendment to the City Code that will reinstate and strengthen the Civil Rights Commission as well as mandate that it uphold the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) at the local level.

In addition to reviving the dormant Civil Rights Commission and expanding its reach and effectiveness in addressing issues of alleged discriminatory treatment and practices, this amendment would expand the Commission’s duties to include the monitoring of City operations, policies and programs to ensure they conform to UDHR and CEDAW and the development of human rights educational programs for the City government and residents.

Adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations, in 1948 and 1979 respectively, UDHR defines a fundamental set of inalienable human rights to be universally protected and CEDAW is a treaty that defines what constitutes discrimination against women and sets up an agenda for national action to end such discrimination.

By incorporating these principles into the City Code and designating an oversight body to ensure that those principles are also reflected in City operations, policies and programs, Council proclaims its commitment to upholding women’s rights in Wilmington and its genuine support of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements.

“More than a symbolic nod or gesture, this legislation takes concrete steps to inject these important principles into the laws of our City,” said President Shabazz, the bill’s primary sponsor. “We cannot understate the importance of our role in ensuring civil and human rights, and addressing discrimination, in our City, and this legislation is an important step in the right direction.” Shabazz also noted the importance of reinstating the Civil Rights Commission, and in building out its formal structure and codified responsibilities to enhance its capacity through this proposed legislation.

The proposed Ordinance will be introduced next Thursday, February 1st and then referred to the Education, Youth and Families Committee for discussion on Wednesday, February 14th.

In addition to the ordinance calling for these amendments to the City Code, the Education, Youth and Families Committee will also consider two resolutions that together declare Wilmington a “Human Rights City” and a “City for CEDAW”. To date, 33 cities worldwide have declared themselves Human Rights Cities; eight cities and counties have joined the Cities for CEDAW movement by enacting a similar ordinance, while 22 others have issued a resolution declaring their intention to do the same.


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